How to Increase Leg Strength for Sprinting

Frequent lower-body strength-training improves leg strength for sprinters.

Frequent lower-body strength-training improves leg strength for sprinters.

Sprinters are among the strongest and leanest athletes in the world, due in no small part to their training regimen. Unlike most distance runners and triathletes, the bodies of sprinters are extremely muscular thanks to a training cycle that includes lots of strength-training in addition to cardio and healthy dieting. This is particularly true of sprinters' lower bodies, which exhibit massive development in terms of muscular mass, definition, density and strength. You can increase your leg strength for sprinting by performing weight-training exercises that target these muscle groups.

Perform squats to work the all the muscles of the lower body. Stand upright with a barbell resting at the base of your neck on top of your shoulders. Balance the bar by gripping it with your palms facing forward. Keeping your back straight and your head upright, slowly lower your torso while inhaling by bending at your knees and hips. Pause momentarily once your thighs are parallel with the floor, then push with your heels to return to the starting position as you exhale.

Do Romanian deadlifts to primarily target your hamstrings, as well as your glutes and calves. Stand in front of a barbell and grip it just wider than shoulder width, palms facing forward. Keeping your back and hips straight and your shins vertical, bend slightly at your knees. Exhale while lifting the bar with your hips, keeping your arms as straight as possible. Pause for a moment once you're standing upright, then inhale as you move your hips back to lower the bar to the floor.

Perform lying leg curls. Lie facedown on a weight bench, tucking your lower calves under the pad of the leg attachment. Keep your torso pressed to the bench and grip the sides of the bench to improve stability. Your legs should be stretched as much as possible. Exhale while curling you legs up as far as you can, keeping your upper legs firmly against the weight bench. Pause for a moment once you reach the end of your range of motion, then slowly return to the starting position while inhaling.

Complete three to five sets of eight to 10 repetitions for each exercise. The goal is to fully exhaust your lower-body muscles by the end of each workout. Perform the workout at least two or three times per week, adding an additional weekly workout once your leg strength improves.

Consume a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, protein and unsaturated fats to support your training efforts. Protein is especially important because it serves as the building block for muscular gains.

Items you will need

  • Barbell
  • Weight plates
  • Weight bench with leg attachment

Tip

  • Swap in other lower-body exercises as your program continues to add challenge and variety.

Warning

  • Talk to your doctor before starting a strength-training program.
 

About the Author

Kevin Richards has been a writer and editor since 2009, specializing in fitness, health and nutrition, as well as technology, finance and legal issues. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.

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