Little Known Secrets of Speed Training That Will Make You Faster in Days
Part 3 of 4 - The Pull Phase
Here I am going to finish breaking down the running process and talk about the third and final phase, and that’s the pull phase. This is where your hip or thigh extensor muscles play yet another major role.
This pull phase is a very unique phase of the running process, and one that I am certain most athletes don’t even know about and so what you learn here is certainly going to give you an immediate advantage over your opponents and help you take your game to the next level.
And if you recall, the pull phase, combined with the swing phase that we talked about in the last article, determines how fast your turnover rate will be and this ultimately affects your running speed and therefore we are going to talk about this in more detail here as well.
So let’s get right to it and start by taking a look at the pull phase in action in this video:
The Motion and Muscles of the Pull Phase
The Role of the Hamstrings in Running
Now as I mentioned in the video, your hamstrings play a huge role in this phase and they do so acting primarily as hip extensors or thigh extensors; but most athletes typically only think of them as knee flexors, where you may have trained them in the past on a leg curl machine.
And if you think leg curl machines are really going to help your running speed a lot, then think again.
First of all, leg curl machines are excellent machines and you should do these exercise whenever necessary, however they only train the lower part of your hamstring muscles for knee flexion and that particular movement does not make up a big part of the sprinting motion.
Instead it’s the upper part of your hamstrings, that are attached to your pelvis, that extend the hip or thigh backward; that is the more dominant action during the running motion as seen in this pull phase.
So your hamstrings (semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris long head), along with your gluteus maximus muscle are very powerful hip extensors, and they drive this pull phase, but they need to be targeted properly to affect your running speed.
The Importance of the Pull Phase
Now, this pull phase is the shortest of all the phases, however, it is an extremely critical phase because not only does it affect your speed while you are running, it actually helps you get off to a quicker start from a motionless or a still position during any athletic activity.
This is because before you can start to run, your body has to lean forward a little and lower itself a bit first to force the knee and hip into flexion because these two positions are necessary to initiate the running process from an upright stance.
And if you recall from the video you just watched, hip flexion and knee flexion are characteristic with the start of the pull phase. So developing a quicker and stronger pull phase is an extremely important skill to have as an athlete.
If you are a baseball player, it will help you get up to speed during the first few steps coming out of the batter’s box and racing down the line to first base. It will also help you get a good jump if you are looking to steal second base.
In basketball, where your direction changes all the time, it helps you get a quicker start to steal a pass or dive for a loose ball, plus it will make you a much better defender by improving all of your anticipation skills which are necessary to get you into the more dominant position to totally shut down your opponent.
The pull phase also initiates the momentum necessary to jump higher and farther and it helps you to accelerate your legs just before you punt or kick a ball.
So it is a very big deal for an athlete to be able to access more speed and power when they need to and separate themselves from the competition and developing a more powerful pull phase will help you with this.
Training for a Quick and Fast Pull Phase
Now along with the swing phase that we talked about in the last article, the pull phase is often overlooked by a lot of athletes simply because there is no real good equipment in the gym to simulate the movement in the proper planes of motion for this running phase.
And like the swing phase, there was probably never any importance placed on it in the first place. So the pull phase is definitely an area for you to look forward to improving as you continue to grow into a more competitive athlete.
Now you might say that you are already training your hamstrings and glutes so what’s the big deal?, but then I have to ask, what exercises are you doing to simulate the exact motion that these muscles are needed for the pull phase?
What you might come to find out is that, sure, you may be training them, but only for the push phase. Again, squats, leg presses and leg curls won’t affect this pull phase the way they need to.
You might also have a little success with tying a parachute or weight sled to your waist and running down the track or field, but remember what I said about fast twitch muscle fibers really responding to isometric training with the resistance band?
Well, it just so happens that your hamstrings are loaded with fast twitch fibers too, but if you burn them out with heavy training exercises, you are stripping away all the elastic stretch potential in your muscles and tendons needed for speed, and again, you can feel this by how slow you are after a heavy workout.
Remember, your fast twitch fibers contract really fast and are very strong, but they fatigue or get tired really quickly.
So, if you are only engaging in an exercise routine that burns these muscle fibers out, again and again, each time you get to the track or gym, then you are working against the natural speed instincts of the muscles; and your conditioning is taking them away from a speed function towards an endurance function and that can actually hurt your speed.
So while you need to do these types of exercises for strength, where athletes get caught is when they mistakenly overdo them by trying to perform a repetition faster and faster and thinking that what they are doing is all of a sudden a speed training program; because it’s not; it’s really an accelerated endurance program.
A good example of this is burning out your muscles by running down the field as fast as you can with a parachute tied behind you and thinking you are training your muscles for speed.
And this excessive type of training can reduce your speed and quickness especially if extra weight is added to muscles that don’t play any major role in your athletic skill. If that occurs, it simply becomes excess baggage and carrying these extra pounds won’t make you as an efficient of a runner or as fast a runner as you can be.
Now the pull phase is also very important to your top end running speed because when it is combined with the swing phase, it makes up and affects your turnover rate.
Your turnover rate, if you recall, is defined as how fast you can recycle your legs through both the swing phase and pull phase and then back around to the start of the push phase so you can repeat the running process again and again.
So Let’s take a look now at both of these phases in action in this next video:
The Turnover Rate
Now the Run Faster program, Jump higher program, and kick farther program all have specific exercises needed to improve all three phases of running, including the pull phase which you just saw here.
The exercises in these training programs all use the resistance band with an isometric training strategy for speed and are unlike anything you have ever done.
One of the biggest differences that people notice, is that when they use our programs, they don’t get tired or fatigued afterward, instead, they feel lighter, faster and more responsive and this is usually a very unique feeling for athletes the first time they try our programs.
Next: How to Train Muscles For Speed
And so for those of you who may be interested in all the details about how and why using the resistance band with an isometric training strategy makes your muscles faster, I’m going to talk about this in greater detail than I ever have before in the next article so make sure you read it for all of this important information!
"I looked thru this website numerous times & was skeptical as any. Downloaded 14 day challenge for my son who is a HS sophomore.
First track meet on March 30, he ran a 12.75 100m. On April 30, he ran 11.75 and is now 5th fastest in the conference.
This was a 1 second improvement in just 14 days and only one of the exercises.
I will definitely be ordering the "Run Faster" package to see how much more he can do. Thank you Athletic Quickness."
"We have tried many different approaches to speed training for my sons. Having played college football myself, I realize the importance of speed and quickness and that it seperates the stars from the average players.
We have tried Nike Sparq, parachutes, pulling weighted sleds, plyometrics, leg weights and sprints uphill and downhill, and the only approach we found that actually increased leg turnover (speed and quickness), was the resistance bands and the program through AthleticQuickness.com.
Although my son was already very talented and fast, there are many kids that are at an elite level, and I do believe that these bands has given him an advantage over his competition.
He was an All-State WR as a Junior, and is currently one of the top WR's in the West and receiving recruiting attention from many of the top Pac-12 programs along with many great programs throughout the country."
Greg Wiechers and son Hayden
"I have been trying everything to get my forty time down. I was blessed to get the opportunity to play college football with my forty being around 5.3 as a receiver coming out of high school.
After 4 years of hard work I got it down to about 4.85 which is what someone timed me at 2 weeks ago.
I did the workout for 2 weeks and amazingly dropped my time to the mid 4.5's from the one workout!!
I wish I had this program years ago. I am about to order the whole program to get ready for my last year of football. Thank you!!
Jason - University Park, il
This program cannot even be described in words, how amazing the results are and how much it has changed my life in almost everyway!!!
In just one thigh flexor excersise and it improved my 40 time 3 TENTHS OF A SECOND!!! AND KNOCKED OFF 4 TENTHS OF A SECOND in my 100 yard dash!!!!
This program is INCREDIBLE and I would recommend this to anyone who has thought of getting faster for just a split second!!
I cant wait unill next football season to show off my new speed! THANK YOU SOO MUCH!
Alex - Naperville, Il
"While my son has excelled at football for a couple of years we knew that he needed to improve his speed going into this past season. Last December I purchased your "Sprint - Faster" program.
He is 10 years old and in 4 months we doubled his speed. Doubled!!!!
He had his best season...he was light on his feet, had good straight ahead speed and played linebacker and carried the ball successfully.
He plays and acts like a new kid. Thank you."
Phillip S. - Downers Grove, IL Speed Challenge Participant
"I recieved the run faster training guide and bands for Christmas 2011. At first I was a little skeptical, but in a week I dropped .2 seconds off of my forty.
I still didn't believe yet. After doing this training for two months, I went from running an embarrassing 5.65 to a 4.84.
I could't believe it I have now also purchased the jump higher training guide, to help me in both basketball, football, and track. I play point/shooting guard in basketball, and I play wide receiver in football so speed, quickness, agilty, and vertical are all important in those three sports.
I back this product 100%. I've tried lifting, jumping rope, and doing cone and ladder drills to get faster, but I did NOT gain much speed.
I found this speed training program while looking online for ways to get faster with a friend who has also gotten a lot faster, as well.
I am now one of the fastest players on my team and continuing to get faster. I can make moves on the basketball court that I couldn't before and I'm about two weeks of training away from grabbing the rim. VERY exciting for me!
I would like to thank you for coming up with these training techniques and allowing to unlock my full athletic potential. "
Jal P., Salt Lake City, Ut Speed Challenge Participant
"I have what I consider wonderful success with the bands. Here's my story.
Just for the record I played defensive end at a major college and at my peak I was running consistant 4.7 40's with some in the high 4.6 range at 257 lbs. So I have had some athletic abilty and am coachable.
At 52 I started doing triathlons on a lark...someone challenged me and of course I responded! I was a horrible 208 out 220 male finishers. But I still got hooked and 10 more tri's over a 2 year period I had steadily gotten faster. My weakness was the run off the bike on tired legs.
In the off season I have been doing half marathons and road races I found that I could keep a pace forever but really didn't have that high end kick to finish. Aerobically I felt tired but not totally spent!
I went on the internet came across your website and it made sense to me.
So I followed your program for 5.5 weeks then ran a personal record for a half marathon. I was estatic but thought it was due to my track work and I really didn't try to kick it at the end.
I had my first triathlon 2 weeks later and wanted to still be fresh! Another 1.5 weeks of band work then taper for the tri.
My usual tri results of last season were top 25% swim - 10% bike - bottom 20% run... with overall being a little over 55% for my age group and overall tri.
This time it was different on the run. I was 1 minute and 16 seconds faster per mile than my best time last season ( my times always have gone down over the 5 month season). So needless to say I was pumped!
My first podium finish in my age group - 1st and top third overall!!!!
Look I am still a big guy 6' 3" and 220 lbs .... I was 35 lbs heavier than anyone eslse who won a medal and was almost the oldest!!!!
But this was the first time I felt I could kick ... the quarter was extremely fast for me!!!
Thanks for listening !