Athletic development specialists dedicated to the art and science of excellence in movement

Drill to Skill: Wall Switch


*Wall switch is a relatively advanced drill that requires similar patterns used in running.  Using the wall helps bridge a gap from ground based exercises to free-standing running.   Give people a chance to succeed before struggling without the support of the wall.  Learn how to move…then learn how to run.    


*Gives feel of transferring power into the ground.  Helps overcome any inhibitions about foot-to-ground contact that some people build due to previous injury.  (See, Movement Reeducation of a 2:29 Marathoner)

*Pause between reps to ensure quality.  Avoid deteriorating into sloppy mountain climbers.  This is not about reps or endurance.  Add consecutive reps if ready, but never let quality slack.     

*Other variation is with heel off the ground.  However, I but would prefer that we demonstrate ability to do heel down first.  Landing with the heel up can hide ankle dorsiflexion and posterior chain limitations.  If someone can do the version shown above, they can also land with the heel up.  Use caution though, as prolonged bouts with the heel up can lead to excess time under tension for the Achilles. 

*Common flaws

  • Round shoulders
  • Bouncing
  • Swaying
  • Hip and/or knee lacking extension
  • Eyes/head looking down.  Stay in line with spine.
  • Head forward
  • Elbows bent. 
  • Change in pelvic tilt.  Some people have natural anterior or pelvic tilt.  This isn’t the place to correct that.  However, ensure the tilt remains how it started throughout the exercise. 

*There are many points required for proper execution of this exercise, but if you need to think about more than one or two, you’re probably not in the right place!  Most cues of good form should happen automatically.  If needed, regress to a less challenging exercise, such as variations in quadruped. 

*That said, this exercise is a regression from free floating drills if the runner lacks a sufficient awareness of posture.  Don’t need to be overly strict with perfect body alignment, but certainly must avoid hunching over or leaning backward, the latter of which is nearly impossible with this drill. 


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