Resistance bands have become more popular over the years. Originally, they were common for injury prevention or therapy, but their usefulness has expanded. They allow you to take an everyday movement, and make it more challenging. Unlike weights (another great tool to make your running more explosive), the end of the movement will actually be harder than the start. Hmm, sounds a bit like running.
Quadriceps: Your quad is a muscle group in the front of your upper leg. There are four (hence the name quad) muscles in this group. You have your Rectus Femoris (front middle) , Vastus Intermedius (under Rectus Femoris), Vastus Lateralis (outside), and Vastus Medialis (Inside right above the knee). These muscles are what drives your foot down to the ground. The Rectus Femoris, also known as hip flexor, helps pull your knee up.
Hamstrings: Your hamstring group consists of three muscles. You have your bicep femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. Your hamstring keep your leg from overextending, or reaching. In longer distance runs, it pulls your leg back. However, for sprints, your leg should never have to be pulled back. You should land under your body at all times, using your quads to drive the force down.
Glutes: Your glutes are your butt muscles. In your glutes, you have your gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and gluteus minimus. Their job is to stabilize your legs. They also help in the final part of the turnover when your leg is close to full extension.
If you calculate a professional runners turnover rate, it is an average between 160 to 180 steps a minute. David Rudisha, the World Record holder for the 800, is in the 180 steps a minute range. Now, I don’t expect you to be able to match a world record holder, but you certainly can improve greatly. If you want to calculate your turnover rate, run for one minute and count how many times your right foot strikes the ground. Then multiply that by two.
Anyways, back to why turnover is important. It is what gives you your speed. A faster turnover equals a faster time. With proper form and proper turnover rate, it will increase the efficiency of your runs. Believe me, efficiency is everything when it comes to track and cross country. If you are like me, I have great form and stamina, yet my top speed is awful. If anyone is going to beat me in a race, it will be in the last 100 meters just because my turnover rate is not too good. However, with the help of resistance bands, I have been able to improve my explosive power in my legs to increase my turnover rate. I hope to see even more improvement in the future.