Are You Making This Common Sprinting Mistake?

Do you make this mistake when you perform sprinting drills? Have you seen the same side arm to leg pattern when you skip or do other movements?

When we perform sprint drills in our workouts or warm-ups, I literally see this problem on a daily basis.

Honestly, most of the time we see this because athletes can get “careless” and forget what they are doing for the movement.

Here are some great exercises below on ways to help solidify that opposite arm to opposite leg pattern, which will help your sprinting!


Why Does It Matter?

The problem with same side arm to leg patterns is that you don’t run this way, or walk this way.

You are naturally out of sync and rhythm.

When you go to sprint, you will unknowingly slow yourself down to fix your arm pattern. The arms play such an important role in sprinting, but they are often overlooked or forgotten.

When the arms are engaged and in sync, the body moves faster.

With the arms in proper motion, the chest opens up, breathing comes more naturally, and you can sustain your sprinting for a longer duration.

All of these small details add up, especially if you are a higher level athlete. These are the small things that can impact your 60 yard dash time and finally getting you below that important 7 second marker.



For those who play a sport where sprint times and testing matters to recruiters and coaches (hint hint…all sports), make sure you are properly performing skips as demonstrated on the right side of the video.


How We Work on Getting in Sync

I really try to enforce the arm to leg opposite pattern early on. Every session, we are doing work which will translate to on field performance.

If you find yourself having a hard time synching up your arm and leg pattern, slow it down! Take the time to make sure you can repeat it over and over.

Here are some of my favorite exercises I like to use when training athletes:


Forward Marching with Slight Pause


Forward Marching


Lateral Marching


Lunge to High Knee with Pause


Lunge to High Knee Double with Pause


Forward Skipping


Lateral Skipping


For athletes in any sport involving sprinting, enforcing arm patterns can be crucial!

I typically program these into a warm-up and dynamic progression after movement prep and an active series.

I’ll usually have athletes perform 1-2 sets of each for 8-10 reps per side. I really enforce movement patterns here, so make sure you don’t go too fast through these!

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Nick Esposito

I am a Precision Nutrition Certified Coach and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Founder of Nutrition for Softball and Esposito Strength Club. I currently work at Champion Physical Therapy and Performance with Mike Reinold and some of the brightest Strength Coaches and Physical Therapists within the Boston region & nationally. At Champion, I work with all ranges of clients with nutrition, strength, speed, and more. This includes adults, multi-sport athletes ranging from youth, high school, NCAA, MiLB, MLB, and NFL. I look forward to helping you reach your goals!
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