The Sprint Form Checklist | STACK

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

FROM AROUND THE WEB
  • 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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

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

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

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

Pyramids: A Sprint Workout for the Strong

4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

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

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

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

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

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

How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Increase Your Soccer Speed With 4 Sprint Drills

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

Michael Johnson's Guide to a Faster 40

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Soccer Players: Get Faster with the Montreal Impact Workout

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Step Counting: How Big Men Can Run a Faster 40

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Sprint Speed

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

2-Week Long-Distance Track Workout Training Plan

Get Faster With 3 Essential Speed Training Strategies

Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson