Training the Hamstrings: Sprint Drills & Technique

The first post on training the hamstrings focused on the strength training aspect.  While it is very important for athletes to achieve an optimal level of strength for their sport, this aspect of training alone is not a guarantee for success.  Athletes need to train other aspects of physical preparation in order to match the demands of their chosen athletic endeavor.  Proper sprint training is a key component to success in many sports; this is even true of sports where sprinting may not be performed much at all (post on by well-respected coach of physical preparation Buddy Morris when discussing training volleyball players).  Clicking on the post will get into some of the information that we are going to discuss on sprint training in this post and others, along with having some other interesting points as well.

One way to work on sprinting technique is through a series of drills designed by Polish track & field coach Gerard Mach.  These drills represent various parts of the sprints, and can be used to improve upon sprint technique or address general athleticism.   This group of drills that Mach used was known as the “ABC” series.  In a post by Lee (2012), the drills were described as working on the  following components the sprint:

A: Knee lift

B: Foreleg reaching and clawing action

C: Push-off and extension

These drills can commonly be utilized in a warm-up, or they can be included into the main portion of training as a component of an athlete’s speed work.  All of the drills can be broken down into marching, skipping, and running motions, as a progression throughout a training program (i.e. A march, A skip, A run, etc.).  If utilized over short distance, the drills are deemed “power speed” drills; when utilized for longer distances, they are considered “strength endurance” (Lee, 2012).

It is important that drills are performed with proper form.  Regardless of the application (i.e. performed in a warm-up or used as a strength endurance activity), anytime form breaks down the drill needs to be stopped.  Correct use of these drills can help in improving sprint form, along with helping to prevent hamstring strains while sprinting.


Lee, Jimson.  Sprint drills:  Gerard Mach revisited.  [Online] October 19, 2012.  [Cited December 12, 2012.]


Training without equipment

Many young athletes want to get started with training, but for one reason or another may not have access to certain types of eqiupment.  For  young athletes (9th grade and up) without access to equipment, one can still make great gains in strength and speed.  Here is a 3 day a week program:


Jumping Jacks X10

Seal Jumps X10

Prisoner Squats X10

Prisoner Reverse Lunge X10

Arm Circles- Small/Big, Palms up/down, forward/backward X5 each

Bodyweight Goodmornings X10

Lying Straight Leg Raises X10

Side Leg Raises X10

4 point hip circles X5 forwards and backwards

4 point outside leg raise with knee bent X5

Movement Drills: (Perform for a distance of 10-15 yards)

A march

B march

A skip

B skip

A run

B run

Ankle Shuffles

Rolling Hops

Speed & Power

Standing Broad Jumps X5-8 (full rest in between jumps)

Squat Jumps (Single Response = jump-stick landing-jump) 2X6

Strength Training

1.  Bodyweight Squats 3X20-30

2.  Bodyweight Lunges 3X15-25

3.  Push-ups 3X10-30

4.  Chin-ups or Inverted Row 3XAs many reps as possible

5.  Front Plank 3X20-45 seconds

On  two days (after doing the warm-up again) do hill sprints:

40 -60 yard hill sprintsX 8 – 12

*Much of what you do here could depend on the size and slope of the hill.  If you are just getting started, sprint up the hill and walk back down.  Sprint back up once you get to the bottom.

Many of the exercises in the warm-up will be good exercises to being speed work.  Don’t get started with random drills done at “speed training facilities” as these will do nothing for you except get you better at doing drills. 

All programs need to be tailored to individual needs.  For the most part this could give a young athlete without access to equipment a good start.  Like everything else with training, one will eventually adapt and have to change training means to continue to get results.

Post a comment if you have questions on exercises or modifications to this program.



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