Racewalking Technique Examples

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Racewalking Technique Examples: Single Support Phase

Racewalker in Single Support Phase of Stride
Racewalker in Single Support Phase of Stride. Ero Fit & Associates LLC ©

What does correct racewalking technique look like? Racewalking coach Judy Heller of Ero-Fit and Associates provides these illustrated photos and comments. The first example is the single support phase of the racewalk stride, demonstrated by Coach Heller.

During the single support phase of the racewalking stride, only one foot is on the ground. It is the moment where the front leg is now straight under the body and the rear leg has finished rolling through the step and giving a powerful push off.

  • Level head, eyes looking forward. It is important not to have the neck tilted forward or backward. Keeping the gaze forward is the correct form.
  • Front leg is straight (no bent knee) from the time of first foot contact with the ground  until the leg passes under vertical during the stride.
  • As the rear foot rolls off the toes, it becomes the advancing leg. Its knee is bent, ankle relaxed and toes pointed towards the ground, and it advances to pass the supporting leg. You see the bent knee moving forward.

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Racewalking Technique Examples: Double Support Phase

Racewalker in Double Support Phase of Stride
Racewalker in Double Support Phase of Stride. Ero Fit & Associates LLC ©

In the double support phase of the racewalking stride. both feet are on the ground. The forward leg must have a straight knee from the time it contacts the ground until it passes under the body.

  • Eyes looking straight ahead, head level, not craning the neck forward or tilting the chin up.
  • Arms bent 85°- 90° at elbow.
  • Swing the arms loosely from shoulders, keep the shoulders relaxed and do not hunch them.
  • Note the position of elbow during back swing. It is high, a position as if you were going to get your wallet out of your back pocket. The elbow is still close to the body, it is not stuck out at an angle away from the body.
  • At completion of the arm swing, the upper arm is parallel with the torso.

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Racewalking Technique Examples: Body Alignment

Two Racewalkers Showing Body Alignment
Two Racewalkers Showing Body Alignment. Ero Fit & Associates LLC ©

This photo shows body alignment during two phases of the racewalking stride.

Front walker: Note the straight diagonal line from ankle to head. She is not leaning forward at the waist, although she is tilted forward it is her entire body that is in forward alignment. This is correct form. You do not want to bend forward at the waist.

Second walker: This walker is in single support phase, with a straight alignment up and down and knee still unbent under her body. Note that her forearm is at waist level. This is correct, you don't want your arms coming up too far during your arm swing, nor do you want them to drop below the waist.

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Racewalking Technique Examples: Heel Strike

Two Racewalkers Showing Foot Positions
Two Racewalkers Showing Foot Positions. Ero Fit & Associates LLC

Heel strike is an important part of the racewalking stride. Your heel must contact the ground in front before your rear foot is raised from the ground. Otherwise, you commit the lifting violation and you are in fact doing a form of running rather than racewalking. You also want to avoid the mistake of overstriding.

  • Advancing leg lands on heel, ankle flexed
  • Leg straight at time of contact
  • The lead foot makes contact before the rear foot looses contact
  • The rear foot rolls off end of toes

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50K Olympian Andrew Hermann in Single Support Phase

50K Olympic Racewalker Andrew Hermann Shows Technique
50K Olympic Racewalker Andrew Hermann Shows Technique. Ero Fit & Associates LLC &copy:

U.S. Olympic Team member Andrew Hermann shows his technique.

  • Note the straight alignment of his ears, shoulders, hip, knee, and ankle.
  • Straight leg under the body during single support phase, while advancing knee is bent.

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50K Olympian Andrew Hermann Racewalking Technique

U.S. Olympic Racewalker Andrew Hermann Shows Technique
U.S. Olympic Racewalker Andrew Hermann Shows Technique. Ero Fit & Associates LLC

U.S. Olympic Team member Andrew Hermann puts it all together with his racewalking technique:

  • Head level, eyes straight ahead
  • Arm at 85°- 90, drive back
  • Advancing leg straight, ready for contact with the ground.
  • Crisp heel plant, rear foot rolls off end of toes

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Racewalking Technique Examples: A Variety

20 Kilometer Race Walk - 2012 London Olympic Games
20 Kilometer Race Walk - 2012 London Olympic Games. Getty Images Sports / Jeff J. Mitchell

Put it all together now and note the many different styles being used by these racewalkers during a race.

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