Single Leg Drive Through: Track Speed Training
Sprinters who are looking for techniques and exercises that can help them cover more ground on the track often benefit by changing up their training routines periodically. While the act of running obviously makes athletes better and faster runners, there are many mechanisms to the sprint, including the take-off and the drive through, that can be emphasized by off-track stretching, moving, and strength building exercises like the one in this video.
This exercise is called the single leg drive through, and it’s designed to isolate the muscles of the upper leg and hip, while also focusing an athlete’s attention on the movement of the foot during the sprint stride. This drill can be completed as part of a team practice session, but individual athletes can also work through these movements on their own at any time. The drill takes only a few minutes to complete and requires no equipment at all other than a wall or sturdy base. The athlete in the video uses a goal post, but this can be substituted with a tree or a wall.
The primary factor that will make or break the success of this drill is mindful, sustained attention to running form and the movement of the hip, knee, and foot as the athlete works through the motion. Coaches can provide support by carefully observing technique during this drill and encouraging players to continue moving at top speed through each rep.
Single Leg Drive Through Running Drill: Setting Up the Drill
Like many of the other running drills that make use of the resistance of the Kbands, this drill will start with warm up and stretch. After getting loose, body positioning must be a strong focus. Proper body alignment will ensure proper running form. Be sure to follow the video closely through the positioning segment.
Single Leg Drive Through Running Drill: Executing the Drill
The athlete’s body line should be as close as possible to a 45 degree angle, so hand placement against the anchor object will be important. The hands should be at about chest level. If they’re too high, the support object may interfere with the free swinging motion of the leg.
Once the runner’s body is angled and the hands are in position, the drill can begin. Runners can choose their dominant leg and start by lifting the knee, driving against the resistance of the bands, and then sweeping the foot down to the ground, behind the body, and back up into knee drive position. From the outside, the drill looks very simple, but the purpose and the value of this exercise comes from proper technique.
First, when the knee drives up, it should reach a parallel position. The toe should begin in a dorsi-flex position, then drive toward the ground on the downswing and into a plantar flex position. At that point, the knee should drive forward again and the cycle should repeat, with the foot moving in a fast, continuous circle.
The key to sprint speed will lie in getting the back leg down, up and around again to an elevated position as fast as possible. So athletes should make sure the foot completes a full circle and a full range of motion—at top speed-- before returning to the knee-drive position. On the upswing, for example, the foot should rise all the way up to the level of the rear end before the knee comes forward.
As athletes become more technique oriented and more explosive with this exercise, they can focus on increasing speed.
Single Leg Drive Through Running Drill: Reps and Sets
Athletes should begin this move with the dominant leg, and should complete an eight to ten second rep before switching legs and beginning the same move on the other side. After ten seconds on the left and then the right, runners should take a long break and complete a rest period of at least a full minute and ideally two or three. This is not an endurance exercise, so to gain meaningful benefits from this drill, the leg and foot should be moving with full, explosive speed for the full length of each rep. As soon as the energy in the knee drive begins to diminish and speed begins to lag, so does the value of the workout.
Track and field athletes and coaches can work this drill into a regular training routine a few times a week in order to see improvements in sprint speed.
Single Leg Drive Through Running Drill: Final Notes
This exercise is just one of a growing series of track and field video drills available through the track training section of Kbands Training.com. Coaches and athletes can check out the site for single motion drills like this one, and for sprinting exercises that apply the resistance training benefits of the Kbands to the long and short distance run. By adding tension to the hip flexors and core, the Kbands generate strength, condition, balance and core stability, all of which support a program of endurance and speed development.
In the meantime, the site also provides a growing library of sport-specific video training resources for basketball, football, cheer, lacrosse, soccer, baseball and martial arts. Each of these sports training programs benefit from the resistance and suspension training benefits of the Kbands, the KB Powerbands and the KB Duo. And by observing trained athletes in motion with the resistance equipment in place, viewers can better understand how to maintain proper technique while moving through the demonstrated exercises. For more information about how the Kbands work, and for purchasing information or other questions, explore the site or use the contact information section to reach out directly to the Kbands trainers.
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