Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Short Fullback Wants to Increase Running Speed

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Short Fullback Wants to Increase Running Speed

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: I read your recent response to the letter concerning athletic speed. I am 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weigh 207 pounds. I just finished college, where I played fullback. I am not ready to hang up my cleats just yet. I can't let go. My problem is speed. I try to work on stride, but have short legs. Nothing seems to work. If you could help me, it would be appreciated.

You need help on a one-to-one basis, and I am limited to theoretical generalizations about speed techniques.

Yes, I did mention one of the key speed factors being length of stride, and certainly that has to be limited somewhat to the length of the legs themselves. But speed also depends on how many fast-twitch muscle fibers with which you were born. A story for another day.

Let me run over a few things you can do to overcome shortcomings:

Don't soar into the air with each step. Be a ground hugger, applying maximum effort to forward movement.

Some achieve speed simply by running in place at fast cadences. I am sure you know what I mean. It helps stride frequency, a second important speed factor.

Try letting your body lean slightly forward when you run. But don't sacrifice balance.

I know from your longer letter just how much this means to you, and I hate to leave matters at such an unsatisfactory juncture. Let me refer you to a source on the subject: the National Strength and Conditioning Journal, Vol. 15, issues 5 and 6 (1993). They contain excellent articles on speed by the experts. You should be able to find them in a large university library. Or a trainer might have them.

I would hope to hear from somebody out there who has overcome the short-leg handicap you mention. Stay tuned.

Good luck. I am betting on you.


Dear Dr. Donohue: I wonder if pregnancy is a proper time to start out on an exercise program. …

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