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How To Increase Sprint Speed

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S for Sprint Speed

Would you like to be a little faster? Move a little quicker in that annual pick-up football game? There are a couple of things you can do to boost your speed output and both start with “S”. The first is to start squatting.

Squatting aids sprinting in a big way. There is a direct relationship between squat strength and sprint performance (noted, for instance, in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, April 2012). The researchers point out that increasing squat strength improves sprint performance at short distances. The researchers noted that relative strength increases are important for initial sprint acceleration, particularly in the start of the sprint through the 5 to 20 meter range. If you want an extra boost to your sprint start, squatting (and doing so with heavy weights) is a must.

The second “S” to aid your sprint speed is stretching. Yes, stretching often goes ignored or is largely marginalized in most workouts, but it is vital for sprinting. Stretching must be approached in a particular manner, but when you do, it really pays off big with more speed. Sprint coach Phil Campbell points out “You can cut .2 to .4 of a second off your 40 yard sprint time by improving your flexibility.” That’s a huge increase in short term speed, and the benefit comes from stretching.

One of the best things about stretching for speed is that the gains can come relatively quickly. Campbell notes in his book on speed “In fact you can improve your flexibility by 3-4 inches in 30 days if you start stretching in the right way.” What is that right way? Performing static stretching a few times a week. The specifics are to use stretches such as the toe touch, the hurdler’s stretch, and other static (reach and hold) movements that especially target the hamstrings. And there is also a specific time limit - each stretch should be held for 30 seconds per move.

Campbell’s speed book points out “Research shows the best ‘stretch/hold position’ (for time spent) to increase flexibility is 30 seconds. Adults aged 21 to 45 with tight hamstrings also get the best results from static stretching with 30-second stretch and hold positions.” He also states that this stretching should be done away and apart from other training - the stretching should be performed all by itself and at its own time slot.

If you want to build your speed, focus on the S’s of squatting and stretching and watch how quick you become.


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