SpeedEndurance TV – Top 5 Weight Training Exercises for Sprinters

One of most popular questions I get asked is weight training for Sprinters.

In this short video, I answer my favorite top 5 exercises in the weight room.

I do not discuss plyometics… strictly weight training, and preferably free weights.

I also do not discuss if weight training should be done before or after the running portion of the workout, as I discussed that with Derek Hansen in one of our Fireside chats.

The key elements (next to the top 5 exercises) are the chronological age of the athlete, the training age, doing them standing vs. sitting, and single leg vs double leg.

Take a quick look, and please add your favorite exercises in the comments below (and provide a short blurb on why you think it’s beneficial).

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at SpeedEndurance.com
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
    • My “problem” is I get more correspondence by email than blog comments, Facebook updates, Twitter and YouTube comments combined. I think the “medium” may be spread too thin due to social media.

  • Bret for sure will be on here. But his views are different but i agree with both of you guys. Thats how I put my program system together for my athletes.

  • I find that runny too that folks won’t leave a comment here. Maybe forum hangover, when people did leave comments others weren’t civil to differences.
    I like all lifts but the faster bi-directional you can go the more I feel it is appropriate for sprinters.

  • great information again Jimson, thank you.

    what are your thoughts on kettlebell swings vs power cleans?

    also, single leg dead lift, step ups with weights and walking lunges?
    can load lunges in lots of interesting ways-drag a heavy sled, barbell in the overhead squat poition etc.

    • @steve, i think kettlebells have its place in training. I tried it a few years back and you really need to concentrate on the core and balance at all times or else you’ll tear your rotator cuff! I think the best advice is to choose as close to the movement as possible, and if there is an imbalance, address it with single leg stuff. Makes sense?

      As for sleds, I use the 10% rule just because it’s a neat rounded number, but I know guys who surpass the weight and they have a tremendous drive phase! But is it from the sleds?

  • It will be hard to argue against that list for its simplicity, multi-joint movement, ability to use high loads that require spinal stabilization, etc. The effectiveness of certain exercises for athleticism and speed has always interested me….for example, I have two friends that are roughly of the same height and weight whom are both faster sprinters than I am. I have a bigger back squat than both of them ( I have shorter legs and a stronger back), but they both RFESS more than I do and hip thrust more than I do. Does this mean to abandon the back squat? Probably not, but it does show what some weaknesses are across the board and perhaps what aspects of lifting correlate to speed more than others. Both of them also have tremendous hip flexor strength which has been proven to correlate highly with sprint speed (Bolt). I think having lists and favorites are great, but at the end of the day it will come down to knowing the athlete and their specific needs.

    • @Mat, agreed, weight training (and/or) plyos should be a base by case basis. Do you want to write another guest post on your top 5? I would welcome it!

  • Jimson,
    I’m a 62 yr old Masters athlete with a 400 time of 60.5 and 2:22 for the 800m. Can you help me with some ideas on how to train for both without ruining your energy systems. Racing both is really hard at meets. They’re always so close together. Any help would do. They both require a mixture of anerobic/to aerobic endurance. you can send a reply to my e-mail please. Thanks so much. Rob. I have Senior Nationals coming up in on July 27th. Ineed some info for the last couple of months.

    • @Rob, anytime you try to double, you are at the mercy of the schedule. The 400/800 is always a tough one. Certainly fitness with good active recovery workouts are always good to help recover from races. Increasing your speed is always good, to improve speed reserve. The faster your speed, the less energy it takes to run at lower speeds.

  • Hello,

    I like your selection of exercises for general strength although i would prefer the snatch to the power clean(or the East German “hip” snatch). What about Michael Yessis’s special exercises ?

  • Hello

    Good article. I knew Ben Tabachnick if you know who he was .
    He said that in the speed camp that they were in they did the Oly lifts.
    What do you think of the special exercises