The Fast Track: Start Faster, Win Sooner

November 25, 2011
by Justin

Speed is captivating in every realm. In the wild, the cheetah uses its speed to kill prey like antelopes and to protect itself against predators like lions. Their speed is used sparingly when hunting their prey on the savannah, but when executed, it’s a force of nature. Human sprinters use their speed to blow past the opposition. Every great sprinter knows they need two things to compete with the elite; a great start and top-end speed that picks up momentum the second half of the race. Today, The Fast Track will show you that how you start, will determine where you finish. Whether you’re bending the curb on the 200 or blazing your spikes for the 100 meter dash, you need to have a good start. Here are some basic techniques in getting you out the blocks faster:


Jump Rope

When jumping rope you use every leg muscle from your calves to your hamstrings. The repeated jumping simulates the constant explosion, needed to get out the blocks and get into your top-end speed faster. This is a great way to warm up, just to get your blood circulating for the rigorous workout. Get a good lather and move into our first exercise.


Speed Squats

When I think of squats, I think of multiple plates on each side and loud screams on each rep. Those squats are not what sprinter’s need. The speed squat should be done with low weight and controlled speed for each rep. This is high rep/lift to failure workout, but you must remember not to lose your form as the weight gets tougher to lift. Speed squats are a great concentrated movement for your hamstrings, quads and abductors.


Full Clean

A full clean is a full-body power lift that can be dangerous if done improperly. Before establishing a grip you are comfortable with, find your standing base preferably shoulder width apart. Before lifting, ensure that your back is straight and you have a comfortable grip. When you lift, your jump point should be executed when you get the bar right above your knees. If you explode into the lift too soon, your body will naturally overcompensate, sending you forward or even throwing out your back. The full clean is a universal lift all athletes can use when working on explosiveness.


Overall, nothing beats coming out of your actual block for an additional element to this progression. You should have the first and second foot placement equaling the distance from your heel to the front of your foot. You should also be able to sit up in your blocks without falling. Lastly, when backing into starting position, your back foot should be placed first and the forward foot second. Working with a starter pistol will get you used to the timing and racing with a partner is always great for motivation. Now go out there and get faster; I smell a new p.r.


Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle. 

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