Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

How to Weight Train the Legs for Sprinters

author image Nick Ng
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.
How to Weight Train the Legs for Sprinters
Sprinters need maximal strength training as part of their conditioning. Photo Credit: OSTILL/iStock/Getty Images

Most weight-training exercises focus on one body part. You sit down and perform sets that are often based on bodybuilding and power lifting. However sprinters, who run in a standing position, need to train the specific sprinting skills they need to succeed. In 2013 physical therapist Tony Ingram advised athletes to remember the SAID principle, which stands for "specific adaptation to imposed demands": your body can only get better at what you train it to do. Therefore, to become a better sprinter, your weight-training program should be tailored toward sprinters, not bodybuilders.

Video of the Day

Strength Conditioning Basics

Step 1

Warm up your body with five to six minutes of light cardio to get your heart pumping and increase neural activity, such as jumping rope, jogging or skipping. Do some dynamic stretching, such as leg swings and standing trunk twists, within the warm-up period.

Step 2

Start with some forward lunges. Stand with your feet together, carrying a kettlebell in each hand by your sides. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Inhale as you step about 2 feet forward with your right foot, and bend both legs to lunge straight down until your left knee almost touches the floor. Keep your back straight and your shoulders down. Exhale as you push against the floor with your front foot to step back to the starting position.

Step 3

Next, move on to jump lunges. Stand with your left foot about two feet in front of you with your knees slightly bent. Inhale as you lunge straight down, bringing your left elbow behind you and your right arm in front of you with both elbows bent at about 90 degrees. Keep your fingers slightly curled and relaxed. Exhale as you jump straight up, switching your leg position in midair. Land gently on the balls of your feet with your right foot in front of you. Your back leg and hip should be extended behind you with your knee slightly bent.

Step 4

Top your strength training off with some kettlebell swings. Hold a kettlebell with both hands in front of your body so that the weight is hanging near your groin. Stand with your feet about shoulder-distance apart with your feet pointing forward or slightly out to the sides. Rock your hips back and forth with your knees slightly bent and your back straight to gain momentum. The arc in which the kettlebell swings should gradually increase. Exhale as you thrust your hips forward and straighten your legs once you gain enough momentum to swing forward and upward. The kettlebell swing should reach as high as your nose or eye level. Inhale as you swing down between your legs as you hinge your torso forward at your hips. Do not muscle up the kettlebell with your shoulder and arms.

Step 5

Cool down your body with breathing exercises for about 10 minutes. These exercises can be qi gong and yoga exercises, which move and stretch your body in various directions and positions as you breathe deeply. Add simple leg, hip and back stretches, such as standing toe touches and seated spinal twists, to alleviate muscle fatigue.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media