Updated: Aug 30, 2020
These next 5 drills focus on emphasising impulse and intent with some interesting notes on whether or not you're reeeally recruiting muscles as forcefully as you could.
We all have the ability to reflexively and rapidly contract our muscles given adequate stimulus. A reflex pain arc, for example. When we stub a toe or burn our fingers, sensory information is relayed to motor neurones in our spine which essentially send information back to the muscle to contract away from the pain stimulus. This is largely autonomous (only spine and potentially brain stem facilitated), and something we presumably evolved for survival.
What's that got to do with drills? Well it's more the concept that we can probably react and explode far more quickly than we do when we're drilling. It's a useful thought to have in your head whilst you're doing them.
'Am I doing this fast enough? Can I get off the floor quicker? Can I put force down harder? Is the floor actually lava?'
I'm not saying you should start doing 'A' Skips on hot coals - although that's a perfect example of creative visualisation - but that should certainly be the motivation.
I see so many athletes pay lip service to their drills. They go through the motions, mimicking the movements they've been told to do with no real understanding of why.
Like anything in business, life, training etc - the WHY is the key element
So here's the WHY of the below drills:
They make you faster by improving your technical efficiency, rate of force development and motor control by hitting optimal shapes in a sprinting context.
But you knew that right? So why do your pogos look like a salmon flopping around a fishing boat? Shape up.
Now here's the how:
1. You need to make sure you get off the ground as quickly as possible (hot coals).
2. You must make sure your heel recovers vertically to the hamstring (reduce as much backside as possible) and aim for a better vertical stack of the ankle/knee/hip joints.
3. More challenging exercises like the Quarrie High Knees require an advanced level of strength and plyometry. Start with smaller movements and build yourself up to finished product. The more you do, the better you will get at these. This particular drills elicits a noticeable improvement in strength and bounce.
4. The ankling drill is used to show the way you can blend into running, but really I love blending any drill.
The whole point of drilling is to make you more efficient in sprinting, not to look pretty whilst drilling.
So it stands to reason that you start with the drill and blend it into running whilst maintaining the drill focus.
The ankling accel is a great one for the winter athletes warming up in the cold, it helps build confidence and shape creation without being as physically taxing as a straight-up acceleration.
If you're doing high knees with a focus on heel to hamstring recovery, when you begin to blend into running you make sure that as you open your stride, you maintain those same technical points. What you should find is that the ground contact has to be that much harder and that much faster to keep achieving those movements.
The outcome? Likely a faster and technically more efficient you. Clap clap.