T Nation

Heels Constantly Drop

Hey guys, I’ve recently noticed that my reactive ability is POORLY lacking. In the past week, I’ve been focusing on how much my heels drop during explosive movements, and it seems like ALWAYS. If I focus on landing on my toes, the speed then lacks. How else can I improve my force absorption other than altitude drops?

Make your calves stronger and learn to aborbs at the knee and hip more. let them all to soak up the load/impact in unison. kind of like dipping under an oly lift sort of.

Thanks, any other advice?


I hope you have been following the conversation over on the Cressey deadlift thread. If so, you realize you are part of the 95% of people out there…

In our system, speed is a factor of two things, relative power + reactivity directed through correct body position.

Relative power starts, and is MOSTLY, relative strength. So while worrying about heel drop is VERY important, if you are not squatting twice your bodyweight by now, it is time to sack up and get in the rack… no excuses. There are exceptions for people who lack leverage (ie, tall and skiiiinnnnyyy), but I was 5’10", and 142 when I first hit a 335 with a BFS beeper… and was 17 at the time. Oh, and I was a WR… you know, the real skinny sissy type. Look again at my weight and height and realize I didn’t even make a decent girl at the time.

So, sack up if you are a weakling.

While working on this aspect, it is good to incorporate a progressive system of plyometrics. Starting from line hops and ankling (foot fires, etc), then progressing to some basic bilateral hops, then onto altitude drops and depth jumps… finally onto overspeed depth work (AMT JUMPS). The progression should take YEARS, not 12 weeks like many tools hope to find in an article.

I guarantee that if you lined up all of the meatball friends you know, you know the type, the ones who have fat lady calves, and had them do calf raises, they could probably calf raise an SUV. And I would bet good money they have heel drop.

Your heel drop is one part strength, and 20 parts speed of contraction. RATE as DB guys call it. So in order to absorb the force, as the other poster correctly stated, you must first have strength, but then you must do your work while manipulating the other variable of power: RATE.

Power = Weight x Rate.

Rate is the varaible that will lead you to ankle stiffness.

Now, let me go back to where I began:

Realtive Strength is of utmost importance, as is reactivity (springiness). All of this must be directed through proper body positioning…

All of this must be worked on in a progressive way to direct your body’s output to the needs of your sport.

So, a football lineman would need much more relative strength work than a soccer player, since the lineman’s domain mostly lies in the Strength-Speed realm, whereas the soccer player exists in the speed-strength mostly… especially if we take ino account the excess mass the lineman must carry to survive.

But, where does your body’s output lie currently?

The key is to hone your own system to have the correct output.

Oh, and every sport has reactivity needs also… some more, some way less. I work with a ton of soccer guys, so efficiency for me is relative strength and tons of bounce to help conserve energy. The last thing a soccer player needs is to “muscle” all of their runs… they would need a break after 15 minutes.

Football players can get away with muscling more, because they can be in far lesser anaerobic / aerobic shape.

I hope this made sense.


Thanks, that helped a ton!
So if I understand correctly, I should raise my squat up to around 2x while doing a progressive plyometrics program?

[quote]sciencewolverine wrote:
Thanks, that helped a ton!
So if I understand correctly, I should raise my squat up to around 2x while doing a progressive plyometrics program?[/quote]

“Train your present needs with respect to your future.”

If you only squat 185, it probably doesn’t matter how much heel drop you have, because you just aren’t strong enough to get any sort of hip or knee extension. Remember that every element you add in to your training induces fatigue.

At Inno-Sport, they do the 4:1 or 6:2 frequency:fatigue cycles, where the frequency sessions are aimed at improving a certain quality and the fatigue sessions are aimed at maintaining or slightly improving another.

I would set up training blocks with your main sessions devoted to maximal strength- if that is indeed your current weakness, which it likely is. As prehab/warmup, do some light, not very fatiguing drills to help start to get that ankle and foot stiffness into gear.

First make sure your calves are strong enough (which they probably are, but if you can only maintain an ISO hold of 80 pounds for 6 seconds… then you need more calf strength), then hit a couple of sets of easy ankling or line hops. Then, after a few sessions devoted to maximal strength, you hit one session devoted to MAG work, with the emphasis on plantar flexion strength- stiff-legged drops being a good example of what you might want to do.

When you get to the point where strength is not the limiting factor, it’s time to start building your MAG or RATE proficiency, while maintaining strength.

That’s just one way to do it, but I think it’s a good way.

Thank JTrin!!


You are correct. If you are still weak,nothing else matters. But along the way to good relative strength, you can mix in a progressive plyo program in a number of different ways.