Your sprint speed is defined by your Stride Length x Stride Frequency. You will sprint faster if you can increase your stride length, decrease time between steps, or a combination of these. Typically stride length is limited by your body’s physiology; how long your legs are, the range of movement of your joints and your flexibility. Sports scientists therefore argue it is more important to focus on increasing your stride frequency and rate of force development – how fast you can apply force to the ground.
With this in mind, here are some of the best exercise to improve your sprint speed.
Bear Crawl Sprint Start
The bear crawl sprint start utilities the Dynamic Bands looped over your shoulders. This adds resistance in the ‘starting-block’ position of sprinting. Loop the bands over your shoulders and explode out the block, working the accelerative sprint phase. This is a great exercise to work on rate of force development, enabling you to apply more force faster. To increase resistance simply start further away from the anchor point.
Demonstrated by top London PT Lewis Paris Fitness, Glute Kickbacks using dual Dynamic Bands. This is a great exercise for the Glutes, Hamstrings, Hips and Quads – which are all imperative to improve your sprint speed especially from the starting position. Loop the handles over your foot, hold the opposite ends and kick back. Simple as that.
Sprint Outs with Dynamic Bands
Loop the handles of the Dynamic bands through each other and attach to a low or mid anchor point. Stand inside the bands and sprint out. The bands will resist your efforts and help to increase your stride speed.
Pistol Squat Power Jumps
Lewis Paris Fitness shows us how it is done, with this explosive Pistol Squat. This increases knee stability and unilateral power. The Power Straps help you to stay balanced when taking off and landing on the same leg. This exercise increases single leg power, and landing on one leg will overload the eccentric phase (the way down) to stabilise and strengthen the Knee, Quads and Hamstrings.
Dynamic Band Jumps
Work on explosive power with these jumps. Use the same Dynamic Band set up as in the Sprint Outs, but jump as high and forward as you can. These will work the Quads, Glutes and Hips, for more resistance move further away from the anchor point.
Bulgarian Split Squat
We have already covered the importance of the Bulgarian Split Squat. It should be a staple in everyone’s leg day. It increases Glute and Hamstring activation and helps increase knee stability, all important for sprinting. Use a Power Strap to elevate the rear foot and to add in a stability factor over a bench or box.
Hamstrings are a key muscle group to focus on to increase your sprint speed. Many people pull their hamstrings as they are weak and tight. Lying hamstring curls help to strengthen the Hamstring and the Glutes, whilst stretching the Hips.
Jumping lunges are another great way of working on explosive power, aim to jump as high as possible each time.