In the spirit of this week’s IAAF World Championships we thought you might want to know how you too can get faster. With records seemingly flying by the wayside (Tyson Gays 9.71 100m American record and Usain Bolts 9.58 100m world record to name a few) athletes are getting faster and faster.
So do you want to be a faster sprinter? Clear the base pads faster? Actually get open during your flag football league games? Of course you do or you would not be reading this! You can make immediate gains now by training your hip flexors! You can easily shave time off of your 40 – by beginning to specifically train your hip flexors.
Where are your hip flexors? This group of muscles is located below your hip bone atop your quadriceps muscles. Stand against a wall with both legs straight. Hold one leg (keep it straight) out and try to slowly raise it to a 45 degree angle… now 90. Feel that muscle that is burning? Probably keeping you from fully raising that leg up due to its weakness. Those are your hip flexors.
These muscles are the most under trained primary movers used for sprinting. Performing squats and/or leg extensions slightly stimulate the hip flexors. The same is true for core exercises lying on your back when your feet are raised. But these exercises do not isolate these muscles for growth.
There are several exercises that you can do that will isolate your hip flexors. Here are a few. Time yourself over 40 or 50 yards. Do the following exercises 2 or 3 times a week for a month – then time your self again over that same distance. Feel free to come back to this page and comment on your improvement.
1.) Isometric Leg Extension: Using a resistance band tie one end around a weight rack. Attach the band to one leg, walk forward until you start to feel good tension. Start with feet together – then raise the leg (with band attached) as far as you can and hold. Hold for 20 seconds if you can – rest for 30 seconds and hold again. Repeat these 4 or 5 times then switch to the other leg.
2.) Weighted knee ups: Attach a 5 or 10lb ankle weight to one leg. Start standing with feet together – begin raising that leg. As your leg raises bend at the knee joint (to 90 degrees) at it highest point your quadriceps should be parallel to the floor. Do 4 to 5 sets with each set consisting of 10 reps per leg.
We can not guarantee that you will run 9.58 over 100m but you will come closer to reaching your own genetic potential!