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I am not a fan on using acceleration ladders or any device to increase stride length.
This Blog is full of articles on the argument on stride rate vs stride length and reducing ground contact time.
Dwain Chambers once said “he should “improve his stride”. To quote:
Chambers, who says that “attention to detail” in coaching has been the key to Jamaica becoming the sprint capital of the world, is confident of beating Bolt in 2009.
“Usain can do the 100 meters in 41 strides,” Chambers said. “I would take 43 or 44. But I have better stride frequency: 4.96 per second compared to 4.65. To beat him I need to maintain my frequency and improve my stride. Beijing was his time to shine, but he’s only human.”
I would caution sprinters trying to artificially increase their stride length. Lengthening the stride would either (1) cause a braking effect and/or (2) increase the air time. In both cases, that would be bad.
Try running downhill and report back the findings. Bobsledders are a different story.
Your body is made a certain way, and there will be an optimal stride length for maximum speed.
That being said…
Lance Brauman’s Wicket Drills
This is a follow up on last week’s article on Lance Brauman’s Fly-In Drills, In and Out Drills
For this workout or drill, you will need 14 short hurdles or wickets about 6 to 8 inches in height.
Place the hurdles at the following intervals:
- Starting line
- 2.5 feet
- 3 feet
- 3.5 feet
- 4 feet
- 4.5 feet
- 5 feet
- 5.5 feet
- 6 feet
- 6.5 feet
- 7 feet
- 7 feet
- 7 feet
- 7 feet
- 7 feet (this one is optional)
- sprint out for another 15 to 20 meters
The total distance will be approx. 35 to 40 meters.
Do 6 reps with three minutes rest between but you can add increase the rest periods up to 5 minutes if the athlete is huffing and puffing after the first 3 reps.
This drill is meant to be run at full speed with the toes dorsiflexed which helps avoid kicking the hurdles. Also, make sure the foot is striking directly below the hip and stay on the balls of the feet.
My thoughts: I’ll repeat myself again. I, personally, do not do these drills or runs. Your mileage may vary. I just don’t believe in trying to lengthen the stride. Why? Because it will come naturally (instinctively?) with better flexibility (i.e. range of motion) and increasing strength in the weight room. Read the Jim Hiserman article on How to Increase Acceleration Part 3 and Part 4 (with training examples).
Then again, too much time in the weight room can cause muscle shortening and muscular hypertrophy (both functional and non-functional). But at the end of the day, I believe you can never be too strong, but not at the expense of flexibility and too much muscle mass, especially for 400 meter sprinters.