Use the Heel Up Drill to Increase Running Speed | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Use Science to Increase Running Speed: Heel Up Drill

December 22, 2012 | Raymond Tucker

Must See Speed Videos

Make your science teacher proud and your track coach happy by increasing your running speed with the Heel Up drill. This exercise applies Newton's Third Law of Motion—"for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"—and I can confidently recommend it. Pursuant to Newton's law, the Heel Up drill teaches proper backside mechanics, allowing you to run faster by bringing your heel up in recovery, stepping over the opposite knee and driving the leg down into the ground to apply force.

To better understand the drill, envision your legs movements when you're running or sprinting. It's like a bicycle pedaling action; your support leg is on the ground and your free recovery leg goes into backside mechanics. After the free leg foot touches the ground, it goes into recovery using backside mechanics by coming up underneath the glute, over the opposite knee and back down into the ground.

The Heel Up drill can be performed every day as part of your speed development program. When you first perform it, take your time until you master the technique. Go for 10 yards, then rest. Repeat three times. When you can perform it correctly every time, increase the distance to 15 yards, and then to 20.

Heel Up Drill

  • Stand tall with hips and chest up
  • Head neutral, eyes look straight ahead
  • Shoulders down in natural position
  • Arms at sides; palms face body
  • Raise right knee (free leg); left leg is support leg
  • Bend right arm at elbow, thumb faces right rear pocket (as if you were reaching for your wallet)
  • Bend left arm at elbow and hold it in front in closed position with fingers extended
  • Move down the field slowly, changing from right leg to left by bringing knee up and heel underneath glute with heel fixed in locked position
  • When you feel comfortable with the correct technique, increase speed
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...
Must See
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,363,892
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,187,889
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,556,931

Featured Videos

Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Recover Faster With this Simple Technique Views: 11,358
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 187,524
Abby Wambach Power and Stability Workout Views: 300,640
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 846,993
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 704,420
Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling
Views: 1,170,744
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 880,883
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 19,694,795

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Today's athletes are becoming not only faster but much stronger as well becoming more explosive is one of the top priorities for all athletes as well as...

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

Todd Durkin's 5 Drills for Faster Sprints

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

Supreme Speed: 6 Training Tips from Football's Fastest Man

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Deceleration: The Missing Link for Hockey Speed Training

The 10 Best Speed Exercises for Athletes

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

3 Simple Steps to Get Quick

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

6 Essential Multi-Directional Speed Drills

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism