Animated Mach Drills

Mach Drill : A-skips

Or Butt Kicks, whatever you wanna call them.

B-Skips. All these years I thought these were C-skips. Oh well. Live and Learn.

If you would be so kind as to give some more info on how to incoporate these drills properly. I.e. What you are trying to accomplish in each drill.

Also, could you explain the Mach A drill a little more? Also, In the Mach C-drill I was always taught that bc you try to do the Butt-kicks so fast that you can’t use your arms bc they cannot keep up with the legs; therefore, it is better to have the hands on the hips and just focus on the butt-kicks.

Thanks for the animations.

Mach drills are to warm up the athlete. They in no way transfer to any sort of sprinting technique directly. They teach relaxation, and most importantly as Charlie has pointed out on many occasions, they help with strength endurance. Harb, you were at the Vancouver seminar…did you get the email with all of the slides? If you look at the Phase I speed Progression - Short to Long slide, there is a section on there which shows Strength End volumes for these drills.

Cool, Yup I did get that section;however, I still don’t know whether the intensity limit on the days MON and FRI refers to the Special Endurance Heading alone or if it refers both to the Special Endurance and Acceleration Heading. On the WED day in week 1 the intesity limit is 30 + m and again I don’t know if this refers to the Speed Heading or the Speed and Acceleration Headings.

Ok, I understand that the Mach drills are intended to warm-up the athlete; however, I think it would be best if the the drills did transfer over directly to sprinting technique to some degree. Maybe CF can chime his opinion on my post as to why the drills could/couldn’t be used for the transfer over to sprinting technique.

They don’t transfer because the velocity, speed, and forces at which they are performed are nowhere near what they would be at max speed. It would be like saying walking directly influences sprinting.

Great point! But if you learn a skill at slow/fast speed albeit not as fast as sprinting, then don’t you still teach sprinting at the correct angles (triple extenstion angles)? I.e. I guess what I am saying is that if you teach the correct angles in your drills then would these not carryover to the track? CF has mentioned that in the later stages of race where the sprinter is upright, the knee should not be lifted higher if the angle between the knee and the waist is shortened. To put it in laymens terms, you want the lead knee to be as far forward away from your body as possible (i.e. 90 degrees the angle between the upper-body/waist and the quads/upper-leg). The angle could be greater than 90 degrees (knee more towards the ground) but not less (or closer to waist). I would think that doing high knee drills would lead to a negative transfer in skill in this regard; however, the high knee drill would lead to good skill transfer in terms of dynamic flexibilty for the acceleration phase.


I can’t see how. I used to have my athletes do 200-300m strength endurance drills. They could do them slow or at a faster pace (I used to do them myself), but it didn’t transfer over to sprinting.

If the high knee drill is done correctly, then it will never be raised above the point where it begins to travel back towards the hips. Therefore, IF it did transfer over to sprinting (which it doesn’t), it would be fine.

More flexibility…I agree. But flexibility deals with the ABILITY to perform a skill, but not the actual performance of the skill. It is like greasing the tires on a bike…it helps, but it has nothing to do with pushing down on the pedals.

SVS and Herb, your exchange is reminiscent of differences when comparing Charlie’s methods vs Dr Yessis’.

When speaking of SPP means and methods we must be careful so as not to introduce and develop motor patterns which do not positively correlate to the expression of sport skill.

SVS, in theory, your desire to emulate, or in some way introduce a drill which will correlate more directly to top speed mechanics may sound sensible; yet, as Herb stated, the reality is that forces at play during top speed introduce an entirely different set of dynamics to be considered.

It is very important to realize that the introduction of a skill which is close yet not close enough to sport skill, albeit with good intentions, is often detrimental to the expression of sport skill itself.

In addition we must consider to the forces incurred during any particular sport skill when trying to create drills to elicit a ‘sport’ specific adaptation. Just because a certain drills may yield a mechanical situation where an athlete’s joint angles replicate those found during sport skill expression, we must also consider the vector and magnitude of external force.

For example: the deadlift is very similar to the 1st pull in weightlifting. Accordingly, one might think that increasing the deadlift will positively facilitate and increase in pulling potential. When in reality the DL is actually markedly different, mechanically, than the 1st pull. Thus, other then possible benefitting a novice who is in need of general strength anyway, the development of a big DL will likely do very little to nothing for a more advanced weightlifter who intends on increasing their pulling strength.

Back to sprinting; the ‘sport’ specific crowd is on a mission to create as many movements and drills as possible, which in some way replicate or very specifically facilitate sport skill, in order to faciltate heightened expressions of sport skill. Again, this must be approached very carefully as on the one hand there are tremendous applications for SPP means and methods, and on the other hand it is very easy for misinformed individuals, who know just enough to be way off base, to employ means and methods which will actually inhibit the further development of sport skill motor potential.

This discussion is one that must be very carefully dissected. Bondarchuk has stated that as the athlete becomes more highly qualified that the distinction between GPP and SPP is not so concrete. This,however, is not a statement to take and run with, as there are numerous variables to consider specific to each athlete and their respective sport skill.

Incidentally, I have no hesitation in assuming that if any particular mean or method was worth a shit for developing world class speed, Charlie would have already implemented it and wrote about it.

I have a feeling that ‘sport’ specific is probably a term that wasn’t even translated accurately from the Soviets,and as usual, we westerners have destroyed a concept that, in it origins and when implemented appropriately, is tremendous.

I am thinking in terms of biomechanics. I mean how do you know when an elite athlete is lifting their knee to high? Or not high enough? Can this only be obtained through video biomechanical analysis?

Take somebody like Ben, how would you correct a 3 degree to high a knee lift in the later stages of the race? Or does if even matter as long as the technique is close enough? What I mean is, would this lead to Paralysis by Analysis?

I am not a fan of anything “sports specific.” Nothing is more specific to the sport than the sport itself, and it is obvious that an athlete’s body breaks down during the performance of many sports and to mimic the sport directly would result in a decrease in performance.

Mixing variables such as strength with a sport specific technique doesn’t work with me either. Put 100 pounds on my back and I will never be able to run at top speed, and therefore won’t be able to practice my technique whilst at top speed. Trying to mix strength endurance with technique works about as well.

Could you elaborate on this please? I am curious!

You said it, Paralysis by Analysis.

Due to variability in lever lengths, tendon insertions, etc, every sprinter will possess certain anomalies unto themselves.

Surely, a marked defficiency in technique which inhibits speed or force production must be addressed. However, as Charlie has stated if it looks right it flies right. I view this to mean that if the particular technical discrpency is not something which will, to any marked degree, inhibit speed/sport skill, then don’t fuck with it.

Biomechanics, has its place and is surely a tremendous tool, yet in the end the lab is the lab and the track is the track.

The only difference is that I take full recovery time (just like a sprint) when I do multiple reps of a drill. So I guess I am not speaking of Strength endurance per say but rather technique work. When I was in Edmonton we would do all of these drills before our lifting session. My coach decided to strength endurance with these drills; however, I see a use for them when they do not represent Strength Endurance but rather Technique work.

Sorry for the mixup Herb.

If I instruct one of my athlete’s to lift their knees higher when their strength, flexibility and endurance are not developed sufficiently, then the result can be permanent damage to their performance. Charlie mentions Angela Issajenko in his book as having a problem with her overall technique. Some coaches told Charlie that he needed to tell her about it to change it. Charlie of course didn’t say squat to her and when her strength and fitness increased the technique fixed itself.

Specifically, if the strength component isn’t there and an athlete attempts to lift their knees more while they are at a high velocity, the result will be a lack of extension in the hind leg, which results in low hips. It has to all come over time and as naturally as possible.

Technique work?? You will only get better at doing the drill, but it won’t make you any better at running at top speed. Only running at top speed will do that for you. Charlie talks about Bruce Lee saying to a student “If you want to learn to kick faster…then kick faster.”

Herb let me reiterate, I am no longer speaking about Strength Endurance but Technique work. So I would implement this by doing a high knee drill to 90 degrees and I would do it slowly. The better I got at it, I would speed it up over the course of 1-2 years. Eventually I could do the drill fast but I would still take the appropriate RI before doing another rep. If you think about it this way then you putting the correct technique in the brain to replicate the skill at higher speeds. So that when somebody does sprint they can do so with better technique.

In my personal case, I found that doing certain drills engrained the proper motor pattern in place for me to sprint without thinking about it. I used to sprint incorrectly bc a coach fucked up my mechanics by having me doing the "Wrong Drills"but then after doing some drills with another coach it put my sprinting back on track.

But but but, it DOESN’T replicate the skill at higher speeds.