08 July, 2011
Exercises to Sprint Faster
Good sprinting speed is an asset to nearly every athlete. You might feel that you cannot get faster, but speed can be improved in most athletes. The key to having good sprinting speed is to use the most efficient form. There are many drills that, with practice, can improve your form and make you sprint faster.
Ankling addresses the most basic element of sprinting: how your feet touch the ground. It teaches you to keep your ankles at 90 degrees with your toes pulled up and to touch the ground without your heels touching down. To begin the drill, stand tall and straight. Move forward by lifting one foot only as high as the opposite ankle, stepping forward slightly. As you touch the ground, use the balls of your feet to pull your body through to the next step. The steps are short and quick in ankling.
You can use several variations of the traditional skip to emphasize proper form during different phases of a run or sprint. The A-Skip focuses on the acceleration phase. Pull up one knee until it is parallel with the ground, keeping the ankle held at 90 degrees with toes under the knee; the other leg pushing from the ground. Push the raised knee and ankle straight back down to the ground. This should create an up-and-down action as you skip.
The B-Skip focuses on the stride used during maximum velocity. Pull up one knee until it is parallel with the ground, keeping the ankle held at 90 degrees as your other leg pushes from the ground. You then extend the raised knee, keeping your ankle at 90 degrees as you lower your leg to the ground. This should create a cyclical motion with both legs as you skip.
Wall drills essentially are sprinting in the acceleration phase against a wall. Place your hands at shoulder height against a wall. Step back until your body is at a 45 degree angle. Plant your feet hip-width apart. Your heels do not have to be flat on the floor; but should be no more than an inch above the floor. Bend your right knee up until it is a hip level. Return your right leg to the starting position and then repeat on the left side. Next, do the same maneuver, but speed it up. Right leg and then left. These actions will prepare you for the final phase, which is to begin with your right knee up and then for the next 10 to 15 seconds alternate legs -- almost as if you were running -- very quickly.
- USA Track and Field Coaching Education Manual; USA Track and Field
- Strength and Conditioning Journal; Means and Methods of Speed Training, Part I; John Cissik
- Strength and Conditioning Journal; Means and Methods of Speed Training, Part II; John Cissik
- YouTube: Wall Drills for Explosive Acceleration
- Dirima/iStock/Getty Images