Human posture is devolving back to the fetal position. Constantly looking down at mobile devices, sitting, rounding our shoulders forward and keeping our heads down are weakening us physically. For an athlete, this is devastating to performance.
Speed is born by creating power in the extended position, and this must be done quickly and explosively. Poor postural positions tighten the muscles on the front of your body, making it difficult to extend through a full range of motion.
Triple extension puts the body in a position of strength and power with the ankle, knee and hip each extending to drive back into the ground. You can see this clearly illustrated in the photo above. Having a tight anterior (i.e., the front of your body) core makes it impossible to use your full power potential.
The anterior core is more than the abdominals. It includes every muscle on the front of the body, from the knees to the shoulders. Opening up the anterior core and hips allows you to extend through full range of motion to maximize power output and ultimately help you sprint faster.
The Mobility Movements
The following mobility drills address common tight points in the anterior core. Perform each stretch twice per week, holding each pose for 30-60 seconds.
Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor and Pec Stretch
This movement stretches the thoracic spine, hip flexors, glutes and anterior core.
A common yoga pose, this stretches the lateral core, including the obliques, adductors, tensor fascia latae and gluteus medius.
RELATED: Improve Core Flexibility With Yoga
Cobra Pose (or Prone Press)
Cobra Pose opens up the front of the shoulders, abs and hip flexors. Check out the video player above for a demonstration.
While creating stability in the hips, this exercise mobilizes the hips, the front of the shoulders and the abs.
Kneeling Rectus Stretch
This stretch opens the hips, stretches the hip flexors and mobilizes the front of the hips. It allows for greater hip extension, which is necessary for speed.
The Complex Movements
Complexes combine high-level strength movements with powerful plyometrics. Performed for higher loads and lower reps, they are proven to make you stronger, faster and more powerful. These combos also produce mobility on the front side and strength on the back side.
Complex 1: Ab Wheel Rollouts + Broad Jumps
Ab Wheel Rollouts are great for anterior core strength, but more important, they force the hips and core into extension. Couple them with Broad Jumps to focus on core strength and applying that strength to an atheltic movement.
Sets/Reps: 3-4x10 + 6
Complex 2: Deadlift + Vertical Jump
The Deadlift is the king of posterior chain strengthening, and the finished product is extension. The vertical jump applies the strength to a power move, teaching triple extension.
Sets/Reps: 3-4x5 + 6
Complex 3: Dumbbell Row + Plyo Push-Up
The Dumbbell Row for speed? Yes, because it strengthens the lats to stabilize the spine, improves posture and increases arm-drive power. Plyo Push-Ups work the muscles on the front of the body, developing balanced strength and power.
Sets/Reps: 3-4x5 + 6
Complex 4: Single-Leg Box Jump with Two-Foot Landing + Power Clean
The Box Jump develops single-leg explosive power, and the Power Clean also improves power. The more you can open up the frontside of your body, the more you'll be able to clean.
Sets/Reps: 3-4x5 each leg + 3
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock