100m Dash Training For Sprinters

100 Meter Dash Training - Sprinting Workouts

100m dash training is one of the more popular areas of discussion within sports performance training, strength & conditioning, and injury prevention disciplines. This is in large part due to the fact that the 100 meter dash is the race which typically decides who is considered to be the fastest person on earth.

Training For The 100 Meter Dash

Given that the 100m dash lasts only 9 to 10 seconds at the highest levels of competition, 100m sprinters have little room for error. Because of this, 100m dash sprinting workouts must be performed throughout the year to prepare for competition. 

Sprinting workouts for the 100m dash help athletes in various ways, including:

  • Developing the speed, power, and endurance required to sprint with maximal effort for 100 meters.
  • Rehearsing the race and each of its parts - such as the acceleration phase, the maximal velocity phase, and the speed endurance & deceleration phase.
  • Preventing injury by developing the tissues of the body for the demands of sprinting at maximal intensity levels.

sprint training program

Sprinting workouts for the 100m dash include a variety of training methods, including:

To give you an idea of what these different types of training actually look like, below are some examples of sprinting workouts which can be used for a given purpose. 


Useful Tools For 100m Dash Training

To make the most of your 100 meter dash training, there are some tools that you might find helpful. Here are a few articles you can check out which discuss these speed training tools & equipment:

Acceleration Training For The 100 Meter Dash

Acceleration is important for 100m dash performance, and some argue it is the most important aspect of the entire race. While people are free to argue about what is most important, what is certainly true is that acceleration is an integral aspect of 100 meter dash sprinting performance.

Because you must accelerate to reach maximal velocity (top speed), athletes practice with acceleration workouts for sprinters to develop the physical qualities and skill which are required to effectively accelerate over as long a distance possible, and to the highest velocity possible, in an effort to win the 100 meter dash race.

acceleration training for sprinters

Acceleration Requires High Levels Of Force Production

To achieve high rates of acceleration which last for large proportions of the 100m dash, athletes need to develop high forces at high velocities and orient these forces in a horizontal direction.

Elite sprinters are often pictured coming out of the blocks, launching at low angles. While they have practiced acceleration sprinting many times, the main reason that these athletes can achieve low projection angles out of the blocks is because they can produce massive forces in a small amount of time.

Rapid propulsion forward & upward allows the elite sprinter to launch horizontally through the air without being pulled downward by gravity before their next stride. In contrast, weaker athletes lack the force production capabilities to allow for low block start angles and horizontally oriented postures during acceleration.

These athletes can try all they want to get low projection angles during early acceleration, but they will only achieve these angles when they are capable of producing the forces required by the laws of physics.

    Acceleration Requires Specific Skill & Conditioning Capabilities

    Beyond the necessity for sprinters to produce high levels of force in short amounts of time, sprint athletes must perform sprinting workouts which develop the skills and specific conditioning required to sprint at maximal effort.

     Acceleration sprinting consists of a series of steps, each one increasing in horizontal velocity until reaching maximal velocity. Sprinters must control their postural rise, foot placement on the ground, time spent on the ground, and their overall sprinting rhythm.

    Because sprinting takes place at maximal intensities, it is important not only to have the force & skills needed, but also the level of conditioning which allows the athlete to train with repeated sprints at high velocities. By performing endurance training for sprinters, athletes can enhance their ability to train as well as their ability to compete.

    Earlier in the year, athletes will need to focus more on work capacity with sprint capacity workouts, whereas later in the year the focus can shift to specific development, which in the case of acceleration would be acceleration development training.

    Track Workouts For Acceleration

    An example of an acceleration capacity workout that would take place earlier in the year would consist of something like this:

      In contrast, an example of an acceleration development workout taking place later in the training year would look something like this:

      • Track Warmup
      • 2x30m, 2x40m, 2x50m
        • 2:30 minutes rest between sprints.
        • 5 minutes rest between sets.
      • 4x40m Weighted Straight Leg Bounds
        • 60 seconds rest between bounds.

      An acceleration development workout that utilizes resisted sprints could be performed in a couple of different ways.

      Example 1:

      • 1.¬†Track Warmup
      • 6x Resisted/Unresisted Sprint Contrasts
        • 2a.¬†Horizontally Resisted 30m (Using¬†heavy resistance, such as 50-80% bodyweight, on a sled, Parachute or Exergenie)
      • 2b. Unresisted 30m
        • 90 seconds rest between sprints, 3 minutes between sets.

      Example 2:

      • 1.¬†Track Warmup
      • 2a. 2x¬†Vertically¬†Resisted 30m Sprints (Using a weighted vest¬†at 4-8% bodyweight)
      • 2b. 1x Unresisted 40m Sprint
        • 90¬†seconds rest between sprints,¬†4 minutes between sets.

        Strength & Power Workout For Acceleration

        For acceleration, the exercises used in the gym should be tailored toward developing the body's ability to produce large forces at high velocities, preferably in horizontal directions, split stances, or a combination of both. Also, the athlete should train the hamstrings using knee & hip dominant, eccentric & elastic exercises which target the hamstrings.

        Strength & power development training for sprinters can look like:

        • 1a. Power Cleans - 5x2 @ 80%
        • 1b.¬†Split Depth Jump - 5x2
        • 2a. Reactive Split Squat Drop - 4x2 per side at 60% + 100lb Band Tension
        • 2b. Split Stance Box Jump - 4x2 per side
        • 3a. Eccentric RDL - 4x5 @ 65% (Faster tempo)
        • 3b. Band Hip Flexor Punch - 4x8 (Fast forward, slow back)

          Speed Training For The 100 Meter Dash

          While acceleration is the process by which we get up to maximal velocity, maximal velocity itself (a.k.a. top speed) is what separates the most elite sprinters from those who are simply above average.

          In a professional sprint race, athletes are achieving horizontal velocities well over 11 meters per second, and there is no doubt that the athlete with the highest top speed will have an advantage over the other sprinters in the race.

          Maximal velocity is trained in a similar manner to acceleration, with speed capacity workouts taking place earlier in the year which transition into speed development over time. In addition to track workouts for speed, sprinters will perform plyometric training and high velocity strength training in an effort to improve their force production capabilities. Most importantly, though, is maximal velocity sprint training performed at the track.

          Speed Development Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

          Achieving high velocities when sprinting is not easy, and the challenge of attaining high speeds becomes greater as velocities increase. It is relatively harder for an athlete to go from 10.5 meters per second to 11.5 meters per second than it is to improve from 9 meters per second to 10 meters per second.

          Because of this, athletes need to look at speed development from a long term, incremental improvement standpoint rather than a rapid process that happens in a matter of months.

          As is the case with acceleration, speed training that takes place earlier in the year will be in the form of speed capacity training, which utilizes shorter rest periods and number of repetitions to challenge the athlete's work capacity over distances which are typically used for speed development.

          100 Meter Dash Training Programs

          Once the athlete has developed this work capacity and ability to recover between sprints, the focus shifts toward speed development. Speed development workouts, also known as speed training or maximal velocity training, are performed over 30-70 meters (depending on the athlete's capabilities) at maximal intensity, using full or near-full recovery periods between sprints.

          Track Workouts For Maximal Velocity (Speed Training)

          An example of a speed capacity workout that occur earlier in the year would consist of something like this:

          • Track Warmup
          • 4 sets of 2x50m Sprints
            • 75 seconds rest between sprints.
            • 6 minutes rest between sets.
          • 4x12 Stiff Ankle Hops

          In contrast, an example of a speed development workout taking place later in the training year would look something like this:

          • 6x30m Flying Sprints
          • 20-40m Acceleration -> 30m Maximal Velocity Zone
            • 5-8 minutes rest between sprints

          A speed development workout that utilizes resisted sprints could be performed in a couple of different ways.

          Example 1:

          • 1. Track Warmup
          • 6x Resisted/Unresisted Sprint Contrasts
          • 2a. Horizontally Resisted 45m (Using light resistance, such as 5-10% bodyweight, on a sled or Exergenie)
          • 2b. Unresisted 30m flying sprint from a skip-in start& 20-30m acceleration zone.
            • 3 minutes rest between sprints, 6 minutes between sets.

          Example 2:

          • 1. Track Warmup
          • 2a. 1x Vertically Resisted 20m Flying Sprints (Using a 4-6% bodyweight weighted vest)
          • 2b. 1x Unresisted 50m Sprint
            • 3 minutes rest between sprints, 5 minutes between sets.

          Strength & Power Workout For Speed Development

          Strength & power development training for maximal velocity is an area of debate, but it is generally accepted that a holistically stronger athlete will perform better in maximal velocity than a weak athlete, given that both athletes have body composition which is conducive to sprinting.

          For maximal velocity, the exercises used in the gym should be tailored toward developing the body's ability to strike the ground, absorb and produce large vertical forces, and to exhibit high levels of vertical stiffness (such as during the catch of a power clean or ground contact of a depth jump).

          Sprinters training for speed in the gym should consider how long it takes to produce force in a given exercise, what velocities the weights or athlete's body are moving, as well as the direction of force application.

          A speed training gym session for sprinters can look like:

          • 1a. Hang Cleans - 5x2 @ 80%
          • 1b. Depth Jumps - 5x2
          • 2a. Low Box Step Up - 4x2 per side at 60% + 80lb Band Tension
          • 2b. 6" A-Box Strike Jump - 4x2 per side
          • 3a. Elastic Single Leg Back Extension - 4x5 (Faster tempo)
          • 3b. Light Band Hip Flexor Cycle - 3x10 seconds per side.

          Speed Endurance Training For The 100 Meter Dash

          Last but not least, the last area of sprint specific training that needs to be discussed regarding the 100 meter dash is that of speed endurance training.

          Typically at the end of a 100m race, it looks like the leaders are accelerating away from the field. In reality, they are decelerating and a less rapid pace, while those who look like they're falling back are decelerating at a higher rate. Speed endurance training is used to develop the skill and capabilities needed to maintain speed, as well as for training to resist this deceleration.

          Speed endurance may be more or less of an important factor depending on the specific athlete, but ultimately all sprinters will need to train for speed endurance if they want to run fast over 100 meters.

          Speed Endurance - Dependent On Skill & Physiology

          As with anything sprinting related, speed endurance requires both the physiological capabilities to sprint fast over long durations, as well as the skill of maintaining proper technique and posture.

          An athlete may have exemplary physical endurance qualities in the gym but lack the transfer to sprinting, as they do not have the sprinting skill to maintain their speed. Similarly, a highly skilled short sprinter may lack the physiological abilities that are fundamental to sprinting over long distances at high velocities.

          Because of this, training for speed endurance needs to incorporate both physical and mental qualities, giving athletes cues to help as well as exposure to the workloads which stimulate the body's recovery mechanisms.

          Sprinting Workouts For Speed Endurance

          Speed endurance training for 100 meter dash sprinters can be broken down into two primary categories: short speed endurance and long speed endurance. In general, the sprinter should progress from shorter to longer speed endurance workouts throughout the year, but can also blend distances together into a single workout from time to time.

          A short speed endurance workout in the middle of the pre-season could look something like this:

          • Track Warmup
          • 2x60m, 2x80m 2x100m (5-10 minutes rest)
          • 3x80m Straight Leg Bounds

          A long speed endurance workout that is used just prior to the competitive season could consist of the following:

          • Track Warmup
          • 1x200m, 1x180m, 1x150m, 1x120m

          Lastly, one could utilize a weighted vest to increase the endurance demands of shorter sprints. For example, if an 8% bodyweight weighted vest causes a 10% decrease in speed, an athlete could perform 60m sprints but get 7-9 seconds of work out of them instead of the typical 6-7 seconds.

          A short speed endurance workout with a weighted vest might consist off:

          • 1. Track Warmup
          • 2. 3x50m (Weighted Vest)
          • 3. 3x80m (Unweighted)

          Alternative Endurance Training Methods For Sprinters

          Endurance training for sprinters can incorporate training methods outside of pure sprinting, including endurance bounds, endurance drills, tempo endurance, and aerobic strength training.

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