Drive Phase Running Technique How-to

Drive phase occurs the moment after the runner has left the blocks and ends around 20 meters. During this phase the runners head and body should be closer to the ground, focusing on producing the most power possible while keeping a high turnover rate.

The first exercise is the harness start where a high tension band is placed around the runner waist while a partner holds the band a gives resistance. The key to maximizing this exercise is to stress low body height, short ground contact, and maximum driving power in each step. For this movement the runner should only run about 5 yards/ meters at a time. This ensures maximum output per repetition without creating exhaustion, which will allow the athlete to continue the workout with safe and proper form.

The second exercise is the 20 yard sled pull. In this drill the runner will be dragging a weighted sled strapped to their body. again it is important to focus on form throughout the movement. The weight should be moderate, if it is too heavy the sled will become cumbersome and force the athlete into an incorrect, unsafe movement pattern due to compensation for the weight. The drive phase focuses on the first 20 yards/ meters so that is the maximum distance for the exercise, any more and the drill will lose its effectiveness.

The third exercise, the reverse med ball throw focuses on developing a more explosive core. Sprinting puts immense tension on the whole body, this exercise simulates this by putting high tension on the core muscles. This type of movement will directly transfer into the athletes sprint movement because as with sprinting this is a full body movement.

The key points to focus on throughout all of these exercises are:
– Correct and safe form (low body position, high knees, etc.)
– Maximum force/ effort each repetition
– Short ground contact
– Proper rest time for continued maximum output

Thanks to Robert Wessels for editing/directing, John Welch for always demonstrating excellent form and Derrick Broussard for transcribing.

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