How to Get a More Efficient Sprinting Form | STACK
X

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

How to Get a More Efficient Sprinting Form

January 24, 2013 | Colby Harris

Must See Speed Videos

As humans, we're constantly searching for ways to become more efficient. This is exactly what the fastest sprinters in the world do. With simple running form drills, they save energy by being more efficient with their technique, facilitating faster times. (See Get Faster: Sprinting Technique.)

The theme of efficiency dominates each training session I lead. As an athlete growing up, I used quotes to visualize goals and stay focused. Now, as a coach I continue to use quotes when training athletes. One of my favorites is: "Efficiency is doing better what is already being done." When applied to sprint training, even the smallest improvement can have a big impact on speed.

So, how do you become more efficient in your running form? (See Sprinting Form Checklist.) When you ride a bicycle, your feet move around in a circle when you pedal. This is how you want your legs to move when you sprint. If you try to skip any part of the circular motion while pedaling, the bike slows down. True also for sprinting technique. Skipping a step will cause your form to break down and cause you to move more slowly.

These running form drills are broken down into four simple steps:

Fold

While standing tall on the balls of your feet, bend one knee, bringing your heel up directly underneath your butt.

Recover

Stay tall. Bring your knee up to hip level. Keep your toes flexed up towards your shin, which prepares you to apply force into the ground.

Release

Stay tall. Don't kick your foot out in front of you. Simply release it toward the ground. Keep your toes flexed up toward your shin. Remember the bicycle analogy. Think about where this would be in the pedaling circle.

Strike back

Stay tall. This is the moment of truth, for which the previous three steps prepared you. If you did them correctly, you're in position to push back on the ground with all the force you can muster, sending you forward with blazing speed. Make sure your leg is fully extended. One big thing to remember here is that the ball of your foot pulls from directly underneath or just slightly in front of your hip.

Take these four points and visualize them. Don't move your legs fast at first. Just place your hand on a wall and work on the motion, one leg at a time, standing in place. Become efficient with this cyclical motion, and you'll be able to sprint faster.

Learn how to master the four points of good form.

Topics: SPEED DRILLS
Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,797,503
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 4,401,558
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 21,753,521

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 224,492
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,154
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 26,383
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 Safely Decelerate Faster

What is deceleration training, and why do I need to learn how to decelerate before I learn to accelerate? In virtually every sport the athlete will need...

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

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

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

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

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

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

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

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

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

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

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson