I recently spoke on my social media about hitting your top speed or maximum velocity, and got tons of questions asking for a break-down on the most important aspects when it comes to getting faster. Today I’ll be breaking down sprint mechanics for maximum speed.
About two years ago, I was checking out some game film of one of my athletes. As a defensive back, I saw that he definitely had room to work on his top speed and took note of the bad mechanics he ran with.
As soon as we implemented the techniques I’m about to share with you, in just one season his top speed increased drastically.
Today I want to go a little more in-depth. I’m breaking down these sprinting mechanics into three areas to work on:
- Force production
- Backside Mechanics
- Frontside Mechanics
I recommend training these in this order so you an maximize your results, and achieve your maximum speed.
Let’s get into it.
1. Force Production
My first focus here is to increase absolute strength and then convert or translate that strength into greater force velocity.
Think about creating power and having an explosive first step.
Imagine the athlete is running. In addition to lengthening each stride, we also want to decrease the amount of time spent on the ground with each step.
Think about having more force behind each foot strike. This will allow you to cover more ground and hit top speed faster.
Force production in sprinting is based on having the proper mechanics. You can always work to increase force production by training for overall strength.
Along with your sprint training, you should continue including full body lifts like heavy squats and deadlifts into your regular programming. Powerful single leg movements are also essential to increase top speed.
2. Backside Mechanics
When watching film of my defensive back, I noticed some issues with his back-side mechanics. He ran with a very long and “swooping” residual phase in his stride.
Even though he could produce plenty of force with each foot strike, he wasn’t covering enough ground because of the inefficiency in his backside mechanics.
To train this we needed to initiate triple flexion.
Triple flexion originates with dorsiflexion of the ankle (this is when you’re pulling your toes in towards the shin), then flexion at the knee and hip.
Before we fixed anything my athlete had no triple flexion occurring, where the leg was straight back behind him.
When this occurs, the chest tends to lean forward and the hips shoot back making it much harder to cover ground.
To remedy this, we worked on a lot of drills that work to bring the leg directly into triple flexion and right into the next stride.
3. Frontside Mechanics
When it comes to front side mechanics, we want to work specifically on getting the knee up to hip level.
In combination with the extended back-side stride, this same athlete wasn’t bringing the knee high enough to accomplish the next stride successfully
Through instilling a series of new motor patterns, we accomplished a tight cycle that increased stride length and speed.
When the knee comes up to hip height, the athlete can now produce the same amount of force, but with a greater angle. This increases the range of motion and enables them to increase stride length.
For my defensive back, I noticed this quick fix made a huge difference.
Athletes should work on drills which teach the lower limb to NOT extend while keeping the upper limb flexed.
If you initiate hip flexion (bring the knee to hip height) and simultaneously extend the lower limb, this will immediately cut off your stride. It decreases your your air time and slows you down.
While lots of coaches use the cue “high knees” I tend to stay away from this.
The high knees drill will most often make an athlete begin to extend their foot out, thinking it will make the stride longer…
This actually causes you to land on the heels and creates a breaking mechanism.
I cue my guys to just slightly release the hamstring so the feet will remain under the hips. This teaches proper frontside mechanics and helps you accelerate into top speed.
SPRINT MECHANICS FOR TOP SPEED
I wanted to share a few of my speed secrets with you guys so you can start working on proper sprint mechanics.
Throughout any of my athlete’s programming, I don’t include a ton of variations in sprint drills. You learn to achieve top speed by consistent repetition and by instilling the same drills over and over.
I want to keep this simple – hitting maximum velocity is all about instilling the proper motor pattern with drills and then being able to translate this over to speed.
I’ll be following this up with a “Part 2” on the exact drills my pro guys repeat weekly during the off-season.
Want to be the fastest guy on the field or court?
Top speed is only a part of this.
To become the fastest version of yourself you’ll need…
- Absolute Strength Training Modalities
- Speed Mechanics Drill
- Elastic Strength Training Protocols
- Advanced Core Stability Training
And a bunch more.
Thousands of athletes are currently using the Athletic Speed System to receive all those tools, and sprint faster than ever before.
If you’re serious about your speed, you should probably be doing the same.
You can find more info on Athletic Speed System below: