Running is one of my favorite tools to relieve stress and do cardio.
What I prefer the most is to do sprints. It reminds me when I was a kid racing my cousins. And I can really let go all the stress of my day.
With the strong heat in Miami I don’t always get to enjoy doing it outdoor: it’s too hot, it’s more a torture than a nice moment.
So when I can’t handle the heat, I just run intervals on the treadmill at the gym (more boring you die).
I have been looking for exercises to improve the strength in my legs and flexibility in my hips to run better. And apparently, the exercises that I do to work on my upper body are also going to help me sprint better and faster.
Why is that ?
Because when you sprint, it’s crucial that you push the harder that you can. If you have strong shoulders and biceps you will be able to do so. What is also important is to improve the coordination between the arms and the legs.
If you train for a marathon it’s not really the goal to work on stronger/bigger arms: it will just add more weight to carry on for you.
When you run, be careful with the position of your arms:
- Keep the elbows at a 90° angle
- The arms are parallel to the floor and don’t cross each other
- The hands are relaxed, palms turned inside
- Push your elbows to the back
In addition, it’s crucial to have a strong core to run because it helps stabilize the all body and maintain a good energy transfer to the legs (which are doing most of the job here). When you have a good posture, you save energy, run faster and can protect your spine by reducing the impact of the running on it.
10 exercises to improve your upper body to sprint:
- Pull ups (basic ones, isometric or with negative contraction)
- Biceps flexion with a resistance band
- Narrow push-ups
- Bench dips
- Lunges with upper body rotation
- Side planks (basic, up the leg, knee to elbow)
- Bridge with up knee
- High plank with tap on shoulders
- Superman plank
- Quadruped trunk rotation
As I always say, planking is THE best exercise to strengthen your core. You can do it everywhere with no equipment and there are so many variations that you can always find a way to get it harder.
Try to use one of these exercises and see if you feel an improvement in your sprints.