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How to Have Proper Foot Strike

Learn how to have proper foot strike from sprinting coach Shane Paul Neil in this Howcast video.


Hi. My name's Shane Paul Neil from City Coast Multisport. Today I'm going to be talking about running form in terms of your actual foot strike while sprinting. Your foot strike is very, very important in sprinting for a couple of reasons.

A, for optimal speed and efficiency and B, to avoid injury. Unlike normal running, sprint runners run exclusively on their toes. The reason for this is with a heel strike it actually forces you to slow down. Picture Fred Flintstone driving his car. When he wanted to hit the brakes, he dropped his heel down. That's how he slowed down. Now imagine doing that every step for a 100-meter race, a 400-meter race and so on. The other reason is that it actually minimizes the amount of force that your body takes on.

Sprinters can take anywhere from eight to 10 times their body weight in force every single step. Dropping their heel will only exacerbate that more and cause pressure to come up through the leg to the hips, lower back and cause other injuries from prolonged sprinting and prolonged improper form. One of the things you want to be very mindful of is that your foot strikes directly under your hip again to avoid that stop motion which can result in excessive force to your lower body, your hips and your lower back.

Another thing that sprinters do that's a little bit different from a distance runner is we do what's called dorsal flips. We will point our toe up in order to give ourselves a firmer platform before our forefoot strikes the ground. That way A, you have more a responsive platform for your foot to come off increasing your speed and efficiency and B, it reduces the likelihood of you rolling your ankle and causing other injuries. That's proper sprinting form in regard to the foot strike.

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