Sprinting is a fundamental human movement and a popular way to build cardiovascular fitness, burn fat, and improve sport performance. While sprinting may seem intuitive, the devil is in the details. The “art” of improving your speed depends on subtle but crucial changes to form and technique.
Successful sprinting depends heavily on the set up and start position. When set up correctly, your body is aligned to travel through space efficiently and in a straight line. A straight arrow will fly further than a broken or bent arrow. Practice these 6 key points to improve your speed right out of the gate.
- Begin in a kneeling position with the front foot dorsiflexed or “up”, and the knee of the back leg a few inches behind the front heel.
- The dominant leg is in front, with a slight forward angle of the shin.
- The center of mass (think hips) is behind the lead leg.
- The spine is neutral. Lead with your chest and do not hunch over.
- Both elbows should be at 90 degrees, with the hands open and relaxed.
- The head is neutral. Keep your ears in line with your shoulders, avoid looking up or down excessively.
From this position, your body is aligned to shoot up and forward at a 45 degree angle. This is the optimal angle for acceleration. Following these points when setting up for the sprint will improve your starting speed and lead to greater acceleration within the first 10-15 yards. Give this set up a try and see improvements instantly!