Traditionally, explosive weightlifting has been reserved for sprinters, but distance runners can also benefit from including these power-producing exercises in their strength and conditioning program. In addition to traditional strength training and plyometric exercises, the Olympic lifts and their variations can help runners improve their potential for performance.
Power is the amount of force you can produce in a given moment in time. Therefore, the more powerful you are, the more force you can develop in less time. Powerful runners have a higher level of relative strength and can tap into their fast twitch muscle fibers better than weaker runners. According to recent research, you may want to get better at being powerful if you want to improve your racing potential.
Findings from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners of different distances had better race performances if they also possessed the ability to develop force quickly. The researchers took NCAA Division I track athletes from several disciplines (sprints, middle and long distance race distances) and tested their power producing ability using a multiple jump test. After measuring power performance, they found a significant correlation between power producing ability and race performance in all subjects. In other words, the more explosive runners were able to run faster race times. To target your fast twitch muscle fibers, runners must incorporate explosive-type exercises into their weekly routine.
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