Bend your knee and lower your body as you lunge.
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Doing straight-legged deadlifts and lunges won't bulk up your muscles and slow you down. In fact, whether you are a sprinter or you play sports like football or soccer that demand sprinting, your muscles can benefit from strength-training exercises. For best results, do lunges and deadlifts twice a week, preferably two days before your sprinting session.
Lunges help strengthen the quadriceps on the front of the thighs, which helps stabilize your knees and helps you quickly swing your legs forward when sprinting. Besides toning muscle, lunges also help lengthen sprinting stride. Straight-leg deadlifts target your hamstrings at the back of your thighs, which help you flex and bend your knees when sprinting. The exercise also stretches your hamstrings, which helps boost speed and stride. Both exercises also help increase your balance and exercise stamina.
Besides your quadriceps, lunges also work your abdominals, lower-leg muscles and the muscles supporting your hips. Stand with your feet close together. Step your right foot forward, bend your right knee and lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Push off the floor with the heel of your right foot and stand back up. Work your way up to two sets of 10 repetitions on each leg. To increase the intensity of the exercise, hold dumbbells or a kettlebell. If desired, lunge backward or to the side rather than forward. You can also perform walking lunges by stepping forward with the back leg each time you stand up from the lunge.
Straight-Leg Deadlift Technique
Straight-legged deadlifts work your hamstrings as well as your lower back and buttocks muscles. Stand with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart while holding a barbell against the tops of your thighs, your palms facing your legs. Keeping your knees and back straight, bend at the hips and lower the weight toward the top of your feet. Reverse the movement and stand back up. Aim for a total of 12 repetitions. Add another set as your strength increases. If you don't have access to a barbell, you can do straight-legged deadlifts with dumbbells, a kettlebell or a Smith exercise machine.
Engage the muscles in your abdomen and waist when doing lunges and deadlifts to help stabilize your spine. Do not round your shoulders, which puts pressure on your back and shoulders and can lead to pain and injury. Instead, keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down while doing both exercises. Start out with light weights -- between 5 and 10 pounds. Gradually add more weight as you become stronger. Always warm up your muscles with five to 10 minutes of light cardio before working out.