In this article, you are going to hear a revolutionary idea that goes against the face of the industry and will “almost” completely and effectively rebuttal anything you have heard regarding sprinting mechanics. The simple truth is that we have been lied to repeatedly for decades now regarding the approach to establishing proper fundamental sprinting patterns in sports and competition.
The Brain and Running
Let me ask you this; if sprinting is so supremely technical and complicated then why on earth can a fresh toddler know how to run and exhibit all the associated features without instruction? Granted they don’t look as clean and coordinated as a skilled athlete, but they definitely do know how to run.
Well for one it’s already imprinted in certain parts of the human brain (hindbrain), and the movement is readily accessible and instinctive in nature. It’s really that simple. Everything else is just fluff for the most part. Of course, you won’t believe me at first, but after I share some insight into the matter you will at the absolute bare minimum begin to strongly question what you are doing at track practices and learning from your trainers and coaches about sprinting fundamentals.
Please be aware, that I am in no shape or form discrediting or arguing the idea that technique doesn’t matter and that a technical model does exist, cause it indeed does. What I’m saying is that our approach to altering mechanics through “non-sprint” drills and techniques that are still unfortunately advocated by so many will do very little to get you to run faster, according to both science and real-world evidence.
“Facilitated Sprinting” exercises such as; Wickets, sled drills, parachutes, ramp or hill runs, slope or overspeed running, specific treadmill sprints, chase, and tag competition, and more that involve naturally enforcing proper form while sprinting should be a part of everyone’s program.
However, none of these drills I mentioned are non-sprint based and would involve a false conscious internal focus on a specific sprint technique cue, which is still the go-to approach in modern-day sport culture, unfortunately.
Here are a few reasons why popular training exercises like arm drills or bongos, high knee runs, posture runs, and others can never and will never deliver better technique. If you read my speed book from a decade ago you’ll know the answers, but what it all comes down to is a comprehensive approach to building power, strength, and speed through the whole body that really makes a difference and regulates sprinting form issues.
3 REASONS WHY MOST TECHNICAL SPRINT EXERCISES NEVER WORK:
Did you know that the human body is afforded milli-seconds to perform a specific type of contractions during sprinting that range in the ballpark of 50-300 milli-seconds? Not nearly enough time to apply thought to the movement, clearly indicating that sprinting is a very instinctive, powerful, and reactive movement task in athletics. Not to mention by the time you gave thought to what you were doing the competition would have dominated and blown by you already.
#2-LACK OF RESEARCH
How many legitimate scientific credible research studies have you seen that disclosed the recommendation of non-sprint technical drills to improve sprinting form and performance? I’ll wait….
#3-SPRINT PATTERN COMPLEXITIES
The same thing that makes people believe that you need to practice your sprint technique regularly because it is complicated is the same exact reason why we shouldn’t focus so intently on the movement. Instead, we should allow our body to auto-correct and make the necessary revisions to form to allow for improved efficiency and performance outcomes.
For example, in my speed book I introduced 12 technical factors of sprinting, and since then added some more. But the point is that there are just too many things to think about when time is such an issue.
With this in mind, there is no conceivable way possible we could train our mind and body to coordinate every facet of technique with optimal success in real-world training scenarios. Thus, our body innately recognized this survival issue as it was obviously encountering threats and predators through our ancestors. And at some point had to make the vital decision to adapt and program the “sprint script” into our DNA and all associated physiology reflects this theory.