sprint training

4 Drills to Enhance Your Sprints

Now that the weather is finally more favorable, it's time to get outside and run around. Whether you're playing in a summer league for high school sports or you're an adult in the real-world and you join up with a grown-up league. Most field and court sports require quick bursts of speed to reach a ball or an opponent with the ball. Today I have some drills you can implement to work on that explosion and subsequent acceleration. 

All of the drills would be best performed for 5-8 yds each for 2-3 sets of 2-4 reps. You'll want to keep the volume low to minimize fatigue. Each rep should be explosive and quick and you can't do that if you're tired.

In each drill you want to focus on a few things:

1. Apply as much force as possible on the first few steps-- think about exploding out of your shoes.

2. Maintain a tight core-- this will minimize any lateral movement thus streamlining your body as much as possible. Plus, you can transfer force from the ground through your legs more effectively through a stiff core than you can through a loosey-goosey one. 

3. Maintain strong knee and elbow drive-- don't run like a limp noodle man

Without further ado... 

Falling Start

If you have a hard time with acceleration, this is a useful drill as it forces you to lean forward (the acceleration phase requires a forward lean of the torso). 

Side Start

Side starts are perfect for working on acceleration in the frontal plane, sideways, as most of the time in a game scenario, you won't start running in the saggital plane (straight forward).

PUPP to Start

It's also not guaranteed that you will always start sprinting after an opponent standing up. This drill teaches you how to drive forward from the ground and pop up quickly.

Barrel Roll to Sprint

Let's say you made a spectacular dive in a game, but you need to get back up on your feet. By practicing rolling, you will teach your vestibular (balance) system how to re-orient so you won't be caught unawares during the heat of the moment. At least two of my athletes reported rolling in a game and I personally witnessed another doing so during his game. I was so proud. 

There you have it! Try those out the next time you find yourself on a field!   

SAPT Virtual Sprint Seminar, Episode 1: The Falling Start

This begins a series of virtual sprint "seminars" that I'm sure many of you will enjoy. I - along with two of our Summer interns, Josh and Goose - have been working with a number of our college baseball guys to improve their sprinting speed. Given we meet with them 2x/week outside of their usual lifting program, and that they're making some sort of improvement each and every session, it makes for excellent blogging fodder that hopefully you human movement geeks out there will enjoy.   


Questions that will be answered in this episode:

  • What is the Falling Start? And why does it help with improving sprint speed and mechanics?
  • Why having or developing "quick feet" may NOT actually be the answer you're looking for when it comes to improving sprint speed.
  • Common errors that nearly everyone makes during the falling start, and how to correct them.
  • How to reduce your risk of injury when beginning a sprint training program.
  • What Street Fighter can teach you about ensuring a strong acceleration off the line.

Comments? Feedback? Was this helpful? Mind blown? Share any thoughts below! 


Basic Speed Development Program

The overwhelming request we get almost daily: Do you guys do speed training?

My answer: Hellz YES!

In an effort to compliment my running related warnings over at StrongGirlsWin.com from earlier today, I wanted to take this post to another level and get all geeked-out over some real-deal sprint training.You gotta present both sides of the coin, ya know?

While I've termed this post as "basic speed development," please DO NOT confuse that for BEGINNER speed development. There's a big difference. This sample program is for someone who has at least a year of regimented general training under their belt that is heavy on both sprint and weight training fundamentals.

Without further delay...

Basic Speed Development Program

  • Day 1 - Starts, Speed, & Total Body Lift with Lower Body Emphasis
  • Day 2 - Tempo Run
  • Day 3 - Special endurance & Total Body Lift with Upper Body Emphasis
  • Day 4 - Tempo Run
  • Day 5 - Starts, Speed Endurance, Long jump/triple jump Technique (at high intensity and include as overall daily volume), & Total Body Lift (even split)
  • Day 6 - Tempo Run
  • Day 7 - Rest


  1. Keep your intensity above 90% or below 65%! The in-between work is trash for developing true speed and will only increase the likelihood for injury, while decreasing the chance for improvements.
  2. Avoid the pitfalls of starting with high volume and low intensity. Rather begin with HIGH INTENSITY and LOW VOLUME. Then gradually increase volume while keeping the intensity high.

Sample Program Details:Monday - Speed Work: 2 x 3 x 20-30m accelerations (rest at least 4-minutes between reps); Med Ball Throws @ 6-10lbs: Squat to Overhead Push Throw x 6-8 + Keg Toss x 6-8 (at least 1-minute rest between each throw, we're after MAX EFFORT with every single toss/throw); Weights: Total body lift with lower body emphasis; Core: 100 reps (choose whatever floats your boat) Tuesday - Tempo Run: 8-12 x 100m (easy, basically a fast jog) + complete 10-20 V-Ups (or whatever core work you prefer) between each run - use the runs as the recovery between the V-ups Wednesday - Special Endurance: 2 x 150-300m with 20-25 min recovery; during the recovery (every 7-8 mins) do some light tempo runs, body weight calestenics, core, etc. the goal here is to simply stay warm during the break; Weights: Total body with upper body emphasis; Core: 200 reps (choose whatever floats your boat) Thursday - Tempo Run: Similar to Tuesday Friday - Speed Work: 2 x 3 x 20-30m accelerations (rest at least 4-minutes between reps); Med Ball Throws @ 6-10lbs: Squat to Slam x 6-8 + Falling Forward Chest Throw to Sprint x 6-8 (at least 1-minute rest between each throw, we're after MAX EFFORT with every single toss/throw); Weights: Total body lift (even split); Core: 100 reps (choose whatever floats your boat) ***After several weeks, longer sprints (50-60m) can be added to the speed workouts on Mondays and Fridays.

Good luck, may the Force be with you...

Get it? Force...

...I already said I was getting geeked-out over this one, so I think that was a pretty solid joke.