Form Critique - What Should I Work On?

Hi Guys,

I’m hoping to get some form analysis from the experienced members. I just started sprint training this summer, at 31 years old, self taught. I’ve played sports all my life but never focused on getting better at sprinting.
This is a 40m sprint, done at ~90% and trying to think about form cues. The only thing that stands out to me is the weird Adrian Peterson hobble at the end, which I suspect is related to fat pad impingement in my left knee that restricts knee flexion.


I appreciate your help.

My times over the past few weeks are as follows:

10m - 1.89
20m - 3.11
30m - 4.35
40m - 5.49


How are you timing this? I am guessing with some electronic device?

Are you able to film it in real time opposed to slow mo?

What have you been doing for training? And what have been the sports you have been doing?

Hi Angela,

I’ll get a real time video uploaded next time I’m training with a friend.

Those are electronic timed with a Jawku Speed.

Training is basically:
2-3 days per week of Sprints + (Jumps and/or Throws) + Weights
and usually 2 low intensity days per week, tempo runs or higher rep work.

Weights are usually Squats + Bench + Rows, low volume, sometimes I change it up

Lacrosse is my main sport. Played a lot of hockey growing up as well.

Sounds good.

Do you know what basic sprint mechanics should look like?

I think I have a good idea but that’s why I’m here. Knowing and demonstrating also aren’t the same.

Form cues? Like one at the beginning and one when you are running upright?
Since you are not smooth (yet), it definitely shows. I would think Charlie would have said to keep those two separate as a beginner. Ques, and phases or areas of a sprint.
Gradually, as you get better you will be able to combine the two.

You seem to be consistent and take action fast. It will be fun to see how much you improve over the course of a year.

Do you have any of the products sold here?
Any low grade hills nearby?
The vids sold here will give you good ideas of how you can do things without thinking too much about what you’re actually working on.

Yes - I do find that I struggle transitioning between phases. I’m definitely not consistent with when/where I begin my upright sprint position.
In terms of cues, I find my 10m times are best when I focus on strong knee drive and keeping my feet low in recovery. I use to really focus on pushing off both feet in my 2 or 3 point stance but I’ve learned that cue has a negative effect.
At top speed I try to think about staying relaxed but I don’t find that easy.

I’ve read CFTS and Speed trap
No low grade hills that I can think of. All of the hills I’ve found are too steep to maintain proper mechanics.

It is hard self-coaching but if you have a good idea of what sprint mech should look like and with solid video it may help you put together the picture within time. I try not to overthink sprint mechanics. I remember Charlie speaking on hip height and he made it very simple - if you are doing the right amount of work at the right time while staying relax hip height along with other things will fix themselves.

Not sure if it is me - but it seems like you are heel striking (collapsing of the heels). Running back on the heels often indicates lack of basic movement efficiency and/or quadriceps dominance. I try to focus on a few simple cues - smooth, up and over, and down. Allowing the off foot to come up towards the support knee will cure an assortment of other common mechanical problems. Also, you are trying to accelerate, but it looks like you are reaching instead of pushing back.

You def should be sprinting 3 or more times weekly at this point.

I never thought I was heel striking but looking at the wear on my spikes, you’re probably right. I think I’ve always generally had weak ankles and maybe they lack the stiffness required. I don’t think I’m quad dominant though, more likely the opposite and maybe why I seem to “pull” in my acceleration phase? I’ll try to work on that.

One of the main things that stands out to me is not getting my recovery foot high enough in my sprint position. It doesn’t look like I get over the opposite knee. It also seems like most of my leg motion and force is behind my body instead of in front of my body at top speed.

Angela, here’s a full speed 40m sprint from this evening.

My workout today was:

Warmup (which takes me a long time but I don’t want to pull my groin again)
20m x 3
40m x 3
60m x 1

Banded Deadlifts + Hurdle Hops
Push Press
Inverted Rows + Dips


At this point drop the 3pt starts - very little benefit to you right now. Starting from a 3pt start is a waste of your time esp. since you are a not football player or someone with a ton of 3pt background. Stick with standing, facedown, pushups, and falling starts etc. positions that require less skill and thinking. I need more hardcore proof why you think you are not quad dominant.

Good idea. I only switched to 3-point starts when I got my Jawku because I’ve been timing everything. Maybe I should just time once a month or so for testing.

I say that I’m not quad dominant because my hip extension is much more dominant than knee extension / hip flexion when compared to most people. RDL:Squat strength is much higher than average and same goes for broad jump : vertical jump. That being said I have no problem programming more hamstring work.

I do not see a major issue with you timing all your runs at this point - gives you instant feedback and you could play around with different things in the training session etc.

If you are going to use jumps to assess post vs quad, I would prefer to use a single leg triple jump. A better way would be to study your sprint videos. From what I can see - your hips are too low, plant leg bent excessively, collapsing of the heels - too much voluntary pushing seems more quad dominant or not relaxing etc.

If you watch fast people run and watch slow people run you will notice that slow people have a tendency to run back on their heels and they make a lot of noise when they run. When the hips and hamstrings are the prime movers, the sprinter looks nice and smooth up on the balls of his/her feet with little knee bend at impact and without the appearance of lots of bending and pushing.

From a training standpoint – you would have been better off starting with an 8-12-week gpp with tons of hills before moving into some sled work and finally into a mix of both sled and flat ground sprints. At this point you need tons of reps of quality sprinting. Intermuscular coordination!!! Use frequency to learn, use intensity to enhance what is learned!!

Why is your sprint volume so low?

I guess I could continue to time with most of those starts, I don’t think it would work for falling though.

Single leg triple jump compared to what? I think a lot of those signs may just be a lack of relative strength? Insufficient hamstring strength compared to body weight, not compared to quad strength. You’re definitely right that my knees collapse too much on impact.

To increase reps of sprinting, would it be wise to perform some without complete recovery? Right now I’m always resting minimum 1min / 10m sprinted, making it difficult to increase volume without lengthening my already long workout sessions. I’m thinking along the lines of incomplete recovery between reps and longer rests between sets.

Go for a bike ride or drive your car in a 1/2 mile radius. Hopefully, you will find some sort of incline to sprint on. I can’t imagine a City where something suitable doesn’t exist close by.

One test I’ve use to assess optimal power for sprinting is to compare the broad jump to a single leg triple jump. Your single leg triple should be about 3x the length of your broad jump. 10ft broad jump should approach 30 feet on a single leg triple jump. Do you have big strong glutes? Well, if you had a complete program the first block would have included hill sprints with incomplete recovery to develop special work capacity etc. The hills allow you to perform higher volumes of sprint work a major asset at this point.

Don’t rush the process!!! Put in some hill work.

Watching the videos a few issues: very little push/incomplete extension (too much frequency in start and accel.), need to separate hands/arms more on start. Hips look too low at set probably caused, in part, to your feet being too close to the line so you can’t get the hips higher. The second video for sure your feet seem too close to the line.

Also looks like on that there’s too much casting out of your leg/foot during acceleration and not enough of the strides are you landing with your knees MORE ahead of your feet. Don’t rush to a vertical shin position.

Agree with all of this.

He’s a beginner and doesn’t have a coach and asked a bad question. Don’t point out all his faults or beat the shit out of him Bc he doesn’t know. What good is pointing out all of that? To prove to us you know? We know that you know. We’re so beyond that now.
RB34 was on the right path…
Charlie would not have told anyone all Of that…Ever!