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Sprint Workout Progression For Your HIIT Training

Sprint Workout Progression For Your HIIT Training

  1. Do you currently include sprinting as part of your HIIT conditioning? 
  2. Are you “sprint functional” in your conditioning? 
  3. Do you have a practical and safe progression in place to build up your sprint workout? 

If you are not including sprint work into your conditioning program then you need to take the time to reconsider. If you aren’t sure about how to go about progressing up to a sprint workout program then this article will provide you with some insight. Get ready to buckle that chinstrap and get to work.

Sprint Workout Progression

When looking at the act of sprinting there must be a functional level of fitness and training in order to build up the skill. After all, sprinting is very much a skill just like deadlifting, squatting, and Olympic lifting are all skills.

When looking at the act of sprinting you need to understand a few things before starting a sprint training program. There are rules to sprinting technique that you want to be aware as you start incorporating the movement into your training. I’ve listed out 6 rules here below and the first three apply to the upper body and the last three apply to the lower body. Once you train these 6 elements of sprinting you will be more sprint functional and able to perform sprints properly. Shabby lifting technique will kill your strength gains and shabby sprint technique will do the same to your conditioning.

Rules To Sprinting

  1. Keep your elbows locked at a 90 degree angle
  2. With sprinting arm motion your hands should move from your hips to your chin
  3. Keep your shoulders square
  4. Run on the balls of your feet
  5. Make sure get knee lift
  6. Make sure your foot strikes the ground inline below your hip

Keeping these rules in mind there are some sprint related training drills that you can apply to your sprint workout to step up your HIIT training session. One of these involves the knee pop cone drill.

Sprint Workout: Knee Pop Cone Drill 


The Knee Pop cone drill is a great drill to help you train the 6 rules to sprinting that I listed out earlier. For the knee pop cone drill you’ll want to line up 8 cones in a straight line placing them equal distance apart in length. From here work to clear the cones solely with one foot practicing the execution of the knee lift with that leg as you drive the knee up clearing each cone along the line.

The drill reinforces arm motion (elbow drive), knee lift, and where to strike the ground with the ball of the foot to help you reinforce your sprinting technique. Once you clear the line of cones by practicing off of one leg simply alternate to the other leg on the following run.


Perform the Knee Pop cone drill by lining up 8 cones. A single repetition is counted once you make a run with each leg lifting and clearing the cones. Perform 3 sets one each leg prior to starting into your sprint workout.

Sprint Workout: Agility Ladder Linear High Knee Runs


As you can probably tell the Agility Ladder Linear High Knee runs are the next sort of progression from the previous drill. Here you’re going to be using the agility ladder to once again reinforce the 6 rules to sprinting. In this case you want to utilize the ladder as sort of a marker to generate the knee lift and elbow drive the way you did in the knee pop cone drill, but the difference here is that you want to generate lift in both knees with each run.

The agility ladder provides a visual marker for directing you where to go about striking the ground along each square of the ladder. It’s a guide for reinforcing the running mechanics and for providing you a small space for getting in an effective HIIT style sprint workout.


Perform 5 runs counting a full repetition once you make a run with each foot staggered in the ladder. Alternate which foot is lined up in the ladder with each run.

Sprint Workout: Sprints


The previous drills mentioned are going to help you with learning the 6 rules to sprinting. You want to work on applying these every time with your sprint workouts. Even though the previous drills are great for building you up for sprinting nothing beats the act of sprinting specifically to hone your sprinting technique and to get the most out of your HIIT workouts.

Sprinting is great for challenging you to build up your anaerobic work capacity and to help you to build on a practical and effective level of functional conditioning. The human body is designed to work in an interval based fashion. This means we are motorset to perform a bout of work followed by a bout of rest. Sprinting is the perfect way to train this sort of energy system.


Your sprint training can be programmed many different ways, but for the sake of this article I’ll include a recommended sprint workout here below.

Build Up Sprints (Start slow and gradually speed up as you progress through a single run). 

Build Up Sprints:

2×50 yard sprints 

Max Effort Sprints: 

8×40 yard sprints

8×30 yard sprints

8×20 yard sprints 

Sprint Workout: The Takeaway

The thing to realize is that if you’re looking to engage in a quality sprint workout for a good HIIT workout then you need to make sure that your sprinting technique and is on point. Effective sprint technique means that you will achieve bigger results in your conditioning.

Are you currently incorporating sprinting into your HIIT workouts?

Are you practicing drills to improve on your sprint technique?

Are you getting results from your training as fast as you would like?

Please post up and share in the comments here below.

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Muay Thai champion and Brandon Richey Fitness student Jeff Perry demonstrating how to be functionally strong with a Thai knee strikeRelated Articles:

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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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