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October 27, 2021
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Running Mechanics
By Mark Strasser M.S. CSCS of CriticalBench.com

Five Easy Steps to a Faster Time

The starting point for improving your speed is in evaluating and correcting your mechanics. Poor running mechanics are the result of poor motor patterns formed over time, which you must now overcome and reconstruct. By repetitively following the cues listed below you can correct any poor mechanics you have picked up over the years. The key to reconstructing poor motor patterns is repetition of good practice.


Shoulders and Hips are perpendicular to the direction of the run. Shoulders are relaxed.

-Foot moving forward must stay high under the hips

-As you pull through with your toes (Flex toes to Knee)

- The high position of the foot keeps the cycle of the leg short and moving quickly. By keeping the cycle of the leg short you are becoming more efficient, which ultimately means a faster time!

- The shoulders staying relaxed and down. This increases the range of motion and conserves energy. The tighter you are in your upper body, the more energy and blood flow is being taken away from the muscles that are doing all the work.

- The head remaining steady with the eyes focused straight ahead. The face should be relaxed (Cheeks Bouncing) the head moving from side to side is, again wasted motion. You want to be as efficient as possible.

- Drive the Knee up and out at the same time. This allows the foot to stay high as it passes under the hips.

running mechanics STEP TWO:

The upper torso should remain balanced and upright.

The front foot needs to stay high as it moves under the lead knee

- The hips must remain tucked under the torso. This allows the foot to stay high as the knee rises. If the hips are over-extended it will shorten the range of motion.


The lead foot should be directly under the knee, and the toe must be flexed, but not higher than the heal.

The angle from the power leg should be 45 degrees.

- The 45` angle maximizes the distance traveled until the next foot hits the ground. The flight pattern is the same for all sprinters, and the angle of takeoff should be the same. With this in mind two sprinters traveling at the same speed with the same mechanical movement, no matter what their height is, should have the same stride length.

- The back arm should be directly under the elbow.

- At this point the backhand can stay relaxed and can swing back.

- The forward elbow is in front of the torso. The angle of the forward arm at the elbow is closing.

- The shoulders stay down and relaxed.

running and sprinting mechanics STEP FOUR:

The back leg flexes, raising the foot as it drives forward. The back foot should never rise higher than the crotch.

-The lead foot needs to stay flexed as it drives down and back in a "pawing" action.

- The lead foot does not pass the knee until the knee starts to move downward.

- The forward leg extending forward as the knee drives down and back.

- The forward arm starts to rotate at the shoulder with the angle staying closed at this point counter acting the back knee moving forward.

- Keep the twisting action of the shoulders and hips to a minimum.

- NOTICE how high the front foot moves forward before it starts its down and back action. This maximizes the speed of the foot and leg before it hits the ground.


-At this point, the arm drive forward and backward will increase your speed.

The foot makes contact just in front of the body, and completes the pulling action bringing the body over the toe.

The heal is off the ground, and the athlete is on the balls of his feet Not on his toes

- IMPORTANT: The forward moving back foot never gets as high as or directly behind the but. This will cause the forward moving foot to snap down as it passes the hips.

- After the forward moving elbow passes the torso, the hand can begin to swing up adding to the drive of the lead knee and foot.

- After the backward moving elbow passes the torso, the hand can begin to drive back.

- Sprinting is a pulling action as much as a pushing or jumping action.

How to run fasterCritical Speed Manual
Decrease Your 40 Yard Dash with the Critical Speed Manual. If you are interested in gaining speed and training with a World-class strength and conditioning coach, then this is the most exciting training manual you'll ever read!

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