Here is the second part of our Summer Sports Spotlight! This is a three part series on how to increase your sprinting mechanics and get faster.
Improve your sprinting technique
Without ever lifting a weight, it is possible to get faster just be learning to be more efficient! Here are some common aspects of running that get overlooked, along with some techniques to improve them!
- Strike the ground at the mid foot. By making a heel-to-toe contact as you run you aren’t optimally utilizing your ground striking mechanics!
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid from shrugging
- Keep a symmetrical rhythm between your arms and legs and be sure your arms aren’t crossing over your body.
Increase your overall strength
- The stronger you are, the more force you’ll be able to produce into the ground. This force will be generated from your type two muscle fibers rather than your type one fibers and understanding the differences between these two fibers is the key to ensure you’re training properly.
- Type one muscle fibers are used to maintain exercise and activity for a long duration of time, which means their ability to generate short term maximal power is limited while type two fibers are explosive and meant to generate a high amount of power for a single rep or a short duration.
- The best way to grow these type two fibers are to make sure they’re being trained against resistance. Look at the picture to the right and ask yourself, “Which of these two athletes lift in their program?” The answer should be obvious. By using weights at a high enough resistance to build strength (thus leading to increased type II fiber size) he is placing his muscles under the similar demands of generating maximal force into the ground.
- Although it may seem counter-intuitive to hit the weight room instead of the track to get better at running, you need to have a balance of both. Adding in weight training to your running program could be the key to breaking out of your plateau!
Improve your triple extension
- Triple extension is the simultaneous extension of your ankles, knees, and hips.
- Improving your explosiveness through this position will let you move faster by improving your stride frequency, this is the amount of times you complete a full stride cycle during your run. The main difference between sub-elite and elite athletes is stride frequency, meaning it’s more beneficial to take frequent steps rather than taking just longer steps.
- Olympic lifts are exercises that are specific to improving triple extension and are designed to improve explosiveness. These exercises involve total body movement performed as quickly as possible. Note that in frame one and two of the picture (featured left) the athlete has performed a hang clean by moving into triple extension to drive to bar off the floor.
Talk to one of our certified strength and conditioning specialists if you feel incorporating Olympic lifts and improving triple extension would take your game to the next level.
By Dave Albaranes