The two main things which determine your sprinting speed are your leg speed and leg power. Having a lean body type rather than a fat or stocky one will also help but I think that how fast you move your legs and how strong they are will determine your sprinting speed more than anything, and while having a small upper body is certainly an advantage in sprinting, a muscular man with a large upper body can still be an excellent runner if his legs are strong and fast enough.
In this article we will focus on the strength of your legs instead of your leg speed. The stronger your legs are the stronger the push forward will be and if your legs are strong enough you can manage to outrun men with much faster legs than yours. This is why weight training is important for sprinters, contrary to popular belief. Let’s go through the best strength exercises for the sprinter.
NOTE: Always do high weight low rep training like a powerlifter does when doing these exercises. This will push your muscles to the max and strengthen them as much as possible without building unnecessary muscle, which would slow you down. As a sprinter you don’t want large powerless muscles like a bodybuilder has.
Obviously the leg muscles are the most important muscles for sprinting and the squat is the king of leg workouts because it targets almost all of your leg muscles as well as your back and core too. Do the squats with weights of course because like I said earlier, if you do it without weights (or with little weight) you will build unnecessary muscle which will slow you down.
This is another great leg strengthening exercise and an excellent alternative for those who can’t do the squat because it targets the same muscles in the legs. Simply buy a leg press machine or go to a gym and start pushing weight with your legs.
This exercise is probably the best one for the legs because it’s easier than the squat and you can easily do it on your own.
Leg extension exercise
This exercise focuses mainly on the quadriceps, the muscle which helps you move forward, so it’s a great one for sprinters. The only drawback of this exercise is that it puts a strong and unnatural strain on your knees so be careful when doing it – stretch your legs well beforehand and don’t lift too much weight.
Once you get used to this workout, you can start increasing weight gradually and you will strengthen your legs a lot in a very short amount of time.
Trust me by doing these exercises you will strengthen your legs very quickly and your sprint time will definitely improve. The stronger your legs are the faster you should be able to run.