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Tap Into a New Power Source

Scott Wachter

The Core Performance Endurance program, tailored for runners and other endurance athletes, is an integrated system of mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery. One of the keys of the program is elasticity—training your body to store and release energy efficiently.

Elasticity is not about stretching, it’s about force. The goal is for your muscles to store and release energy powerfully, like a pogo stick or super ball. Whether you’re running or reacting to slipping on a patch of ice, all movement has an elastic component.

“Elasticity is your body’s shocks and springs,” says Core Performance founder Mark Verstegen.

To undertsand this concept, try this simple drill: Take your left hand and place it on a flat surface. Raise your middle finger and push it down as hard as you can. Really slam that finger down. Now reach over with your right hand, pull that same finger back, and let it snap down. That’s elastic power. How much effort did it take to do that? Not much, but it generated so much more force than the first method.

Since running is all about dealing with force—the force of the foot striking the ground and then pushing off it—elasticity is of particular importance to runners. With every stride you take, your muscles stretch as your joints bend. As your muscles stretch, they store energy. When the stretch is released at the end of each stride, so too is the energy, just like a rubber band that’s pulled tight and then takes flight when let go.

The more elastic you become, the more efficiently your body stores and releases energy, generating more force on each stride. You run farther and faster with less effort. You’ll also minimize running injuries as your improved elasticity allows your body to better withstand and reduce the force of every step. Elasticity even protects you from falls. If you slip and start to tumble, your body needs to react quickly. The more elastic you are, the better your body can react, making the corrections necessary to keep you from a horrific spill. Verstegen stresses that elasticity is just one component of the Core Performance system, but a good one for runners and endurance athletes to focus on.

4 Moves to Improve Your Elasticity

The first two moves shown here are rapid response drills. They’re low-force, high-speed activities to improve your ground reaction forces and quickness. The next two are long-response exercises that focus on range of motion. With these, you’ll perform longer and more exaggerated movements where your feet will stay on the ground longer, which will allow you to produce higher levels of power with each repetition. Try two exercises—one rapid response, one long response—every other day before you head out for a run or in conjunction with your other training. Or try the Core Performance Endurance program for a fully progressive and personalized plan that integrates your elasticity work into a complete training and nutrition program.

Base Pogo – Side-to-Side Over Line

Single Leg Rapid Response – Side-to-Side Over Line

Squat Jump – Non-countermovement

45 Degree Bound – Stabilize

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About The Author

Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

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Tags: Power, Speed, Agility, Triathlon, Elasticity, Sports Performance, Running