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A Weight Lifting Program For Sprinters

Weightlifting for Sprinters Books

Although sprinters and distance runners both engage in the sport of running, in looking at these two types of athletes it is not likely you will find any obvious similarities. Distance runners are typically leaner than sprinters. While distance runners may utilize weight lifting for the purposes of strengthening their muscles in terms of endurance, sprinters turn to weight lifting in an effort to build the muscles in terms of strength and speed. Therefore, sprinters typically have physiques which are much more muscular than distance runners. This gives them the ability to gain explosive power from their muscles which makes them capable of achieving faster top end speeds. This article will examine some of the strength training exercises which are best for sprinters who are trying to achieve greater speed.

Plyometric exercises are some of the most commonly used exercises by sprinters. These exercises focus on explosive movements which help to develop the fast twitch muscle fibers which are necessary for improving speed. The typical formula for a plyometric exercise is it should combine an eccentric muscle contraction with a concentric muscle contraction. Simply stated this means the muscle should first contract as it lengthens and then contract as it shortens. The lengthening contraction is the eccentric contraction and the shortening contraction is the concentric contraction. Through this sequence of muscular contractions the muscles are stimulated in a new way which encourages improvement of the fast twitch muscle fibers.

Before doing any plyometric exercises, the sprinter should be sure to warm up properly first. This is important because these types of exercises are extremely difficult on the muscles and not warming up properly may result in muscle pulls and tears. Two examples of plyometric exercises which are beneficial for runners include plyometric squat jumps and plyometric box jumps. To perform a plyometric squat jump the sprinter should first lower into a squat position where the thighs are parallel to the floor and the knees are not extending past the toes. As soon as this position is reached the sprinter should jump upward as high as possible to complete the exercise. Plyometric box jumps are usually performed with the aid of boxes designed specifically for this purpose. These boxes usually come in a variety of sizes and sprinters are advised to start out the training session with a lower box and then progress to higher boxes. This simple exercise is performed by standing facing the box and then jumping up onto the box. The jump onto the box should be explosive in nature but the sprinter should return to the ground with a soft hop and should land with the knees slightly bend to avoid injury.

A sprinterís legs are usually much more muscular than the legs of any other types of runners. This is because the sprinter gains a great deal of power from the legs and building up these muscles helps to give him the explosiveness he needs to propel himself over the course as quickly as possible. Weight lifting exercises which are active but also focus on the lower body are very important for sprinters. This includes exercises such as weighted lunges and weighted squats. When performing these exercises sprinters should be focusing on using heavier weights and performing fewer repetitions. This will help to encourage muscle growth which is necessary for improved speed.

Upper body exercises are also important for sprinters although most sprinters do not invest as much time into training their upper bodies as they do their lower bodies. The muscles of the upper body need to be strong to enable the runner to use his arms to derive additional power during the sprint. Additionally, the upper body needs to be relatively in proportion to the lower body because it would be difficult for a sprinter with a weak upper body to generate the type of power he needs to assist his lower body without if the upper body was disproportionately weak.

In addition to doing more intense weight lifting workouts, sprinters must also modify their diets somewhat to truly realize the benefits of weight lifting. This is important because without proper nutrition the body will not generate the type of muscle growth the athlete requires. In general increased protein intake may be necessary to give the muscles the nutrients they need to grow and improve. A healthy diet of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat is ideal for most runners but sprinters who are in the process of doing heavy weight lifting may want to consider increasing their protein intake to stimulate muscle growth. Increasing the amount of protein consumed throughout the day is helpful but the sprinter may also want to focus on consuming additional protein within the first half hour after a particularly intense weight training session. This can be accomplished by consuming a sports drink which is rich in protein or consuming a small meal which is rich in protein and will help to replenish the muscles so they can grow properly.



The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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