Sprints of various sorts.
Description: Running at almost your top speed.
Motions trained: None really, this is aerobic work.
Main muscles used: Quadriceps, hamstrings
Other muscles: Calves
How to do it: Run. When you start, be aware of how you are drawing power from the ground and
go slower, varying the angle of your foot. For some weird reason, a lot of folks get quite pidgeon-toed
when they start running, which hammers the ligaments on the inside of the knee. Check your gait.
How to work up to it: If you have a problem running, be sure that you should be running.
Someone with chronic knee trouble might not want to do this. That's ok: You might want to consider
using something that is joint friendly for sprints, like an elliptical trainer. I have knee trouble
and use that. Since running is fairly close to hopping, practice hopping for short stretches of time.
Then for the sprints, jog, increase the pace for a bit, jog and alternate. If you are very large,
a jog is perfectly fine. If at any point you experience knee pain or swelling, then this is not for you.
Ramping it up: Now we have some fun! Put down some reference points. Sprint between these,
touching the ground. Mix it up with backwards running or sideways shuffling. When you shuffle do it
without your feet crossing (called tsugi ashi in jujutsu) and with your feet
crossing, called a carioca (after a dance from Venezuela that uses that movement a lot). Practice
sprints with falls. This is great practice for safety. Be sure the work up into it over several
sessions starting with a jog. Rolling out from a run is completely a timing issue so don't think
you are going to get it right the first time. If you try to roll from a run or jog before you
have your timing down you can really slam yourself.
You can also do sprints up staris if you can find a tallish building. These are especially
fun if there is a group of you since you can jog to the building and invade it in a sort
of hit and run raid.
Do's and don'ts: People blow out kness trying to sprint and turn corners fast. Don't
be stupid. Part of sprinting is learning how to move safely, which means making an organized
deceleration for turns and such.