Running involves the synchronous movement of muscles, nerves, bones, via neuromuscular contractions fueled by specific energy systems. This “active” method of locomotion is essential towards carrying us far both fast and far.
However, the body also possesses “passive” mechanisms that propel us when we run, too. Our bodies’ connective tissues, such as tendons and fascia, possess the capacity to absorb energy upon ground contact and then reuse it in a propulsive manner.
While these tissues involve passive mechanical systems (i.e. activation through energy systems is not required), we can actively train these systems to transmit force better and allow us to run smoother and with less energy.
Plyometric exercises are the best suited to developing this capacity. These movements can range from hopping, jumping, bounding (we don’t recommend the technique featured above…), skipping, etc. They teach the body to create loads of force in a short time frame and so are super appropriate to the demands of building stability and power in running.
Check out some real simple ways to build this “elastic battery” by watching the video below.