Technique question

Am I right in thinking that the quads are the predominantly used muscles when accelerating, and the hamstrings are used when running at top speed.

The reason I’m asking is that when doing accel work i get the feeling that I’m “reaching” forward and pulling with my hamstrings rather than pushing forwards.

Does anybody have any suggestions for drills, exercises, cues etc that can be used to rectify this.

This may be something do do with my leg development as my hamstrings are much bigger than my quads and I tend to suffer with almosy chronic hamstring/achilles tightness.

Also I feel I’m relatively weak in my quads relative to my hams, eg I can single leg ham curl around 50kg, whereas I can single leg extension only around 30kg. Also my squat has been stuck at aroung 1rm 140kg for a few years.

I’ve been diagnosed with lumber lordosis in the past and wondered if this may contribute to the problem.

Cheers for any help I may get.

Guys? Anybody?

If you feel yourself reaching during the accel phase, you’re landing out ahead of your C/G, which is risky and limits performance. For technique, don’t reach forward- let the feet land where they may and relax. you should land in a better spot for balance. You may also need to check your set position in the blocks to be sure that an imaginary plum-line dropped from your hip is ahead of your lead foot, otherwise you will have to pull forward or roll forward before you can drive out. That would also set the stage for the problem you describe throughout the acceleration phase.
If, after this correction, you still have a problem, your C/G is probably not being raised fast enough, so you should adjust your set position to ensure that your arms run straight down from your shoulders (the highest point) and that your hips are relatively high (at least somewhat above your shoulder height in set).
As for strength, measuring extension and flexion around the knee is meaningless- mechanical correction is the starting point.

Try incorporating snatch pulls or clean pulls. These exercises can improve concentric strength in the quads, which will improve your 1RM squat. It would be good idea to have someone experienced with olympic lifting to show you the proper technique. Olympic lifts are invariable performed with poor technique by track athletes so the maximum benefits are usually negated.

i am pretty sure there is another thread about this somewhere, but just a quick one

don’t you think that for some raising hips “high” and/or putting pressure on hands is counter-productive? in a way that it makes you react with raising up quickly vs. driving? i suppose the stronger you are, the more you can sit back and push, but is this for all?

i just feel more comfortable when i have some space to push from and when weight is more equally distributed, rather than “restricting” my self by putting pressure on hands… am i right on this?


There’s no reason that raising the hips should have to put more pressure on the arms unless you start leaning over the line. You will be more stable in the set position if your weight is more evenly distributed as you suggest.

that’s what i thought Charlie; it just feels right this way; i just had the impression you favour a more “forward” position, but apparently… not!


Cheers Charlie! Will try these tips out when I get over my lastest minor hamstring strain