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This quick primer on race walking technique defines proper textbook form and is an excerpt from the book Race Walk Clinic - in a Book.

Race Walking Legs

Text Book Race Walking Technique - Swing Leg
Figure 8
Text Book Race Walking Technique - Swing Leg
Figure 9

Text Book Race Walking Technique - Swing Leg
Figure 10

Text Book Race Walking Technique - Swing Leg
Figure 11
Text Book Race Walking Technique - Swing Leg
Figure 12
Text Book Race Walking Technique - Swing Leg
Figure 13

Figures 9 through 12 shows the foot swinging through as low to the ground as possible. This averts loss of contact problems that might occur if you drive your foot too high coming through your stride. If your foot is too high, you might have a propensity to drive the leg up instead of forward, thus making you at risk of visible loss of contact and getting disqualified.

Figures 9 through 12 show Tim’s progression as his rear foot leaves the ground (Figure 9) until just after the same foot strikes the ground in front of the body. When his rear foot leaves the ground, it swings forward with the leg flexed at the knee (Figure 9 - 11). Note the constant angle between his upper and lower leg during this phase. Once he begins straightening his leg, he uses his quadriceps to extend it (Figures 11, 12, and 8). Finally, his foot makes contact with the ground and his leg is straightened and no longer flexed at the knee (Figure 8).

To remain efficient, race walkers must pay careful attention to how their legs swing forward after push off. Your leg should move forward with the knee as low to the ground as possible. This motion stems from proper hip action, explained later. While some upward motion is necessary to lift the foot off ground, it should be minimized. Therefore, when the rear foot lifts up, it rises only an inch or two off the ground. This is seen throughout Figures 9 to 12. By the time your foot swings in front of your body, it is almost parallel with the ground (Figure 12).

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