Don’t Skip The Skipping

The other day, I got a few questions from my athletes about why I program certain things into the warm-up/movement prep, specifically skipping.  After explaining my rationale on why I incorporate skipping, I decided to share my answer with everyone!  

First thing,  I do my best to have purpose behind the warm-up/movement prep I have my athletes go through.  The skipping drills I include into the warm-u

p will help the athletes develop single leg force production, upper/lower body coordination and stability in the core.  Good stuff, right?  Bottom line, skipping can be beneficial for improving speed and power and this is ultimately why I add it into the warmup.

I have found that skipping is not necessarily easy for a lot of our athletes, even the older ones.  The biggest obstacle I encounter is the actual timing of the skip and the contralateral rhythm of the arms and legs. Contralateral rhythm refers to the movement of the arms and legs in opposition, such as driving the left knee up, while swinging the right arm up.  It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, but an easy one to learn. You’ d be surprised how many different variations of skips you’ll see.

 

The variations of skips I have the athletes perform are what I call “power skips” and “short skips”.  I know, pretty simple names.  The goal of the power skip is to produce force through triple extension.  I have two variations of the power skips.  One is with a vertical skip, where the goal is height and then a horizontal skip, where the goal is distance.  On the other hand, the short skip is lower to the ground and I want the athletes to “pop” off the ground after each foot strike. The goal is produce force with fast leg separation.  

The mechanics of the skips are very similar, I just have a different focus for each skip variation. When I coach an athlete how to skip, I first want to just watch them skip. From there I can make corrections and give cues, if need be.  I usually start from the top of the body and work down when talking about form.  So, I created a list of things that make me happy and sad, pertaining to skipping.

 

How to make the coach happy 🙂

  • Keep your torso upright, your core tight and your head neutral
  • Keep your elbows at 90 degrees and tight to your sides
  • Keep your fingers loose and open
  • Bring your knee up on every step, keeping your foot in front of your center mass and your toes pulled up
  • Extend your leg quickly and punch the ground with the ball of your foot as you skip
  • Move your arms in a contralateral rhythm with your legs (remember opposite leg moving with opposite arm)

How to make the coach sad 🙁

  • Bending forward from your trunk, not maintaining a stiff core
  • Place your knees and hands out of your mid-line
  • Strike the ground with your heels
  • Extend your elbows out from your sides
  • Loose ankles and pulling your feet behind or under your body  

If you’d like to get your athlete started at BFP and see if it’s a good fit, check out our 6 Week High Performer Program here.

Strength Coach,

Silas Perreault