The Best Workout for Sprinters
Engaging in specific, focused training helps improve your sprinting ability. The best workouts for sprinters help develop strength, flexibility and overall explosiveness out of the block. Follow a strict exercise regimen including specialized drills and resistance training. Using the proper sprinting technique and training consistently can help give you a competitive edge.
Follow a set checklist for each phase of a sprint to improve overall performance. Make sure the sprinting blocks are properly positioned and firmly placed on the track to prevent injury. Sprinting coach Brian MacKenzie notes that your feet should be located in the proper spot in the starting blocks, your neck and head should be in line with your spine and your eyes focused on the track one to two meters ahead, keeping your neck and face muscles relaxed. Maintain the proper posture for the set phase, take-off and sprinting phases to generate optimal velocity and achieve the best time.
Coaches should monitor the sprinter's mechanics during the race and look for an athlete running erect, pushing off the toes and balls of her feet, with full extension of the legs, hips and back. Sprinters should race with ease, coasting through the running motion with hands relaxed, shoulders lowered and arms swinging by the sides. They should move forward instead of up and down and allow their leg action to be rhythmic, pushing off their rear leg and lifting the forward knee high to help create forward momentum.
Try downhill sprinting to increase sprint speed after the acceleration phase, running on a hill with a decline of at least 15 percent. Reach your maximum speed within 40 to 60 meters and continue sprinting at this speed for an additional 30 meters. Do two to three sets of three to six repetitions. Take a thorough walk-through on the hill before sprinting to ensure the surface is safe.
Focus on compound, heavy movements which develop power and strength in your lower and upper body. Center your workouts around squats, bench presses, power cleans, pull ups, bent over barbell rows and lunges to improve your sprinting ability. Use plyometric movements to increase your explosiveness. Exercises like depth jumps, box step ups and the frogger drill increase power in the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings and gastrocnemius muscles by repeatedly loading and contracting your muscles.
Warm up for 10 minutes with a light jog and stretch for five to 10 minutes before working out to reduce the risk of injury. Before starting a sprinter training regimen consult a physician.
Based in New Jersey, Ryan Biddulph has been writing since 2010, with his articles appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM, among others. He has helped clients reach their personal fitness goals since 2001. He also runs an Internet marketing blog. He holds a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from Kean University and a certificate in Web development from the Cittone Institute.