Question; How important is the movement of the arms
in speed training?
arm action in sprinting is critically important in covering ground
fast, stopping and changing direction. Arm action determines stride
length and the goal of speed technique training is to get an athlete
to the destination with sold body mechanics and taking the least amount
of steps. Increasing stride length by reaching for steps is counterproductive.
If the arms are too close to the chest on the upswing and hands travel
"pocket-to-chest" athletes will take short choppy strides
and this is very slow. This is perfect for cutting and slowing down,
but horrible for burst speed.
of the most important questions I ask every athlete even the pros
I work with; "do you remember the day you first learned how to
run?" Many remember the day they learned how to ride a bike,
but no one remembers the day they first learned how to run. This question
makes the point that we all learn how to run with body upright with
arms close to chest with hands traveling "pocket-to-chest"
which is perfect for distance running, but horrible for speed. But
that's the way athletes sprint naturally until they learn speed technique.
We learn how to run when we are so young, we aren't strong enough
to place the body in the correct sprinting position with a straight
body, forward lean resembling an airplane taking off.
the body is positioned properly -- principally driven by correct arm
action -- it forces the brain and nervous system to recruit all three
muscle fiber types to propel the movement of sprinting and now the
strongest muscles in the body that are loaded with fast-muscle fiber
propel the movement. The body is always trying to do things with slow-muscle
fiber in the endurance energy system so you can endure all day. The
brain thinks it doing you a favor by not recruiting fast-muscle fiber
and conserving your fast-muscle in case you need to sprint away from
a bad guy later today. For this reason, most athletes naturally take
a false step which is a huge time-killing-wasted step in a more upright
middle ear also plays a huge role in speed technique. Your middle
ear could care less how fast you run or how high you jump. Your middle
ear's main role in life is to keep you from falling. Your middle ear
sends messages to your brain to run upright with arms close to your
chest until you learn correct speed technique and rewrite default
in the brain by practicing perfect speed technique for sports-specific
and position-specific movements.
can easily get an athlete to run faster in a straight line in two
hours just with technique, but the moment the athlete gets on the
field, the brain and nervous system go back to the default setting
of incorrect technique until we practice very precise, position-specific
movements with newly learned speed skill of positioning the body to
propel the movement with the strongest muscle in the body that are
loaded with fast-muscle fiber.
do the exact same three technique drills (leg drives for drive phase,
claw drill for fly phase, butt bumpers with arms locked at 90 degrees
and moving "pocket-to-chin level" in every workout. These
three drills rehearse perfect speed technique so we play the correct
neurological video game in the brain before we work on perfecting
position-specific movements. We then work on overspeeding precise
ILB movements to get a positive neurological adaptation to the training.
Overspeeding common ILB movements is just like training the brain
to play a new video game faster and faster neurologically, except
when you do this, you recruit more fast-fiber muscle that propel position-specific
movements. This type of training improves performance through neurologic
pathways, but at the same time, the athlete keeps getting stronger
and stronger for that very specific position-specific movement and
that translates into faster and faster. - Phil
Broncos Safety McCree doesn't hit pause button