Hey, what’s up everyone Morey Croson here and today I want to be going over the three basic fundamentals of improving your sprinting speed, and then how you could actually improve in those areas, we’re going to go into full contact time, stride frequency and stride length. And I want to go a little bit into each of them, providing speed workouts.
1. Stride Length
We’ll start off with number one here, stride length. And the big thing that ends up going into stride length is how much force is being created into the ground at maximum speed. So when you are striking the ground, the most effective way to improve your speed is strike the ground with both vertical and horizontal force. The more power you generate into the ground when the foot hits, the faster your running speed will be.
Most athletes can improve their sprint technique by increasing horizontal force into the ground. This means when the foot strikes the ground, the leg should be moving back towards the body, while simultaneously extending towards the ground. (See below). The mistake many athletes make in their running form is striking straight down which leans to more energy being put straight down into the ground, in compared to back and down.
Top 10 Secrets To Improve Speed Immediately
Another Big Part Of Stride Length Is Mobility.
If you end up being really stiff within your hips or within your lower back, that will also impact your ability to to really maximize your stride length. Then the other thing would be the secondary thing would be a mobility, the next thing is going to be stride frequency, okay. And one of the, the important things that ended up going into this is just fast twitch muscle fibers, right. So how much core muscles’ fibers you naturally have within your body has a big impact on how fast you’re able to turn over the legs and achieve a strong tempo run pace in your sprint.
Discover how to achieve a more explosive first step here.
Core Strength And Hip Flexor Strength
Okay, so how good are you at being able to really maximize that Nia up position? How fast were you able to get that leg through, obviously, right now, when I’m doing this, this is in a position where you know, I’m not running at maximal speeds. But if I’m gonna have, you know, my max speed, my foots gonna be a little bit more my legs, it’d be more hip extension.
So then when I push off, I really got to be able to drive with a fully extended position within my hip flexors and within my core to really maximize the strength and the turnover there.
The Last Thing Is Going To Be The Hamstring Length And Strength.
This is important, because as I’m pushing off and bringing that lake through, I really got to be able to get my foot all the way out in front of my body and then pull back underneath, okay, so not only do I have to have good strength to be able to pull back down, but I also have to be able to lengthen, so as a minute extension being able to pull through, and then really, essentially contract here.
Knee Extension as an Active Effort
Personally, I believe that the knee extension achieved in the front side mechanics is trained and conscious. I say this because, as a sprinter, I want to have as much control over every movement that I make when sprinting, accelerating, slowing down, training, etc. It is important to note that a training schedule assists in achieving this. It gives me more confidence and piece of mind when racing or competing that I know what I need to do in order to sprint at my very best.
So, I believe that a lot of the top athletes are doing that too and their knee extension is an active part of their sprinting process rather than something that happens ‘naturally’ or ‘genetically’.
Beginning with Noah Lyles’ knee extension, we can see that his posture is supported by the extension. It helps him maintain that upright position when sprinting. But the question becomes when the athletes pull the leg back underneath their center of mass whether it actively or passively creates the knee extension. To me, either way, the result of knee extension is achieved it is just a matter of HOW?
As runners focus more on pulling their foot backward, it causes their knees to extend. For me personally, I think about driving my knees up and reaching with my foot out in front and then driving my foot back down underneath me while maintaining as much of an upright position in my body as possible. When doing this I reach down towards the ground in order to maximize the forces into the ground. This is what creates knee extension in my legs but it is not the only technique of how to run and there are some definite flaws in my sprinting.
What We Can Say For Sure About Knee Extension
There’s no question that you want to get your knee extended before your foot makes contact with the ground. The more knee extension the earlier on in the sprint the better it seems as well. So not only is it important to have knee extension when at top speed but also in the early phases of acceleration. This is because of the hip extension required in order to run fast, regardless of what stage of the sprint, the evidence is clear that more knee extension earlier, is better.
Now regardless of early on in acceleration or at top speed work, it is very difficult to achieve the amount of knee extension that we see from Noah Lyles and Usain Bolt speed workout above. This is something that has to be trained and taught over a period of time for most. Undoubtedly, it comes easier to some than others but either way the mechanics timing, strength, complete range of motion and execution must be practiced and perfected.
Next sprint analysis: knee bend. When sprinting, you will be experiencing some knee bend immediately after your foot makes contact with the ground. However, you should minimize that bend as much as you can as the more the knee bends the more time is being spent on the ground per step.
Knee bending creates deceleration forces on the body. It’s really important when it comes to sprinting mechanics to understand which movements help you accelerate and what helps you decelerate. So when your foot lands you want to be able to minimize knee bend the most you can while the foot is on the ground.
For reference, just observe Noah Lyles’ and Usain Bolt’s knee transitions when they are sprinting.
How To Increase Top Speed
To answer the question above, knee extension when sprinting is an active part of the sprinting mechanics. The thought process behind getting that extension might vary for different runners however, the movements are essentially the same. Also, if it was not something a sprinter wanted then they would figure out how to train it out of their mechanics.
If you are looking for keys to achieve an explosive start with your speed play, click here.
Overall, it’s important to get that knee extension right and control the knee during the landing phase. To me, the more I can control and understand my running mechanics the more improvement I am able to make in all phases of sprinting mechanics such as running pace. Every time I get sprints in, it is another opportunity to learn and identify ways to advance the practice so I can improve for each next sprint. Don’t forget to take needed a break.
So those are some of the keys for how to improve your running mechanics if you liked the information presented in this post, feel free to check out our official website for more such information. We offer various programs to help you become a better athlete. Get sprints exercises and discover more content for athletes and teams by visiting our YouTube channel.
Our Simple Speed Coaching Process To Help You Get Faster
STEP 1. SEND IN VIDEO OF YOUR SPRINT VIDEO
This is easy we send you a video to explain what angles to send and how to upload onto our server quickly and easily. You will be able to upload right from your computer or smart device.
STEP 2. RECEIVE SPEED COACHING BREAKDOWN OR ZOOM CALL
Within 24 hours you will get a detailed email back that goes over all the critical details of your running form. This will include drills and exercises to help you improve. If you have any questions we can always schedule a call to make sure everything is clear and concise.
STEP 3. FOLLOW THE SPEED PROGRAM AND MAKE THE CHANGE
Now we will make everything as easy as possible for you to be able to make tremendous improvement in your mechanics. Our speed training programs have tons of drills and exercise to help you improve. However, you must DO THE WORK. YOU WILL GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN.