Develop Speed With the High Knee Drill

December 7, 2012 | Raymond Tucker

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If you truly want to increase your speed, I recommend the High Knee Drill. Although it's considered basic, it's one of the best drill progressions you can do, because it improves your running form and flexibility while strengthening your hip flexors and stabilizers. Plus, at the same time, it teaches the key to running fast: proper foot landing mechanics when applying force into the ground.

The High Knee Drill is good warm-up to get your body prepared for sprinting. Start by performing sets for 10 yards, and work up to 20 yards. Focus on form and mechanics, and use a slow progression before trying advanced speed development drills. Always instill the best drill pattern into your motor program before advancing to a new drill.

Starting Position

  • Stand tall and relaxed with head in neutral position, eyes straight ahead, shoulders down, arms at sides and hips tall
  • Raise right knee up to waist with toes up and good positive shin angle
  • Shoulders should be relaxed, not in a shrug position
  • Right arm should be bent at elbow, thumb should be facing rear right pocket, as if you were reaching for your wallet
  • Left leg (support leg) should be extended at the ankle, knee, and hip (triple extension)
  • Arm should be in closed position in front of body, hand open with fingers extended at chin level (no higher)
  • From this position, prepare for landing by bringing right knee down, maintaining proper shin angle with toes up
  • Land on balls of feet four inches in front of waist
  • Bring left knee up and follow the same form
  • Be sure to apply force into the ground each time you make contact

Coaching Points

  • Keep back straight throughout drill
  • Do not lean forward
  • Do not sit back on heels
  • Keep hips tall
  • Move arms and legs as fast as you can with correct form, but move down the field as slowly as you can, not as fast as you can
  • The key is in the repetitions: how many times can you cycle your arms and legs in 10 yards?

Push your speed training further with the High Knee Pump Speed Drill.

Topics: SPEED DRILLS
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
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