Sprint Drills For Improved Speed and Conditioning

STACK Expert Roger Lockridge provides four drills that use sprints to improve conditioning and overall speed.

Whether you're an athlete training to improve performance on the field or someone looking to get into good shape for health reasons, sprints are widely regarded as a better option than running. Sprint drills can help you increase explosiveness, overall speed, and even endurance if you train properly. These drills will help you do all of that. Alternate these drills by training with sprints twice a week. You should notice measurable improvements within a couple of months.

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10 in 10

This is a drill for beginners who are new to running. You go to a track and warm up by alternating jogging and walking for two laps. Then you start your clock. You sprint the straight stretches as hard and fast as you can until you reach the first turn. You then rest by walking, or jogging if you can, around the turn until you get to the next straight. Sprint again until you reach the next turn. Repeat this pattern until you need to stop and catch your breath. Your goal is to complete 10 sprints of the straight stretches within 10 minutes. If you can do this, you will have run over a mile in less than 10 minutes, which for a beginner is a good goal.

Parachute Sprints

You can find these parachutes at your local sporting goods store. The idea is that you run as hard as you can when the parachute opens up and catches and creates resistance. This helps you increase the amount of force you can generate in your hips and legs, because you will get stronger as you combat the resistance. Try to perform the 10 for 10 Drill with the parachute or try to run the entire track with the parachute for time.

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Back and Forth Drill

This will help you with coordination and body control. Instead of taking off from your usual starting point, begin at your finish line and run backwards to the starting position. Backpedal as fast as you safely can. Once you reach the starting point, take off and sprint back to the finish line. Once you reach the finish line, repeat if you have the energy, or take a brief rest to catch your breath, but repeat as soon as you can. Continue for a total of 30 minutes. Try to complete as many sprints as you can in that time.

Instinctive Sprint and Jog Drill

This is an advanced drill. You set a time of 30 minutes and after warming up, you start with a full blown sprint. Sprint as hard and as long as you can until you are unable to continue. Once you feel like you can't run at full speed anymore, slow to a jog until you're able to resume sprinting. Once you're able to run at full speed again, gradually pick up your pace until you are back to a full sprint. Repeat this pattern until you must stop. Once you stop, you have one minute to completely recover. Start with a walk and gradually increase your speed until you are back to sprinting again. Repeat until time expires. Measure your overall distance and make it a goal to beat it the next time you attempt this.

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