SKIPS FOR HEIGHT

Skipping, while an enjoyable activity for children, can be surprisingly beneficial for athletes. Skips for height is another plyometric drill because it involves rapid and repetitive stretching and contracting of the muscle fibers involved, with the goal focused on improving power. This is a rhythmic movement with exaggerated arm swing and knee drive, focused on gaining as much vertical propulsion possible through utilization of triple extension in the hip, knees, and ankles. Training with movements involving triple extension is critical because this is the same action utilized to create horizontal propulsion during acceleration. Its importance has to do with the transfer and summation of forces. When several joints and muscle groups are used in a skill, their sequence and timing of contraction are very important. A continuous, flowing, successive movement pattern produces a summation of forces. The force generated by one contraction is transferred and built upon by the force generated from the subsequent contraction, and so on. The correct sequence and timing allows the athlete to attain maximal force development and application. In the classic triple extension movement, the hip, knee, and ankle joints fire rapidly, nearly simultaneously, to create a summation of forces.

 

A way to simply test the summation of forces, is through the vertical jump. Attempt a vertical jump as high as possible while keeping your arms by your side. Then try again, this time using a powerful arm swing. The force generated from rapidly swinging the arms forwards and upwards was transferred down the joints and built upon, generating a larger force that was applied into the ground as compared to the jump without an arm swing.

 

Now that you comprehend the importance of the movement, lets discuss how to perform it effectively. To perform skips for height, push off the ground with triple extension of the hip, knee, and ankle. Drive the front knee up and remain in the air gaining as much height as possible prior to the next stride. Forcefully drive the arms to improve power, and contact time on the ground should be as short as possible. The benefits of performing this drill include, Improved explosive power during hip extension and increase stride length while decreasing the time that the foot remains on the ground. This drill teaches the athlete how to generate explosive power in the glutes and hamstrings and how to effectively perform the triple extension action. The SpeedMaker enhances this drill by providing resistance against the action to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. Please view the video below, in which I demonstrate and describe how to perform the wall acceleration 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.