These 3 Moves Will Make You Stronger (BONUS: And More Efficient)


Men's Health |

The Strong2Run programme at the Sports Science Institute of SA takes runners of all levels through a sequence of training routines that promises to make anyone better, stronger and more efficient on their feet. The key: a blend of high-intensity cardio work, cross-training, sprint intervals – and drills. Lots and lots of drills.

Drills are important to improve running efficiency and biomechanics, stride frequency and build functional strength, says Greg Hyson, an endurance athlete and biokineticist at SSISA. This is important for speed and also because of it helps you to avoid injuries. All these drills should be done over a distance of about 20m. You can also add gym exercises that focus on your butt and calves, as these are often the weaker muscles that predispose you to injury when running. A great glute exercise is side-lying leg raises. For calves, you can do double calf raises progressing to single leg calf raises. Ideally, consult with a biokineticist who can assess you and prescribe a tailored made programme that’s right for you.

High Knees

Emphasises good running biomechanics and is also a dynamic hamstring and gluteus stretch.

How To Do It Properly Start off jogging slowly, perform one knee lift every third step. You should be bringing your knee up in front of you in a straight line and maintaining an upright posture with a slight forward lean from the hips. As you lift your knee up, your heel should also tuck underneath your butt. Focus on performing the drill with the correct technique – this is not about moving forward quickly. Remember that drills are an exaggeration of the correct running technique.

Butt Kicks

Emphasises good running biomechanics and is also a dynamic quad stretch.

How To Do It Properly Start off jogging slowly, perform one butt kick every third step. The movement incorporates a small knee lift as you bring your heel underneath your butt.

Side Shuffles

This is a dynamic stretch and muscle activation of the adductors and abductors.

How To Do It Properly For this exercise you will be moving sideways (crab-like), in a skipping motion. Both feet are facing in front of you, perpendicular to the direction in which you are moving. Make sure your legs don’t crossover.

Photograph courtesy Lorenz Richard for Wings for Life World Run

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