Dorsiflexion and Plantar Flexion Drill For Runners Speed
Dorsiflexion and plantar flexion plays a major role in how fast you can run. If you have never heard of these two terms it is important that you view the video below, and spend some time digging into this article. We will explain the inns and outs of dorsiflexion and plantar flexion and learn how to utilize them to increase our speed. First, let’s take a look at the video below to get a better understanding of the movements.
What Is Dorsiflexion
Dorsiflexion is when the toe is pulled towards the shin. This movement is important for runners because it helps stretch the muscles that will be utilized when striking the ground. When you stretch the muscles, or keep them tight, before impact you will have a larger power potential when striking the ground. Notice in the video after the foot strike, the athlete is chambering his foot up. The toe is moving back towards the shin to allow good muscle mechanics for the next foot strike. This is one of the biggest secrets behind top level sprinters. If you were lazy with your foot strike and do not chamber your toe quickly to your shin you will not be able to run at max velocity. If you get a good habit of quickly bring your toe back towards your shin after the foot strike, then you will have a higher muscle output when striking the ground on the next repetition.
What Is Plantar Flexion
Plantar flexion is when your foot is moving with the tow down. Flex in the calf or straightening the foot is considered to be plantar flexion for runners. Plantar flexion will be a quick explosive movement right at foot strike. You do not want to exaggerate this motion. The plantar flexion element will take place as soon as the foot strikes bringing it back off the ground. Plantar flexion is not what an athlete wants to focus on. Dorsiflexion is what athlete should focus on when attempting to sprint at max speed.
The plantar flexion element takes up such little time that there is no way for your body to continue to focus on this element. Focusing on chambering the foot back into the dorsiflexion position will help maximize your stride turn over during this drill and when you are running. Notice in the drill it is almost impossible to pick up the phase at which the athlete is completing plantar flexion. This phase happens as soon as the foot strike. If the athlete was focused on plantar flexion the turnover would be much slower after the foot strike.
Key Points To Dorsiflexion And Plantar Flexion Striking Drills
This specific drills should be completed by athletes of all ages. No matter what the height, weight, or ability, this drill is an effective training tool for foot striking. Notice now our athlete is much more advanced. He is utilizing Kbands to help improve muscle activation of hip flexors and base leg. Whenever you are utilizing leg resistance bands you will notice that your base leg will have to work just as much as you’re active mover for stability reasons. Your glutes on your standing leg and your hip flexors of your front leg will be challenged during this exercise.
Notice the athlete drives his foot off the ground and then has to chamber his foot towards the top. You should mimic this motion. The slight hesitation when your knee is that your waist will help build hip flexor and quad strength. These muscles are the most effective for improving stride length. Master the movements of dorsiflexion and plantar flexion to increase your speed.