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Good Form for Sprinting

by
author image Steve Silverman
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.
Good Form for Sprinting
A powerful start can help a sprinter control a race. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Sprinting requires a commitment to conditioning and training if you want to improve and successfully compete in your sport. From the start to the finish, there are a number of techniques a sprinter can learn to get the most out of the race. Understanding what it takes to sprint will help you.

Start: First 5 Meters

Exhale as you hear the starter's pistol. Push hard with your legs and pump your arms hard. Do not stand up too quickly. Your body should be at a 45-degree angle as you rise out of the starter's blocks. Focus on the first 3 to 5 meters. Run out of the blocks and don't jump out of them.

Drive Phase: 5 to 30 meters

Push your back foot forward and keep your heel low. Your shin will be at a 45-degree angle to the ground with your first strides; that angle will gradually change as you get to a more upright position. Keep your eyes focused on the finish line. Keep your face and neck muscle relaxed. Hold your shoulders back and keep them relaxed as well.

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Stride Phase: 30 to 70 meters

Push hard off the track with the balls of your feet. Drive your leg forward with a high knee action. Your knee should be pointing forward and the heel striking under your buttocks. Keep your head in line with the spine and hold it high. Continue to relax the muscles in your face, shoulders and upper body. Hold your elbows at a 90-degree angle and move your hands from shoulder to hip height during the sprinting process.

Lift Phase: 70 to 100 meters

You will not run as fast over the final 30 meters of your race, so your technique is most vital at this point so you can hold on to your speed for as long as possible. You will need to have very high knee action as you run, and you will have to accelerate your feet. You should be moving them as if you are running on hot coals. You don't want your feet to stay in contact with the track surface for very long. Pump your arms hard and keep your hands high.

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