Get Strong

Sprint Running Form And The Test

Coaches and athletes spend a great deal of time on running mechanics.  Utilizing film and having handouts of what you are trying to accomplish speeds the process. If you truly want athletes to understand the action of sprinting give them a quiz, you will be surprised how much better they will correct their form when drilled.

Sprint Running Form

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I. The Hands and Arms  - the faster the arms go the faster the legs go

     A. Relax your hands

         1. If the hands are relaxed the chances are good that the arms and shoulders will be                     relaxed

          2. The index finger and thumb should slightly touch or the hand should remain in a                     natural  position

          3. Start with your lower arm at right angle to the upper arm

          4. Powerfully drive your hand forward no higher than your shoulder

          5. Keep the right angle while vigorously pumping your arms

     B. The rear action of the arm is responsible for higher need lift

          1. The thumb should almost brush your thigh on the descent of your arm

          2. The downward moving hand should clear the buttocks

          3. Keep the arm at a right angle during the stroke allowing the elbow to open slightly at                the end of the stroke

          4. Your upper arm should become almost parallel to the ground

          5. Always assure that there isn't excessive swinging of the lower arm during running -                 maintaining the right angle of the lower and upper arm

      C. Proper movement of the arms and insures unnecessary rotation of the lower torso

          1. While pumping your arms keep your shoulders Square

          2. While pumping your arms do not rotate your hips

II. Head neck and shoulders - position and relaxation allows for faster arm movement, a more powerful stroke, and greater knee lift

       A. Relax muscles of the face

           1. Breathe through your mouth and nose

           2. Relax your mouth

           3. Eyes should be focused at an object in eye level straight ahead - not at your feet or                  upward

           4. The head should always remain in a normal postural position

           5. Never allow the head to rock from side to side or move up or down

       B. Relax your shoulders

           1. Keep your shoulders down while pumping your arms

           2. Do not shrug your shoulders toward your ears

           3. Relax shoulders allow you to pump your arms faster

           4. Keep your shoulders square

III. Legs foot and torso - knee lift must be without improper body rotation and avoidance of prancing

        A. The torso should be upright

           1. When running the trunk should be slightly forward of vertical

           2. Do not allowed torso rotation

           3. Do not allow bending in the middle of the torso - crunching

           4. Do not allow bending backwards

           5. Run tall

        B.  High knee lift is desirable and completion of the drive stroke or drive leg is desirable

           1. Left your knee high with a powerful stroke

           2. The drive must take place wholly behind the body's vertical line with the drive leg

           3. At no time should there be an attempt to reach out with the lifted foot

           4. The lifted foot should be slightly cocked or plantar flexed

           5. The returning lifted foot will land slightly ahead of the body and then we'll be used to                drive forward

 

The Sprint Running Form Quiz   100% is Required

Fill in the blank

In running the faster the arms go the faster the  ___________________go.

The proper rear action of the arms is responsible for __________________.

When pumping your arms your shoulders should remain __________________.

Proper movement of the arms ensures unnecessary rotation of the _____________.

How should your head, in relation to your torso, remain when running with proper form?

____________________________________________________________________.

True or False

You should run tall?________

You should not reach out with your lifted foot when running? _________

You should not shrug your shoulders when running? ________

You should relax your head and neck and shoulders when running? ________

You should run run run run run with great form to get better? _________

You should relax your mouth running? __________

You must be in great physical condition to perform your best? __________

The head should remain in a normal postural position? ____________

Breathe through your mouth and nose?_________

If your hands are relaxed the arms and shoulders will probably be relaxed? __________

 

 

Topics: Running, Skill, Success

Water, Water, 'Every Where'

From 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'

"Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink."

"Water, water..." hydration has always been a tremendous concern for coaches, trainers and athletes in sport. Attempting to maintain the goal of keeping athletes in the less than 2% body mass loss. Studying football, rugby, basketball, tennis, ice hockey - sports with reported high sweating rates - fluid balance disturbances generally have been low and water replacement opportunities sufficient. During exercise in the heat, core body temperature and heart rate increase by 3 to 5 beats/min for every 1% of body mass lost, yet performance remains stable unless metabolic demands can no longer be met. 

When exercising in the heat, internal temperature and heart rate increase. A water deficiency results in the deep structures of the body increasing in temperature, decreasing blood volume and physiological adjustments must be made to ward off dehydration. Dehydration increases the heart rate, followed by a decrease in stroke volume (that is the amount of blood pumped with each beat), this causes the heart to pump faster to move the blood, leaving less filling time for the heart. If a depleted state continues, our system heads toward the 3-4%, a state of hypohydration and athletes are put at risk.

When this cascade of physiological events begins to occur the athlete suddenly perceives the necessity to alter pace and intensity, which may or may not be seen in the performance of a highly skilled or motivated sportsperson. What we often see as the effects of a significant water loss accrue is muscular cramping, but it is important to note that during the contest the participant may also be suffering from visuomotor, psychomotor, and disrupted cognitive performance.

Cognitive function is a relatively new area of research regarding the understanding of hydration's impact on physical performance and is more difficult for the coach and athletic trainer to identify. It is important to remember there are physical ramifications, but the more difficult to recognize is the mental ramifications of dehydration. Keep your athletes properly hydrated so they can physically and mentally play well and above all keep them safe.

Avoid a Neck Strength Deficit - Use the Pendulum 5 Way Neck Machine 

 

 

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Running, Pendulum 4 Way Neck

Preparation For A Challenge

Crawling through mud, diving into ice water, leaping over fire, scaling giant walls, avoiding barbed wire are just a few of the obstacles you may encounter when you run the Savage Race, the Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac Spartan Race or one of the many challenge courses across America.

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Hardcore obstacle courses require strength and endurance. Having strong hands and a strong upper torso is as important as having lower body strength. Challenging yourself in event preparation and making sure you develop grip strength will go a long way in ensuring success.

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Use the Pendulum Grip Cart and it's implements to train the various classifications of grips power grip, hook grip, ball grip, pinch grip, precision grip, as well as, abduction and addiction of the fingers to Get your hands Strong and ready to compete.

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Topics: Grip Cart, Running, Pendulum Gripper, Pendulum Grip Cart, Wrist Roller

Neck Muscle Strength, Bracing And Training The System

describe the imageMike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains, developing one area and neglecting another is not conducive to optimal athletic performance.

On January 31, 2014 the American Journal of Sports Medicine published an article on neck strength titled, Effect of Neck Muscle Strength and Anticipatory Cervical Muscle Activation on the Kinematic Response of the Head to Impulsive Loads. The findings indicated that male and female athletes could potentially modify risk factors for concussion by developing neck musculature. It was shown that having greater neck strength when bracing for impact reduces the magnitude of the head’s kinematic response. The anticipatory act of bracing for a violent collision is important in protecting oneself from the effects of whiplash, yet bracing in itself is a common occurrence.  When you run, neck muscles contract before your foot hits the ground. The process of running is inherently bouncy as our muscle tendon units act as springs to propel us up and forward. This aerial phase neck muscle contraction is in anticipation of the ground reaction force.  Ground reaction force causes a vertical acceleration of the head that actually pitches the head forward at foot strike.  

The human head uses a self-stabilizing system that does not rely on muscular reflex to control the pitching action during running. Reflex alone cannot control the action of the head once ground strike occurs – having fewer than then 10 milliseconds to control the up and forward action of the head is not enough time for our natural reflexes.

Our head, which is pitched forward upon landing, also rolls and yaws. This requires contractions of neck extensors, as well as flexors and a downward swing of an arm that dampens vertical acceleration. Each arm constitutes about eight percent of total body mass, roughly the same relative percent as the 5 to 6 kilogram runner’s head. If you consider the head in running as the primary mass then the downward swing of the stance side arm becomes the counter mass accelerating in the opposite direction, thereby dampening the skull’s oscillation. The athlete then alters their running form by bending and swinging his or her arms in movements with the appropriate power and speed to counter these varying vectors of force.  Changing the mass or active stiffness of the arms through strength training and not addressing the mass and/or muscular system of the head and neck can be problematic. The coach and athlete will spend countless hours trying to achieve a particular running form that cannot truly be corrected unless they address the musculature that is controlling the movement of the skull.

Running Form

There is another issue that the neck must attend to during running. When we land during sprinting we avoid falling down by utilizing the muscles of the lower back and hip – particularly the largest muscle of our body, the powerful gluteus maximus – to decelerate the trunk. As the trunk accelerates forward and then backward the head and neck accelerates backward then forward. Try this at home: Sit in your car and accelerate quickly forward then step on the brake. Vehicle acceleration provides example that the more the trunk pitches the more the head reacts. Increasing the strength and/or mass of the trunk and not addressing the strength and/or mass of the head and neck adversely effects athleticism.

As mentioned, the head also rolls and yaws during running, usually towards the stance side foot at foot strike.  Once the runner is in the aerial phase one leg quickly swings forward while the opposite leg is thrust behind the body, causing angular momentum around the vertical axis. We counteract this by swinging our arms in an opposite phase to the legs to have an equal and opposite angular momentum. The neck must not only rotate in the opposite direction of the trunk but quickly prepare for being thrust vertically and forward upon landing.

The human brain is encased in a rigid skull and covered by a muscular scalp which is surrounded by three layers of membranes and floats in a protective cushion of cerebrospinal fluid. Though protected, brain trauma can occur with sudden acceleration or deceleration within the cranium. Control of head stabilization is one important line of defense for protecting the brain from perturbation.   During activity, it remains relatively stable as we integrate information about the head and body from our eyes, vestibular system and proprioceptors of the neck. For athletes involved in any sport with an associated head trauma risk, protecting the brain from excessive subconcussive forces through strength training head and neck musculature for bracing is the first job of a strength and conditioning coach.

For any athlete to excel in sport, they must train the structures that decelerate opposing masses. This means that athletes must have head and neck training as part of their exercise regime. The head and neck muscles are countering arm swing, trunk pitch and rotation, as the arms are countering head pitch, leg swing and trunk movement. Developing one area and neglecting another is not conducive to optimal athletic development or performance. Train the entire system.

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Topics: Running, Muscular Growth, Skill, Muscular Strength

Sprint Running Form

Running at top speed is complex and requires teaching, education, coaching and practice. Showing a film, having a slide presentation, a demonstration, handouts and a quiz is part of the learning process.

The following is an example of a handout and quiz:

Handout

I. The Hands and Arms - The faster arms go the faster the legs go.

A. Relax your hands       

1. If the hands are relaxed the chances are good the arms and shoulders will be relaxed

2. The index finger and thumb should slightly touch or the hand should remain in a               natural position

3. Start with your lower arm at a right angle to the upper arm  

4. Powerfully drive your hand forward no higher than your shoulder

5. Keep the right angle while vigorously pumping your arms

B. The rear action of the arm is responsible for higher knee lift

1. The thumb should almost brush your thigh on the descent of your arm

2. The downward moving hand should clear the buttocks

3. Keep the arm at a right angle during the stroke allowing the elbow to open slightly at the end of the stroke

4. Your upper arm should become almost parallel to the ground

5. Always assure that there isn’t excessive swinging of the lower arm during running maintaining the right angle of the lower and upper arm

C. Proper movement of the arms insures unnecessary rotation of the lower torso

1. While pumping your arms keep your shoulders square

2. While pumping your arms do not rotate your hips


II. Head, Neck and Shoulders - position and relaxation allows for faster movement, a more powerful stroke and greater knee lift

A. Relax muscles of the face

1. Breath through your mouth and nose

2. Relax your mouth

3. Eyes should be focused at an object at eye level straight ahead - not at your feet or upward

4. The head should always remain in a normal postural position

5. Never allow the head to rock from side to side or move up or down

B. Relax your shoulders

1. Keep your shoulders down while pumping your arms

2. Do not shrug your shoulders towards your ears

3. Relaxed shoulders allow you to pump your arms faster

4. Keep your shoulders square


III. Legs, Foot and Torso - knee lift must be without improper body rotation and the avoidance of exaggerated movements

A. The torso should be upright

1. When running the trunk should be slightly forward of vertical

2. Do not allow torso rotation

3. Do not allow bending in the middle of the torso - crunching

4. Do not allow bending backwards

5. Run tall

B. High knee lift is desirable and completion of the drive stroke or drive leg is desirable

1. Lift your knee high with a powerful stroke

2. The drive must take place wholly behind the body’s vertical line with the drive leg

3. At no time should there be an attempt to reach out with the lifted foot

4. The lifted foot should be slightly cocked or dorsiflexed

5. The returning lifted foot will land slightly ahead of the body and then will be used to drive forward


Quiz

Fill in:

1. In running the faster the arms go the faster the ____________go.

2. The proper rear action of the arms is responsible for___________________________.

3. When pumping your arms your shoulders should remain________________________.

4. Proper movement of the arms insures unnecessary rotation of the_________________.

5. How should your head , in relation to your torso, remain when running with proper form?

   ______________________________________________________________________.

True or False:

6. You should run tall?___________.

7. You should not reach out with your lifted foot when running_____________.

8. You should not bend or crunch in the torso when running________________.

9. You should not shrug your shoulders when running_____________________.

10. You should relax your head, neck and shoulders when running____________.

Topics: Running, Skill

Kinesthetics And Shuttle Running

Kinesthetics is our ability to feel the sensations of our movements and the awareness of where our body is in space.  Having a kinesthetic sense of one's body parts relative to a previous position enables athletes to develop and nurture their athletic proficiency. 

This awareness that we have and call 'skill' allows us to perform each movement with earned excellence. Kinesthetics is manifested in the examples of when the 'center' on a football team shotgun snaps a ball accurately to the quarterback, while keeping his eyes rivited on his opponent or the kicker kicks an extra point and knows exactly where to place his plant foot while moving, even though he is concentrating on the football as he is about to punch it through the uprights. Executing a skill correctly over and over allows an athlete to use precise sensory feedback to adjust as they move, integrating information from the ears, eyes, muscles, ligaments, skin and more - kinesthetic awareness.

Agility shuttles are used by coaches and scouts to evaluate players. Strength and Conditioning coaches hence instruct athletes with the appropriate form and have them practice it diligently to minimize their time. The following is an example of some instructions on the 'Pro Agility Shuttle' and viewed as good advice:

"Put your right hand down to the ground and get ready to take off."  "Take three steps within five yards and pivot your right foot around so that it is in front of your left foot. Make sure your right hand is on the ground near your right foot."  "Burst out 10 yards and mimic the same pivot and position with your left foot."

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Yet, often instructors training athletes for a drill such as the 'Pro Agility Shuttle' may forget the most important coaching fundamental of running a great time, 'where the head goes the body will follow.'  Touching a line on the ground as you change direction is not a complicated task as the line is not going to move. The athlete need not stare at the line to make sure he touches it, he need only to know where it is and be in tune with his running form. IMG 0545edited

       The athlete need not watch the line

Getting as low as possible and using peripheral vision and body awareness for hand placement is what is necessary as the athlete must pivot the head and foot to burst in the opposite direction. Looking at the line and making sure it is touched prevents the athlete from quickly getting his head turned downfield. The craniums appropriate position brings the entire system into the actions needed to propel the body in the opposite direction.

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By being aware of the line not watching it allows the athlete to turn quicker

If an athlete steps correctly, gets low as he approaches the line, trust he knows where he is in space and concentrates on bringing 'the head around so the body will follow', he will run up to his capabilities. 

Teach athletes to rely on their kinesthetic awareness so they perform movements at the highest level. 

Topics: Running, Neck training, Skill

Hockey Dryland Training: Shift Training

describe the image Jim Plocki was the University of Michigan Hockey Strength and Conditioning Coach from 1990 to 2013, in that time they won 2 National Championships, 11 Conference Titles, and 9 Tournament Conference Championships. Jim shares with us an off-ice test that insures athletes remain in shape in the off-season. 

Hockey Dryland Training: Shift Training

You will need a football field to run this U shaped drill

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A = Cone

On the right side of the goal line facing the length of the field place a cone where the goal line intersects with the sideline. This is the Start & Finish Cone as indicated above.

On the left side of the goal line facing the length of the field place a cone 6 yards in from the side line.

On the left side of the field on the 5 yard line where it intersects with the sideline a cone is placed.

At the far end of the field a cone is placed on the 15 yard line on both sides of the field where the 15 yard line intersects with the sideline.

On far end of the football field place a cone in the middle of both of the #10's on the 10 yard line.

Halfway in the middle of the end-zone on the same end of the field place a cone.

 

Shift training is a U shaped drill.

Starting behind the Start & Finish Cone on the goal lines right side of the field, the athlete begins the drill and sprints along the sideline. At the 15 yard cone the athlete cuts toward the cone set on the 10 yard number, then sprints to the cone in the middle of the end zone.

From the middle of the end zone the athlete continues to the opposite #10 cone, goes around the cone located on the 15 yard line and then runs down the opposite sideline.

At the cone on the 5 yard line the player cuts to the cone located 6 yards from the sideline on the goal line and sprints to the Start & Finish Cone to complete the U shaped Shift Training drill.

Jim explains......

I ran this drill 4-6 times with a goal of 55 seconds to start the off-season Shift Training.

I would get the times down to 40-45 seconds over a 6 week period.

I like to run drills with 3 groups to keep Shift Training at a 2:1 rest ratio.

This is a great way to Get Strong.

Topics: Running

300 Yard Shuttle Sled Run

A stopwatch is needed for this full speed drill. The athlete starts the drill on the goal line. The Cougar Drive Sled is set on the 50 yard line facing the player.

The athlete runs to the Drive Sled at the 50 and pushes it as fast as possible 10 yards and sprints returning to the goal line touching it with his hand.  Without stopping the player immediately returns to the sled at the 40 yd line and pushes the sled 10 more yards sprinting back to touch the goal line.  From the goal line the athlete races to the 30 and pushes the sled 10 yards returning to the starting line.  Running to the 20 the participant pushes the Cougar Drive Sled to the 10 touches the goal line and returns to the sled and driving it home across the goal line.

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The total time is recorded.  Anytime a new personal record time is accomplished 10 pounds is added to the sled.  A great drill to Get Strong.

 

Some other ways to use the Cougar Drive Sled..... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeWTyJzsqXU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4Z9ErBY2eI

 

 

 

Topics: Drive Sled, Running, Skill, Success

Ladder Drive Sledding

Pushing a conditioning sled at full speed is a difficult task in itself. Pushing a sled as hard as possible when you are already fatigued is extremely exhausting. The following drill is not easy make sure you are in great shape if you try it. All drills except the first 100 yards are full speed. The first 100 is to be done at a 90% level. Have fluid available. Record each event. The next workout beat each time.

Ladder 

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Run 100 yds - Rest 1 minute          Record time ______

Run 200 yds - Rest 2 minutes         Record time______

Run 300 yds - Rest 3 minutes         Record time______

Run 400 yds - Rest 4 minutes         Record time______

Run 300 yds - Rest 3 minutes         Record time______

Run 200 yds - Rest 2 minutes         Record time______

Run 100 yds - Rest 2 minutes         Record time______

Ladder with Drive Sled

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10 yd Drive Sled -  Rest 1 minute         Record time______

20 yd Drive Sled -  Rest 1:45 minutes   Record time______

30 yd Drive Sled -  Rest 2 minutes        Record time______

40 yd Drive Sled - Rest 2:30 minutes    Record time______

30 yd Drive Sled - Rest 2 minutes         Record time______

20 yd Drive Sled -  Rest 1:45 minutes   Record time______

10 yd Drive Sled -  Finished                  Record time______

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The Rogers Cougar Drive Sled

 Get Strong

Topics: Drive Sled, Running, Skill

Get Strong Feet

Get Strong Feet

A characteristic of any 'system' is interconnectivity and interdependence.  All parts of a system interact with one another and the entire system cannot operate optimally if any part is excluded.

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“I can’t prove this, but I believe when my runners train barefoot, they run faster and suffer fewer injuries.”
— Vin Lananna, Director of Track and Field for the University of Oregon and seven-time NCAA Coach of the Year.

A new study shows that barefoot running causes less impact to the body than wearing shoes.

Much has been written about barefoot running, the claims are that it strengthens the feet, strengthen the arches, improves movement, and balance and increases flexibilty and mobility.

In March of this year, researchers published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, "Effects on Muscle Strength, the Foot Arch, and Dynamic Parameters Before and After the Training."  The researchers strength trained the flexor muscles of the feet in a population of healthy men from the ages of 22-32. The subjects performed 200 reps per day on a special exercise device for the toes with about a 6 - 7 pound weight for 8 weeks. They targeted the intrinsic muscles of the feet, specifically the muscles of the interphalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joints.

After pre and post testing, the researchers found significant improvement in the 1-legged long jump distances,  vertical jumping heights, and  50-m dash times. Keep, and Get, the entire system Strong.

Topics: Running, Muscular Growth, Strength