Runners and sprinters often times set the goal of increasing their running speed so they always remain ahead than their opponent. Completing lunges and squats during strength training sessions will help build strength in the leg muscles. Strong leg muscles assist with pulling the body out of the starting stance and while running for a faster overall speed.
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The lunge and squat exercises are leg exercises that improve coordination and balance. A lunge works the quadriceps, hamstring and buttock muscles while the squat works the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Strengthening these muscles increases sprinting speed as they work together to pull the body in a forward motion. Strong legs protect the knees from the pounding and strain placed on the knees during running.
Complete a lunge by stepping forward with one foot and bend the knee until it forms a 90-degree angle and your buttock is parallel with the floor. Complete lunge jumps once you have mastered the basic lunge movement. Perform a lunge jump in the same manner, except jump between each lunge instead of taking a step. Complete a squat by standing with your toes pointing forward and feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Bend your knees, hips and ankles slowly and stop when the knees are at a 90-degree angle. Return to a standing position to complete the squat movement. You will feel tension in the legs and buttocks when performing the lunge and squat properly.
Number of Repetitions
Twelve to 15 repetitions of both lunges and squats are adequate for toning and strengthening the body. Begin training by completing as many repetitions as possible until you reach 12 to 15 repetitions during each session. Complete two sets of six lunge jumps, making sure to take a two to three minute rest between each set.
Adding weights to your lunge and squat training sessions will increase resistance while doing the movements. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms hanging at the side of the body. Step forward with the lunge or drop the body into the squat position making sure your back remains in a straight line. Start with a one or two pound dumbbell and do not increase the weight until you are comfortable with movement.
Keeping proper form while completing lunge and squat exercises will prevent injury to the back and leg muscles. Use smooth movements while performing the exercises, making sure you do not bounce up and down or jerk the leg muscles quickly. It is important that your back stay in a neutral position, without any arch or curve to prevent strain on the back muscles. Watch your bent knee during the movement to make sure it does not move forward past your front toe.