This is an excellent ancillary exercise that can be done on flat ground or even a slight incline. Like the skipping drill described earlier, the focus here isn’t on how fast you can cover ground but rather on making sure that you’re employing proper form and exhibiting explosiveness.
“Power equals force times velocity, and to improve both you need to work on both,” says Mike Roberts, a 9:29 Ironman, physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. “Bounding will do this and is as specific to running as you can get.”
As with any other new addition to a training program, proceed with caution when introducing bounding into your regular routine. Bounding is a very ballistic movement and can cause injury if too much is done too soon.
“If you purely want to work on power, then it has to have an explosive component,” Roberts says. “These can be killer and are very stressful on the body.”
After an easy run or a short warm-up of 10 to 15 minutes, Roberts recommends starting with a slow jog to build some momentum before building into a forward bound, driving the knee of your lead leg up into the air while exploding off your back leg. Land on your lead leg and continue propelling yourself forward in this manner for 30 to 40 meters. Initially, one to two sets is plenty. As you start to perfect your form and strengthen your main movers, slowly add sets until you can comfortably complete six to eight in a given session.
For a different stress and the added benefit of working with resistance, try bounding on a very gradual incline of 4 to 5 percent. The incline naturally promotes knee lift and encourages perfect form. It takes power to propel yourself up the hill, so if you’re not driving off your back leg properly, you won’t get anywhere.
“The dose should be determined by the athlete’s resiliency, volume and training history,” says Roberts. “Start slowly and progress gradually.”