Many drills and techniques are intended to make you stronger and progress as an athlete. One concept that you will see integrated into a great deal of Purple Patch training is Bounding. In this article, you will learn what bounding is.
Bounding is a tremendous drill that sprinter’s use to develop massive power on the ground and it is considered a plyometric exercise. Remember, bounding can be done wrong just as easily as it can be done right.
What is NOT Purple Patch Bounding?
- It is not a stand-alone plyometric exercise to increase power and ground reaction force.
- It is not done at maximal effort.
- It is not about how high or how far you get.
- It is not done on super hard or reactive surfaces unless you are very experienced with bounding.
- It is rarely done on anything other than an uphill grade.
What is Purple Patch Bounding?
- It is a great running drill or technique used to improve muscle communication and sequence along the posterior chain.
- It is a lower stress physically and focused primarily on force being applied down and back, not up and away.
- It is generally done on an uphill grade, and ideally on a trail or softer surface (not on asphalt/concrete).
- It is done in short spurts to help us wake up the muscles when we are on a longer and lower stress run.
- It will give a temporary and brief lift in heart rate or ventilation but will subside in 10-20 seconds.
- It is never done for time or pace.
How to Develop Bounding Technique
If you are a bit unsure how to execute bounding within your endurance run, then start out by spending some time at a park bench bounding up to a park bench. With the Park Bench Bounds, you can practice the single-leg version of our bounding exercise which is slightly less complex, and lower pressure on the legs. This will teach you to engage the posterior chain during your run, which serves you well especially during a lighter endurance run where we tend to lose proper running mechanics.
- Begin with the left leg in a high knee position
- Then drive the left leg to the ground, push off the foot, and engage the posterior chain exploding up to allow the right leg to land on the park bench
- Hold that left leg extended for a second or two, feeling full muscle recruitment
- Once complete with 5-10 reps (based on skill level), switch to the other leg.
Start with 3 x 5 bounds to a park bench then extend the reps to 8, and then 10. Once you feel comfortable with 3 x 10 bounds up to the park bench within your run, you will be ready to integrate bounding runs.
Integrating Bounding into Runs
Once you’ve practiced a few times with the park bench bounds and are feeling confident, you can start to integrate bounding exercises into normal endurance runs that call for bounding.
Here are a few tips when building the Purple Patch bounding exercise into your runs:
- Focus on pushing down and back into the ground with your feet. The real focus is applying pressure into the ground and then reacting by lifting your feet.
- You don’t need to do a lot of them to get the benefit. Usually, 10-15 seconds of bounding is enough to really trigger form and break up your run.
- It is ideal to do on uphills, in fact, that is how we coach it, but if that is simply not doable you could try it on a soft surface like a soccer field or mulch-covered trail.
- Pump the arms, drive through the hips, and try to coordinate the upper and lower body.
- Imagine that your big toe is the last thing to touch the ground each step.
In conclusion, if used appropriately you can toss bounding in during any type of run. It shouldn’t be an intense and stressful exercise on your legs, but one you can eventually work into warm ups or cool downs for a tougher key session. Our mission with these movements is to trigger as-close-to-perfect running form without too much stress on the body and true engagement of the posterior chain.