How to achieve low heel recovery?

Techniques, drills, and any advice on how to achieve it would be great since I have a high heel recovery during my start, AKA “cycling”

And why is low heel recovery mechanically effective? Longer lever = more leverage?

I am not sure I understand what you are asking?

Are you referring to the height of ‘ankle cross’ ?

I read about this in Dr Ralph Mann’s The Mechanics of Sprinting and Hurdling, and he said that at all stages of the race, the ankle should cross the other leg at knee height.

So you want drills which will lower the height you foot currently crosses the other leg?

Not mechanically more efficient from a lever perspective but distance traveled is shorter (shortest distance between two points is a straight line) also creates better potential for negative foot speed at contact as the foot travels forward form the ground to it’s highest point and than can be driven to the ground with better angles.

Drills… hmmmmm Wall drills or block work sweeping the ground with the toe (can be done submax to get a feel)… When Usian and the like don’t get a good first movement you can see their toe actually touch (drag) on the track (and be careful not to pull)…

Check you are in a good postural position on the blocks too as hip angle will/can effect how the foot returns.

Here’s a link to a previous discussion on the topic

I think too much of a concentration is made of heel recovery. What matters more is shin angles in the blocks, shin angles in ground support in the initial steps, and force vectors. Theres more bend in the knee on ground contact in the first few steps than there is by 20-30m,hence neg foreleg angle when entering into contact on the track… and the uniform progression of torso , to shin angles directs the application of push down the track. Many great starters had high heel recoveries. What we see lately is an artificial forcing of low recovery in many sprinters and their times to the 10m point, and 20m point in races arent all that much faster at all than guys in the 80s and 90s. As a matter of fact I think some of them are hurting themselves. Bolt drags his foot on the zero step going into the first full ground contact, and I look at that as a nuance and not a plus. The muscles of the hip flexors work as a rebound to the previous force of the hip extensor, and the leg moves where it wants to go, and if thats a higher recovery so be it, as long as once on the ground the shin is neg, and the push is forceful…

Recovery to me at least means a reaction, not escorted or coerced

I’d also add i’ve had guys who foreced the low recovery and they pulled hamstrings until I talked em out of it. Then they got no more injuries and they accelerated harder. We just let the heel go where it goes, and make sure the push angle off the ground is right.

As you have mentioned yourself, they are not that much faster nevertheless they are going faster, as you have possibly read in number of articles quite possibly on this forum that at the elite level athletes will try to find extra tens of the second everywhere and the biggest gains you can find are during acceleration phase. So how we are going to go about that problem?
Well, trying to change something to allow us to go faster at the first few stages of the race, low heel recovery is the answer for some.

Just a quick question: how come the leg moves where it wants to go? Don’t want to be rude but what do you do during technical training session? In my opinion we have got number of technical models. We are trying to teach, emphasize and reinforce in number of different ways the most efficient technical /biomechanical elements presented by many great athletes. So, after the number of training sessions the leg should eventually go where the athlete/coach want. That’s it.

The low heel recovery is not for everyone nevertheless I don’t know how people can get hurt unless they are violating basic mechanics, overreaching consequently loading ham too much, GAME OVER!

I’m just that amazing of a guy wermouth

pretty much

I believe the start mechanics is different to the rest of the race.

I don’t know if heel recovery is something you should be focused on. Initial acceleration mechanics are different than mechanics at upright full speed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be consciously trying to do something different. To the extent you are thinking about your legs/feet at all, I would recommend simply cocking the foot and stepping straight down, from first step to last. Heel recovery height, knee drive, body lean, etc. will take care of itself and gradually change as you accelerate and come upright. Trying to fine tune your acceleration mechanics any more than that would require hands on coaching.

yea exactly my point too

As a follow up, at least with falling starts, I have found that if I think about stepping down hard on the first step it has the effect of lifting the body (especially the hips) higher off the ground, which allows each subsequent step to occur from a higher point. I’ve also found that because it drives the hips up, it also prevents the torso from popping up too quickly. It will also give you the confidence to fall forward more before you catch yourself, allowing you to achieve a sharper angle to the ground. In contrast, if you think “up” whether it’s lifting the heel or driving the knee you’re more likely to drop the hips and raise the torso.

Block starts are a little more tricky, especially if you’re reacting to a start signal. Like Charlie said, it should almost come as a surprise. You flick the wrist, and the next thing you know you’re five feet in front of the blocks. Keep stepping down and pumping the arms.