3 Priorities to Build a Stronger Spring for Running

A solid plan to build a better spring doesn’t have to be grueling or time-consuming, explains Running Rewired author Jay Dicharry.

It also doesn’t have to feature muscle confusion, muscle occlusion, or a host of other trendy terminology. We will use the process of overload of fundamental movements to demand more from your body in a calculated way, and your body will respond. To achieve run-specific gains, you will need to practice the movements that will achieve these three objectives:

1. Produce horizontal force with a powerful deadlift pattern. This includes front-to-back movements that engage the powerful muscles around the hips.

2. Produce vertical force with a fluid squat pattern. This involves mostly up-and-down movements that split the work between the muscles around the knees and the hips.

3. Establish 3D postural control in the core. Moving heavy loads requires the core to be engaged, anchoring the legs and upper body.

Every movement fits into one of these three categories. And every movement has a specific purpose: to improve your running.

Variety and repetition are the building blocks of motor learning and skill development. When you become stronger, your preferred muscle recruitment shifts from the front side of your body to the backside of your body. This allows you to maintain better postural control and put more drive into your gait. Some truly magical things happen to your running form once you change what your body is capable of achieving.

Running Rewired includes 83 exercises and 15 Rewire Workouts that are designed in part to help you build a stronger spring for higher performance running. For now, let’s take a look at three exercises that meet our three goals above: horizontal force, vertical force, and 3D postural control.

Suitcase Carry

– Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand, and let it hang down at your side.
– Keep your shoulder blades packed down along your ribs and actively counter your tendency to lean away from the asymmetric load.
– Hold yourself completely vertical as you walk for 30 seconds.
– Do 4 30-second carries.
More about this exercise at Velopress.com

Kettlebell Squat

– Hold a kettlebell tight to your chest in both hands with shoulder blades spread wide and locked down on the back. Your feet should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
– Staying centered over your feet, sink your hips back and down in a squat until your elbows touch your thighs.
– Keeping a neutral spine, drive back up to standing position.
– Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
More about this exercise at Velopress.com

Landmine Single-Leg Deadlift

– Position one end of a 45-pound Olympic bar on the floor in the corner to anchor it.
– With the free end of the bar perpendicular to your body, stand on your outside leg and hold the bar in the opposite hand; let your arm hang down straight. Raise your free arm out to the side for balance if needed.
– Hinge your hips back while keeping your spine completely straight and lower the bar while raising your back leg behind you.
– Push your hips forward into the bar to return to the starting position.
– Face the opposite direction to work the other side.
– Do 3 sets of 8 reps on each leg.
More about this exercise at Velopress.com