Woman running track

Maximise Your Sprint: Top Running Techniques

Unlock your full running potential with our top sprinting technique. From form to drills, our tips and tricks will help you perform on the track.

In a sprint, every millisecond counts. As a high-intensity sport, shaving off precious time can be challenging, but there are tried and tested techniques you can do today to help you hit your new record. From working the right muscles to finding the proper form, read on to get the know-how below.

Sprinting 101

Springing consists of three phases to take you from the beginning to he finish, all requiring different strengths, skills and techniques:

  • Maximise Your Sprint

    The Acceleration Phase

    This is where you push off the rear and front leg as hard as you can, pulling your back leg through as quickly as possible while your body leans forward slightly. After completing the drive, you then extend your front leg on the front block at the knee and hip.

    This phase is until you reach your maximum velocity, so the focus will be on maintaining your speed. The longer you can hold your maximum velocity, the better you’ll be able to hold off deceleration.

  • Maximise Your Sprint

    The Transition Phase

    Here, your focus will be on increasing the velocity to get to an upright sprinting position.

    Try and increase your stride length and frequency within the first 20m.

  • Sprinting 101

    The Gliding Phase

    Once your torso is upright, this phase kicks in.

    Try to maintain a wide and comfortable stride until you hit the finish line.

How to get Faster at Sprinting

When it comes to answering the question of how to get faster at sprinting, there are a few different exercises and prep work you can do to beat your record. In this section, we’ll discuss:

• Sprinting form
• Strides
• Muscle mass
• Recovery
• Plyometrics

Woman in sprinting form

Sprinting Form

Sprinting, like all sports and exercises, starts with the right form and posture. The foundations can make or break your performance and proper posture is crucial for reaching your top speed, maintaining efficiency, and minimising the risk of injury.

When establishing your sprinting form:

• Stand tall, ensuring that your head, neck, and shoulders are aligned directly above your hips, with only a minimal forward lean.
• Keep your spine straight.
• Relax your neck and shoulders.
• Keep your hands and fingers loose (not "lose").
• Maintain a neutral pelvis and hip alignment.

It’s a good idea to keep your arms at a 90-degree angle when running to balance the body, establish a rhythm and increase force as you move them forward and backwards.

Group of people running track

Sprint Technique: Strides 

When taking your strides, there are a few best practices you can follow to ensure you hit your optimal speed:

• Ensure your foot lands directly underneath the center of your mass and drive your foot straight down into the track.
• Apply more force to the ground to lengthen your strides and propel your body forward.
• Maintain your pelvis in a neutral position.

Avoid over-striding or reaching out with your foot; this counters your inertia, slowing you down each time your foot makes contact with the ground. Over-striding can prevent you from fully utilising the strength in your quads and glutes and can place additional strain on your hamstrings.

While minimal ground contact time is associated with better sprinting performance, it's beneficial only if you can apply the optimal amount of force to the ground during that brief contact. If you can't generate sufficient force, you'll need to increase your contact time to compensate. By excelling in both force application and stride efficiency, you'll naturally minimise ground contact time.

Man doing squats


Sprinting depends on the fast-twitch muscle fibres you use in high-intensity sports. When training, particularly strength and weight training, those tissues are torn and repaired to make them stronger to build up your muscle mass.
In sprinting, by building your leg muscles, you can push from the ground stronger and more quickly and ensure optimal energy input.

While overall strength and fitness are necessary to perform well in sprints, you should pay extra attention to training your hamstrings. Try and fit the following hamstring exercises into your workout routine:

• Hamstring curls
• Squats
• Deadlifts
• Single-leg hip thrusts

Woman stretching legs on mat


Recovery and rest are much-neglected yet all-important parts of ensuring you hit your optimal speeds.

Sprinting is a high-intensity sport, and adhering to best practices in warm-up and recovery is essential to minimise the risk of injury, loosen your muscles, and prevent overburdening your body. Ensure you incorporate the following into all your workout plans:

• Warm-up: Start with a light jog, lasting at least 10 minutes or equivalent to two laps around the track.

• Muscle stretches: Concentrate on your hamstrings and calf muscles. Examples include heel-toe drills, high-knee marching, front and side lunges, and the modified hurdler’s stretch.

• Practice accelerations: Begin a run and accelerate for 10 to 20 meters, then stop. Rest for up to four minutes and repeat this up to 15 times.

• Cool-down: Engage in a jog for 1-2 minutes followed by 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.

• Rest days: Aim to have 2-3 rest days each week.

Ensuring the right warm-up, rest, and recovery regimen will position you for peak performance when it matters most.

Woman jumping on box


Plyometrics is a set of exercises that revolve around jumping and landing. These exercises will help you build power using broad and vertical jumps and help you reach top speeds.

Try to integrate the following jumps into your workout:

• Broad jumps: Jump in the squat position as far as possible
• Depth jumps: Stand towards the edge of a plyo box and jump off in a quarter squat position
• Box jumps: A vertical jump up to a box or elevated surface
• Resistance jumps: Jumps using resistance bands to anchor at waist height

Start with two-leg jumps before you try your hand at single-leg jumps, as you can overburden your leg if your lower body isn’t used to sudden and concentrated pressure. By training plyometrics, you’ll become quicker at landing, pushing off, and building up resistance.

How To Increase Running Speed at the Start

You’ll want a quick start and leave the block first to start accelerating as soon as possible. This will then allow you to reach top speed before your competitors.

Identify your dominant leg:  Practice with both to find which leg feels stronger and more comfortable for the push-off and generates the most power with less effort.

Stance: Make sure your feet aren’t too far from the start line and not too close to each other.

Pedal angles: When setting the angles, opt for roughly a 45-55 degree angle that feels most comfortable.

Reaction time: Develop a good reaction time so you can start at a moment’s notice. Practice this with your coach or friend using a whistle to prepare you for the day.

Sledge training: Try exercising with a sledge by either pushing or pulling it to mimic the ideal starting position when driving out of the blocks. Sledge training will help you practice your strides and lengths as well as maintain the right posture.

Running top

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