5 Simple Things to help Increase Acceleration

Mechanical sprinting changes take a lot of work and repetition.  Here are some simple things that athletes can do to effectively gain strength and increase his or her first step quickness.  Variations of these drills along with proper coaching, resistance training, rest intervals and muscle imbalance corrections, can ultimately increase acceleration and quickness.

1.) Stairs & Hills

Hills work great for younger athletes.  It can get the athlete accustomed to running with a lower drive angle without having the strength to actually run at that angle on flat ground.  It will help emphasize backside (posterior chain) lockout and grove acceleration foot placement.

2.) Lunges and Single Leg Step Ups

You can do these with weights or body weight only.  Use these exercises to strengthen the muscles needed to get that quick first step.  Make sure to keep the upper body perpendicular to the ground & keep that front knee behind the front toe while driving through the front heel.

3.) Walk On Your Heels

By no means do we ever sprint on our heels.  By oddly walking around on our
heels though we can strengthen the muscles on the front of your shins and the outsides of your calves.  This will help with a residual force that the ground gives back to us after we strike it with our foot.  Force always dissipates through a structures weakest medium.  Much like suspension in a car, if force is absorbed, we can’t utilize it effectively to move ourselves forward.

4.) “A” Position Plyometrics

There are plenty of variations for this position from “A” skips to bounds.  Being able to contract the hip flexor group quickly and correctly helps knee drive and posterior chain lockout.  Proper positioning of the foot under the body, with adequate tension in the lower leg, can take advantage of the body’s natural reflexes and allow for faster movement. When a hand touches a hot stove it immediate comes off the surface and moves quickly. This is similar to how we want a fast ground contact and a really fast recovery of that leg back to A position.

5.) Force Output To Weight Ratio

Olympic level sprinters are the fastest humans on earth.  It’s their sport, their priority, their main focus.  There is however one thing that they all have in common.  Most top level male sprinters have a squat to body wight ratio of 3:1 while most elite level female sprinters are at a 2:1 squat to body weight ratio.

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