Sprinting and Muhammad Ali Have One Thing In Common…
Have you ever had the chance to stand next to a great sprinter and watch him or her strike the ground?
It is quite remarkable. The grace at which they do it, and the power that comes from it is what makes them great sprinters.
While growing up, one of the things my dad and I loved to do together was watch boxing. I couldn’t wait to watch a good fight. Of course, growing up at the time I did gave me the chance to watch some of the greatest fights of all time. I am speaking of all of Muhammad Ali’s fights with Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, and George Forman. Even the fights with Sugar Ray and Hitman Hearns, Wilfred Benitez, and Haglar were just as spectacular.
What was amazing to watch with these fighters, unlike the Tuesday night fight of the week lower level boxers, is the ability of the top boxers to strike with such coordination and snap.
Let’s Take a Closer Look…
Great boxers and sprinters do the work early to prepare to strike. They have impeccable loading and unloading of the limbs and when they strike the ground, in the sprinters case, it is with great power. However, because they strike the ground with the leg at nearly full extension (not quite full extension, but the joints are extended quite a bit) they have a great elastic return of all that energy built up early in the preparation phase.
If you were to watch film of novice sprinters and watch in slow motion from the side-view, you would notice how much knee and hip bend they achieve. This doesn’t allow for as much impulse and energy coming back from the ground. In contrast, the elite sprinter strikes the ground and the knee and hip are much straighter, hips are taller, and posture is vertical. Because of this, the energy and impulse is much greater.
Just like being a great boxer who strikes with supreme coordination of the limb, a sprinter must develop this same ability with the leg striking the ground. This is why it takes years to develop sprint coordination at the highest level.
Be an Ambassador of Speed!
*Image Source – http://www.wenn.com