The Sprint Form Checklist | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Get Faster With This Sprint Form Checklist

April 6, 2012

Must See Speed Videos


You could spend weeks developing lower-body power without seeing the speed results that you could achieve after just a few hours of sprint mechanics practice. Develop your sprint form by working through this simple checklist.

1. Head

  • Keep your head still and naturally in line with your spine
  • Relax your jaw and neck muscles
  • Focus your eyes down the track

2. Shoulders

  • Relax your shoulders to keep from shrugging, which will lock your hips
  • Power upper-body movement with your shoulders, not your arms

3. Arms/Hands

  • Balance leg movements with your arms; the arm on your lead leg side should go back, and vice versa
  • Swing your arms forward to a closed place at a 135-degree angle in front of your body and backward to an open place behind your body. Bringing your arms too far forward or backward will throw off your balance and waste energy
  • Keep your arm movements smooth, and don't let your arms cross your body
  • Lock your elbows at a 65-degree angle and hold your wrists straight
  • Extend your fingers to increase the lever of the arm; clenching your fists and moving them as fast as possible disrupts the arm swing pattern

4. Posture

  • Maintain a neutral posture. A forward or backward tilt at the pelvis will decrease range of motion in the hips, adding injury-causing pressure to the hamstrings

5. Front-Side Mechanics

  • Raise your lead leg to a locked horizontal position with your hips held high
  • Adjust the angle between your shin and foot to 90 degrees or more
  • To start a forward swing, extend your lead leg at the knee
  • Prepare for contact by stabilizing your ankle and keeping your toes up
  • Land with a flat, mid-foot strike
  • Swing your landing leg two to four inches in front of the hip to apply force on contact. If you swing too far, your body will naturally brake. If you don't swing far enough, you'll lose stability

6. Backside Mechanics

  • Start backside mechanics when your recovery leg is even with your support leg on ground contact
  • Keep your hips tall
  • Contact the ground with your foot bent toward your body, and push off with your toes
  • Bring your toes off the ground with your ankle bent toward your body under the gluteal muscle
  • Maintain "triple extension" with your support leg, keeping your ankle, knee and hip extended; stand on the balls of your feet with your heel slightly raised
  • Shorten your recovery leg as it goes up and over the knee on your support leg and rises to a locked position; think of the cyclical motion of pedaling a bike; bring your heel as high as possible, up and over your support leg knee

Use your warm-ups to really focus on mechanics. Correct form may feel unnatural at first, but once it becomes second nature, you'll start seeing real results from your training.

Once you've mastered form, check out these three tough speed workouts:

Speed Sand Training
Hill Sprint Drills
DeSean Jackson's Speed Workout

Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association, holds a doctorate in sports management, with honors, from the United States Sports Academy. He has published several articles relating to speed and strength training and has been a presenter at Frank Glacier Football Clinics. He was a strength and conditioning coach at Coffeyville Community College, and he interned at Texas Lutheran College under Coach Tom Mueller. A former junior European Karate champion, Tucker was also a competitive, drug-free powerlifter.

Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Must See
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 2,022,389
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,069,636
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 20,340,071

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 147,463
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,254,658
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 23,946
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

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

There is a point at which the weather or conditions or maybe even circumstance will prevent you from doing proper speed drills and speed work. For...

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

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

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

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

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

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