Kbands Track and Field Skip Sequence: Increase Running Speed
As experienced athletes know, any effective sprinting workout will include a series of balanced, scientifically proven forms of stretching and warm-up exercises. Stretching and warming up provide multi-fold benefits, starting with improved circulation. As the muscle fibers stretch and align, circulation flows more easily and oxygen and nutrients are more efficiently delivered. Warming up facilitates this process by triggering blood flow to cold muscles and activating the nerve junctions that connect the muscles to the brain.
In an earlier era, athletes divided stretching and warming up into two distinct activities. Before launching into an intense run or sprinting workout, some track athletes would begin with one and then engage the other, or vice versa. At this point, sports researchers have confirmed that the best preparation for an effective sprinting workout or speed training combines the benefits of both stretching and warming up into single motions, sometimes called “dynamic stretches.” During these moves, the muscles are both stretching and activating at the same time. And these moves tend to lead to more effective sprinter workouts and better long term results for increased speed the track and the playing field.
Some popular dynamic stretches include moves like straight leg kicks or Spiderman crawls, in which the athlete moves across a field or room with the torso flat to the ground. Others are simple variations on a walking or running motion. The track and field skip sequence demonstrated in this video is an example of this kind of workout move, and it requires very little equipment: only a length of track and a pair of Kbands leg resistance training bands for each athlete.
Additional Benefits of the Skip Sequence
This drill doesn’t just help athletes stretch and warm up crucial sprinting muscles; it also helps track and field athletes develop a rhythm, and it builds strength in the muscles that help accelerate runners at the start and drive the body forward. Strength in the hip flexors and quads are both vital to successful starts, and all runners benefit from an ingrained sense of rhythm.
Executing the Track and Field Skip Sequence
Before beginning this set of warm-up sprinting drills, players can attach the straps of the Kbands securely around the upper legs, with the label in the front and the metal rings on the outside. When the straps are in place, athletes can attach the Kbands resistance bands to the straps using the clips. With the short band attached in the front and the long band in the back, runners will experience resistance as they stride, and as stride length increases, resistance also increases. Long strides and high knee runs generate the greatest level of artificial tension on the hip flexors and other muscles essential to sprinting.
Runners can start the sequence with a skipping motion that’s very similar to the A-skip. At each stride, the runner will lift the right knee toward the chest, drawing against the resistance of the bands. While the right knee is elevated, the runner will hop once vertically on the left foot. When the right knee comes down, the left knee will rise and the runner will hop vertically in the right foot. This move will be repeated down a stretch of track at least ten meters long.
B-Skip C-Skip Breakdown
The two primary areas of technique and focus during this phase of the drill will be 1.) height and verticality with the knee lift and the hop, and 2.) powerful engagement of the arms. Lazy arms mean lazy legs, so with each knee drive, the elbows should stay bent at a 90 degree angle and should swing through a full range of motion, from behind the body and up toward the face. While the arm is behind the body, the humorous should be parallel to the ground. As the arm swings forward, the hand should reach the height of the runner’s cheekbone.
The second move of this drill will resemble a combination of a B-skip and a C-skip. As runners complete this skipping stride, they’ll be focused on two aspects that vary from the ones above: The downward drive of the front leg, and rise of the back leg toward the rear end.
As the front leg comes down, the foot connects with the ground, and the body accelerates forward at each stride, the move will resemble a kind of pawing action. But in this exercise, the athlete should concentrate on continuing the pawing gesture all the way through the ground and through the stride. The leg should rise into the high knee position, the runner should execute the hop, and the leg should drive down toward and through the ground. Then the athlete should focus on snapping the leg back and up again for the next stride.
Track and Field Skip Sequence: Fundamentals of the Sprinting Workout
This drill can be completed on a 100 meter stretch of track with the Kbands in place for six to eight sets. Athletes can pause for 30 seconds or so between each set, but a full set should include both versions of the skipping motion. After the first round of resisted sets are complete, runners can remove the resistance bands from the straps and place them aside. Then they can complete two to four more rounds of the sprinting workout with no resistance. During the final two to four rounds, runners will feel temporary sense of extreme lightness in the legs and core, and they should use this to their advantage to gain height and knee drive without sacrificing rhythm and control.
For more information on the basics of dynamic stretching and warm ups, and for more sprinting workouts and warm up sessions like this one, athletes and coaches can visit the track and field section of the Kbands website at KbandsTraining.com. The site offers workouts, tips, guidance, and additional information and purchasing resources for suspension and resistance training equipment like the Kbands, KB Powerbands and KB Duo. Explore the benefits of training with the Kbands in place and watch your track and field performance increase.