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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

8. Muscle recruitment – the way to improved running performances

The picture of Chrissie Wellington's quadThat's loaded I'd say!
Ever wondered why sprinters do those high powerful vertical leaps just when they get called to the blocks? Or why baseball players use a heavy donut on their bats while warming up? The answer is muscle recruitment. You may have noticed even when you are fit that if in the course of a day you run up a flight of steps you get to the top winded with some quad burn going on. This is because you have used a small amount of muscle fibers to an intense degree to do something safely. If you had warmed up dynamically (like with my Dynamic Warm Up routine) before you ran up this flight of stairs, you would have reached the top with less effort, no discomfort & a much lower breath & heart rate – something you need to do before training & racing!
The body is a safety mechanism & only recruits sufficient muscle fibers to do things safely – it is not interested in performance unless your life is in danger, then the hormones released as a result of a fight or flight response ensure that you are optimally primed to meet this threat – a little how you feel just before the start of a race. Specific muscle recruitment activities before training & racing therefore are essential to turn your body from a safety mechanism, into a performance mechanism by recruiting more muscle than the body needs for safe execution alone. This is part of the reason why you might feel sore 48 hours after a hard workout for which you failed to warm up (read recruit) properly. IT IS BETTER TO USE YOUR LIMITED TIME BY CUTTING BACK ON THE BODY OF YOUR WORKOUT TO ENSURE CORRECT PREPARATION, THAN TO CUT THE Warm Up SHORT & RUSH THE SESSION. YOU WILL GAIN MORE BENEFIT FROM LESS WORK DONE WITH AN OPTIMALLY PRIMED BODY. Potentiate those muscles for success.
Little hops, bounds, harness work or light, short hill reps are a great way to potentiate before races & quality run workouts.
©Bobby McGee – Bobby McGee Endurance Sports


  1. I'd be very surprised if she could jump very high with that muscle. That's her biceps brachii

  2. We searched & searched to see what muscle it was in context & no way did it look like a quad, the origin looked totally wrong, but the overall pic made it seem like that's what it was! but you are TOTALLY correct, a good curl maybe, but NO jump is right! Apologies