Sprinting is an integral part of a variety of sports. All athletes can benefit from sprint speed training that reduces sprinting time. Those who can out sprint their competitors will gain the advantage in their given competition. Improving sprint time is achieved through commitment to developing proper form and technique, performing key sprint drills and fine-tuning your body through strength training and nutrition. If you’re serious about increasing your sprint speed then you should practice sprinting. Perform certain sprint exercises at least 2-3 times a week so that your body can adapt to the rigors of such sprint training programs.
Practice Correct Technique
Having the right form and technique in your starting stance, the drive phase and acceleration phase as well as throughout the length of the sprint is crucial to improve sprinting speed and time.
In track and field or football, when you take your starting stance, be sure that your dominant leg is set forward in order to drive off of at the gun or snap. Keep your back and legs in alignment and keep your buttocks elevated.
The first 6 to 10 steps you take upon starting is known as the drive phase. At this point, you are driving your body towards acceleration through the sheer power of your legs. Staying low with your body at, or close to, a 45º angle during this phase will help you reach maximum drive going into your acceleration phase.
By the time you reach 20-30 yards, you should be at full acceleration. Many athletes when sprinting make the mistake of focusing on moving their legs quickly. Instead, the focus should be on a full stride which includes full extension of the ankles, knees and hips. This is where power comes from to increase sprint speed and time.
Staying relaxed while sprinting can be difficult, yet it is a vital part of tapping into that extra bit of oomph. When you sprint while tense, you are inadvertently robbing yourself of power, energy and flexibility that would normally be available if relaxed.
Use Your Arms
The arms stabilize the movements of the torso so that hip power is efficiently transferred to the legs. The effective transfer of hip power increases both drive and acceleration and helps the runner to reach maximum velocity sooner.
To improve sprint speed and time, you need to increase leg strength, balance and flexibility in order to get maximum performance from your body. Here are some sprint drills and exercises to perform:
Hit the stadium and run steps. This exercise will help improve your stride length so you get extra distance with each sprint step as well as build leg strength and propulsion.
Balance and Flexibility Drill
Stand with your feet about as wide as your shoulders. Begin by lifting your right leg slowly and, at the same time, raise your left heel off the floor. Continue to bend your right leg until it comes to a 90º angle and you are standing on the ball of your left foot. While going through this motion, push outward with your right leg, increasing its angle as your raise up. Do 20 reps, switch legs and repeat from the other side for 3 sets.
From a standing position with feet shoulder width apart, lean forward onto the balls of your feet. Place your arms in a running position at 90º angles and pump them back and forth as if running. Complete 2 sets of 20 reps.