Q. How Do I Improve My Sprinting Speed?

Everybody wants to be fast. Even if you're not a professional or collegiate athlete, speed makes you a better teammate and a deadlier foe. It's also a source of pride. Being the fastest kid on the block is an always-relevant bragging right.

So how do you become the neighborhood "Flash?" You practice sprinting, that's how!

I've compiled great drills to help you get better at producing speed and power. I've also added an interval workout so you can practice becoming the next Usain Bolt. Before you hit the drills and workout, however, check out these five crucial sprinting tips:

1. Parallel Squats

When you sprint, each step needs explosiveness and power to propel your body forward. The more power you can produce, the faster you'll be. Implement parallel squats into your regimen to help increase your power production.

2. Rest Makes Best

Speed training will improve your abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, back, and arms. It's a total-body, anaerobic workout. Because these workouts are so intense, it's important to take a day or two of rest after you do one. You wouldn't lift your chest two days in a row, would you?

Ripped Dude Accolades

  • Best 40-Yard Dash Time: 4.32 sec
  • Best 100 Meter Time: 10.35 sec
  • Best 200 Meter Time: 20.98 sec
  • Former record-holder at Cal State Fullerton in the 100- and 200-meter dash.
  • Held the title as the fastest person in the history of Cal State Fullerton for a five-year period
  • All Big West sprinter two years in a row
  • Ranked in the top 15 as one of the fastest collegiate sprinters in the state of California
  • Athlete of the Year, Cal State Fullerton

3. Arm Yourself!

Remember: When you sprint, your arms control your legs. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle, almost like you're picking something out of your pocket. They should never cross your body. Good arm movement will dictate your speed over a longer distance.

4. Ham It Up

When sprinting, your quadriceps are your accelerators and your hamstrings are your decelerators. In other words, your quadriceps muscles propel you forward, while your hamstrings slow you down. Don't just come to an abrupt halt at the end of a sprint. Allow yourself to coast through the finish line. Otherwise, you put a lot of stress on your hamstrings which could lead to strains, pulls, and tears.

5. Stretch

All-out sprints require flexibility. Your legs, hips, and back should be supple and strong. If you're tight, then you won't be able to achieve the range of motion necessary for speed. Perform flexibility training at least five days per week.

Speed-Improvement Drills
High knees
5 sets, 20 yds
+ 4 more exercises


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Do these drills twice per week with at least one day of rest in between.

Speed Improvement Workout

Perform this workout twice per week with at least one day of rest between sessions. It's best performed after the speed drills.

Set 1, Sprint Intervals: Rest no more than 30-45 seconds between sprints.

  • 20 meter sprint
  • 40 meter sprint
  • 60 meter sprint
  • 80 meter sprint
  • 100 meter sprint

Set 2, Sprint Intervals: Rest no more than 30-45 seconds between sprints.

  • 100 meter sprint
  • 80 meter sprint
  • 60 meter sprint
  • 40 meter sprint
  • 20 meter sprint

Perform all sprints at 75 percent of full speed. Go full speed on the last few sprints—but only if your body is fully warmed up.

About the Author

Obi Obadike, M.S.

Obi Obadike, M.S.

Obi Obadike, M.S., is a celebrity trainer and fitness author who holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Phoenix (Phoenix, Arizona).

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