A big part of why I founded Primal Strength Camp is because fundamental skills that were once prevalent in mankind are eroding from our society. The most common of those is the ability to run.
At Primal Strength Camp, we are geared towards performance so training to sprint faster is commonplace. There are a variety of things you can do to sprint faster and fortunately a lot of those things align with other things you should be doing in the gym anyway.
#1: Lose Body Fat
Blinding flash of the obvious I’m sure, but carrying extra weight, other than for leverage in some big lifts, does nothing for your athletic performance. The extra weight will make you slower, less agile and mobile, and less healthy overall. Drop the weight with high-intensity cardio and clean up your diet.
#2: Increase Your Explosiveness
You’ve heard me talk about ways to increase your explosiveness to lift bigger weights but how does that translate to sprinting faster? The more explosive you are, the more force you can generate. To sprint faster you need to produce a lot of force from the ground through your posterior chain and the rest of your body.
Lifting heavy weights, plyometrics, and medicine ball work are all things you should be doing in the weight room that will develop your explosiveness and help you sprint faster.
#3: Improve Your Posture
This is by far the most common problem I see when I watch people run. Office jobs, long bouts of sitting, too many video games for kids, and overworking the muscle groups you can see (chest, shoulders, etc.) and neglecting your posterior chain are all major contributors to bad posture.
Bad posture directly translates to poor running mechanics.
This correction can be made through conscious effort and persistence. When walking and sitting, you should be thinking about a big chest and retracted shoulder blades, rather than slouching. You can make a lot of progress just by sitting up and walking “proud”. In the gym, try retracting and holding your shoulder blades at the lockout of your deadlifts (using lightweight).
#4: Increase Your Stride Length
The longer your strides, the faster you will cover more ground. A lot of this goes back to #2 and being more explosive, but more specifically you must focus on driving with your legs.
In most cases this means driving your legs back and creating more leverage with each stride. Focus on “pulling the ground” away from your body with your feet and actively engaging your posterior chain.
To improve your stride length and technique, prowler and sled pushes and pulls are the best remedy. The necessary movement to move the prowler or sled mimics running technique.
#5: Strengthen Your Hip Flexors
I always talk about hill sprints as the only thing you need to do for fat loss, but they also indirectly help you sprint faster. The stronger your hip flexors and the more force they can generate, the faster you can sprint.
The top sprinters in the world focus on hip flexor development, so in addition to hill sprints, emphasize hanging leg raises and knee drives (explosively move your knee upwards to your chest). You can add resistance to your knee drives as well by strapping your foot into a cable machine.