Build Hip Flexors While Improving Sprinting Form | Kbands Box Sprint
Being able to transition from moving forward or backward to side to side takes great body control and footwork. Athletes who utilize poor footwork and body control will perform wasted steps and movements with other parts of the body leading to slower, less controlled body movements. Coaches need to pay attention to athletes running and sprinting form in order to identify improvements which will help enhance speed and the utilization of their hip flexors.
Athletes who properly engage their hip flexors during speed and agility drills will perform smoother, more effective steps with their feet. This will make it easier for an athlete to transition into using good sprinting form after performing a drop step or lateral movement. Drills which emphasize great sprinting form out of a drop step, lateral movement, or backward sprint include the Kbands Alley Shuffles, Kbands Alley Sprints, and Kbands Box Sprints.
Strengthen Hip Flexors With Resistance
For greater strength in the hip flexors athletes should add resistance like the Kbands Leg Resistance Bands, Victory Ropes, or Reactive Stretch Cord. The Kbands Leg Resistance Bands are worn during speed and agility drills like the Kbands Box Sprint and strengthens hip flexors by applying resistance just above the athletes knees. The Reactive Stretch Cord and Victory Ropes used in the Kbands Alley Shuffles and Alley Sprints force athletes to strengthen their hip flexors by increasing both their stride length and stride frequency. Both resisted and unresisted sets of these hip flexors strengthening exercises will add additional improvements to the athletes stride turnover during sprinting, drop steps, or lateral movements.
Kbands Box Sprints
Athletes and coaches will need to pay close attention to athletes sprinting form, drop step execution, and transitional speed throughout the Kbands Box Sprints. To begin the Kbands Box Sprints athletes will need a set of Kbands Leg Resistance Bands and eight Speed and Agility Cones.
To create the Speed and Agility Cone set up for the Kbands Box Sprints athletes will need to create four rows of Speed and Agility Cones. The first row of Speed and Agility Cones will be a single cone acting as the starting point for the Kbands Box Sprints. The second row of Speed and Agility Cones will be 10 yards away from the first row and will consist of two Speed and Agility Cones 10 yards apart, the starting cone should be in the center of the second row of Speed and Agility Cones. The third row of Speed and Agility Cones will line up with the second row of Speed and Agility Cones with one Speed and Agility Cone in the center, lining up with the starting Speed and Agility Cone. The final Speed and Agility Cones will be placed 10 yards past the third row of Speed and Agility Cones and will act as the finishing line for the Kbands Box Sprint.
To execute the Kbands Box Sprints athletes will securely attach their Kbands Leg Resistance Bands just above their knees and line up at the starting Speed and Agility Cone. Athletes will accelerate from the starting Speed and Agility Cone to the center Speed and Agility Cone of the third row. After reaching this Speed and Agility Cone athletes will break down their feet, take a drop step, and shuffle to one of the markers of the second row of Speed and Agility Cones. Once athletes reach the second row of Speed and Agility Cones they will transition into a run, using good sprinting form as they run past the final row of Speed and Agility Cones.
Athletes will perform 8 resisted repetitions of the Kbands Box Sprint drop stepping to their left, followed by 8 resisted drop steps to the right. After all resisted repetitions of the Kbands Box Sprints are completed athletes will remove their Kbands Leg Resistance Bands and perform 4-5 unresisted sets of the hip flexors strengthening exercise on each side. During unresisted sets of the Kbands Box Sprints athletes should focus on executing flawless sprinting form and increasing their stride turnover.
What Hip Flexors Do And Why They Effect Sprinting Form
Hip flexors do what they say they do, they help to flex the hips. However, they do a little bit more than flex the hip, they also help to stabilize the hip area, and help to stabilize extension of the hips and legs. Many athletes do not realize the large area the hip flexors cover and that pain and discomfort in the abdomen can mean tight hip flexors just like tightness and pain on the inner thigh. The hip flexors are similar to muscles in the shoulder as both areas of the body move in a wide range of directions. Although the movements of the hips and thighs are slightly more limited than that of the shoulder the hip flexors play an intricate role in maintaining stability, mobility, strength, and speed in the legs, hips, and thighs.
In order to keep the muscles of the hip flexors healthy and functioning properly athletes will need to dedicate time to stretching with the Kbands Ballistic Bands and the Recovery Foam Roller. The Ballistic Bands can be used to perform stretches like the Sprinters Stretch or lying on the back, pulling the straight leg out to the side, and stretching the inner thigh. The Recovery Foam Roller can be used to pinpoint and eliminate knots, sore muscles, and trigger points. For more information on stretches for the hip flexors and other parts of the body go to the Recovery Section now.
Athletes can also ensure the health of the hip flexors by performing dynamic stretches before training. Dynamic warmups take athletes bodies through game like movements without the intensity or speed of competitive situations. Athletes muscles can practice going through the proper range of motion before a game or match begins. A good combination of all three types of stretching will limit athletes injuries while maximizing their performance.