Sprinting speed in running is a high-velocity activity _Prep Performance Center

5 ways to increase your sprinting speed with combined strength training 

Sprinting Speed. Have you ever heard that weight lifting as a sprinter is going to make you “too bulky to run fast”? Well, there is an abundance of evidence proving this is not true and actually beneficial in increasing an athletes speed when combined with plyometrics and your regular sprint training! 

Each muscle in your lower body contributes to the production of overall sprinting speed in a unique way. Running is a high-velocity activity which requires a lot of force generation from your muscles. Therefore, you must  implement high-velocity strength training into your program that mimic the actions of the muscle during the specific phase of running in which they are primarily active. The exercises below are designed to replicate the strength and power you need throughout the gait cycle, and will allow you to produce a greater force. 

A website trackspikes.co.uk talks about the average speed for many athletes is 24kmh (15mph).

An efficient warmup that increases your heart rate and keeps muscles loose is your first step to success. Also, remember proper mechanics and completing your reps and sets safely is the most important thing in strength training for sprinting speed 🙂

TAKE HOME MESSAGE for sprinting speed: as a sprinter, you want to have a  greater focus on your ability to apply the force rapidly (high-velocity/explosive strength), rather than the maximum amount of force you can apply (maximum strength). 

Exercise #1: Jump Squats with Kettle Bell 


4 sets x 8 reps

Intensity – 5% of your body weight

2 minute rest between each set


– Start in standing with feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells or weight in hand.

– Bend your knees and hips to lower all the way down

– Quickly explode in the opposite direction, passing through standing and pushing through your ankles to follow through with a vertical jump.

– Absorb your body weight as you return to the floor (don’t land with straight knees)

chest upright, and core activated. 

Exercise #2: Med Ball Toss


4 sets x 6 reps

Variable weight as tolerated (suggest to start ~15-20lb ball)

2 minutes rest between each set


– Start in a slightly squatted position with medicine ball near the hip opposite to the wall 

– Squat down further at the same time as you rotate your trunk away from the wall. 

– Rapidly and controlled explode through your legs and rotate your run toward the wall as you throw the ball at the wall. 

– Catch the bal off the wall before it hits the ground as you absorb the weight and squat again

Exercise #3: Standing Long Jumps/Broad Jumps 


4 sets x 8 jumps (forward and back)

Intensity – Body Weight 

2 minutes rest between each set 


– Begin in a standing athletic position. 

– Squat down  and bring your arms back to prepare to jump.

Explode up and out and you jump off the ground.

– In mid air, extend your back and straighten out your body with arms above head (banana).

– Bring your feet in front of you to prepare for landing

Absorb the force through bending your hips and knees. Repeat another jump from the quarter portion you land from the former jump.  

Exercise #4: Jerk with Barbell


4 sets x 5 reps

Intensity – 70% 1RM

2 minutes rest between each set


– Start standing with the barbell on the front of your shoulders and elbows bent. 

– Slight squat to prepare for upward motion  

– Lift the barbell off your chest to above head in one rapid continuous motion. 

– Slight flight phase as you pull the barbell over head

– Land in a split squat stand with knee and hip flexion 

– Lower the barbell back down you your chest as you bring your feet together 

– Repeat with the other leg in front

** maintain an active core throughout and absorb the force through your knees with a soft landing.  

Exercise #5: Plyometrics – Scissor Jumps 


4 sets x 10 reps (each leg) 

Intensity – body weight 

Rest 2 minutes between each set 


– Start with feet together in standing 

– Jump up and split your leg forward and back

– Land in a split squat position with both knees bending to 90 degrees  

– Explode through that lowered squat position 

– Switch your legs in the flight on the jump and land in a squat with the other leg in front in the same 90/90 position. Repeat until you’ve done 20 total (10 on each leg) 

**ensure you keep your front knee behind your toes during the squat 

Don’t let injuries hold you back from reaching your fitness goals! Download our free “Dynamic Warm Up” guide today and start your workouts off on the right foot. With easy-to-follow instructions and targeted exercises, you’ll reduce your risk of injury and increase your performance in no time.

Click below to download now and get started.

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Contact us today!

Are you ready to run at your sprinting speed peak level of performance? Contact Doctor of Physical Therapy, Mary Kate Casey at our Chicago, IL clinic today! Through our video running analysis, we can assess all the running mechanics listed above at once and figure out how your running efficiency can be increased to improve your speed performance and reduce your risk of injury. Give PREP Performance Center a call at 773-609-1847 for more information on our video running analysis program!

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