Skips for Speed

This article was contributed by Training and Conditioning
By Loren Landow
Loren Landow, CSCS*D, MAT, USAW, NASM, is an instructor for Elite Sports University and an expert on biomechanics. More information about the organization is at: elitesportsuniversity.com.

 

What is the key to faster sprinting? Shear power and high rates of force development are important, but it’s imperative to build these physical qualities on a foundation of rhythm, timing, and postural stability to maximize sprinting efficiency. Here is a closer look:

 

Skipping Exercises for Faster Sprinting Speeds

Skips to improve both acceleration mechanics with optimal joint mechanics for force development and skips to groove the cyclical action of top-end speed sprinting are covered. 

Acceleration Skips Variations 

These skips are progressively more advanced to groove angles for faster acceleration.

Similar to the wall drill, your athletes flex one hip to create a shank of the femur and tibia, allowing optimal angles for force generation and putting the gluteus maximus on stretch.

Simultaneous dorsiflexion of the feet create a rigid spring for optimal force development on each explosive skip into the ground.

  • Forward Skips (0.15)
  • Backward Skips
  • Lateral Skips (0.29)
  • Cross-Over Skips (0.38)

As a result, the athlete will generate maximal torque at the hip axis based on the shank of the thigh and the shin. From this position, your athletes will attack the ground aggressively without wasting time cycling the foot to the near end and have an explosive first step.

Top-End Speed Skip Variations

Top end speed requires an efficient cyclical action to maximize sprinting speed. The cyclical action of these skipping variations prepare the body to close the gap and  pull the leg through in preparation for the ground strike, resulting in greater top-end sprinting speeds. 

  • Cyclical skip: (1.06)
  • Cyclical A-Skips: (1:50)

Key Takeaways

Regardless of the drill at hand it’s best to keep your message and coaching cues consistent with athletes.

Like learning a language or studying a new topic, the more frequently athletes practice perfect technique the faster the learning process and more rapid the skill acquisition. Incorporate acceleration based skips and top-end skips to groove optimal mechanics for faster sprinting speeds to sprint away from the competition.

For a visual, you can watch the YouTube video below. The clip as audio, so make sure your volume is turned up and that you have access to the site. Note that some schools block access to YouTube.

 

This article was originally published on the website of Elite Sports University (ESU) and is being used with permission from the organization. ESU is an online university that offers the latest scientific courses on strength and conditioning, speed agility, nutrition, and specialty classes for tactical coaches, LTAD, and personal trainers. ESU classes can be taken to fulfill CEU requirements, college credits, or to improve your knowledge base. More information is at: elitesportsuniversity.com.

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