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Racewalking drills   

What is racewalking?

 

Athletes, Coaches and parents often see drills used and assume that they are relevant and applicable to all athletes in all situations. However it should be remembered that most drills are developed by coaches to address a specific problem in an individual athlete.

 

What I would like to do is look at some of the drills available and consider if they are a general purpose drill or a specific drill and when and where you should employ them. (click on the link to take you to the drill)

 

Notes: All drills and exercises should be conducted under the supervision of a competent coach and you should be fit and injury free. It is your responsibility to ensure you are capable of undertaking any drill and are instructed/supervised by a qualified person.

Technical Rules

 

"Rule 230 IAAF: Race walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground, so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg shall be straightened (i.e. not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position."

 

A copy of the IAAF rules booklet can be downloaded by 'Clicking Here'

 

All IAAF rules and regulations for all events can be found by 'Clicking here'.

 

Conditioning

 

Before attempting any sport you need to ensure you are injury free and have considered what basic conditioning you need to do to prepare your body for the sport.

 

As an absolute minimum you need to have done some core conditioning, have flexible hamstrings, gluteus conditioning, general cardio vascular conditioning and appropriate medical clearance to participate in sport.

 

General drills

 

1. Feet placement: One of the terms often used on racewalking is 'Heel and toe'.  If we look at the rules it says the advancing leg must be straight. This implies the first point of contact will be our heel. Now if we place our foot flat on the ground it is natural to try and bend the knee to allow for that placement.

 

If we bend our knee then we incur a violation of the rules. So keep your foot at 90 degrees on placement and keep it that way as it will help with the progression and speed. Our friends at racewalk.com have a great drill called 'walking on heels' and I would recommend this as one of your initial drills.

 

2. Hill Walking:  Walking is about moving forward. Since we can't run we need to be applying power at all times our foot is in contact with the ground. Our foot must be 'Active' all of the time it is contact with the ground. In normal day of day walking we tend to place our foot on the ground and roll over it in a nice relaxed fashion.

 

In race walking we need to be active. As soon as the foot hits the ground we need to be pulling the foot back under us to apply power. This would seem to be an obvious thing but its not how we naturally walk.

 

So find a hill with a slight incline.  Keep your feet cocked at 90 degree and walk up the hill keeping your knees straight. It feels different  as there is a lot more load on the quadriceps than the hamstring and you can feel your hips taking up more of the load. It gives the athlete the feel for walking where they are active in the pull back after the heel strikes the ground.

 

3. Walk the line:  One of the errors

 
 
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