As a sprinter, you need strong, sturdy muscles that can help you start with a bang and end even faster. Much of your typical sprinter’s workout will include running workouts, speed and agility drills, and general weight lifting. While those are all vital components to succeeding on the track, many sprinters overlook the benefits of isometric exercises, which can not only strengthen the major muscles and core, but also add much-needed stability.
Sprinting requires total-body strength. Your legs have to be explosive and powerful, and your core and upper body have to be equally as developed in order to propel you to the finish line. Your leg muscles are responsible for the explosive power and running speed. According to California’s Parkway Physiotherapy, the quads drive your legs forward, the glutes help with the power of pushing off and the hamstrings assist in bringing your body forward and controlling the leg. Above the legs, your core provides smooth, connected motions, while the upper body helps boost power and provide momentum.
When it comes to developing your strength as a sprinter, you can do wonders for your body by doing isometric exercises. These simple movements strengthen your muscles by contracting them without changing their length. You simply contract and hold a muscle in a certain position against a chosen resistance. According to Parkway Physiotherapy, lower-body isometric exercises can help sprinters by developing fast-twitch, slow-twitch and intermediate muscles without overtaxing the body. They also can help you avoid injuries by working the deep stabilizing muscles that often go overlooked in training.
Common Isometric Moves
Isometric exercises are sensationally versatile. They can be done with or without weights, at home or at the gym, and with or without machines. Many of the best moves for sprinters involve the use of resistance bands. With these handy strength tools, you can do common isometric exercises, including hip adductors, abductors, extensions and flexions, as well as other moves that also target the quads and hamstrings. Just wrap one end of the band around the leg of a chair or table and the other end around your ankle and you're ready to go.
Isometric exercises are incredibly precise, and you have to maintain good form if you want them to be effective. When doing single-leg lower body isometric moves with resistance bands, make sure your core is engaged and that your stabilizing leg remains motionless. If you need to hold on to a chair at first, just make sure that you aren’t resting any weight on it. It should be used for support only, and you should perform the motion as if it weren’t even there.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.