Head-to-Toe Sprint Mechanics

September 1, 2010 | Featured in the September, 2010 Issue

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

Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Must See
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,225,585
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 27,429,781
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 4,749,759

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 66,647
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 5,931
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 124,090
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,506
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,206
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,488
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,633
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,559,831

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Simple Steps to Get Quick

Often over complicated and made to look more confusing and good looking than it really is. What am I talking about, Speed and agility training. I may...

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Todd Durkin's 5 Drills for Faster Sprints

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

The 10 Best Speed Exercises for Athletes

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

Run Faster and Longer

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

Deceleration: The Missing Link for Hockey Speed Training

Supreme Speed: 6 Training Tips from Football's Fastest Man

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

6 Essential Multi-Directional Speed Drills

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons