I remember the first time that I ever bounded for speed. I was a wee sophomore in high school when a graduate from our school – who was playing college football – came back to work out at one of our track practices.
Joe – his real name – came back with some great new drills – including bounding down the football field.
What is bounding? Think of it as exaggerated running. When you bound, you push off hard and fast from the ground with each step. Think of leaping like a gazelle or an antelope. You want to try to float in the air as long as you can before the next foot contact. Then, actively drive your foot into the ground to power your next glide. You want your feet on the ground for as little time as possible. Drive with your arms for full power. This is excellent for explosiveness and to increase your stride length – both key factors in running fast.
You should include different types of bounding for greatest results in your speed training. Try these variations to crank up your speed workouts:
o Regular bounding – drive your knees up to 90 degrees and your elbows back
o Straight leg bounding
o Single leg bounding – remember to do both right and left footed
o Single leg pattern bounding – Right Right Left Left Right Right Left Left Right…
o Combination bounding – straight leg bound for 20 meters then regular bounding for 20 meters
o Bound/Run – bound for 20 meters then sprint for 20 meters
o Double leg bounding – moving forward
o Double leg bounding – moving backward
o Power skips – drive your knee up to 90 degrees to try for maximum height.
o Bound up stairs or bleachers
Bounding should be done for done for 10 to 40 meters or a certain number of foot contacts. Start slowly and build up to the longer distances and number of contacts. Be sure to rest and recover fully between reps. This is not endurance work. Keep your workouts short and intense. Your goal should be to include between 4 and 8 sets in your speed workouts.
Bounding is highly intense exercise. Make sure that you are on a good, forgiving surface and that you don’t bound too often, 2 – 3 times per week is plenty. Also, do not bound on consecutive days, your nervous system will be fried from bounding and will take time to recover, probably even more time than the muscles themselves.