Workout Routines for Track & Field
Track and field relies on speed, agility, quickness and balance more than power and strength. The larger your muscles, the more power and speed you can get from them. However, simply building muscles without training them for the demands of the sport will decrease your chances of success. Create different workouts to improve all the aspects of fitness you need for track and field.
Many months before your season begins, work on building muscles with strength training workouts. Perform three to five repetitions of an exercise, then take a break for several minutes. Repeat the same exercise set two or three more times before moving to a new exercise. Use as much weight as you can lift, or the highest resistance setting you can move on a machine. Alternate upper and lower-body exercises.
Approximately six weeks before your season starts, decrease your weight or resistance settings to approximately 50 percent of your max and work on explosive movements and muscular endurance. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions of an exercise, then take a one-minute break before starting a new exercise. Explosive exercises require you to make one, powerful move in one direction, like leaving the blocks at the start of a race. Perform box jumps by standing in front of a knee-high bench or box, then jumping onto it. Repeat six times. Do box squats by lifting weights from a sitting position.
One month before your season starts, limit your workouts to exercises and drills that mirror your sport. Use little or no weight and perform high-speed movements. Perform sprinting, bounding and other event-specific movements.
Warm Up and Stretch
Warm up using moderate intensity movements for all workouts, year-round. Let your muscles warm and stretch before you begin strenuous activity. Do not static stretch, or hold your stretches, before activity -- this desensitizes muscles. Perform your exercises after you have warmed up. After your workout, cool down for several minutes with low-intensity movements, then static stretch. Warm up, exercise, cool down and stretch each time you work out.
Build leg strength with deadlifts, squats, lunges, leg presses and calf raises. Improve your explosive strength with box squats and box jumps. Increase jumping ability with reactive squats. Using less than 50 percent of your max weight, lower yourself halfway to a normal squat, then jump up. Jump off a box, then jump back up to perform depth jumps for improved vertical leap. Work your upper body with curls, extensions, kickbacks, rows and presses. For javelin and shotput, practice throwing much heavier and much lighter balls and javelins to train your nervous system to use more effort and to work faster, respectively.
Use training methods that let you run faster than you can by yourself. Have a partner resist you with a resistance harness or towel as you try to run, letting go after you take several steps. You will get an initial burst of speed that will be faster than you can generate alone. Have a partner pull you toward her using a resistance cord. Run down steep hills to take advantage of the extra speed gravity provides.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.