Refine Your Sprinting Mechanics to Run a Faster Race | STACK
X

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

Refine Your Sprinting Mechanics to Run a Faster Race

March 13, 2013 | Brandon Wood

Must See Speed Videos

If you want to get faster, you can't train aimlessly and do random numbers of sprints. To truly increase your speed, you must account for both the physiological and mechanical aspects of running. (See Perfect Running Form Checklist and Tips.)

The physiological aspect includes the amount of force you can put into the ground with each stride and how fast you can turn your leg over. However, if you lack the proper mechanics, you will fail to reach your top speed potential. (See Master Your Running Form.)

The body is a machine designed to move and work in specific patterns to produce effective movements. If you are struggling to get faster despite spending hours in the weight room, it's time to refine your sprinting mechanics.

Sprinting Mechanics 101

Arm Action

Your arm angle should be at about 90 degrees. Remember, a longer lever is a slower lever. Your front hand should be at your chin and your back hand should be at your back pocket during each arm swing. Finally, keep your shoulders relaxed and your hands open to relieve muscle tension.

Foot Strike

When making contact with the ground, keep foot in a toe-up position. This will decrease the amount of time your foot spends on the ground and reduce stress on your bones and joints. You will propel yourself forward faster and reduce the risk of sustaining an overuse injury, like a stress fracture.

Acceleration Phase

The acceleration phase is different from the running technique used when you sprint at top speed, because you are driving your legs backward into the ground instead of pulling yourself forward. It's critical to master this aspect of running so you can get to top speed as quickly as possible.

  • Lean at a 45-degree angle.
  • Hold the lean for eight to 12 yards (slightly shorter or longer depending on your age and athleticism). The faster you rise up, the slower your rate of acceleration will be.
  • Extend your hips to generate power. Think about performing a vertical jump. If you do not extend your hips, you won't jump high.
  • Drive yours knees forward while extending your hips. This will keep you from falling as you lean at a deep forward angle. When your hip is fully flexed, your knee should be under your chest and your foot under your hips.
  • Maintain a positive shin angle (shin pointing forward). As you drive your knee up, your leg should be "tight" so your foot does not release away from your leg, causing you to reach forward and overstride. This causes a braking motion that will slow you down.
Brandon Wood
- Brandon Wood is the Director of Team Training and a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, N.J. His drive...
Brandon Wood
- Brandon Wood is the Director of Team Training and a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, N.J. His drive...
Must See
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,176,187
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,796,683
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 3,641,163

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,672
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,618
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,880
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

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,427
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,006,048
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,635
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,529
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,176,187

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

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

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

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

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

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

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

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

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

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints