How fast are you?
Have you ever been taught how to run correctly?
Did you know that over 50 percent of athletes run with bad form?
These questions are important to all athletes, many of whom have never been taught proper sprinting mechanics. Athletes are told to just run fast, dig and go. Did you know that your body conserves more energy and moves faster with proper mechanics?
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It’s time to unlock your full potential. Fast running consists of many factors involving your arms, legs, hips, gluteal muscles, math and gravity. Gravity is the only force we get for free. We need to use it wisely when we run.
Below you will find three form fixes that reinforce the most glaring errors commonly seen in sprint mechanics.
Your arms play a huge role in running form. A proper arm swing helps keep your body in control and adds power to your stride.
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For this drill, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Position one arm bent at a 90-degree angle with your hand near your cheek and the other arm bent at a 90-degree angle behind you, with the hand by your butt cheek. Drive your back elbow forward from your posterior deltoid (top of back shoulder) to the 90-degree position in front near your cheek while you simultaneously move your opposite arm back to the rear position. This pendulum motion helps propel your body forward in space. Don’t stop short of 90 degrees in either arm; this will slow you down. When running, make sure your arm swing is at least 5 percent faster than the speed of your legs.
This is where the magic happens. To move fast through space, you need to be able to push a force into the ground hard enough to propel your body forward. When you generate the maximum amount of force on each limb as it contacts the ground, speed will be your reward. Raise one leg in front of your body close to 90 degrees with your quad near parallel to the ground and flex your foot toward your face (dorsiflexion). Use your opposite leg to push off the ground with the ball of your foot. Alternate this pattern, making sure to push off the ball of your foot on each step. Push through the ground, pivoting with your ankle to generate maximum force. In this process, you create what’s called triple extension, which means you’re extending from the ankle, knee and hip joints.
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Arms and Legs
Now let’s put it all together. The opposite arm/knee law is now in effect—which means that every time a knee is forward at 90 degrees, the opposite arm is forward at 90 degrees. Repeating this motion while using power will create speed. Keep your shoulders relaxed, arms close your side, and swing your arms faster than your legs. Now you’re moving!