Sprinter’s Workout Part 3: Seated Sprint
The sprinter’s seated sprint has been used by track and strength coaches for years to help teach proper upper body sprinting mechanics. I have found this to be a very useful training method not only for track sprinters but also for other field and court athletes.
- Have the athlete sit on the floor or a pad with the legs extended straight.
- Sit-up straight with good posture and a semi-braced core (pull the belly button in to tighten up core muscles but the athlete should still be able to breathe normally).
- All arm movement should come from the shoulders in an alternating swinging motion.
- The elbows should be bent around 90 degrees to start.
- The hands should be open and left loose during the entire exercise.
- Instruct the athlete to maintain form in the torso and legs and begin to slowly swing the arms from the shoulders. The hands should not swing across the body. They should swing straight up and down from the hip up towards the side of the head/ear.
- After the athlete has this movement learned have them start with a slow speed and then speed up into a full seated upper body sprint for about 10-15 seconds and focus on good form and technique.
- The elbows will be allowed to flex and extend within 20 +/- degrees from the original 90 degree position.
When this is done correctly with a lot of power the body will tend to travel forward and may bounce and lift off the ground. If you are on a hard surface, I would recommend using a pad to sit on. We use pieces of wrestling mats and typically we will block the feet by standing in front of the feet so they do not scoot forward and off the matt. In the video above, you will see what I mean. I was filming them so I was unable to block the feet. If you watch closely, you will see the athletes laughing as they were scooting forward and off the mats.
It is also very important to have the athletes focus on the hands. Many athletes will clinch up the hands into a fist and this will prohibit a fast natural swing from the shoulders. A way I get athletes focused on their hands and drive the point home is by using doritos potato chips. Yes, you just read that right. Have the athlete take a triangle-shaped chip and place it in the palm of their hand with a point of the chip placed between the middle and ring fingers. Then have them pull the fingers and thumb slightly around the chip to hold it in place. As they swing their arms, if the chip breaks they know they are squeezing their hands to tight. This has been an extremely effective training technique and athletes have fun with it.
Upper body sprinting mechanics is many times over looked with training athletes and this simple training exercise can be very effective. Neurologically, when sprinting all out, you will not be able to run faster than your arms can swing. If you think I am kidding-try it. Yes you can run without swinging your arms but you will not be sprinting and you will not be very fast. See how this one training exercise can be very effective at improving the speed of an athlete.
Hope this helps!
To your health,