Training Aspects, Sports Performance, Sports Coach, Strength and Conditioning, Speed, Sprinting Mistakes, Running Faster, Sprinting, South Jersey, Running, Getting Faster

5 common sprint mistakes: Start and Acceleration

Sports Performance Coach Shares 5 Ways to Sprint Faster

Training Aspects, Sports Performance, Sports Coach, Strength and Conditioning, Speed, Sprinting Mistakes, Running Faster, Sprinting, South Jersey, Running, Getting Faster

The ability to move the body in synch is an extremely undervalued capability. Most people workout one muscle group at a time. They’re strong in single areas, but not when the body is required to move as a single unit. When they try to activate various strong muscle groups at once, they don’t understand why they can’t generate the same power.  Those who can, rarely realize the complexity of what they are doing. The people who can’t move their body in synch usually don’t realize it. There are incredible performance benefits that can be unlocked by understanding how the body moves as a single unit. Just a few technical adjustments to an individual’s movements Can yield amazing performance benefits. Here are 5 common errors, causes, and corrections in sprint technique.

Sports performance Tip 1: Places arms at shoulder width

If you are looking to generate as much power as possible, you have to keep all parts of the body in line. By getting wider than shoulder width you decrease the efficiency of your starting speed!

Sports performance Tip 2: ~90 degree in front knee

In the initial push, your rear leg produces greater initial force, but your front leg must exert force longer of the two, thus having more influence on the start. To have a powerful start, you need to put yourself in optimal starting position. If you’re hips are too high or too low, you lose efficiency in your acceleration. When setting up, adjust your hip height. Your front knee should be about 90 degrees. Clarification:, Sub elite sprinters hip height front=about 50degrees hip height rear about 90degrees. Elite sprinters hip height front=about 40degrees hip height rear about 80degrees.

Sports performance Tip 3: Load the whole body not just the arms

Remember what your purpose is, you are sprinting not doing bicep curls! The arm set up is important! However, to produce the power output needed for your greatest acceleration potential. You must distribute your body weight evenly across the body. By putting too much weight into the arms, you are affecting your hip and knee angle as well as direction of power. Solution: Raise your hips upward instead of forward, straighten arms and distribute the weight evenly!

Sports performance tip 4: Focus your eyes on the ground

Don’t raise your head up to look in the direction you are sprinting as you come out of the starting blocks. You are causing unnecessary tension in your dorsal muscles! If you are concerned about the safety of the course, check for pot holes before you get into stance, otherwise, keep your head down during the start. Keep your eyes on the ground until you get going.

Sports performance Tip 5: Don’t skip sprinting steps

Premature upright posture is often the cause of inadequate push-off force. You should not be in upright posture until you get into the maximum velocity phase. This means you are no longer in the start/acceleration phase which is about 25yards into your sprint.

These 5 sprint adjustments may take some practice and relearning. Once your body adjusts, you will see great improvement in your acceleration and it may even transfer to an increase in top speed.


Kirill Vaks
BA, CSCS, ACSM-cpt, NFPT-sns

 Performance and Fitness specialist

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