Sprinting for the Masses

I recently had a friend reach out to me to ask for help. He was feeling like his energy levels and overall physical capacity were at a low point, and he wanted to get in shape.

Seeing as this is my area of expertise, he had reached out to me and asked if I would work with him. He said that he was willing to fly in and shack up in the OC to make it happen.

The kicker?

He was leaving for a 10-month world tour in 2 weeks.

This presented both a unique challenge and a chance to hang with a friend.

So naturally I was in.

I came up with a plan in two halves.

As I suspected, he was a lot closer to being “in shape”, so the first half was to just get him moving.

Get him breathing hard, moving weight and stretching himself a bit on both a physical and psychological level, and he would be feeling a whole lot more positive about things.

The second half was to give him a skill set he could use on tour to keep himself healthy, fit and charged up.

He needed something that didn’t take much time, something he could perform anywhere, without the need for specialized equipment and something that would get him a ton of results.

To put it more succinctly, he needed to sprint.


Although most of my clients are on very different looking programs, there are a few commonalities. One of those evergreens is that once summer comes around, we’re sprinting.

For those interested in why I am such a big proponent of most people including sprinting in their training regimen, there is a more in-depth piece on this site covering  the “why” of the matter.

This article is going to be dedicated more to the “how”.

Call me a worry wart, but I’m not big on sending people out to run as hard and fast as they can without investing a little time in some prep work first.

Assuming someone is relatively able-bodied and has no medical issues, it usually takes 4 – 6 ramp up sessions to get someone up to speed (no pun intended).  My friend (let’s call him Alex), came right in around that mark.

During these ramp up sessions we focus on the following areas:

1) Activations
2) Basic Mobility
3) Nervous System and Tissue Prep
4) Technical Drills & Notes
5) Specific Strength Training

Once you get out and start doing sprint sessions, 1 – 3 will serve as your warm up.


To distill it to its most basic form, we start our prep sessions by “waking up” the muscle groups most relevant to sprinting. Primarily the glutes, hamstrings, and we throw a little core work in here as well.

As you can see, we have two different sets of both Activations and Mobility.

You will be alternating between these on a workout by workout basis.





Activations Set #1

Floor Bridge: 60 seconds

Plank: 60 Seconds

Fire Hydrants 3 X 8 per side

Marching Bridge 2 X 12 reps






Activations Set #2

Floor Bridge: 60 seconds

Side Plank: 45 seconds per side

Straight Leg Raise: 3 X 6 per side

Plank: 60  seconds


Although in this particular sprint program, we’re focused only on going straight ahead and not on rapid direction changes, in the interests of both safety and overall performance, we will be moving in different planes during both our mobility and our NS/TP sections.





Mobility Set #1

World’s Greatest Stretch: Alternate sides for 60 seconds

Inch Worms: 6 reps

Lateral Lunge with Rotation: 12 reps






Mobility Set #2

Lunge w. Rotation: 12 reps

Inch Worm: 6 reps

Atlas Lunge: 12 reps


The Nervous System and Tissue prep are where we start moving a little quicker and in a higher impact way.





Nervous System/Tissue Prep

Jump Rope: 100 contacts

Alternating Lunge: 12 reps

Jumping Jacks: 45 seconds

Lunge to Balance: 8 per side

Seal Jacks: 45 seconds

Dragon Lunge: 12 reps

Karaokes: 20 seconds


Our focus is on safety and sustainability.

These drills should be done during every single session for the first four weeks.

Keep the notes in mind and approach your training sessions with a technique first mindset for at least the first month.

Eventually, this will all be second nature to you.

Falling Start

How you should initiate every sprint.





Perform 5  X Falling Starts

Head & Shoulders:

Initiate the arm movement from the shoulders, not the elbows, and keep the head neutral.

These two drills will help you dial these in.









Arm Action Drill: Perform 3 rounds of 10 slow/10 fast switches

Quickstep Drill: Perform 5 X 5 second bursts with 30 seconds rest between each.

Run Silent, Run Deep:

We want to run quietly and stay on the balls of the feet.

Try and stay light on your feet.

Be more like a Leopard & less like an Elephant.

We also want to take long strides and make sure that we always keep our breath under control.

Luna Landing:

Don’t try and stop on a dime, at least in the beginning. Much better to slow down and gradually shift gears down over some distance.

It should be around the same amount of steps on the slowdown than on the sprint.


Falling Start

Head & Shoulders

Run Silent, Run Deep

Luna Landing


Sprinting does require a certain amount of strength to do in the safest and most efficient manner.

The below movements represent a minimalistic approach to getting the body ready for sprint work.

They both include elements of balance, stabilization, and strength and you don’t need to move a ton of weight to get some positive benefits from them.

Once you can perform all the above ramp ups and you can hit the standards listed below the video, you should be all set to sprint.





Single Leg RDL to Row: 3 X 8 reps per side using 20% of your bodyweight

Sprint Squats: 3 X 8 reps per side.


Although I use things like heart rate monitors and specific measures of distance with a lot of my clients, this wasn’t going to be an option for Alex.

So we used a system that has two simple components:

Rate Of Perceived Exertion (RPE):

During his sprints, Alex was to go no harder than a 9 out of 10 effort level, and he was not to sprint again until he was back down to a comfortable 3 or 4.

Step Counting:

From my observation, most people average between 14 and 20 steps each leg within a 10-second burst of sprinting. Using this average and assuming you aren’t Usain Bolt, we’ll go with 17 as our number.

If you are seeking a little more specificity, well, you can go ahead and either time yourself or have someone time you running 3 X 10 seconds sprints with plenty of recovery time between each. Count your steps with EITHER your left or right foot.

I took this approach with Alex, and his number was 17.

Take an average of the 3 numbers, and that’ll be the number you’ll be using.



4 – 6 Sessions performed over 2 – 3 Weeks

These should be performed in an alternating manner. First Day A and then Day B with at least one day between each.


Activations Set #1

Mobility Set #1

All Nervous System and Tissue Prep

All Technical Drills

5 Sprints of 8 steps only

Sprint Specific Strength Training


Activations Set #2

Mobility Set #2

All Nervous System and Tissue Prep

All Technical Drills

5 Sprints of 8 steps only

Sprint Specific Strength Training


I like to take a Minimum Effective Dose (MED) approach to sprinting. We will be looking to gather the most significant amount of benefits while incurring the least amount of wear and tear on the body.

During this 4-week training block, you should perform your sprint session no more than twice weekly with at least 24 hours in between.


Activations Set #1 OR #2

Mobility Set #1 OR #2

All Nervous System and Tissue Prep

5 X Falling Start plus 5 steps and a Luna Landing.

8 X 17 Step Sprints performed at an RPE of 8 – 9 with a full recovery (RPE 3 – 4) between each one.


Activations Set #1 OR #2

Mobility Set #1 OR #2

All Nervous System and Tissue Prep

5 X Falling Start plus 5 steps and a Luna Landing.

 10 X 17 Step Sprints performed at an RPE of 8 – 9 with a full recovery (RPE 3 – 4) between each one

Week Four is a Deload or Recovery week.


Activations Set #1 AND #2

Mobility Set #1 AND #2

All Nervous System and Tissue Prep

 5 X Falling Start plus 5 steps and a Luna Landing.

60 – 120 minute easy walking 

Once you complete the 4-week cycle,  you can start all over with a new step count, or you can move onto a more advanced program.

By the time we got to the end of our two weeks together, Alex was moving better, feeling stronger and sprinting harder than he had in a very long time and by committing to 2 x 30-minute sprint sessions a week whilst on tour, he would be able to keep the ball rolling along.

All in all it was a fun hang and a job well done.

Although this may seem like a simple program, I can assure you, if followed, it will lead to a whole host of positive benefits.

As always, if you have any questions, or need additional help, feel free to shoot me a message.

Have fun,





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