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Your Gait: How To Master Sprinting

Your Gait: How To Master Sprinting

Today I wanted to take a leap outside of the weight room in order to take a look at how to master sprinting. I decided to pull this article out from the past, but I know you’re going to find the information useful in helping you to learn more about this skill.

This article’s original publishing date was February 11, 2016. Give this one a read and apply the information to your training. Post up and share your feedback in the comments section below.

So in today’s blog special the magical topic of discussion is going to revolve around the art of sprinting. That’s right, your gait is a part of your performance. Yes, we should be lifting AND we should also be sprinting… and doing so the right way.

How To Master Sprinting: The Technique

As a strength coach I’m fairly amazed at how so many coaches both on and offline fail to address the act of sprinting when it comes to looking at an individual trainee’s performance. Sure everyone loves to post the YouTubes of someone butchering a box jump, or posting a video of some big butchered squat or deadlift PR. Sure these things are exciting, but I’m always left wondering Do any of these people know how to sprint?

Brandon sprinting on a field at an angle towards the picture.

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The truth is that a lot of people don’t know how to sprint. As a strength and conditioning coach my objective is to train for performance and with the performance the results will come. However if we you’re performing lifts and box jumps the wrong way there are plenty of blogposts on the internet to address all of that, but for some reason is seems like there are not very many coaches that are addressing the issues that are associated with the act of sprinting.

Just like lifting demands technique from us so does the act of sprinting and running. So many people butcher this because they’ve never been taught, or trained for the purpose of sprinting with a high level of quality. Today I want to steer the BRF blog in a direction to address some of the fundamental rules of sprinting and running.

With sprinting there are rules that are associated with both the upper and lower body. As you can see in the video I’m addressing the upper body mechanics. As a coach the upper body is usually the quickest area for me to assess in a respective trainee to see whether or not they are efficient in their sprinting technique.

I mentioned in the video if you are moving your arms side to side then you are no doubt wasting a lot of motion. This is unnecessary energy and will only bleed your speed and power out of a respective sprint. Make sure you practice the upper body technique of elbow drive in the mirror a few times to get the feel of where your arms should be during the act of sprinting.

In addition to the upper body you also want to make sure you have a handle on the technical aspects of the lower body as well. I’m always surprised at just how flat footed people can be today when I see them run for the first time. There is no doubt that feet have become a new trouble area for people in this modern era, but that in of itself is a post for another day.

The key to sprinting is making sure that you are light on your feet. This means that you should run on the balls of your feet. Like I pointed out in the video if I can hear you running then you are already too slow.

The art of sprinting also involves being able to pull the knee up creating rapid knee lift. At the same time you want to rapidly strike the ground with the foot dorsiflexed.  This creates a springing action. Your knees should resemble a piston in a car engine when sprinting.

How To Master Sprinting: The Emphasis

This continuous cycle of your knee lifting and your foot striking the ground will generate a much more controlled sprint for you. This takes practice. You want to train yourself to practice the act of pulling your knee up. You want to this by practicing drills that reinforce this action. One great way you can do this is by including lateral high knee runs with an agility ladder.

By including the lateral high knees in the ladder it forces me to exhibit body awareness. I have to strike each square of the ladder with both feet. Additionally, because I’m moving laterally it’s easy to see how significant the rules of sprinting are to apply.

The elbow drive is present for the upper body. I’m also able to focus in on getting significant knee lift while striking the ground with the balls of my feet. In addition to this I’m striking the ground while keeping my ankle dorsiflexed. This is one solid way for you to practice and master the mechanics of efficient sprinting.

How To Master Sprinting: The Takeaway

To improve your overall fitness then you need to learn and consistently work to improve your sprinting.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if so then don’t be shy about posting up.

What kind of sprint training are you implementing?

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Thai Fighter Jeff Perry delivering a knee strike













I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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