Shuffling and Stiffness

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Building on the excellent post of Dave’s presentation on eccentric strength I decided to focus on the evolution of the taller athletes in regard to shuffling. The video above is a side view of Dayron of his run at Paris last year and it illustrates his specific joint angles with shuffling. Shuffling is a skill that is necessary for athletes that are taller and faster at the elite level, and it allows hurdlers to keep a great rhythm when between hurdles. Shuffling is similar to skipping a rock on the water, where the stiffness at the knee and ankle allow the transmission of speed off the hurdle (providing the center of mass doesn’t drop too much from too much height-therefore killing the momentum) into the next barrier. The shuffling prevents getting jammed or crowded at take off and allows cleaner races to occur. Shuffling begets shuffling as each hurdle echos the previous execution (be it precise or with baggage) enabling a great flight path over each obstacle.

Training stiffness can be summarized as shortening and tightening at specific times. This requires constant observation and a keen and attentive ear for steps. The main aspect of shuffling is keeping an emphasis on front side mechanics and small joint angles and your arm carriage must reflect this. Eccentric strength and light stiffness work via short hops or actual drill work will bleed in over time so long as the other elements are in balance. You can’t transfer shuffling ability if your air mechanics are ruining the work of the ground mechanics. Below is a video of Xiang and the sound quality is enough to get the idea of quickness vs power.


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Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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