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Does Having Bigger Legs Make You Run Slower?

If you are looking for a simple and quick answer to that question. I would just say no and you could be on your way. But like most fitness questions out there, this one not that simple. We have to know what you are trying to achieve. That is, in fact, the question you should always be asking yourself before starting any new workouts or exercises. We don’t want to be doing workouts because they look cool or just because someone else does them.

Now if you are trying to impress someone, that is a perfectly reasonable excuse to do a workout you have no business doing (that was humor in case you didn’t know).

Because I really can’t give you a clear yes or no answer, I am going to try to answer this question to the best of my ability. Make sure you do some more research for your own personal case, because I can’t tell you yes or no unless I know why you are trying to get bigger legs.

The energy to run faster is potentially created, but there is so much more to the answer. If you are squatting more and more and creating larger quadriceps, what else are you working out? Think about what muscles are used in running: basically all of them. We can’t leave out the hamstrings or glutes or even the entire upper body.

Mike Trout of the Los Angelos Angels Major League Baseball team works out like any superstar athlete should. He works out 90 minutes a day for six or seven days a week during the offseason. His main goal is to build his legs and core, which is where most of the power comes from in baseball. He is a 6’2″, 240 pound outfielder. He has also is known to run over 20 miles per hour stealing bases. And one of his main workouts is squats.

So far our purposes, he is an excellent example of how to train to get bigger legs while also keeping the ability to run top speed. How does he do it? First, let’s look at the squats. While squats workout more than just one muscle, the main one is the quadriceps. How does he get the back side of the leg? Box jumps. Like I stated in our previous article Quick Tips for Beginners , whatever you work in the front, you should also work in the back. Box jumps work the hamstrings, which are need, as well as the glutes, to run at full speed.

Not only does he work the front and back of the legs, but he practices sprinting as he works out. As his legs get bigger, he trains his body to work with the extra weight. He also does sets of 25 pull-ups, knowing that the upper body is crucial in maintaining that top speed.

(If you have trouble with squat form, this machine might be perfect for you:
Body Solid GSCL360 Leverage Squat Calf Machine)

Leg’s take another look at this study. Chris Johnson of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals is one of the fastest running backs in the National Football League. His trainer has him focus on balance, explosiveness and speed.

If he is looking to gain explosiveness, bigger legs isn’t necessarily the goal. So how does he gain explosive legs rather than just bigger legs?J His workout is not too different from most other athletes workouts, but there is a key focus: overall body explosiveness. Whether it is bench pressing, leg squatting, or the jammer, he uses his whole body to attain the results.

For the balance part of the workout, something I am extremely happy to see, he makes sure one part of his body isn’t stronger than the other. Or that one half isn’t a lot stronger than the other half. A key workout of his leg workout is single leg squats. I absolutely love the idea of these. His trainer notes that a lot of athletes and weightlifters can lift a lot more with one leg than the other. To make sure Chris Johnson isn’t favoring one leg or the other, he has him do squats with one leg, keeping both in shape.

Along with the explosive weight workouts, he uses resistance bands to keep his high jump maintained. This is a great workout because not only are the legs being used, but he has to use his upper body to gain momentum to get higher and explode up.

And finally, if you are still unsure of how this whole leg building and faster running process works, let’s take a look at the king of running, Usain Bolt.

He works out everything. The fastest man in the world works out everything. He even does squats. Like Chris Johnson, his workouts center around explosiveness. Without that extra measure of explosiveness, the rest of his body won’t be able to catch up to his legs.

He focuses on every single leg muscle, making sure that nothing is slowing him down. After all, we are only as fast as our weakest muscle.

So in conclusion, more weights in general does make you run slower. But if you train your body to run with that added extra weight and train your explosive muscles to accelerate at the correct rate, you should be just fine. The best of the best athletes are doing it, so if you put your mind to it, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to as well.

If you want to know the process and “how to” of running faster, check out the workouts that WILL help you run the fastest you can.

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