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Massive Acceleration: A Sprinter Weight Training Program

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Although technique and actual sprinting ability are crucial to success, a good resistance program will lead to increases in strength and power to give athletes an engine for better performances on the track.

Technical ability aside, the athlete who can produce the most force quickly will be the athlete with the fastest acceleration at the start of the race. To be that athlete, you must incorporate five key components into your program.

Sprinter Weight Training Needs:

1. Injury Prevention –You can’t accelerate fast if you aren’t healthy. Muscular imbalances can lead to injuries, so a full-body approach is necessary. Hamstrings can be particularly bothersome for sprinters, which is why they are hit frequently in this program, both directly and indirectly.

2. Strength/Power – These aren’t exactly the same, but there is enough crossover in this program to include them together. A sprinter needs power in both the upper and lower body. This can be accomplished through compound lifts such as Olympic variations, Squats, and Bench Presses.

3. Plyometrics – Plyometrics, such as Depth Jumps, teach the body to produce force rapidly. A variety of plyometrics, such as jumps and throws, have specific carryover to sprinting.

4. Posterior Chain – Your backglutes, and hamstrings are important for speed development. These are the primary muscles that provide power for explosive athletic events. Neglecting them is a common mistake, but this workout program places particular emphasis on them.

5. Core Strength – The core is responsible for transferring force throughout the body and for maintaining posture throughout the run. A weak core can lead to technical issues, particularly toward the end of a race.

The Program

This program consists of three days of weight training per week. A Monday/Wednesday/Friday split is shown, but the sessions can be performed on any three non-consecutive days. Each day has an Olympic lifting variation and a plyometric exercise. Wednesday adds emphasis on upper-body strength. Begin with a dynamic warm-up. Use a minimum rest period of 2-3 minutes for the Olympic variations, plyometrics, and Squats. Rest periods can be 60-90 seconds for accessory work, such as hamstring and core work.


  • Power Snatch – 3×5
  • Depth Jumps – 3×6
  • Front Squat – 4×6
  • Glute Ham Raise – 3×10
  • Hanging Leg Raise – 3×10


  • Power Clean & Jerk – 3×5
  • Medicine Ball Chest Pass – 3×6
  • Bench Press – 3×6
  • Lat Pulldowns – 3×8
  • Straight-Leg Deadlift – 3×10


  • Power Clean Pulls – 3×5
  • Box Jumps – 3×6
  • Back Squat – 4×6
  • Leg Raises – 3×10
  • Good Mornings – 3×10
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