PLEASE NOTE: We are undergoing a name change. Unleashed Training is now Sprint Ninja. We still offer high quality strength and conditioning along with personal training, with our specialty being sprint training.

Sprint Coaching and Strength & Conditioning
Face to face Coaching & Online Programs

Sprint Ninja Coaching Services - Click Here

Claim Your FREE Session

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


Sprinting Stride Length

Sprinting stride length is one of the key determining factors of sprinting speed. To put it simply, a longer stride generally translates to a faster sprint time over any distance up to 400 metres. An athlete can train to increase stride frequency, which will result in a slightly faster time in most cases, however there are limits to this. Faster legs generally produce greater vertical force, with approximately only 30% of that force being projected horizontally. In case you haven't noticed, sprinting is a horizontal activity, we move along the ground. Whereas stride length results in greater horizontal force, with only about 20% being lost to vertical force. This means a faster sprint time, provided stride frequency is not reduced.

To put it in more simple terms, greater stride length + maintenance of stride frequency = faster sprint speed.

Humans, the inefficient runners

As far as running goes humans are fairly inefficient compared to other animals. This applies as much to sprinting as it does to distance running. When your foot strikes the ground it is forward of your body. That means that upon every stride you are decelerating slightly while your leg drags your body forward and propels you into the next stride.

The faster a person’s momentum, the more efficient they are as a sprinter. What this means is that sprinting requires forward momentum, a force of energy created entirely by the movement itself. The faster you are going the less deceleration is involved in each stride. Having a longer stride means that upon each propulsion from one stride to the next your body is harder to slow down, almost like a truck going downhill and wanting to brake. The breaking process is less effective, meaning that your running is more effective.

Increased stride length is the best way to improve this forward velocity.

Faster Than Ever Before

In most training literature it is stated that various factors such as stride length are largely genetically determined and can’t change a whole lot due to training. I disagree with this. Obviously having longer legs will result in a longer stride, however long legs are not the only factor.

Lets try and picture this for a minute...

When your foot strikes the ground during a sprint, it does so in a way that propels your body forward. Each individual stride propels you a given distance. Now here is the cool part; the more force you apply to that stride the further forwards you are propelled with each individual stride. Sprinting stride length is the distance from where one foot strikes the ground to where the other foot strikes the ground on the next stride. Again, more force per stride = greater distance between strides, which overall translates to greater sprint speed. But there is one condition......

Ground contact time must be brief. The less time the foot stays on the ground per stride the faster it can make use of that force and propel the body forward. Shorter ground contact time also translates into a reduction of the breaking effect mentioned earlier.

So how can we do this? How can you take advantage of the physics?

Power, Power and More Power

Power is the product of force x velocity. More force produced at a greater velocity is more power. This is exactly what we are looking for. As stated previously, the more force that is applied to each stride the further forward the athlete is propelled with each stride. That is on the condition that the force is produced at high velocity, meaning that the foot is only in contact with the ground very briefly.

Power is developed in a number of stages. Without adequate strength it is impossible to develop power. As a reminder, strength is force. An expression of strength is technically an expression of force. The first stage is to develop strength in the relevant areas. Basic movements like squats and deadlifts will create strength, meaning a greater ability to generate force.

But as we know, force alone is not much help. Force needs to be combined with velocity to have an effect. Once adequate, foundational strength is developed, the athlete needs to convert that force into force that is applied very quickly, i.e. velocity. This combination is power. How do we do this?

Fast moving muscular contraction that is applied with significant force. The easiest way is through two methods. The first is simply sprinting itself. If an athlete has developed enough strength then the act of sprinting at maximum speed will allow the athlete to apply that force to each stride at a high velocity. Through repetition this will lead to an improvement of the speed of force development.

Secondly, plyometrics can be used. Plyometrics training involves the rapid lengthening of a muscle followed by rapid shortening. Multiple forward bounds on one leg, depth jumps, squat jumps and bounding over consecutive hurdles are examples of plyometrics training.

Neuromuscular Repatterning

The nervous system is conditioned to operate in a specific way. It takes a conscious effort to change that. The way you walk, run, throw and lift are all a result of nervous system patterning. You have done things a certain way for a given length of time and the nervous system has adapted to that pattern and now the movement comes naturally. When you sprint without thinking about what you’re doing you will naturally take a set stride length, the stride length that has been patterned. It takes a conscious effort to change that.

In order to take advantage of the extra power you are developing you need to repattern your natural movement pattern. But how?

When you sprint without thinking about it you take the stride that comes naturally. This natural stride may not be the most ideal stride for sprinting faster. There are a few cues in training that you can apply in order to take a longer, rapid and powerful stride...

1. Simply consciously increase the length of your stride during training. Make a conscious effort to stride out, even exaggerate it to an extent.

2. During each sprint in training consciously focus on a forceful foot strike. Focus on your foot hitting the ground with greater force.

3. A long stride and one that is most efficient is characterised by a flexed knee at the back, meaning that your knee is bent and is almost kicking yourself in the butt, and at the front of the stride, while the leg is still in the air, your knee is high, which allows you to land with more force and use gravity to help you sprint faster.


Sprinting stride length is your best friend when it comes to being a faster sprinter. As sprinting stride length increases the athlete gets faster. Remember, the faster you’re traveling the more you are propelled forward by your own momentum, resulting in less deceleration. So increasing speed is exponential to a certain extent.

Get started, increase power and work on consciously lengthening your stride. It's not an immediate return on investment, it takes time and effort. The effort you apply to these small changes will result in massive advantages no matter what sport you compete in.

Keep in mind, sprinting stride length is only one component of speed development, but it's the biggest component, the one that will make the greatest difference.

Return to our home page from sprinting stride length.

Sprinting stride length

Sprinting stride length

Sydney Sprint Coach Blog
The Sydney Sprint Coach blog will keep you up to date with all changes made to subscribe now to keep yourself updated.
Sydney Personal Training
Sydney personal training with Unleashed Training: Unleashed Training offers Sydney personal training services in the Merrylands, Granville, Parramatta and Guildford area.
About Sprint Ninja
Sprint Ninja is a fitness and physical performance business utilising an effective set of systems and training principles, specialising in sprinting performance...
About Chris Lyons
Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for....
Evolve Training System
The EVOLVE training system is a complete system of sprint training in all its forms....
Sprint Workouts - Sprinting WOD
The sprint workouts section is designed not as a complete training program in itself, but as a section providing sprint workouts...
Sprint Training
Sprint training is a form of training applicable across a large range of domains for both the individual and the athlete....
Super Human Strength
Super human strength is something all athletes and most of the general population would love to achieve. ...
Power Training
Power training is often a very confused and confusing component of training, for both the general public and among coaches/trainers. ..
Psychology of Speed
The psychology of speed, an often underestimated aspect of the development of sprinting speed...
Ideal Fitness Program
The ideal fitness program is something people have been searching for ever since we discovered that regular and planned training can change the....
Training Principles
Training principles are the universally applicable guidelines that should be met in order to achieve a given training objective...
Training Objectives
This is a comprehensive set of guidelines, training objectives and an overall plan to be applied to all training programs...
Ten Components of Fitness
The ten components of fitness are the aspects of physical development that UNLEASHED Training aims to facilitate. Most programmes focus on only one or a small number of these fitness components...
Definition of Fitness
The definition of fitness is so difficult to pin down. I have searched for a definition for years, ever since I first started my studies in fitness, strength and conditioning. I have witnessed...
Unleashed Challenges - Official Unleashed Training Fitness testing and ranking.
Welcome to the UNLEASHED Challenges section. Here you will find benchmark challenges and fitness tests based on the UNLEASHED Training methods....
Body Weight Exercises
The following is a list of body weight exercises used by Unleashed Training as part of the Evolve fitness program. This page includes just simple text descriptions of each exercise...
Body Weight Workouts
Welcome to the UNLEASHED body weight workouts. Here you will find workouts of all kinds in a mostly randomised manner....
Ideal Strength Training Program
The ideal strength training program is difficult to find. It is difficult because, in terms of any kind of physical conditioning...
Minimalist Fitness Programs
Minimalist fitness programs are simplified fitness programs that can be used for total development of one or more components of fitness. ..
Art of Movement
The art of movement is something you will see discussed in many texts, in one way or another. This is a concept that was visited, studied and developed hundreds and even thousands of years ago...
Strength Articles
Welcome to the strength articles section. Here you will find articles relating to strength training in all its forms....
Sport and Athletic Conditioning Articles
Welcome to the sport and athletic conditioning articles section. Here you will find articles pertaining to specific sports and athletic events....
Weight Loss Articles
Welcome to the weight loss articles section. Here you will find articles and information specifically targeted at weight loss/fat loss....
Military Fitness Articles
Welcome to the military fitness articles section. Here you will find articles and information that applies to military fitness....
General Fitness Articles
Welcome to the general fitness articles section. Here you will find articles and information that applies to fitness as a whole but does not fall into other categories....
Sport and Exercise Science Articles
Welcome to the sport and exercise science articles section. Here you will find articles and information that explains the science behind fitness and performance training, how the body works....
Nutritional Guidelines - The Unleashed Training nutritional prescription
The following are the basic nutritional guidelines and recommendations for Unleashed Training. It is written in plain language and is easy for you to understand.....
Paleo Diet
The paleo diet is a recently popular way of eating. It is gaining traction in the health and fitness world and is especially popular with fitness movements such as CrossFit.
Boosting Testosterone
Boosting testosterone and other hormonal functions is a somewhat obscure topic to all but the hardcore bodybuilder or strength athlete. Everyone likes to focus on training hard....
Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a nutritional habit that involves periods of time throughout a 24 hour period where no food is consumed. To clarify, a period of fasting involves...
Strength Training for Kids
Strength training for kids is a controversial topic of conversation. Old wisdom suggests that strength training is dangerous for children and will lead to failure to grow...
Strength training for children
Strength training for children has been a debated topic for many years now...
Exercise For Children
Exercise for children is one of those new-age topics of conversation and a major money spinner for corporations trying to cash in on “what’s hot”...
Early childhood physical development
Early childhood physical development is just as important as childhood mental and psychological development...

Recent Articles

  1. About Sprint Ninja

    Aug 31, 15 12:20 AM

    Sprint Ninja is a fitness and physical performance business utilising an effective set of systems and training principles, specialising in sprinting performance...

    Read More

  2. Sport and Athletic Conditioning Articles

    Aug 30, 15 06:29 AM

    Welcome to the sport and athletic conditioning articles section. Here you will find articles pertaining to specific sports and athletic events....

    Read More

  3. Being Competitive

    Aug 30, 15 06:24 AM

    Being competitive is often seen as a negative thing. No doubt you have heard that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, just do it for yourself....

    Read More

YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Sprint Ninja, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

View Chris Lyons's profile on LinkedIn