Paleo Fitness Sprinting Skill Drill: Strides - dummies

Paleo Fitness Sprinting Skill Drill: Strides

By Kellyann Petrucci, Patrick Flynn

Sprinting, like all other movement, is a skill. But because sprinting is such a high-velocity movement, it merits a little extra consideration than most other movements. Proper sprinting prep and mechanics can mean the difference between a fantastic workout and a torn hamstring.

This skill drill focuses on strides. Strides are a popular running technique that can only be described as something between a jog and a sprint. They help you prep the body for sprints and rehearse proper sprinting mechanics.

Strides are best performed barefoot and on an unpaved surface (try working them on the soccer field at a community park, but be sure the field is well kept so you don’t land in a divot and injure yourself).

[Credit: Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ulmer]
Credit: Photo courtesy of Rebekah Ulmer

Check out the preceding figure to see what strides look like, and refer to the following list on how to perform strides:

  • Perform strides in a similar fashion to a sprint workout (six to eight rounds of 60 to 100 meters), but feel free to adjust the distance as needed.

    When you start, gradually accelerate to about 85 percent of your max speed for the first two-thirds and then gradually decelerate in the final one-third of the stride.

  • Focus on form as you do strides. Ensure a quick foot turnover, striking the ground on the ball of your foot in line with your hip (don’t overstride).

  • Think “quick arms” on the stride, and match the pumping of your arms to the pumping of your legs.

    Just like marching, strides should be a contralateral movement, meaning your opposite arm and leg move together — that is, when your left leg rises, so does your right arm, and vice versa.

  • Maintain a fairly upright torso.

Keep in mind that strides aren’t supposed to be difficult. Don’t do them at such a fast pace that your warm-up becomes as strenuous as your workout. Strides are drills, not sprints.