Whether or not you’re blessed with the God-given ability to fly, speed can be taught and improved.
An athlete’s speed is determined by stride length, stride frequency and force production into the ground —elements that can be enhanced by refining your sprinting form. Efficient speed mechanics ensure that an athlete is firing the proper muscles in the correct sequence to maximize speed potential.
“Developing proper running form—the ability to accelerate your body and transition into top-end speed position—results in blazing speed,” says Nick Winkelman, education performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance.
It doesn’t matter if you’re leading the chase or being chased down, a disciplined emphasis on proper running mechanics will take your speed to the next level.
Head-to-Toe Sprint Mechanics
1. Keep toes pulled up toward shins with feet activated
2. Drive knees up and avoid overstriding by keeping shins behind knees
3. Fire glutes and hamstrings to apply force into ground
4. Strike ground with balls of feet underneath hips and cycle legs after each ground strike
5. Keep shoulders square and elbows locked at 90 degrees
6. Drive elbows forward and back from cheek to cheek
7. Point chin slightly down, focus eyes straight ahead and hold head still
8. Relax upper-body muscles and face