Myth-Busters: "Do Sprints AFTER Practice to Get Faster!"

In our Myth-Busters series, we’re shedding light on some popular training myths to help you continue improving performance in and out of the weight room.

@@Myth: We have to do our sprints at the end of practice if we want to get faster.@@

Truth: The best way to develop max speed is by performing sprints when your body is freshest, recovering fully between efforts.

Raise your hand if a coach ever made you and your teammates run sprints at the end of a tiring practice. My guess is there’s a lot of you! But often, saving sprints for the END of practice will NOT make you faster.

Now, context is important here. When it comes to training pure linear speed (i.e., the fastest you can run in a straight line, like from home to first base), a very common training error is to save this conditioning work for the end of practice, when athletes are already fatigued. But think about it: if you want to sprint faster, you have to train your ability to reach near-maximal velocity. Running sprints for the purpose of improving linear speed after practice, when your body is depleted and exhausted, naturally limits your ability to sprint at max velocity. 

Ideally, any max-speed sprint work would be done BEFORE practice after a light dynamic warm-up, and would include plenty of rest between reps and sets so athletes are able to repeat their efforts at near-maximal speeds. If you’re using sprints after practice for a precise dose of energy system development, well, that’s another story for another day (and a method often misused as well)!

Got any myths you'd like to see busted? Tweet your ideas to us @VoltAthletics!

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Jace Derwin, CSCS, RSCC, is the Head of Performance Training at Volt Athletics and is one of the regular contributors to the Volt blog. Jace manages Volt program design, content development, and educational resources for schools, clubs, and organizations. Jace is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Seattle Pacific University. Follow Jace on Twitter @VoltCoachJace.