Skipping rope is a great exercise for cardio, as well as rhythm and hand-eye co-ordination. It’s better than doing nothing.
Right now I can do 30 skips in 30 seconds easily.
With practice, I could get to 60 skips (2 per second)
At first, I was impressed with the video, with a boy skipping at 3.66 skips per second.
Then I said, Bah-humbug, as World Class Sprinters do about 4 to 5 strides per second :)
Of course, anyone can do 5 strides per second. Just lie on your back and rock back onto your shoulder blades, then do bicycles in the air. Easy. Ahh, but there is no ground contact to limit you :)
Running is meant to be simple. Just put one foot in front of the other. It all boils down to stride rate and stride frequency. Optimize the 2 forces, horizontal and vertical, and cover ground as fast as possible. Simple.
Usain Bolt vs. Tyson Gay vs. Andre Cason
Consider these three specimens:
- Usain Bolt 6’ 5” = 1.95m, with a 4.49 stride frequency
- Tyson Gay 5′ 10″ = 1.78m, with a 4.96 stride frequency
- Andre Cason 5’ 7” = 1.70m, who ran a wind-aided 9.84 and had a stride frequency of 5.19
Thus we all know the magic formula of:
Speed = Stride Rate X Stride Frequency
Imagine if we had another human the same height as Usain Bolt, and could run at 5 strides per second? Then we might see that 9.3 second 100m dash one day!
Image Credits: hardcandypt.wordpress.com
Note: Stride Frequency is in purple, and there are some instances of >5 per second
For the legend, use the results below
What does all this mean?
Charlie Francis quotes from his latest manual:
Too many coaches are coaching the speed right out of their athletes. Some believe that it is stride frequency and others believe that it is stride length that causes speed.
The answer is neither. They are both measurements of speed but not the cause of speed. Speed is the result of net forces acting on the ground.
It is how fast the body is moving over the ground that matters. Apply more force and you will have an increase in stride length and stride frequency.
So the answer is not to be impressed with a 5.2 strides/second, nor skipping rope at 3.6 skips/second, but to cover ground as fast as possible. “Time” is what matters.