Higher Vertical Jump Equals Faster SprintOne of the best predictors of this sprint speed, and indicators of strength, is the vertical jump. If you can jump high, you can run fast. The 2 movements are rooted in similar concepts; you have to move your own body weight in a desired direction. So it is crucial to possess high levels of relative strength, force production expressed as a percentage of body weight (see SpartaPoint 5/19/10). For example, if you have higher amounts of body fat, you have to propel and elevate more non-functional mass (i.e. lard).
A 2005 study out of the New Zealand Institute of Sport discussed the highest correlation to sprint times was the vertical jump, and then referenced several other studies that supported this finding despite different subjects (female vs. male, football vs. soccer) and sprint distances (10 meters vs. 40 yard).
How You Jump is Most Important to Run Faster
But it goes deeper than just applying generic force into the ground. Like the vertical jump, some sprinters need to produce force more quickly (RATE), to increase their stride rate, while other need to spend a longer TIME applying force to increase the stride length (see Sparta Point 11/3/10).
Therefore, sprinting technique mainly serves to minimize leaks in your body, which is a force producing machine. Round your trunk and you’ll lose the transfer of energy from your arms to your legs (see SpartaPoint 11/12/09). Drag your toes when you drive your knee, and you’ll have less surface area to apply the force from your legs into the ground.
To improve your sprint speed and running times, you need to be more efficient by applying more force into the ground. But rather than focusing on just 1 or 2 lifts, just focus on whatever makes you jump higher. Say it with me, “Get stronger = jump higher = run faster”
Cronin JB, Hansen KT. Strength and power predictors of sports speed. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 May;19(2):349-57.