If you’re a runner and you want to improve your speed, you shouldn’t focus entirely on technique and mechanics. According to Ryan Flaherty, dubbed the “Savant of Speed” and trainer of world-class athletes like Serena Williams and the Arizona Cardinals, while technique and mechanics are indeed important, focusing primarily on them will only give you a 5% to 10% improvement on your speed. On the other hand, if you give special attention to your strength to weight ratio, you can achieve 60% to 70% improvement.
Flaherty firmly believes that getting stronger is a much more productive use of your time. According to him, if you don’t have the strength to weight ratio on the same level as your fellow runners, there’s no way for you to run as fast as them, no matter how good your technique is. You can start working on adjusting your mechanics and technique once you’ve developed a good strength to weigh ratio.
To develop good strength to weight ratio, Flaherty recommends doing a hex or trap bar deadlift workout, which reportedly helped marathoner Meb Keflezighi. Unlike the conventional deadlift workout, this variation allows you to shift the load to your sides in line with your body. As a result, there is less stress on your back as compared to when having the barbell in front of you.
In addition, a hex bar deadlift workout makes the lifting technique much easier since you’re essentially just standing up on the ground. Most importantly, it’s recommended for runners who want to get faster and stronger because it allows them to increase their strength without tearing their muscle fiber. Also, it helps them develop lean muscles, which helps them become much stronger minus the extra body weight.