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...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,830
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,502
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,268,862
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

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,536,765
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,144,153
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,437
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,256
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,395

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Get Faster With These Hamstring Exercises

Get Faster With These Hamstring Exercises

In the history of sport, one thing that has rarely, if ever, been said is, "I think I'm getting too fast." Every player at every level works on speed in...

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

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

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

NBA All-Star Paul Millsap's Quick Feet Drill

NBA All-Star Paul Millsap's Quick Feet Drill

Increase Your Ankle Mobility to Sprint Faster

Increase Your Ankle Mobility to Sprint Faster

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

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

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

What Is Fast in Soccer?

What Is Fast in Soccer?

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

Le'Veon Bell Tweets Some Impressive Off-Season Workouts

Le'Veon Bell Tweets Some Impressive Off-Season Workouts

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

Increase Your Speed with Horizontal Force Training

Increase Your Speed with Horizontal Force Training

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

YardBarker