Easy way to sprint 5% faster

It’s hard to find a sport where having less speed would be an advantage. And in this case we would have to be talking about sports that are objectively measured i.e. faster,higher,stronger as opposed to subjectively measured with judging.

I don’t have to think back very far to a situation where I wish I was a little bit faster.

This situation goes back to when Megan and I were in Las Vegas for a conference and had plans to go to a concert on one of the nights. Anyways the conference schedule was to have all the sessions completed by 6 pm with the concert set for 730 pm.

It looked as though everything was going to align perfectly for us and then the presentations went over time and the conference was behind schedule. This meant that we would now miss the last presentation of the day.

But guess what?

The last presentation was by a friend of mine. And were sitting up near the front row.

I was waiting for the previous speaker to finish up so we could sneak out during the break and not create a distraction during my friend’s presentation.

Of course the conference host takes the stage and announces there won’t be a break and they will go straight in to the next session. So I lean over and tell Megan ‘we have to leave now’.

So we pack up our stuff, trying to quickly and quietly exit from the room as the next presentation is starting.

Now this where more speed would have helped me.

I had been sitting for 9 hours and so I would be tight and slow moving. If I had the time what would be the best way to to sprint the 20 or so meters to the back of the room and out?

Should I do some aerobic exercise?

What about a dynamic warm-up?

Would it help to do some type of depth jump off my chair or the stage?

Fortunately a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at this exact question.

The experimenters had the subjects perform three different warm-ups including:

1. cardiovascular warm-up

2. dynamic stretching

3. dynamic stretching with 3 depth jumps

Depth jump off an aerobic step.

Depth jump off an aerobic step.

After performing one of the 3 warm-up protocols the participants had a 1 minute rest before a 20 meter timed sprint.

Here’s what they found.

A. Dynamic stretching reduced 20 m sprint time by 2.2% compared a cardiovascular (CV) warm-up.

B. Depth jumps following a dynamic warm-up reduced sprint time by 5.01% v. the CV warm-up.

So what does this really mean?

It terms of sports performance this means if you and I could both run identical 100 meter sprint times of 12.5 seconds than:

* I would run a 2.5 second 20 m if I performed the dynamic warm-up with depth jumps

* You would run a 2.63 second 20 m if you performed the cardiovascular warm-up.

This is a huge difference in sports!

This is the difference to winning a battle for the puck, ball or other object of interest in a game. This is the difference to making a huge play or being ‘so close’. And potentially this is the difference between injury and health.

If you want to learn more about this study check out the citation at the end of this post.

And another thing…

if you do sprint out on a friend while they are about to present at a conference make sure you don’t forget the keys to the rental car at your table up front. Yup, I did that!


1. Byrne et al. 2014. Acute potentiating effect of depth jumps on sprint performance. J Strength Cond Res. 28(3):610-615.

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