Sprint Drills To Become Faster And More Athletic

“We test the 10 yard dash”, says Michael Boyle, a strength and conditioning coach.

10 yard dash?  I’m familiar with the popularity and usage of the 30, 40 and 100 yard dash but not so much with the 10 yard dash.  As I investigate further, I find some very interesting and useful information that you can use immediately in your training.

  • The 10 yard dash is used to increase power and decrease the number of steps over a 10 yard distance.
  • Nobody wants to get injured and the 40 yard dash is notorious for causing hamstring strains due to lack of warming up, incorrect sprinting mechanics and running too many 40 yard “repeats”. *
  • The start of a sprint, is the easiest area to improve. When compared to the 4 ten yard segments that make up a 40 yard dash, the first 10 yard segment takes more than 1 1/2 times as long to run.
  • The probability for injury is almost non existent when using 10 yard sprints.  Michael Boyle reports that he has never “seen a hamstring occur in a ten yard dash” when training his clients.  And he trains a lot of clients.


We all know that sprints are great exercises. The singer Pink, used lots of sprints to get in amazing shape after the birth of her child.  Sprints don’t require any equipment, they can be used in a main workout, no one has to wait for their partner or teammate to finish, and if you need to amp up the intensity with sprints, simply run faster.


But how do you run faster?

Good question.  Here is some information that will help you sprint faster while providing a great workout.

At the NFL (National Football League) testing center (combine), a fast 10 yard sprint clocks in at around 1.59 or less.  In this case study, the athlete weighed 188 lbs and covered 10 yards in 1.59 seconds.  At the 2015 “True Athlete Games” in Austin, Texas, the female winner ran 10 yards in 1.87 seconds at a body weight of 134 lbs.  This will give you something to shoot for.  Of course, there are so many ways to time sprints (electronic start/electronic finish, hand start/electronic finish, hand start/hand finish) that times will not be completely accurate.  The times given above are just a bench mark.

Develop stride length in the first 10 yard segment by pushing, NOT by overreaching.  The key is to “push”, not “reach”, and to minimize stutter steps.  A good sprinter will run the 10 yard dash in 5 or 6 steps.  Line up, run the 10 yards and count how many steps you take.  Be aware, though, you  may begin “reaching” instead of “pushing”.  So work on “pushing” to become a faster sprinter.

  • Those who can produce the greatest force into the ground, will yield the greatest benefit.  This is where those one legged squats, one legged jumps and one legged balance drills pay off.  The stronger each leg is, individually, the more force “pushing” can be used in the sprint.
  • Master the first 3 steps over five yards.  If a good sprinter takes  5-6 steps over 10 yards, break it down and run 5 yard sprints with 3 steps as the goal.
  • There is a strong correlation between vertical jump and sprint speed: both are a function of force into the ground.  Box jumps, squat jumps, and knees to feet jumps are awesome to use for improving sprint speed.



When you pick an exercise like 10 yard sprints, 1 mile run, hands off push up max in 60 seconds as a monthly goal to improve upon, you are focusing on improving in a measurable way. An hour of mindless push ups, sit ups and jumping jacks may yield results, but you will get better results and stay motivated longer if you have a goal.


Sprint Drills

  • Dive Starts

Partner up with your training partner.  Have partner #1 hold a thai pad.  Partner #2 is the sprinter.  Partner #1 says, “On your mark, get set, Go!”.  Partner #2 dives into the pad from the start position.  This is an up close drill where there is only a yard in between partner #1 and partner #2.  This teaches “first-push” power.  Partner #1 can do 5 dive starts and then switch.  Encourage communication between partners so that safety is utilized.  Start off at 50% power and then ramp up the power/intensity over the 5 dive starts.

Everlast Thai Pad (Black)

  •  Timed Tens

Have someone time you over 10 yards.  It will only take 2 – 2.5 seconds. Repeat this for 1-2 minutes, resting as needed.   Use the fastest time as the new benchmark for the next time that you run this drill.

  • One -Leg Starts

Run 10 yard sprints (not timed) using just one leg AT THE START.  Right hand down, right foot down, left foot stays off of the ground.   “On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!” and push with your right foot only for the first step and then sprints as normal over the rest of the 10 yards.  To even things out, you can do the same drill but with the OTHER leg for the same amount of time.

Repeat this drill for 1-2 minutes.  If you are left handed, put your left hand, left foot down.  You’ll be doing some slower, awkward sprinting at first BUT you will build more power quickly if you stay consistent with this drill.

There’s much more to sprinting than just, well, sprinting.  You can create whole workouts from sprinting and discover new techniques that will result in a faster, more athletic you!

I’m getting ready for Austin Fittest on May 30th and you can bet that I am doing tons of sprint work right now.  One of the events is the 40 yard dash and I’m counting on all of the above to help me sprint my best time ever.  You should film your sprints.  You’ll notice changes that you can make in your mechanics and power to become a better sprinter.  The video below was shot back in February of 2015, I see some glaring weaknesses in my sprinting that I have since corrected.  Can you spot them?




P.S. Client Update!

  • One of my clients is a high school freshmen at Cedar Park High School (5A).  He just found out THIS week that he has been chosen to play football at the Varsity level this upcoming season (he’ll be a sophmore).
  • He will be a starter on both kick off and punt return.
  • He was chosen as one of 3 in his class for leadership council.  Leadership council is a liaison between players and coaching staff to address any team issues and as a bridge for communication.
  • We we began training, he weighed 166lbs in December 2014.  This morning (May 2015), he weighed 184lbs.  He’s gained 18lbs in 5 1/2 months.
  • Starting Bench Press 205lbs.  Current Bench Press 270lbs.
  • Starting Squat 315lbs.  Current Squat 425lbs.
  • Starting Deadlift 320lbs. Current Deadlift 365lbs.
  • Starting Pull Ups was 5 reps.  Current is 12 reps.
  • Starting Barbell Clean 185lbs.  Current Clean is 235lbs.
  • Starting 40 yd dash was 4.8.  Current 40 yd dash is 4.6.

Congrats and I can’t wait to see him play in the Spring game in a couple of weeks!  Below is a testimonial that I just received from his parents.

Scott’s training is unique because he trains the whole athlete. He trains the physical side by using proven, current training techniques customized to the athlete and the athlete’s goals. He monitors the food intake and sleep patterns. He measures success by setting goals with the athlete, bench marking the journey then celebrating attained goals.

He trains the intellectual and emotional side of the athlete by referencing many books he has read as well as personal experiences that are positively motivating. He speaks passionately about the mental game of focus.  He coaches the athlete on how focus can be a game changer.

As a trainer,  Scott’s differentiator is that he trains along side the athlete. He doesn’t ask what he is not willing or able to give.

He has worked with my son for about 6 months now. I have witnessed how his training methods are effective both in the gym and in life. My son has become laser focused on goals in and out of sport. He has learned the fine art of taking time to celebrate victories as well as recalibration when necessary. I am truly thankful for Scott’s influence in my son’s life. He is learning skills that will help him be successful in life.








* Advances In Functional Training, pg 167, Michael Boyle


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