Ahead of this week’s J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby Sevens Series, Gemili and Kwakye spent time with London Wasps players to help them get in shape for the frenetic pace and power needed to come out on top.
‘The tournament will be played at a very high intensity and speed will be the key factor to help them win,’ says Gemili. ‘So we took them through what we call the Max Velocity Hurdles to help them run faster and more efficiently. This is the bread and butter of what we do in training. It’s the most important thing to help develop your technique and it helped me drop nearly a second off my 100m time.’
Drill: max velocity hurdles
Gemili uses this drill three times a week in training to hone in on a sub-10 second sprint and it’s simple enough for you to try yourself.
Space out shin-high hurdles along a track or straight line between 40m to 100m. If you’re just trying to improve acceleration and speed for sport 40m is far enough but if you’re training to set a new 100m PB (and you have enough hurdles) set them out for the full track.
The distances between them should start small as you take short strides to accelerate and get further and further apart, ending up at somewhere between seven to ten feet apart (this is for Gemili so use appropriate distances you feel comfortable with).
This will teach you to bring your knee up as high as you can, which will increase your stride length and, ultimately, your top speed.
Gemili says: ‘You’ve got to go really fast. If you try and go slow, the hurdles will catch you out and you’ll clip them. Get comfortable with this drill until it feels natural. You’ll forget the hurdles are even there and find your sprint times getting better and better.’