Sure you've seen people at the gym working out with extra large “rubber band” type objects. A lot of gyms have resistance bands available in the aerobics classes or out in the free weight area. They've become pretty popular, and why not? They are a change from the old yoga ball or hand weights routine.
Most commonly, you'll see resistance bands being used around a foot in place of toe raisers, between a stationary object and a hand in place of bicep curls, or between two thighs or ankles in Pilates. These are all great drills for resistance bands; however, as a runner there is a whole world outside the gym where you can be taking advantage of resistance band training.
Enter Myosource Kinetic. Imagine a rubber band string connected between two knee braces. The rubber band string is only a few inches long, meaning each step you take wearing this resistance band especially designed for Track and Field is a workout. This would be like working out with more gravity or at a higher elevation—it simply makes what you're already doing that much harder. Their products are easy to incorporate into your regular routine with obvious benefits up front. Simply put, you can do your strength training and speed or agility training at the same time—period.
Now let's look at my personal favorite: Jump Stretch. This product is used to do what is known as “resistance running.” My junior high and high school had a product like this that we used throughout the season each year. It was fun, challenging, effective, and a welcome break from the “same old.” This large, flat, rubber strap is about 6-10 feet long and comes in a variety of strengths (depending on your size, shape, age, and ability). The drills require two people.
One will be running in front with the rubber band comfortably around his or her hips; the other will be standing behind the runner providing resistance by holding the strap and leaning back away from the runner. You can run 40-50 meters, stop, and switch athletes, or create a more complex regimen involving a ladder, sets, or wind sprints. Don't forget you can work your lateral muscles, vertical jump muscles, and many other things. All of these resistance band exercises will give you more explosive speed, build up leg muscle strength, and help you focus on proper technique.
At JumpStretch.com, you'll find a multitude of resistance bands for runners and instructional videos with lots of great training ideas and tips. An average-strength band is $25. At Myosource.com, you'll also find many different bands and instructional tools. Their basic running resistance band package starts at $39.95 and includes a variety of band strengths in the package. Also try ResistanceBandTraining.com for more ideas and information.