There’s a saying in sports that speed kills.
It kills those that don’t have it. This is true. In any athletic event, speed is essential. This is never more true than when it comes to sprinting. I started sprinting back in junior high and progressed all the way to competing past college. If there’s one thing I learned, shaving even a tenth of a second off your time is the difference between first place and last place. And that tenth of a second doesn’t come easily.
Think back to the last Olympics and the sprinting events. What do you remember?
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You probably remember Usain Bolt distancing himself from everyone in both the 100 meter & 200 meter events. Well how exactly is that possible? One of the more likely things is his genetics giving him a certain amount of Type II muscle fibers amongst other gifts, but additionally there are several actionable training steps he likely took to develop his sprinting speed & power. And those same steps can be applied to your training as well, if your goal is to get faster at sprinting. • Strength Training-hamstrings-core strength-legs
• Form/Technique Drills-arms
• Sled Exercises-resisted sprints, heavy sled
• Actually Sprint But what is speed exactly?
Iwould stay it has to do with covering more ground in the shortest time possible. Take 100 meters for example. Covering it in world record time much like Bolt takes speed, and he accomplishes that in having a larger stride length but also an increased frequency. In addition, there is a greater power output, meaning the greater the amount of force you can put into the ground, the faster you’ll be. Strength Training Strength is all about the maximum amount of force your muscle can produce.
And when it comes to sprinting, it’s about the amount of force you can put into the ground. One of the best ways to increase the amount of force you put into the ground is by strength training. For starters, increasing the strength in your lower body with exercises like squats, deadlifts, and different lunge variations will carry over into improving your sprint speed.
In addition, you’ll want to improve your core and hamstring strength. Strength builds speed! Plyometrics By performing a series of skipping, hopping, and jumping exercises, you can develop explosive power that will carry over into your sprints.
If strength is about HOW MUCH force you can produce, power is all about HOW QUICKLY you can produce that force.
The quicker you can produce force, the better and faster you’ll bee. What basically happens when you sprint is a series of single leg plyometric exercises over a certain distance.
The faster you are able to load the movement & muscles, and then unload, the more speed you will develop. Examples of plyometric exercises include bounding, box jumps, depth jumps, & medicine ball throws (because plyos aren’t solely lower body drills). Form & Technique Drills When it comes to sprinting faster, you want to avoid wasted movements that take you away from going straight ahead. This is where technique and form drills come in handy. By doing certain drills, either separate or during a warm-up, you can improve your speed.
Think about how you sprint now. In all likelihood, there are things you can improve upon that will clean up your movement pattern. And correcting that will instantly make you a little faster than before. Drills that focus on your arms or how you strike your foot on the ground do wonders for technique. One great drill that we’ve incorporated is placing mini bands around the hands and elbows so your arms stay where they should. This gives great feedback, because as soon as you let your form go, the bands snap off. Marching and different skipping drills also factor into improving your technique.
Programming sled exercises into your training can additionally build strength, but at the same time can help with technique. Dragging a heavy sled causes you to lean forward at an angle that is quite similar to how you would look in the acceleration phase of sprinting. In addition, pulling a heavy sled will build some serious strength and cause you to put a lot of force into the ground to move. Additionally, you can use sleds and prowlers as a way to perform resisted sprints, which again will build strength through a specific movement. Whether you push or pull the sled/prowler is a matter of programming, but both will get the job done.
Sprinting When it all comes down to it, all the training isn’t going to mean much if you don’t take it to the track or the turf and test yourself. So incorporating sprint workouts into your program can and will get you faster. It is important to remember that true speed training requires a good amount of recovery time between each sprint because of the demands placed on the body. Start with shorter sprints (25-50 meters), working on the acceleration phase of your sprints, and work up to longer sprints of 100-200 meters.
So what have we learned about getting faster in your sprints?
That it takes:
• Increased Stride Length
• Increased Stride Frequency
• Increased Power Output
• Increased Strength
• Improved Technique
Now you could say that improving your technique through form drills can help increase the frequency of your strides and getting stronger and more powerful will improve your stride length. But you should think about taking all the steps above into account when designing your program for sprinting faster than you were.