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Orange County, California

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  • Greg Hodel

What is "scissoring your legs?"


The person in the picture is probably just warming up. Scissoring the legs is not what is shown in this picture. Scissoring is when one thigh is brought forward at the same time the other thigh is moving backward. Well, doesn't this happen every time you run?


No. To identify whether the scissor is occurring, you just have to see the position of the trail knee relative to the other foot when it contacts the ground. If they are aligned under the hips, then the legs probably scissored properly. In the picture, not only is the heel contacting first, but the trail leg probably will not be even with the foot when it contacts the ground. When you are running upright in a speed maintenance phase, you can also check to see that the knees are even at contact. In the acceleration phase, the knee will be even with the contacting foot because the contacting leg is bent.


A position like the one shown in the picture may be a result of a passive front leg that is not pulling the foot to accelerate it backward in the air before striking the ground. The trail leg is also passive in that the hamstring is not curling it to shorten the length of the leg and allow it to swing forward faster. To focus on scissoring, the hamstring and hip flexor of the trail leg need to be active at the same time the glutes are pulling the lead leg down and back. This allows the legs to cross under the hips at contact with the ground.

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