T Nation

Building Speed


Hi, I'm a 14 year old ~10-12% 5'7" 125lb boy (small from a previous eating disorder) with a 110lb bench, 135lb squat, 160lb deadlift and I would like to build speed for sprinting. My 100m time is 16.4 seconds which is absolutely pathetic and if possible I would like sub 13.

I'm quite fit so I think I'm slow because my legs are mainly slow twitch fibers because I'm a good long distance runner, I'd like to maintain as much distance ability as possible while getting quicker and building fast twitch fibers.

Ps. Sorry if this is the wrong forum but it seemed to fit this one best and strength seems to give the best advice


I was in the same position back in high school. I started playing basketball which helped with sprints and explosive movements. But in terms of actually training for the 100m I ran suicides, did a lot of footwork drills, practiced the starting position and take off(get that down and it will really help with your time), worked on leg strength through squats and lunges.


Another thing I did - and still do - that really helped: I found a somewhat steep and rocky, 3km mountain trail...run up...run down. Great for teaching your legs to move fast and stretch out. Also a great help for footwork and strengthening your legs.

Getting your speed and power up will be an asset to you in your distance runs.

Sorry if I'm a little vague with all this, lol.


Luckily for you I know a thing or two about 100m training. For starters, find a hill, then run up it as fast as you can without falling, this will teach you to lift your feet higher when you sprint, which will lead to a longer faster stride.

Also, at your age top speed isnt as important as acceleration, so do some high intensity 30 and 40m sprints trying to get as fast as you can in the first 20m and holding that speed for the rest. And finally, if you want to keep your distance legs up id say once you get your speed up do 300m repeats, which is a 300m 90% sprint followed by a 300m jog, repeated as many times as you can til you either fall down or throw up.


Speed will come with strength, conditioning, and technique.

It sounds like your lifts are coming along but you definitely have a lot of room for growth there. I would focus on a program where you are lifting in the 3-10 rep range and varying your intensity from week to week. Adding in some different types of sprinting work 2-3 times per week would also be helpful (hills, different distances, etc.). You also want to look at where you may be falling short in your running. If your acceleration is poor then you should focus on short sprints and starts; whereas if your slowing toward the end of the run then you should add in some 200M runs to build conditioning.

You should also focus on your diet as you will need more power in order to hit the times that you are looking for, and that will come with increased muscle mass. Focus on eating 100-150 grams of protein per day and enough calories / carbohydrates to fuel your workouts.

At your age your hormone levels are optimal for building muscle and strength so you can eat a lot and train very hard with good results. Tracking your training with a training journal is a good idea so that you can receive feedback and also look for areas to improve.

Be patient and stay motivated.


Keep lifting, be sure to eat plenty of food, and keep the faith. I was about your size at your age. Get your body stronger and you will run faster. Google some articles on sprint technique and you'll be on your way. A few qick cues for faster sprints are run loose (be sure you can feel your cheeks, on your face, bounce when you sprint), push your hips forward while you run (if your feet are landing too far ahead of your body mass (overstriding) you are keeping yourself from faster sprints), paw back at the ground (plantar flexion), kick forward (dorsiflexion)-these actions will increase your turn over rate, keep you "hips" loose, use gravity to your advantage (run with a forward lean as you are accelerating) - Maurice Greene ran about 45 meters of his 60 meter WR in the acceleration or down position, work on starts, starts, starts- not just taking off but also reacting to external stimulus i.e. starters gun, clapping, something.


From personal experience, make sure your movement patterns are correct - this is completely essential, and will make you a much better and more efficient athelete. If you spend a lot of time sitting or have bad posture, you might want to try to correct your postural imbalances before you go Rambo on the barbell. Do an author search for Mike Robertson and read some Michael Boyle articles such as "A Joint by Joint Approach to Training" - they'll really help your understanding of how your body works.

You should take an honest an accurate assessment of yourself and your weaknesses/deficiencies, and then create a plan to address those deficiencies. It might not be as fun, exciting, or "cool" as finding some awesome-looking cookie-cutter program complete with black and white pictures of sweaty professional and semiprofessional bodybuilders doing dumbbell curls, and copying that program to the letter. However, working smart and being consistent will yield you MUCH better gains.


I would suggest perusing elitetrack.com

There's a ton of solid advice and information on training for sprinting there (more than you would find here, no offense of course).


Thanks this is all really good advice and I'll make sure to incorporate it into my training


Is this sensible or overtraining? What needs changing

Mon, wed, fri-
Weights: cleans, squats, lunges. all 5x5
40 min running: rough hilly trail OR hill sprints (about 30-40m very steep sprint up, walk down)
SAQ footwork eg. running through ladders, skipping etc.

Tue, thu, sat-
30 min running: 30-50m sprint then jog OR suicides.
Plyometrics: eg. Box jumps, bounding, sprint starts (I know they aren't plyometrics)

Maintaining speed
Sprint technique


Also I'll include some press ups and pull ups to maintain proportions if that makes a difference



lift every rep as fast as you can, even if the bar moves slow

fight the negative

this will beed nueromuscular speed!!


Read some of the articles at this website:



Are you actually training for sprinting or another sport?

Either way, I'd suggest WS4SB.


I want sprinting to reach a reasonable standard but mainly for rugby, football etc.


hill sprints


What do you think of my plan? ^^^
What do you think could be the lowest I could get my 100?


As far as your training program, I think it might be a bit excessive.

First off, can you do cleans with perfect form? If not, then I really think you need to regress the movement down to movements that you can properly do. Hell, is your squat form perfect for that matter? If not, then I would highly recommend against squatting. (And quite honestly, with a 135 squat and 160 deadlift, I highly doubt you can perform either exercise correctly).

If you could post a video of your squat and maybe clean technique, it would be really helpful. All the squats and cleans in the world will do very little except expose you to risk of injury, if you're doing them wrong.

As far as the lowest you could get your 100m, I think you should realize that it's pretty silly to be asking that right now. Let me tell you right now, if that's the mentality you have going into this, then you will never be successful. Right now, you probably need to be thinking about how you can improve your sprinting and lifting mechanics.

I know someone whose mentality exactly matches your question "how fast could my fastest 100m be?". In fact, while the Olympics were on television, he got all excited because he wanted to be an olympic sprinter. He asked the same kind of questions, such as "do you think I'll ever be able to make it to the Olympics?" instead of "how can I improve my lifting mechanics?" Needless to say, he is not ONE step closer to being the athlete he wanted to be.

In conclusion, it seems like you're trying to do this all at once. It seems as if you think you can just create a training program filled with advanced and complicated movements like the clean and squat that most athletes can't even perform correctly to begin with, and train your running six days a week (do you even have that kind of work capacity?), and magically make your way to your fastest possible 100m time. The process to becoming a better athlete will be gradual and filled with "boring" shit you don't want to do, such as constant mobility work, agonizing single leg work, endless core training, monotonous glute activation work, etc. It might be YEARS of that shit before you even hit 11.5 seconds in the 100m.

Are you dedicated enough for that? You can't just throw some plates on the bar and decide you're going to clean it, with no experience or instruction in the clean. If you try, you'll fail. Consequently, you may get disheartened, and quit within a few weeks.

You need to be dedicated, logical, progressive, be able to assess yourself honestly, and be able to work smart. Your last post showed none of those things. Fuck, it seems like you barely even thought about your weaknesses either - they seem way to broad. Do you have poor hip mobility? Poor hamstring flexibility? Anterior pelvic tilt? Muscle imbalances between force couples? That's the shit you need to be thinking about if you EVER want to improve.


Ok I've not been using the correct mentality for this. I will have to think about this more long term and I'll try to put less on my training


Sorry I thought the text would be yellow.

Also to answer the weakness's comment I will research that further because I don't really know a lot about that


You should be able to learn a lot by finding a group of experienced lifters and/or runners. Go try to find some.

There are also a lot of good articles on this site. I'd get less of your information from these forums and more of it from articles - particularly those by Mike Robertson, Eric Cressey, Stuart McGill, and Michael Boyle... just go to the search bar and type those guys' names in - they have Authors pages where they have lists of all the articles by any author you search for.

90% of what I've learned has come from articles on this site, especially ones written by the above authors. Personally, I'd really only recommend forums for advice on very particular issues - and only after looking to see what professionals in the field have written. Most of what you'll get out of forums will just be hundreds of tidbits of information, seven-word answers, and lots of contradicting opinions.