HOW does Oscar Pistorius run so fast?

August 6, 2012

Increased lower leg stiffness and reduced ground contact time result in more efficient movement.  Just ask Oscar Pistorius…

Acceleration bounds have long been used as a great drill for improving sprint technique, but there are so many additional benefits that it would be a shame to limit their use to sprint specific athletes and situations.

By looking at bounds as a plyometric movement rather than just a sprint drill, we see several key benefits.

  • High force production (GRF) - while vertical GRF developed through maximal strength (See Sparta Point) is always going to be the biggest game changer for any athlete, we also want to train force production in a forward direction through good hip extension.
  • Short ground contacts - the short stretch-shortening cycle (See Sparta Point) primarily responsible for quick, explosive movements.  Bounds effectively train athletes to create "stiffness" during ground contact.
  • Rhythm - the repetitive nature of bounds makes them a great tool to help athletes to learn about "relaxed readiness" (upper body) and "instantaneous stiffness" (lower body) that help them to maintain center of pressure and recycle force as efficiently as possible. (See Sparta Point)

Bounds are one of the more challenging movements for our athletes to master. Learning progression is helped by focusing on:

  • Rhythm: rhythm is created by the arms, and one great cue for athletes is to "freeze" or "float" in mid air.  This will slow athletes down, and differentiate bounds from strides
  • Ground contact: aggressively drive the ground down and back.  Sound is often the best cue for athletes as proper ground contact should produce a crisp "smack" sound
  • Angles: the last component to work on is maintaining good body lean, leg drive, and head position.
Try adding bounds into your program any time that you are looking for a plyo that reinforces quick, rhythmic ground contacts.

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