In past newsletters, we have gone over different tips designed at strengthening the core and we are back at it again for May. When you think of improving speed and change of direction, strengthening your core is probably the last thing that comes to mind. Most people focus on strengthening your legs or working on the correct technique, such as stopping and starting. These are all important aspects of speed. However, having a strong core is absolutely crucial for running faster because it is the foundation for generating power. So, in order to keep you on top of your game and ahead of the curve, my son Will and I are bringing you a great exercise called the “Deadbug&rdquo.; This movement was pioneered from the foremost authority on the core, Dr. Stuart McGill.
To start out, lie flat on the ground with your left leg bent at the knee, with your foot flat on the ground. Your right leg should be extended and straight. Your left arm should be straight, as if you were raising your hand over your head. Your right hand should be placed underneath the small of your back, in order to maintain a neutral spine (natural curve in the spine). Next, you just want to contract your core and raise your right leg and left arm, off the ground at the same time and hold for about 6-8 seconds. Then release. Repeat this about 6-8 times, then switch arm and leg positions and perform to the other side.
Once you master this, you can go to the next progression, “Deadbug Squares.” These start out the same way but you are going make a square motion after raising your leg and arm up. To start, raise both your right leg and left arm, then extend both of them out and away from your body, then down slightly, then back in. Repeat these movements about 4-6 times, then relax. Perform a total of 6-8 times before switching to the other side. Both of these tips serve as great primer exercises by activating both the abdominals and the hip flexors, which get you ready to not only sprint, but sprint faster.”