Feet position in the blocks...must clarify once and for all!

I’ve heard a few people say you can start with your toes up the block, “climbing the blocks”. I’ve also heard a few people say that your shoe must be in contact with the track, which basically would mean that the toes are just about touching the track.

Which is it?!?! I don’t to be training with my toes a couple inches up the blocks all year and come to a rude awakening to find out this isn’t allowed.


I don’t know, I just looked at the USATF’s 2004 rules and it didn’t even mention this. The closest thing it mentioned to my question was: “Where starting blocks are used, both of the runner’s feet must come in contact with the starting blocks”. I think that’s a given though…that’s why the blocks are there, heh.

If you mean for electronic blocks I don’t think it would matter as long as you’re creating pressure on the blocks.

As for having your toes up on the blocks I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re losing the force that you could create from your whole foot onto the blocks. Using just the front of your foot you won’t get the same power.

Well, I just mean any blocks, but what you say makes sense.

Hmm. I thought I was faster with toes up, but I haven’t tried whole foot in forever. I’ll try both tomorrow. So, you think I should get as much of my foot on the blocks as possible but not get my toes on the track?

All I’ve heard is make sure you get your heel on the blocks so you get power from your whole foot.

Alright man, I’ll give that a shot next sprint workout.

Let’s say it doesn’t feel as fast as toes up though. Should I just stick with heels on block anyways and keep working with it?

There is no rule that says your toes should be touching the ground. The feet must be in contact with the pedals and this is the rule some american sprinters seemed to have trouble accepting in Helsinki. Some of them didn’t have their rear foot touching before ‘set’ command and thus there was no pressure into the blocks’ sensors.

You should go with what works the best for you. If that’s toes off the ground then go with that. Some have the whole ball of their foot on the ground. Try different things.

Not really. It doesn’t matter how much of your foot is on the block in terms of force, force comes from your legs, not the soles of your feet. :rolleyes:

Your feet need to be flat on the blocks because otherwise you run the risk of your foot collapsing when you extend your leg. This will cause you to spend time rocking backward before you go foward - time you can’t afford to waste!

If your feet aren’t flat it might also lead to deviation between the angle of your feet and the blocks between races. This will mess up your angles.

As for ‘climbing’ the blocks - there’s no rule to say you can’t do it. If it feels good and is working then keep it up. Don’t fix what ain’t broken. :cool:

Your pushing through your feet, therefore if your whoel foot isn’t on the blocks it’s a loss of force cause it’s just wasted.

Thanks everybody!

It looks like its undisputed here then, that “climbing” the blocks is A-OK. :slight_smile:

However, you guys make some good points. Captin says I should have as much of my foot on the blocks. Jumpman and Flyer say I should do what works best, and if thats “climbing” the blocks, then do it. I think I will use both for my next couple of sessions, and come to a conclusion on what feels best.

I’ve got really short feet for my height actually. So when I “climb” the blocks, I ALMOST get my heel to touch the block, its like right at the end of the arch in my foot nearest to the heel. When I try to get as much of my foot on the blocks, I just get almost all of the back of my foot. Do you think I have “enough” of my foot on the blocks in both of those guys? I know its all subjective to how I feel, but I figured I’d ask anyways :slight_smile:

As long as you can maintain your foot angle with your heel elavated from the blocks, there is no loss of force.

As I said, the force is coming from your legs, not from your feet. More surface area (ie. feet flat on the blocks) distributes the force over a larger area - but total force application remains the same.

The most important thing is to ensure your feet aren’t collapsing as you leave the blocks and you (triple) extend your leg.

Providing your block setup is adequet, the only thing you need to worry about is maintaining your foot angles.

Or you could play it safe and get your feet flat on the blocks. Up to you. :cool: