Form Drills for Runners
Overall Objective: Accentuates running motions to improve cadence, stride length, and gait parameters at the joints. Ideally done twice a week. If not done after a run, a five-minute warmup is suggested, Will take about eight minutes to go through the drills including transition. Walk for 30 seconds, then repeat sequence for a total of 16 minutes. Expect to see greater range of motion during second cycle and over time.
Efficient running involves elastic-type power in the stance portion of the gait. At an 8:00/mile pace, a runner spends only about .17 seconds per gait cycle on the ground. This leaves very little time to exert the force necessary to move forward. Plyometric drills are explosive type movements that enhance power in a runner’s gait and make good use of this brief time to trigger push-off.
Drill Description & Duration (Complete two full cycles)
|Primary Joints Targeted|
|Marching. Start with a walking drill. Alternate arm and leg movements. Aim for 60 degrees of hip flexion to start and work towards 90 degrees as range of motion increases. Continue easily for 45 seconds.||Knee, hip|
|Heel-to-toe stepping. Second walking drill aimed at establishing a rhythm of shifting weight towards toes to initiate gait push off. Alternate arm and leg movements, with momentary pause at toe-off. Visualize contraction of ankle plantarflexors and calf muscles. Continue for 45 secs.||Ankle|
|Fast stepping. Alternate between very fast shallow stepping and fast stepping with drive into the ground. About 10 seconds each. Very little knee lift. Objective is fast cadence and “feel” of foot impacting the ground and pushing off. Continue for 60 seconds.||Ankle|
|Knee lifts. Rapid stepping with knee lifted up to at least 30 degrees at beginning of study and ideally up to 60 degrees with practice. Lift up to the point of easy resistance – not beyond. Continue for 60 seconds.||Ankle, knee, hip|
|Mini bounding. Emphasize push off from heel to toe with leg extended in a quasi-jumping motion. Exaggerated stride with an immediate push upon toe strike. Continue for 45 seconds.||Ankle, knee, hip|
|Butt kicks. Rapid stepping forward with foot driven towards the buttocks. May not be able to make contact in first weeks. Drive as close as is comfortable. Continue for 45 seconds||Knee|
|Skipping. Skipping motion with exaggerated body elevation and knee lift as comfortable. Less stride extension than when performing mini-bounding. Continue for 60 seconds.||Ankle, knee, hip|
|Hip flexor walk. Forward walking, hips extended, hands clasped behind neck. Rocking motion raising up on toes. Continue for 60 seconds||Ankle, knee, hip, pelvis|