The Strength Routine You’re Not Doing
Here is a plyometric routine I give to my own athletes and perform myself.
I was hesitant to have my athletes do these because some suggest they can be too difficult/intense for standard athletes, but the research cannot be denied. Thus, there is a shorter plyometric routine as a sort of compromise.
For scheduling any difficult strength work, I typically recommend performing them on the same day as a hard run. That ensures that the easy days are easy and the hard days are hard. Don't be afraid to do easier routines that are not fatiguing on the rest days, but don't do terribly difficult routines on easy days!
Plyometrics are a jumping exercise that mimic and exaggerate running form and requirements.
Why they work: You may not know this, but better runners stiffen their leg muscles immediately prior to ground contact more than less advanced runners do. This is called elastic recoil, and like a spring, the stiffer spring has more recoil than a soft spring. Plyometrics improve your running ability because they improve how much your legs tense prior to landing.
These routines also are very dynamic movements, I mentioned that they mimic & exaggerate running. Because of this, they recruit more muscle fibers at once than running alone, thus help to stimulate improved neuromuscular function.
Study: One found that runners who replaced running with plyometrics improved their running time. Now, of course, take this too far or for too long and you'll stagnate. But the change in their running routine was enough to stimulate adaptation.
Performing the Workout: Warm up with the Lunge Matrix, found here, then hit play below and follow along!
My legs were in pretty rough shape when I filled this since I was just post half marathon, so forgive the bad form but I wanted to get the video filmed!
Two Legged Hops x 20
Scissor Jump x 20
One Legged Jump x 20
One-Legged Side to Side Hopping x 20 each leg
One-Legged Forward/Back Hopping x 20 each leg