Stride frequency is the number of strides over time and distance. "Stride frequency has everything to do with becoming a solid track runner," says Chris Stewart, associate strength and conditioning coach to the nationally ranked Tennessee Volunteers men's T&F team. "By increasing your stride frequency, you decrease time between steps, and ultimately become faster."
To increase stride frequency, you must reduce the time your foot is in contact with the ground. The longer the contact, the slower you'll be. "You want to strike the ground with the ball of the foot underneath the hip with your toes up, so you'll have a quicker cycle to get it up," Stewart says. "If your foot strikes in front of your hip, you'll shorten your stride frequency and increase your chance of a hamstring injury."
Stewart prescribes the Partner Shin Raise 3 times a week to help strengthen his athletes' tibialis anterior muscles [on the front of the shins], which in turn increases their stride frequency.
Partner Shin Raise
Sit on bench with feet off end
Slowly point toes forward
Pull toes back toward body
Sets/Reps/Rest time: 3/15/30-60 seconds
Stewarts secrets: Keep back flat and head in a neutral position // Raise your chest while sitting // Don't use such heavy weight that you can't control the movement // Partner should provide enough resistance so exercise is a struggle
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock