T Nation

sprinting start

I’ve heard a lot of people say that the quads dominate in the sprinting start, and a lot say that the posterior chain dominates in the start. Can anyone clear it up once and for all? Is it the quads or the posterior chain (or both)?

Assuming you will be coming out of a three or four point stance, quads dominate the start because of body and limb alignment. As posture becomes more upright, the posterior chain muscles are more important.

Ian King once said that he thought that the deadlift contributed more to the start than the squat. So i would hazard a guess and say the posterior chain.

I’ve heard both sides of the argument and from my experience I’d have to say the posterior chain dominates. My start improved drastically when I started doing g/ham raises and reverse hypers even though my poundages on quad dominant movements actually regressed. I’ve had severe tendonitis in the knees that hurt like hell when I did quad dominant movements yet I could do a sprinting start with no problem. Charlie Francis also analyzes the start to detect hamstring weakness. From his book “Training For Speed” when coming out of the 1st step of the start if the rear leg doesn’t extend fully this is a sign of weakness.

I think it’s the posterior chain.

the start is a pushing motion. Running hills or towing a sled emphasizes pushing/drive phase of sprinting and will develop the essential glute/hip strength.

It is both, the start I am assuming you mean the first 10 - 15 m. If you increase your hams you will help your start and if you increase your explosivness in your squat you will help your start. it is a compintation

Let’s make it simple. In the start of a sprint, is the knee bent or straight? Bent quite a bit? Is the knee ahead of the foot? yes. That’s quad dominant. Is the posterior chain very active during this time? Of course it is,but the initial drive is quad dominant. Now, in upright running posture, is the knee bent or approaching extension when in contact with the ground? It’s extended. Further forward propulsion requires dominance of the posterior chain. Mr. King likes the deadlift for starting strength. Makes sense because the lift begins from a dead stop…like a sprint start. Bottom line train both but gear training toward weak points. If the first 10 is slow…deadlifts and OLY variations need work. Good start poor middle and finish = more posterior chain work. Also keep in mind that sprinting is very power oriented, not directly related to strength. Strength can go down and power can increase resulting in faster times (not to mention a number of other factors which will improve times…technique, strength endurance for instance).

One thing that has yet to be mentioned is the angle of the torso during the start. The bent over position automatically increases glute/ham involvement.

Are we only talking about the initial drive from the blocks (or stance) when referring to start? If so then I would agree that posterior chain is a primary factor. If we are including the acceleration phase of the first 10 meters or yards(which I was definitely referring to in my comments)then I’m sticking to my guns on the greater influence of quads.

when my only leg lift was front squatting, my start (1st 10 yards) suffered. when I switched to sumo deadlifts, my start got better…