What a “leg day” looks like for a speed development client

The first leg session will be initially dictated by an assessment of the athletes mobility and flexibility abilities. If for example there is an ankle mobility issue this may force a change in
the planned session. If there are no underlying issues that need immediate attention the initial leg session will look extremely similar to the following:

  • Initial warm up including hip releasing exercises, glute activation and posterior chain release.
  • Glute med activation through abduction resisted movements which often causes problems in the lower back due to a weakness and inability of the glute med to assist the stronger gluteus max.
  • Hip thrust- this is the best glute focused exercise an athlete can perform. This exercise is very low risk and this allows us to load the bar without fear of movement pattern failure which often results in injuries.
  • Basic back squat with both high bar and low positioning being incorporated. The high bar squat position will utilise the quad and glute muscles but will force the quads to do more of the work. A low bar squat position will force the glutes to do more of the work.
  •  Box squat which will assist with starting from a place of inertia to maximum speed in the shortest time possible.
  •  Single leg / Bulgarian split squats: a unilateral movement pattern exercise that forces a single leg to work which will strengthen and create more power during the running process which is itself a unilateral movement pattern.
  • Nordics / glute ham raise, an essential exercise for any athlete that requires stable, strong and durable hamstrings. This exercise alone can reduce injuries in the hamstring by 50%, a number that no serious athlete should ignore.
  •  Hip flexor variations - hip flexor strength is a vital part of the athletes over all ability to move at a high speed. For the leg to move fast the hip flexors must be both strong and fast.
  •  Calf raise variations - The calf muscle needs to be stiff and strong, not to be confused with tight and strong. By performing a variety of calf raise exercises we can develop calf power and Achilles strength and durability.


Who is interested in speed development? GAA Teams, Beginners and Advanced running clients alike. Contact me if you would like to chat about your running goals - I would be delighted to hear from you!

Running Coach & Personal Trainer: Jason Cafferkey

He works with both private clients and teams of athletes. Jason has 20 years experience coaching and is qualified as a: Level 3 Personal Trainer, AFN certified Diet Specialist & NSA Fitness Diploma. When not with clients, you can find him at the track improving his 800M time.