Sprint Start Mechanics

Posted In: The Classics

  • Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #32803

    Wanted to add that brute force without mechanics quickly catches up with an athlete (by about 15-25m) but if we were JUST taking the first 10m out of the context of the rest of the race I think brute force is more important. If we place that first 10m in the context of a 60m or 100m then mechanics becomes MUCH more important.

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    pzale8018 on #32804

    Wanted to add that brute force without mechanics quickly catches up with an athlete (by about 15-25m) but if we were JUST taking the first 10m out of the context of the rest of the race I think brute force is more important. If we place that first 10m in the context of a 60m or 100m then mechanics becomes MUCH more important.

    That is the line of thinking I was taking in responce to ut's post.  I know that ut comes from a football background and I from track, so its hard for me to think of running only 10m without thinking about the implications to the rest of the race.

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    winnesota on #32805

    [quote author="utfootball4" date="1154579109"]i know some may disagree but the first 10m can be taken care in the weight room, if you are strong as hell ur chances of having a good start is much better.

    I wholeheartedly agree…this is why throwers and weightlifters are often faster than sprinters for the first 10-15m. This is one of the reasons I work squats with my short sprinters so hard. Having said that, winning the race to 10m/yd doesn't necessarily correlate with winning the race to 40m/yd (and certainly not to 100m). If an athlete has poor mechanics, brute strength in the first couple strides can more than make up for it but after that point I don't think that brute strength will help you get out of the bad positions you might have put yourself in to.
    [/quote]

    In response to that I am stronger and faster than my teammates, but they can get out in the first 10m meters faster than me.  I am a bigger guy and they are lighter/shorter.  What would you say to that?

    Also, during my start out of the blocks, I tend to come out like a speed skater having my legs go slightly out sideways instead of straight forward.  My angles seem to be fine in the blocks.  What is the best way to correct my form??

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    thenextbestthing on #32806

    [quote author="utfootball4" date="1154579109"]i know some may disagree but the first 10m can be taken care in the weight room, if you are strong as hell ur chances of having a good start is much better.

    I wholeheartedly agree…this is why throwers and weightlifters are often faster than sprinters for the first 10-15m. This is one of the reasons I work squats with my short sprinters so hard. Having said that, winning the race to 10m/yd doesn't necessarily correlate with winning the race to 40m/yd (and certainly not to 100m). If an athlete has poor mechanics, brute strength in the first couple strides can more than make up for it but after that point I don't think that brute strength will help you get out of the bad positions you might have put yourself in to.
    [/quote]

    i just really started weight training this school yr. and im not a reall big guy, i run the 100/200. in the fall my first 20m was the great. i got out faster than everyone on my team, we also squatted heavy 3 days/wk. then starting in nov we stopped squatting all together and just did OL's. ever since then my start and first 20m has been noticably slower. do u think the absence of squats is the reason for my poor starts?

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    utfootball4 on #32807

    [quote author="mike" date="1154635441"]
    [quote author="utfootball4" date="1154579109"]i know some may disagree but the first 10m can be taken care in the weight room, if you are strong as hell ur chances of having a good start is much better.

    I wholeheartedly agree…this is why throwers and weightlifters are often faster than sprinters for the first 10-15m. This is one of the reasons I work squats with my short sprinters so hard. Having said that, winning the race to 10m/yd doesn't necessarily correlate with winning the race to 40m/yd (and certainly not to 100m). If an athlete has poor mechanics, brute strength in the first couple strides can more than make up for it but after that point I don't think that brute strength will help you get out of the bad positions you might have put yourself in to.
    [/quote]

    i just really started weight training this school yr. and im not a reall big guy, i run the 100/200. in the fall my first 20m was the great. i got out faster than everyone on my team, we also squatted heavy 3 days/wk. then starting in nov we stopped squatting all together and just did OL's. ever since then my start and first 20m has been noticably slower. do u think the absence of squats is the reason for my poor starts?
    [/quote]

    i know everyone is different but with myself if my squats and cleans are not strong then my first 30m isnt strong. where you focusing more on your accel during the fall?

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    thenextbestthing on #32808

    [quote author="blacklightning" date="1174193892"]
    [quote author="mike" date="1154635441"]
    [quote author="utfootball4" date="1154579109"]i know some may disagree but the first 10m can be taken care in the weight room, if you are strong as hell ur chances of having a good start is much better.

    I wholeheartedly agree…this is why throwers and weightlifters are often faster than sprinters for the first 10-15m. This is one of the reasons I work squats with my short sprinters so hard. Having said that, winning the race to 10m/yd doesn't necessarily correlate with winning the race to 40m/yd (and certainly not to 100m). If an athlete has poor mechanics, brute strength in the first couple strides can more than make up for it but after that point I don't think that brute strength will help you get out of the bad positions you might have put yourself in to.
    [/quote]

    i just really started weight training this school yr. and im not a reall big guy, i run the 100/200. in the fall my first 20m was the great. i got out faster than everyone on my team, we also squatted heavy 3 days/wk. then starting in nov we stopped squatting all together and just did OL's. ever since then my start and first 20m has been noticably slower. do u think the absence of squats is the reason for my poor starts?
    [/quote]

    i know everyone is different but with myself if my squats and cleans are not strong then my first 30m isnt strong. where you focusing more on your accel during the fall?
    [/quote]

    we've always been been doing sprint starts since about nov. we did not change anything as far as that

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #32809

    Squats (and strength in general) correlate very strongly with performance over 10-15m. If you dropped squats from the program and most everything else stayed the same I'd guess that your dropoff was due to the absence of squats or a similar replacement stimulus.

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    Josh Hurlebaus on #71195

    I want to fire this topic up again.

    Take a look at this video, around the 1 minute marker you will get a front on view of Asafa vs Bolt.

    Aside from looking at Bolts horrible start mechanics (look at the rear leg cycle!) I want to look at Powell’s start.

    Mike- I know that you are a huge proponent of having the heels touching the pad to create a stiffer pillar on the start, but why do you think Powell has his higher up on the pedal? Does this create a more beneficial angle for the first step making it easier to sweep the ground with the feet as opposed to having a higher return on the step through (ala Bolt)? Would this cancel out the negatives of having possible power loss from the heel being off the pad?

    Granted, they are using taller pedals than most collegiates ever will, so I’m not sure how much power is lost on those blocks compared to typical ones.

    Just something that has piqued my interest.

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    wisconman on #71196

    Wow, Bolt’s start looked awful compared to Powell’s. I think you might have something with that thought Scoots. Also, I’ve never noticed this on youtube but there is a little icon underneath views that allows you to watch it in “high quality.” Makes it quite a bit clearer to see. My God they are so fast.

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    Josh Hurlebaus on #71197

    Yeah the new high quality ability makes it SO much easier to watch.

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    lumberjack on #71201

    Also, during my start out of the blocks, I tend to come out like a speed skater having my legs go slightly out sideways instead of straight forward.  My angles seem to be fine in the blocks.  What is the best way to correct my form??

    If you are stepping out wide in your acceleration you are most likely pushing out too low. You step out because you are trying to buy flight time to get your legs in the position to push again. When you set up in the blocks make sure you lift your hips high enough so that your front shin is at approximately a 45 degree angle. The back block should be set so that your back shin is also close to that angle. When you push out, make sure you don’t drop your shin. If you do drop your shin, it will feel more powerful since you are pre-loading your quad, but all the benefit is killed by the poor angle and poor reaction time. Don’t be afraid to get a little air time, it will allow you to fully extend your knee and hip in order to get a better push, build more momentum and be in a better body position when you are at maximum velocity.

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    aivala on #71202

    Am I crazy or in this video it even looks as if bolt was pulling instead of pushing off the blocks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd99rOWqr0M

    About Asafa, using a higher foot placement for the rear foot allows an easier force application (at least for tall athletes).

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    Josh Hurlebaus on #71205

    Am I crazy or in this video it even looks as if bolt was pulling instead of pushing off the blocks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd99rOWqr0M

    About Asafa, using a higher foot placement for the rear foot allows an easier force application (at least for tall athletes).

    Bolt cycles through when he starts and it just looks like he is losing so much power compared to Asafa.

    In regards to the higher foot placement = more power, I’m not sure that is the case unless you have high enough blocks that your heels are still in contact. To me it looks more like it is a way for him to ensure proper angles for the rest of his accel at the cost of more power on the pushoff with his rear leg.

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #71213

    Mike- I know that you are a huge proponent of having the heels touching the pad to create a stiffer pillar on the start, but why do you think Powell has his higher up on the pedal?

    Don’t know and to be honest I prefer to have the entire midfoot in contact with the pedal with the toes on the ground. I’m not sure why Powell is set up like that. His right foot is about as high as I’ve ever seen. I’d imagine it would allow you to produce a much lower departure angle that only someone like Powell could handle. On the other hand, you’d be surprise how many people, even at the highest levels of the sport, think that the block angle has to be super steep, the toes can’t touch the track, and / or the feet should be high on the pedals.

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    Josh Hurlebaus on #71214

    My coach has us set our blocks up the way you describe for the back foot. Do you do the same with the front foot as well? When I am in the blocks with such a setting it feels awkward.

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