Dijon Coaching – Heidens Done Correctly


I love Eric Heiden, but I wanted to point out things I have learned from going to great coaches. The French Contrast Ebola on youtube needs to stop. If you can’t do the exercise properly in isolation, combining more poorly done exercises together under fatigue is an accident waiting to fail. I got a call yesterday over severe knee injury (not ACL thank god) because the athlete was doing Heidens after a five exercise complex. This is not Streetfighter Alpha and coaches score points on combos. Here are some rules (old seminar notes) regarding Heidens as it seems my earlier post didn’t work so well in ensuring the basics are done.*

The freeleg should be hovering barely off the ground at hip with apart. Don’t have the foot kicked back, as we are not mules and you don’t see Barry Sanders with his non-support leg. If the free leg is sicking behind, the weight of the leg with increase fishtailing of the hips resulting in poor firing patterns.

Video the activity from both side and front to see depth (side) and stability (frontal) as the movement pattern is better when the foot contact is smarter. I noticed that Werner Gunthor is heel to toe while moving forward and this is not because of the mullet. Second he drives the knee forward so he doesn’t cross the freeleg foot past the support leg.

Don’t use bands to increase distance or power, use a light vest if needed. I have worked with athletes who use the bands to help lateral power and they can’t absorb. Guys we often tear ACLs because of rotational eccentric actions, why are we training to not include this while enhancing concentric starting for agility?

Don’t pack the Neck! Proprioception is about leveraging the ability to see down the field. Use a mirror if needed as we need to be able to not look down while we do the exercise.

Engage the glutes more by keeping the back in extension, getting the weight on the entire foot (not tory) and stick the landing. This means one should think about liftoff work with clean pulls (to knee extension) and get prepared for gravity if they can’t do this dynamically.

Lateral lunges and squats with good single leg squat strength and hops are things that help create the strength and skill to do it right. If you can’t master those exercises don’t add complexity and demand with fatigue.

* Those above tips are notes I have from the 1990s that Neil Baroody and the rest of the group are translating from Spanish and French in his manual. I suggest investing in it as my blog is going down in late August as I am on vacation and need to write a thesis paper.

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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