At Home Training Tips: Staying in Sprinting Shape While Away from Your Coach or Team

While track sprinting is a closed skill, athletes in field and court sports require reactive agility. Athletes must accelerate, decelerate, and change direction in a constantly changing environment, performing skills within the context of the game. To enhance their athletes’ performance, coaches should aim to improve their ability to run at speed, or to sprint, and to develop this ability within the context of their sport. Improving the technical and physical components of sprinting is important within the context of their sport and can give the athletes an advantage over their opponents. Consequently, although many track drills are not suitable for field sport athletes, some common drills and techniques are useful to both the track sprint coach and the strength and conditioning coach working with field and court athletes.

Sprinting technique is all about forward momentum. Focusing on adjustments in sprinting form in your shoulder, hips, knees, feet, and arms can prevent costly displacements of energy, momentum, and power. As an added bonus, improving sprinting form is valuable for preventing injuries resulting in an uneven use of both sides of your body. By implementing a handful of key techniques in your positions, you will see and feel immediate improvements in your sprinting performance. 

Shoulder Position

Your shoulders should always be straight, facing the direction that you are going. Keep them close to your body and remain steady. You can shave off speed in your sprint by eradicating lateral movement of the torso and pumping your arms. Posture is an important part of health and longevity in general. Habits you form off the track affect your performance when you’re running.  Your body will end up doing more work and deplete your energy faster if it is working to correct poor form in your shoulders.

Hip Position

Align your hips with your head and shoulders, facing forward. To achieve proper hip height, your head and your shoulders must stay upright. The focus of your hip position is the intention to relieve joint stress and put all of your body’s momentum in forward motion. At maximum speed, the trunk of your body should almost be erect, at approximately 50 degrees.

Knee Position

To generate power, push your knees forward and bring them up high as you sprint, also encouraging a longer stride. When you take shorter steps during sprinting, you are not optimizing the full length of your stride. A high knee allows your leg height to strike out greater distances. Use a high knee position to gather your body for maximal, explosive force with your foot placement.

Feet Position

A high force output that creates significant flight time and lower contact time with the ground will assist in achieving maximum speed in sprinting. With each stride, land on the middle of your foot. As your knee pulls your foot upwards during your stride and comes back down towards the ground, lift your toes up towards your shin so you land on the ball and middle of your foot, not the heel. Your foot should also be directly under and in line with your body, rather than ahead of it. Your heel should come off the floor and travel in a swooping arc to your bum, without touching it.

Arm Position

In the start phase, your arms should swing opposite to your legs, elbows flexed at approximately 90 degrees, and your fists should swing toward your forehead. As your arms swing back forward, your hands should pump through to your shoulder level; when they’re on their way down, they should go past your hips. As with placement of moving your body above, proper arm motion is important for driving all momentum and power forward. 

What Exercises You Can Do to Stay in Sprinting Shape

Now that your body is properly aligned when preparing to sprint, you can perform the following exercises optimally. When sprinting, efficiency is key – and you can use these exercises to help stay in shape while under stay-at-home orders or while you are otherwise away from your team. Check out these 25 training tips/instructions and watch the video above for staying in peak sprinting shape:

  1. Standing Start
  2. Crouched Start
  3. Lateral Start
  4. 3-point Start
  5. 4-point Start
  6. Walking on Tip-Toes
  7. Walking on Heels
  8. Standing Arm Swings
  9. Knee Hugs
  10. High Knees
  11. Butt Kickers
  12. Fast Skips
  13. High Skips
  14. Knee Crossovers
  15. Lateral Shuffles 
  16. Broad Jumps
  17. Frog Jumps
  18. Double Leg Jumps on Curb
  19. Single Leg Jumps on Curb
  20. Split Jumps on Curb
  21. Squat Jumps on Curb
  22. Quick Steps on Curb
  23. Lateral Line Jumps
  24. Single Leg Lateral Line Jumps
  25. Skier Line Jumps

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