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  • Writer's pictureGeorgia Manos

3 Exercises To Increase Your SPRINT SPEED

Sprinting can be simplified into 3 stages; acceleration, maximum velocity and deceleration

phase, where each of these can be addressed to improve sprint time.



In sports like tennis, netball, basketball or football, athletes spend a lot of their time within the

acceleration phase, as it takes a significant distance to achieve maximum velocity. As such,

players are required to change direction before max velocity can be reached due to the

constraints of the field/court and nature of the game. This does not mean that athletes

cannot achieve a considerable proportion of their maximal velocity over a short distance,

merely that training to increase acceleration speed could be more applicable in these sports.

Acceleration is the “rate at which velocity changes with time, in terms of both speed and

direction”. In sprinting, it refers to the process of the sprinter aiming to reach maximum

velocity as quickly as possible.


To increase acceleration speed, you want a combination of sprint drills, plyometrics and

resistance training to improve force generation, rate of force development, dynamic stability

and technique. Without further ado, here are 3 resistance exercises you can add to your gym

program!


The Hip Thrust: To accelerate, sprinters must be able to produce force rapidly in their

primary hip extensors (glutes), therefore the hip thrust should be performed explosively to

gain max


benefits. Horizontal force production is required to accelerate, which is the same

force that is applied in


a hip thrust, unlike a squat or deadlift which loads the glutes in a

vertical manner. In addition, the range of motion of your femur (thigh bone) relative to your

hip joint mimics that of the stride.


The Bulgarian Split Squat (quad focused): Sprinting is a unilateral movement and as such,

implementing/prioritising a unilateral exercise over a traditional squat makes sense. This

exercise allows you to address any strength asymmetries from right to left. It also requires a

significant amount of muscle coactivation for stabilisation purposes, in order to perform the

movement successfully, again mimicking the demands of sprinting. Furthermore, bending of

the hips, knees, and ankle during the down phase and extension in the up phase of the

exercise also closely matches the actions performed in the acceleration movement. A glute

focused Bulgarian Split Squat can also be a useful tool, however its applicability to sprint

mechanics is limited due to the glutes being primarily loaded in a lengthened position during

the exercise.

The Weighted Sled Run: Technique plays a major role in increasing acceleration speed, with

there being an optimal forward torso angle of roughly 70 degrees. Considering this, we don’t

want to load the sled to the point where this angle is altered to accommodate the weight.

This exercise encourages you to explosively and rapidly push into the ground so as to

overcome the inertia and get the sled propelling forward, thereby training force generation

and rate of force development. It is also the most specific resistance exercise as it is the

closest you can get to mimicking the actual movement.


The above is under the assumption that you are receiving adequate plyometric and sprint

based exercises from your sports specific coach. If you would like to chat about the other 2

training modalities, please feel free to contact me on georgia@sportsfithealthandrehab.com.au


Alternatively, you can book in here

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