Open up stride (lower leg kick)?

Ok, when your knee raises and the lower leg kicks out…

A) Should we limit the kick out?

B) should we minimize kick out, after foot has allready extended pass knee?

Arguments for either as far as I can see;

When the stride opens up with relaxed kick out, it is harder for hammies to exert force, the longer the muscle and further way the ankle from hip joint, harder for hammies to whip back lower leg with as much force.(that’s the theory of muscle length & contraction force according to some )


When the leg kicks out nice and relaxed, it apparently allows quads to spend more time shooting out the leg or something, which enables hams etc… to throw down the leg more powerfully. (That was possibly the crappest sentance I have printed on this website.)

So what are we to do?
I don’t force anything in a sprint, but it is easy to work on things in specialised power-speed drills etc…
Just by being more relaxed with the hammies the lower leg will kick out further, isn’t sprinting about relaxation? But how far or long do we let the relaxation go on for before the hammies HAVE to whip back lower leg?

What do we want to achieve?
I don’t want my stride to become short and choppy, but I don’t want to lose the power either.
Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson had a kick out for sure, where-as Carls teammate Leroy Burrell did not allow the lower leg to whip out as far.
Niether did Bob Hayes.

wouldnt it depend a lot on flexibility? maybe not necessarily something that you consciously choose to do, it just happens depending on the level of flexibility.

front side mechanics should happen natually if your posture is correct and the biomotor abilities are in place (power/ ecc. strg/reactivity)

Sprinting is not about taking long strides, or trying to cover more ground. NO.
Sprinting is moving/displacing your Center of Mass. Whoever does it faster, wins.

No dissrespect, but you both miss-interpreted my point.

This has got nothing to do with forcing a long stride. Both versions of the drill do not focus on either extended/forced triple extension, and niether forced knee lift.

This is all about when we throw the leg down in a power speed drill, that is desighned to strengthen hammies for the down-stroke of the leg during the sprint stride.

I should have been clearer on this.

Certain power/speed drills are good, others are not…

One drill is a step over drill where you have 2 options.
After the step over you can either;

A) LET the lower leg whip out via relaxation.

B) Not let the lower leg whip out as far by forcing the thigh down as soon as the foot has moved to under knee of same raised leg.(when knee is way out in front ofcourse.)

B feels far more powerfull (power builder) than A, where-as A is obviously more relaxed.

Which way should this power speed drill be done?
Any of the big guns want to chip in?

i find it better to not extend your leg out. It is better to just learn to put your leg into the ground and have your leg not land too far ahead of your hips.

remember you want to have power into the ground.

Would this bring the following question in to the debate?

The amount of power you throw into the ground (I like the way you word it),
versus the amount of negative foot speed of the lower leg whipping backwards? (which is faster when the lower leg kicks out a bit more in the first place?
Though Charlie Francis has said simmilar to you in that you should no reach forwards as that would make hips drop and foot striking further in front of c.o.g.

i know this isn’t in direct response to the initial question, but i feel it has some relationship. i remember the john smith camp advocating an active foot placement i.e. putting your foot down on the track. on the other hand, tom tellez advocates letting the foot find the track naturally. i would argue that the hsi approach would limit the kick out more than the tom tellez approach and vice versa. however, the exact reasons for each argument i’m not entirely sure. i know i haven’t answered the question, but i may have opened up another related discussion and possibly directed you to where you may be able to get more information.

Very interesting debate.

I have also wondered the same things.

I would let the runners run! (someone around this forum said that once…lol)

Make the stride natural- just let it happen, train appropriately through drills and strength work. Over time the athlete will get faster and better adapted to handling speed.

All runners look different due to varied lever lengths and torso sizes where not all will look the same. I’d never want to mimick the look of another runner because they ran fast, mimick the process but not the style.


There’s another thread on this already- check the archives