A SKIPS DRILL
A-Skips are performed by many elite athletes as part of their warm-up routine, whether in preparation for a race or a workout. A-Skips have become a reliable warm-up exercise because they get key muscles firing for improved strength, efficiency, and injury prevention. A-Skips recruit the primary movers in horizontal propulsion, the glutes and hamstrings. Before we further discuss the many benefits of implementing this drill into your training, lets talk about how to effectively perform this movement.
To perform A-Skips, skip forward in a rhythmic manner while focusing on driving one knee up to a point at which there is a 90 degree angle in the hip, and gaining triple extension in the back leg, pushing all the way through the toes. As you alternate leg drives and strike the ground through the balls of your feet, directly under the hip, finish the stride with a pawing motion, as if to pull the ground towards your rear underneath you. This motion is key in gaining a more powerful stride. Focus on pulling yourself forward by engaging the glutes and hamstrings. Ensure that your heels cycle through high near the butt and that you maintain a proper arm swing. When learning how to perform this drill, it is recommended to walk through the motion and then progress into the skip over time.
There are various benefits of performing the A-Skips drill, but first and foremost, this drill improves an athletes running form. The key to developing proper running form is to imprint proper movement patterns into your muscle memory through motor learning, so that the movement becomes more smooth, accurate, and automatic. Improved movement patterns can be attained through repetitive drills, if performed correctly. In this case, repetitive and efficient performance of the A-Skips drill will improve an athletes running form, specifically in the areas of improved knee lift, foot-strike location, and heel lift during the stride cycle. Gaining a higher knee lift will allow for greater limb acceleration and therefore greater force application into the ground during hip extension. Improving the location that your foot strikes the ground will decrease chance of injury and improve energy expenditure and running efficiency. Gaining a higher heel lift during the stride cycle will decrease the distance that the leg has to travel and increase angular velocity, and therefore limb acceleration prior to the next stride. Along with all of this, The A-Skips drill can improve hip mobility as well as hips flexor and hip extensor strength.
The SpeedMaker enhances this drill making it even more beneficial by providing targeted resistance to the glutes and hamstrings, as to strengthen the key muscle groups. Performing this drill with the SpeedMaker will also allow it to instill on proper running mechanics by promoting an increased knee drive. The SpeedMaker can also promote post activation potentiation if worn during a warm-up prior to competition, providing a period of enhanced muscular performance upon the removal of the device during the following competition.
Please view the video below, in which I demonstrate and describe how to perform the A-Skips drill. Thank you again for visiting the SpeedMaker blog, please comment with thoughts, questions, or drills and exercises that you would like to see in the future.