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How to Become a Better Sprinter

By Lauren Griffin

Some people seem to be born with the ability to run fast. For others, becoming a runner takes years of practice and dedication to the sport. Regardless of your level of ability, there are always steps you can take to become a better, faster sprinter. Athletes need to gain strength and endurance to become better sprinters, but working on your sprinting form will bring you to the next level.

Practice coming out of the blocks. The first step of every race can make or break your performance. Perfect your "set" position by locking your arms straight, keeping your back flat and looking at your hands. On "go," shoot out from the blocks by forcefully pushing off with your leading leg, keep your head low and stretch your arms forward to gain power.

Maintain a stretching routine. Get in the habit of stretching your muscles daily and keeping your body flexible. This will improve performance and help you avoid injury.

Create and follow a training routine. Meet with a personal trainer to develop a training plan that complements your body and abilities and will help improve your running. If a trainer isn't in your budget, design a workout schedule that alternates the level of intensity to give your body both exercise and rest.

Develop a cross training routing. Along with running and sprinting, cross training strengthens other parts of your body and will make your exercise routine less redundant. Switch it up with some weight training, aerobics, cycling or swimming.

Perfect your form. Leaning forward, pumping your arms vertically from your hip pocket to your eye socket, and running mostly on your toes rather than your heels will improve your sprinting.

Work to control your breathing. Good breathing is crucial for sprinters as it provides your muscles with the oxygen they need to stay powered. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

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