How to Become a Faster Sprinter

Sprinting seems like a simple enough action, but if speed is what you’re after, knowing how to angle your body and position your legs and feet correctly will really separate the hares from the tortoises. The good news is that you don’t need to train like an Olympic athlete to reach your true sprinting potential; a few simple tweaks here and there and a little applied knowledge will help you run faster than you’ve ever run before.

Woman sprinting on track. (Image: Ronnie Kaufman/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Stay Low

Maintain a straight line from the back of your ankle to your head. Keep your body at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Stay low to the ground but don’t force yourself to bend forward. Angle your body forward but take care not to stick your butt out as this might cause you to become unbalanced.

Stay Relaxed

Stay relaxed as you run. Let your muscles work and drive you forward without straining or tensing. Use signs like clenched fists, tight facial muscles and elevated shoulders to tell you if you’re not relaxed enough. Keep your arms at a 90-degree angle from the elbow. Don’t lock your arms, as this will restrict your range of motion and cause tightness. Relax your fingers and keep your palms up.

Shorter Steps

Take more steps by shortening your stride. This will ensure that your feet spend more time on the ground than in the air. Shorter steps mean faster sprints. Try to hit the ground with the front part of your foot so that you work with your center of gravity. Don’t bounce when you run; keep your movement horizontal, not vertical.

Hamstring Pull

After each foot strikes the ground, pull your heel up toward your butt. This tight constriction of the hamstring gives you a shorter leg arch, meaning that your legs get back into position quickly and efficiently for your next step. Don’t push off with your toes and allow the hamstring contraction to save you precious energy.

Tips

Make sure that your feet fall under you as you run, not in front of you, as this will ensure that you have balance and leverage. To help keep your arms relaxed, make sure that your hands are unclenched; clenched fists can be a sign of tension. Always stay hydrated before, during and after a run. Seek medical advice before you embark on any physical exercise.

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