Don't forget your feet when strengthening your legs to run faster. Your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes are the big power muscles that drive running speed, but the muscles of your feet also propel you forward. Strengthening them can boost explosiveness and help prevent injuries. Michael Yessis, Ph.D., a world renowned expert in biomechanics and sports training (doctoryessis.com), recommends these simple strengthening exercises to do in the absence of pain.
Spread some marbles on the floor and sit in a chair facing them. Place a coffee can or plastic bowl within reach of your toes. Using only your toes, grasp as many marbles as you can, lift your foot to thigh level and drop the marbles into the bowl. When you've placed all the marbles in the blow, spread them on the floor again and repeat with your other foot.
Walk barefoot on the balls of your feet for 10 slow paces, turn around and walk back for 10 paces. Rest and repeat twice more. This move works the tendons and ligaments on the bottom of your feet.
Spread a thin bath towel on the floor and stand on the edge of it in bare feet. Extend your toes to grasp the towel and bend your toes to pull the towel fabric back so it bunches up underneath your feet. Continue scrunching the towel and moving your feet forward until you come to the opposite edge.
Barefoot Beach Run
Go for a barefoot jog on a flat stretch of beach. Your toes will naturally curl on the soft sand, strengthening your muscles, says Yessis.
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