sprinting safety

Primal Speed Sprinting Safety Precautions and Recommendations

These are 10 things you need to do in order to sprint safely.

1. Check With Your Doctor

Always check with your doctor prior to adding speed/ velocity training into your program. With Sprinting being one of the most ballistic movements the human body can do, it is important to check with your medical professional prior to starting.

Most weekend warriors or ex-athletes that have not sprinted in years need to be cautious when pursuing any form of sprint training and power based training. Years of absence of sprint training will cause the body to lose any previous adaptations in the tendons, muscles, joint and connective tissue.

In order to help the body re-adapt to sprinting one must be very cautious with the intensity and the volume in the beginning stages.

For most people one sprint session per week will be more than enough. The important thing is to be consistent with your sprinting so that you give your body ample time to adapt and begin to tolerate the high forces being put through musculoskeletal system. Over time, the newbie sprinter can add a second training session in the week to accelerate progress and improve sprinting mechanics and sprint specific fitness.

2. Get Screened

Prior to starting your sprint training I highly recommend you get a full orthopedic movement evaluation or Functional Movement Screen by a Physical Therapist ora certified FMS/ SFMA specialist/coach.

Everyone has asymmetries and it’s vitally important to know where you imbalances are and what weaknesses are holding you back. You cannot track what you cannot measure.

Getting the initial baseline will allow you and your therapist / trainers to prescribe the appropriate exercises to brining body back into balance. Of utmost importance are the following tests:

  • Standing Ankle Mobility and Range of Motion (Right Versus Left)
  • Supine Passive Ankle Range of Motion (Both straight leg and bent leg – R versus L)
  • Single Leg Hip Flexion in a Supine Position (R versus L)
  • Prone Hip Extension (R versus L)
  • Shoulder Flexion and Extension (R versus L)
  • Thomas Test for Psoas Flexibility (R versus L)
  • Prone Knee Flexion for Quadricep Flexibility (R versus L)
  • Supine Hip-Abduction (R versus L)

Keep in mind it is not necessary to have a completely balanced body prior to beginning sprint training. You need to know where the asymmetries and potential injuries are lurking. If you are currently injured than it is prudent to rehab and wait to you have been cleared by a medical professional.

3. Check Your Posture

Posture is position and activity specific. Therefore, achieving the ultimate “Sprint” Posture is essential for efficient and safe movement.

Every sport and activity has it’s specific posture. Sprinting is no different. So what is the optimal sprint posture?

The Sprint Posture is characterized by:

  • An upright tall posture where the head is directly above the pelvis with a neutral neck.
  • Relax the Jaw. Eyes are looking forward with face relaxed and shoulder down and away from the ears. The shoulders should never be shrugged up.
  • Movement in the arms will come from the shoulder joint with elbows bent to roughly 90 degrees. When the arm extends in back of the body the elbow will open up slightly but not excessively.
  • The hands will be straight in line with the rest of the forearm. The fingers can be extended and open or the fingers can be closed making a very soft fist. Be sure not to clench the hands tight as this tension will radiate all the way up to the shoulders causing the shoulders to shrug up and impair movement in the shoulder joints resulting in slower sprint times.
  • Pelvis should be neutral without excessive anterior or pelvic tilt. Keep in mind that most sprinters will present with more anterior pelvic tilt due to the ballistic hip extension involved with each stride. The goal is to keep the pelvis from excessive anterior pelvic tilt.
  • The foot and ankle will be dorsiflexed (pull toes and foot toward shin) on each stride as the foot comes off the ground.

4. Progressively Add Volume and Intensity

The secret to progressing with Primal Speed sprint training is to understand from the beginning what the priorities are and to understand the needs of the person. When it comes to sprinting the main objectives are:

  • Steer more FORCE into the ground increasing total power output. More force applied into the ground means a natural increase in stride length.
  • Improve Sprinting Biomechanics and movement efficiency.

Since we know what the goals are we now need to focus on the most important element which is the actual training. A mixture of volume and intensity must be applied intelligently and consistently.

Sprinting is the highest intensity movement the human body if capable of doing and is highly taxing to the central nervous system.

You must realize that the faster you sprint, the more you are upping the intensity. There is a inverse relationship between speed and volume. The faster you run the less volume you can do and the more recovery you will need. The lower intensity runs like TEMPO runs (Sprinting at 65 to 75% intensity) is where you will get your volume.

5. Start Slow

Start with slower speeds of movement when learning all of the drills and running techniques.

6. Relax

Relaxation in sprinting, running and jumping is essential.

7. Minimize Footwear

If possible, use minimal footwear.

8. Be Mindful

Situational awareness can save your life. Be Mindful when sprinting and where you sprint.

9. Remember, it’s Practice

Treat your sprinting/running as a PRACTICE.

10. Be Smart

Remember that the Central Nervous system is seriously taxed from high velocity runs. More is not better. Be smart.

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