• Jacob Williams

KNEES UP?! THREE TIPS FOR YOUR NEXT SPRINT SESSION

Updated: Jan 20



When it comes to terrible coaching cues, this one takes the cake in my eyes. The idea and intention behind it aren’t bad, but the unintended consequences of what actually happens are where it falls apart. The idea is to get you to increase your front side lift/mechanics, which in turn, for some people will help them get into a better position. The issue is that this cue is really vague and does not really address what needs to happen. Instead, these are three other cues I would focus on to improve your front side action and sprinting posture.


Knee to Hip Height!

Straight forward as it can get, lift your knee to your hip. This accomplishes what we are trying to get across when we say “knees up.” But it makes it specific and repeatable; you can see if you are at hip height or not with a glance.


Why does this even matter? Well, when sprinting, you need to create space under yourself to reposition your legs to put force down on the next stride. So you need to get enough front-side action to create that space. This space also allows you to then put force down under your center of mass instead of in front of it.


Toes Flexed!

Your big toe is crucial in determining what happens with your lower leg (knee down). By flexing your big toe up, you are creating stiffness in the ankle muscles and creating pretension to the muscles in the calf.


During a sprint, your lower leg acts as a spring, taking the force you put down into the ground, and redirecting it back up into your body. So taking out excess slack from the muscles and tendons by flexing your toes up will create a stiffer spring. And we all know a stiffer spring, translates force a lot more efficiently than a worn-out loose spring.


Attack the Ground!

Once you have established good positioning with proper front side lift of the knee and have good dorsiflexion (toes flexed up), next is just putting the power down.


Try to think about attacking the ground down and back with your ARMS, and this will lead to good lower body action as well. Remember, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” -someone a lot smarter than me. Your body is all connected, and the arms are a lot easier to focus on when running. Violent arm action WILL equate to violent leg action.


Drop a comment or shoot an email if you have any questions on sprinting mechanics or techniques!


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