So you want to sprint?

I would also imagine you want to be decent at it too, right? You’re going to have to start to put in work, and that means cleaning up technical issues with your mechanics along with getting properly strong.

That’s where a combination of the prowler and the sled come into your program.  You’ve likely seen YouTube highlight videos of athletes pushing, pulling, crawling, and/or running with sleds.  Those are exactly the types of drills you are going to do with these two pieces of equipment.  They can no doubt help improve your ability to sprint.

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The Sprint

There are 3 Phases to a good sprint, the acceleration phase, the max velocity phase and the maintenance phase.  All three phases require a different set of training in order to improve them.

 foam rolling after running_21) Exercise drills for acceleration

Prowler

– In addition to being a great piece of equipment for conditioning, they are also beneficial for increasing speed and acceleration during your sprints.

Low Side Pushing

– Getting better at sprints, especially if you are going to compete, begins and ends at the starting line.  If you don’t get off the line fast enough, you’re going to get left in the dust.  And that goes for just about any sport.  Get beat off the line and you are likely going to lose.

Pushing the low side of a prowler is going to closely mimic the starting position and the acceleration phase of a sprint, meaning – mechanically it puts you in a great set up to work on the technique aspect of sprinting.  Load up the prowler with enough weight to make it challenging and push it 10-20 yards, working on driving your feet into ground.

foam rolling after running_3Drags

– Drags can be done in two ways, forward or backward.  Forward drags, meaning our back is to the sled is another drill for acceleration, while backward drags will develop quad and glute strength.  The great thing about drags in sled training for sprinting is that when you load them enough, you end up at a perfect angle to work on technique.

So there you go.  Two drills that will help improve the acceleration phase of your sprint.

 foam rolling after running_42) Exercise drills for maximum velocity

Max Velocity? That’s going to come from developing some lower body power and strength.  For that we turn to:

High Side Pushing

– From the acceleration phase, we transition into getting to maximum velocity.  Pushing from the higher handles develops lower body strength and power, which translates into what you’ll need for max velocity during your sprints.

Additionally, the angle that your body is at while pushing, further engrains that sprinting position.  Where we loaded up the other two drills to be really heavy, this drill works better with light to moderate loads so you can really focus on developing as much speed as possible.

Weighted Sled Sprints or Tows

– For this last exercise, you are actually dragging a sled behind you while you are sprinting.  The challenge for this exercise is finding an appropriate load for there to be a benefit.  If you load it too light, there’s little resistance and little benefit.  On the flip side, if you load it too heavy, you are likely going to alter your sprint mechanics, which will provide little benefit and could actually be detrimental to developing speed.

What to take away

The important thing to remember while doing these drills is that you are doing them for the sole purpose of improving your sprints.  In order to do that, you’re going to want to keep the rest to work ratio’s high, so that your body fully recovers.

Jumping too fast in between exercises will just end up making your workout a conditioning workout and not one that will help your sprints.

Connect with Expert Chris Cooper

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