There are a few things that we are looking for when it comes to sprinting technique.
- Good knee drive
- Trail leg extension
- Ankle dorsiflexed
- Posterior pelvic tilt
These qualities are often missing from most athletes that want to improve their speed. There are a lot of programs out there where the above qualities do not get trained.
I think that is a big problem. When an athlete is looking to improve their speed, the plan should be a well rounded one designed to reach that goal. Just running or just lifting weights is missing a piece of the puzzle.
There should be a balance of speed and strength training with the goal of the strength complementing the speed.
We can use the following exercises to help improve the above speed qualities.
Ankle Mobility on Wall
Improving ankle mobility will help an athlete dorsiflex their ankle. This allows for a good foot contact on the ground. When the foot hits the ground we should strike with the high arch of the foot.
Try not to run on your toes or your heels, meet in the middle. A restriction in ankle mobility is going to make it hard to get a good foot contact.
Mini Band Deadbugs
The Mini Band Deadbug is one of my favorite exercises for transfer to sprinting. With the deadbug we get good core control, posterior pelvic tilt, hip flexion, hip extension, and ankle dorsiflexion.
This looks a lot like the list above that I started with. This is a good exercise to include as part of a warm up or as core work. Start by doing this for 8 reps on each side. Then progress towards holding for 6 deep breaths on each side. This becomes surprisingly difficult.
Using a step up helps us build strength in hip extension. Step up onto a box and lock that leg out. Add a knee drive to practice driving the knees with the hip extended. This exercise will also work on ankle mobility.
Single Leg RDL
The single leg RDL isn’t going to necessarily provide direct transfer like the exercises above. This exercise is incredible at building hamstring strength unilaterally.
A lot of athletes do not have hamstrings strong enough to handle the demands of sprinting. This is why preseason hamstring pulls are all too common.
Add this exercise to help build the strength needed to sprint fast without risking injury.