Sprinting is a sport adored all over the world, but it requires high speed and endurance. Whether you run track, cross country, or road races – you need to train to become fast and build your stamina. While winning a sprinting race isn’t a walk in the park, you can definitely outperform others on the track by using effective exercises that can improve muscle power.
You can use numerous sprint training exercises to improve your acceleration, such as plyometric training,strength training, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
With that said, make sure to perform a thorough warm-up before you move on to any intense workout so you don’t end up pulling a muscle.
Luckily, a short Google search can uncover lots of different training programs. However, since there are so many diverse exercises with various purposes, you may be perplexed and unclear about which to follow. With that said, do not worry; we will make sure to guide you properly about sprint workouts that you can follow to win the race you desire.
What Is Sprint Training?
Sprint training involves short bursts of speed where you run in an all-out sprint followed by recovery periods where you jog at a brisk pace for at least four minutes. This workout is a form of high-intensity interval training that improves cardiovascular endurance, body composition, and muscular strength. Moreover, it is also very effective at enhancing your performance in the long run by increasing your ability to sustain high levels of effort over prolonged periods.
Before starting any training drill to improve your speed, you need to know that these tough workouts can take a toll on your body. Hence, giving your body plenty of time to rest in between acceleration workouts to relax your heart rate will be a good idea. It is also essential to monitor your body temperature during sprint training. If you don’t, you risk overheating and burning out your muscles, opening you up to injuries.
Accelerating Factors Of A 100m Race
The 100m dash only lasts 9 to 10 seconds; therefore, sprinters have minimal margin for mistakes. With that said, performance in the 100-meter race depends on acceleration, which some contend is the most crucial factor in the contest. Read on as we discuss the few significant factors you’ll require in the race to prepare you for increased acceleration.
The angle of your body throughout the acceleration phase is unique from the one seen when racing at maximal velocity. The tilt of your body is significantly more horizontal at this point. Your lower legs should be in a more horizontal direction, and your spine should make a straight line with your back leg, forming a 45-degree slope with the ground.
Splits Between Arms and Legs
For a 100-meter race, you must be forceful and organized at every step. Having a clear gap between your arms and legs allows for the right body angles and ground contact time. Without a wide gap, you will not be able to reach the low angles required for increased acceleration, losing the race despite your arduous training and effort.
Pressure and Force
Since you will be in the accelerating phase for a longer distance and time in your sprint (about 0.17–0.18 seconds), your goal should be to exert as much pressure as possible with each stride. Instead of taking quick, small steps that don’t get you anywhere, you should aim for longer, more forceful stride lengths that cover more ground.
4 Effective Warm-Ups To Improve Acceleration
Despite how much you are craving to jump straight into sprint training, warming up your body is extremely important. Warming up before the actual drill will help you prepare your body for a heavy workout.
It will also ensure that your body does not require long breaks between the exercises, saving you time and energy. Here’s a list of the ideal warm-ups that you should do before starting the acceleration drills:
Marching with hands on the head is an incredibly efficient technique to enhance your accelerating mechanics. It works best as a warm-up before intense attempts to improve technical ability.
When performing this exercise, your hands should be on your head. Keep your chin high while looking forward. The key is to push your knees, toes, and soles up sharply with each step. When you reach the highest position, your heel should recuperate beneath your hips. Keep going and forcefully press the leg into the ground.
Ensure your knee is raised high and your chest remains upright when performing this exercise. Remember that you should stretch the hind leg completely, and the hip should be at a right angle and parallel to the flat surface beneath.
Consider the following warm-up as a development of the marches above. Although its purpose is quite similar to that of the marches, when both are joined, their effectiveness is increased.
Start by standing tall with your head and torso high. Then place your palms lightly on your head. Begin the action like a regular skip, firmly pressing your planted leg into the ground.
To lift yourself off the ground, you should do a quadruple extension at the hips, knees, and ankles. Drive your opposite leg up firmly while performing this motion. Land on the leg you initially skipped off, then switch legs and plant the other leg, repeating the procedure.
3. Walking Quad
The walking quad warmup is a great way to begin your speed training workout. It stretches out the muscles in your quads and warms them up before you start running.
Start by slowly walking straight ahead while pulling each foot back with the same side hand. Do this for each alternating leg and pull back the leg enough to feel a stretch on the front of your leg.
4. Jog In Place / on the Spot
A slow jog for at least 10 minutes is a great warmup that will elevate your heart rate and raise your body temperature before you move on to more intense training drills.
All you need to do is to move your limbs like you would when you jog while staying at a single spot.
3 Proven Sprint Drills for Acceleration
The first step in achieving your desired speed is to hire a personal trainer to guide and coach you properly. However, if you cannot do so for whatever reason, you can still become an elite athlete (like Usain Bolt) by following the sprint exercises listed below.
1. The Wall Drill
The wall drill gets the athlete to exert force against a wall. Due to this, they will be able to engage more fast-twitch muscle fibers, training them to sprint more powerfully.
The correct way to perform the wall drill:
Step 1: Start by stretching your arms to a wall while positioning them below your shoulder.
Step 2: Next, walk backward while leaning against the wall until your hands are shoulder-level.
Step 3: After that, lift your thigh until it is parallel to your torso.
Step 4: Lastly, execute a quick hip swap by lifting the thigh on the other side before returning to your starting posture.
2. Falling Starts
Another exercise that helps boost your acceleration speed is falling starts. The participant responds to the gravitational forces pushing him forward by using his responsive power in this exercise. This enables a stronger first step than would be possible with a regular sprint.
How to perform falling starts?
Step 1: Begin by standing with your arms by your sides.
Step 2: Next, place a hip-width gap between your feet.
Step 3: Step forward while standing on your heels until you are close to falling.
Step 4: As you start falling, stop yourself, and launch into a run.
3. Jump Back Start
This sprinting drill also trains your fast-twitch muscle fibers to help you get an accelerated start while sprinting.
Guide to performing jump back start
Step 1: Step out with your arms at your sides and feet hip-width apart.
Step 2: Jump backward while maintaining the same position of your shoulders and land while separating your legs.
Step 3: Place your body in a forward-leaning stance with your right foot ahead.
Step 4: Begin an energetic sprint from here.
3 Essential Strength Training Drills For Acceleration
Whether you intend to compete in a marathon or a sprinting contest, strengthening your muscles is crucial. Strength-building exercises enable your leg muscles to deliver more power when running and propel you with higher acceleration when you start your sprint. Many elite athletes incorporate the following drills in their workouts to help develop their muscles:
1. Sled Push
Pushing a sled will help your body adjust to a forward angle which is essential for acceleration. It will also strengthen your muscles.
The correct method for performing sled pushes:
Step 1: First, put both hands on the sled’s handle.
Step 2: Try to maintain your back as flat as you can while leaning forward a little.
Step 3: Stretch one hip as you would sprinting, then raise both hips.
Step 4: Put that foot down again, and continue doing so while you move the sled the prescribed distance at a steady pace.
2. Sled Pull
Yes! You read that correctly. Like sled push, sled pull is also a very effective drill to help you polish your sprinting skills. All elite sprinters use this technique to build power and strength in order to help boost their acceleration and speed while sprinting.
The right way to perform sled pull:
Step 1: Take the sled’s belt and drape it over your lower back.
Step 2: Allow the load of the sled to hold you in a forward lean stance.
Step 3: Extend one hip, and plant your foot on the ground.
Step 4: Use the opposite leg to cross over the ankle.
Step 5: Repeat up to your designated distance.
3. Front Squat
The front squat is the ideal exercise to develop maximal intensity and increase force output in this posture because it mimics the torso and hip position seen during acceleration. Barbell squats is also a great way to strengthen your muscles.
The right way to perform front squats
Step 1: Put your fingers underneath the bar to rest on your shoulder.
Step 2: Keeping your toes facing outward, position your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
Step 3: Bend downwards between your heels and continue to lower yourself into a squat. You should maintain a high posture throughout the exercise with your elbows and chest.
Step 4: Maintain control of the drop to get to the bottom spot. Return to the beginning position by driving your feet as far into the ground as possible and then rising quickly.
Ensure proper form when doing squats to target the main muscle group of your lower body more effectively.
Two Valuable Plyometric Training Drills For Acceleration
While strengthening building training drills develop your muscles, plyometric workouts enable you to use those muscles and apply them to your track sessions. The following plyometric workouts are great for not only building speed but also working on your acceleration.
1. Jump Squats
Jumps squats train your muscles to propel yourself faster in a sprint to help you achieve a higher acceleration.
The right way to perform jump squats
Step 1: Firstly, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Next, get into a squat position and transfer your weight to your feet.
Step 3: Jump off the ground with both of your feet.
Step 4: Lastly, land back to your original squat position.
For added intensity, you can do banded squat jumps using a resistance band.
2. Frog Jumps
Frog jumps are great for exercising all your important running muscles, such as your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, to enable you to run faster and achieve a faster acceleration.
A step-by-step guide to frog jumps
Step 1: Start by placing your feet about hip-width apart and bending into a squat position.
Step 2: Next, propel yourself forward into the air like a frog and landing on both of your feet.
Step 3: As soon as you land, immediately go back to your original squatting position.
Rest Your Body Properly
While practicing hard and thoroughly for your 100m sprint is crucial, regularly taking at least one day off each week to rest is equally as important. Not only will resting allow your body to recuperate, but it also ensures you don’t overexert your muscles and end up with an injury the following day.
How Should You Rest?
You can start by meditating or doing yoga and relaxing your mind. Mental fitness is as important as physical well-being for a 100m dash. Calming your mind will help you become more focused, assisting you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. You can also spend your rest day sleeping and not doing anything as it will help your body recover from the hard training it underwent.
However, if you don’t want to sit and mope around, you can perform light exercises! Low-impact exercises like cycling, boating, and swimming can help your body train while helping your tendons relax. You can also go for an easy jog to clear your mind.
But, if your lower limbs feel sore after the intense exercise, you can try lap swimming as an alternative. Being in water will soothe your muscles and grant you a full recovery.
Why Are Acceleration Drills Essential?
You may start the race quicker than other competitors by doing acceleration drills. A powerful beginning can speed up your finish and boost your confidence. Exercises that include acceleration can also help you build muscle power and improve your ability to run long distances.
How Much Acceleration Training Do Strong Athletes Require?
All sprinters need to work hard on their acceleration phase since getting off to a fast start does not depend on your strength. However, stronger athletes do not need as much rest or speed training.
Can Hill Sprints Improve Acceleration?
Yes! Hill sprints help you develop leg strength, improve your acceleration, and make you quicker. All you need to do is sprint with maximum speed and stroll down the hill, taking that time to rest.
When sprinting, acceleration training is as crucial as speed workouts; thus, if you want to win a 100-meter sprint, you must concentrate on building your acceleration. The best way is to start by warming up through splits and marches and then practice acceleration drills to prepare for your race. Newbies and weaker athletes should be mindful of taking extra rest for injury prevention.