In the world of athletics, speed is often the differentiating factor between winners and contenders. The ability to maintain maximum force production through optimal stride length and frequency is the hallmark of top-speed performance. To unlock your true potential, you need to understand and implement the four fundamental rules of top-speed training. These rules—Body at 10 degrees, arm action from chin to back pocket, hips forward and up, and fold and recover the leg—are the keys to achieving lightning-fast results.
Rule 1: Body at 10 Degrees
One of the fundamental principles in top-speed training is maintaining a precise body angle of 10 degrees. This angle allows athletes to generate maximum power efficiently. When your body is inclined at this angle, your center of gravity is optimally aligned with the direction of your stride, reducing resistance and promoting a smoother, more powerful movement.
To implement this rule effectively, you should focus on keeping your upper body slightly leaned forward. Your torso should be aligned with your hips, forming that ideal 10-degree angle. This position ensures that you’re in the optimal posture for generating force and minimizing air resistance as you sprint toward your goal.
Rule 2: Arm Action from Chin to Back Pocket
Proper arm action plays a critical role in enhancing your speed. The arms are not just passive limbs along for the ride; they are essential for maintaining balance and generating forward momentum. Your arm action should be coordinated with your leg movements.
Start with your arms close to your body, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Maintain a strong, relaxed, and rhythmic arm swing from your chin to your back pocket. The power generated by your arm swing counterbalances your leg movements and propels you forward. This coordinated effort contributes significantly to your overall speed and helps you maintain optimal stride frequency.
Rule 3: Hips Forward and Up (Picture)
To unlock your top speed potential, you must master the art of driving your hips forward and upward. Your hips serve as the fulcrum for generating force and driving your body forward with each stride. By pushing your hips in the right direction, you maximize your stride length and frequency, essential components of top-speed training.
To achieve this, focus on hip flexion as you push off the ground with each step. The energy generated by your hip drive propels you forward while maintaining the 10-degree body angle. Your hips should remain engaged and driving, constantly pushing forward and upward, to ensure that you maintain your top speed.
Rule 4: Fold and Recover the Leg
The final rule for top-speed training is to master the art of folding and recovering the leg efficiently. Proper leg mechanics are crucial to achieving optimal stride length and frequency. To accomplish this, you need to execute the fold-and-recover technique seamlessly.
As your leg leaves the ground, fold it and bring the ankle even with the knee. This motion should be quick and controlled. Once your leg reaches its maximum height, initiate a swift recovery to the front, reaching a 90 degree angle with your hip, knee, and ankle. Then, swipe the floor with your foot as if you were trying to scrape gum off the bottom of your shoe.
The goal is to minimize ground contact time and maximize force into the ground for generating forward propulsion.
Bonus: Woodway Curve Treadmill
We’re lucky to be able to own a piece of equipment that can effortlessly teach proper top speed mechanics. The curved treadmill is self-propelled and doesn’t allow you to move forward without using the four keys to top speed training discussed above. Nothing teaches our athletes proper top speed mechanics faster than putting them on the Woodway and allowing them to figure it out with a few coaching cues.
To learn more about the Woodway treadmill and how we use it to teach top speed, visit their website: Woodway Curve Treadmill
Top speed in athletics is the result of a delicate balance between stride length and stride frequency, and it’s dependent on four crucial rules. By understanding and mastering these rules you can take your performance to the next level.
Optimal body positioning, coordinated arm action, powerful hip engagement, and efficient leg mechanics are the key to unlocking your top speed potential. By incorporating these rules into your training regimen, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a faster and more competitive athlete.
As always, if we can help your athlete reach their peak, contact us and set up a performance evaluation!