How to Improve Your Sprint

Usain Bolt made it possible to run 100 meters in just 9.58 seconds. Though Bolt is genetically gifted and trained as an elite sprinter, there are ways how you can improve your sprint. This applies to both professional athletes and those who simply want to run faster than their pals. Here are some of the ways on how you can have a faster sprint.  

Have the right body composition

If you’ll look at professional sprinters, you don’t see them overweight. Instead, you’ll see them ripped. That’s because fats don’t exactly help generate power. Excess body fats are additional weight that you will have to carry making you slower when propelling yourself forward. 

For racehorses, an additional 2-5 pounds from their ideal weight could already set them back for 8 to 20 feet. It could mean the difference between winning the race and landing 5th place. The same can be said with professional athletes. 

The ideal body weight for sprinters is at 9% to 11% for men and 14% to 16% for females. An additional 2% from the ideal body fat percentage of sprinters and you already start to slow down by 0.26 seconds in a 40-yard dash. But of course, there should be a limit to this. Going below the ideal 9% body fat for men can already have its drawbacks. 

So what can you do to get rid of unwanted body fats? You’ll have to focus on your nutrition. Know just how many calories you should be eating throughout the day. However, you need to be particular about your macros. The last thing that you want is to lose your muscles in the process of losing body fats. To avoid this, decrease your carbohydrate intake while increasing your protein intake.  

Next, you also need to be doing exercise that can get you to burn a lot of calories. HIIT is a great way to build your cardio and to lose fats as well. 

Sprint regularly

Sprints are not exactly simple. It requires coordination, stability, rhythm, strength, range of motion, and even neuromuscular development just to name a few. 

If it’s your goal to get faster at doing sprints, you will need to do more sprints every week. Professional athletes tend to do sprints twice or thrice a week. This helps them understand the form and movement involved in running in short bursts. It also helps develop muscle memory and even improves your joints. 

Improve Your Posterior Chain

A lot of people think that sprints are all about the thighs. What they don’t know is that it involves other muscles in your lower half. This means that you need to have strong glutes and hamstrings to be able to generate the power needed to burst in a short distance. In this study, it shows how running is dependent on both ankle and hip muscle performance. 

So how do you build strength on your posterior chain? Some of the best exercises that you can include in your workout are barbell squats, split squats, bridges, deadlifts, and even some kettlebell swings. 

Improve your core

For sprinters, the core is responsible for transferring force throughout the body. It is also the one responsible for stability allowing the body to have optimal movement. Without a strong core, you can easily lose the potential force generated by your quads and posterior chain. 

To avoid energy leaks, you will need to be doing more than just situps. Instead, you want to be doing exercises that can challenge the entire core. Planks, carrying variations, and medicine ball throws are just some of the things that can stress your core to make it adaptable for explosive sprints. 

Improving your ankle

Elite level sprinters tend to generate force 3-7 times their bodyweight. Peak ground force can go as high as 600 pounds in just a tenth of a second. 

Your ankles will be the ones in contact with the ground. And just like the core, it can either transfer energy from your posterior chain and quads to the ground or it can be a source of energy leak. 

In one study, it was discovered that weak ankles decrease activities in the glutes. It only means that strong ankles can mean better sprints. 

What can you do to strengthen your ankles? You can do low-intensity exercises such as jump ropes to strengthen the ankles and develop your calf. Also, you want to improve your tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior to maximize the dorsiflexion range of motion and improve stability in your foot and ankle. 

Don’t forget to rest in between reps

Sprints can be highly demanding. Imagine the amount of stress it puts on the joints and the entire body. It only means that if you want to improve, you will also have to get enough rest. 

It means that you should be getting enough rest in between each rep. The goal is to generate maximal speed. Sprinting while fatigued can affect your performance. You can even get injured. 

Final thoughts

Speed is something that can be developed. Though in some instances, others are equipped with better genes meant for sprinting short distances. But let’s not forget that improvement is always possible. With the right strategy, you can run faster than before. You just need to take the time to work on each area that we’ve mentioned.