Increasing Stride Length Part #1

What is the key to increasing stride length? Longer strides literally come from the increase in force between your foot and the ground. Since Newton’s Laws of Motion state that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, when you push on the ground while your foot is in contact with it, the ground actually pushes back with an equal force, which then propels you forward. The only way to increase the force between your foot and the ground is to generate more power in your running stride. Like I said in the first speed training post, true power is unlocked when the body is capable of holding the joints in their anatomically correct position and the capacity to move them through their full range of motion. When the body is able to do these things, it will function at its highest level of efficiency. In the last post, the analogy of running in sand was used to show how stride length could be a significant factor in overall speed. Think of the sand in that analogy as being like a body that doesn’t operate efficiently. Just like power was lost because of the sand, power in the body can be lost because of the compromised position of the joints and the inability to achieve full range of motion.

IMG_2101In a nutshell, the muscles around the hip joint become atrophied and imbalanced during the course of our lives due to the inactivity and lack of proper stimulus to those muscles. Muscles become weak, other muscles become tight, and strength imbalances between the muscles develop. Eventually, our body compensates by changing the angle of the pelvis to allow different muscles to take over for tight and underused muscles. The compromised position of the pelvis affects the angle of the spine above it and the femurs below it, which affects the position of the back and shoulders, as well as the knees and ankles. Ultimately, you can see that you get a very poorly aligned skeletal system. We begin to lose functional range of motion in our hip joint as its alignment is further compromised. In the end, our stride length is shortened because of the body’s incapacity to generate its maximum power, as hip alignment is compromised and full articulation of the hip joint becomes impossible.

The question that everything really has been boiling down to is simply this: How do you train for efficiency? We have developed a system of training that allows the body to become extremely efficient. It is based on several principles of the human body, and focuses on 4 Laws that we have developed that provide a framework for all of our training.

The next few posts will really unwrap more about how our bodies tend to lose their efficiency, and how our unique training system specifically combats these inefficiencies in our musculoskeletal system, leading to greater power, longer strides, and faster running.

Loren Sheets

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