Sprinting 101: How to Be Explosive (Sprinting Thread)

Good afternoon! Here’s our latest article on standing sprints with specific tips and steps Pete follows to make his sprints explosive. If anyone has additional tips, stories or advice they’d like to share on sprinting go ahead and drop it in this thread.


To train that initial kick I start in a low gear at a stand still. Then explode for 5 secs and repeat x 5. I want to be able to explode, I do rip the rear wheel off the ground which isn’t great for traction - traction = speed. Pete tips on stability has helped me with this. And the no hand seated sprints that @Nate_Pearson and Pete have mentioned previously


Where do you place this wk out on your training week?

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This is a really good drill to employ! Isolating all aspects of the sprint are important, but getting that initial part right is crucial as it sets the tone for the rest of the sprint.

I find it really hard to pull a poor sprint into a good sprint once it has started, but I found a bit of practice goes a long way to increasing my hit rate, so to speak.

I usually time it with one of my hard days instead of an easy one, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.

I’m not interested in hitting peak numbers when practicing, and I’m mostly focused on technique refinement, so freshness doesn’t matter very much.

They can cause a ton of fatigue when you first start doing them, so it’s not an ideal to pair with an easy day, initially. But once you get used to them, they don’t cause a whole lot of stress compared to something like a long sweetspot or VO2 workout.


Personally, I like to do sprint workouts early in a week, when fatigue hasn’t settled in yet.

That’s a good choice. Sprinting on an easy day isn’t the same when your fatigued. You sprint at the end of a race. When your fatigued. We don’t have the luxury of rolling wheels like a Pro and can come into the wind fresh. It’s someone that can still sprint fatigued, that will win. Put into account conditions and how a race plays out etc. I’ve won races at only 900w peak, 700w 20 sec, which is low for me because I could sprint fatigued.
When your sprint training your peaks may not what they will be in a race.

That all make sense.


Another really good point! Any sprint finishes I’ve won haven’t had crazy high numbers, because I’m not in the situation of a protected rider. My max is 1,450w, but the last sprint finish I won only had a 1,050w peak.


I have more basic questions about sprinting. First, what distance/time is considered a true sprint? I’m interested in about 1 minute sprints/efforts. My basic question is…

Should I be in the big or small chain ring for 1:00-1:30 min relatively flat all out efforts?

I realize everyone is probably different in this regard but I really don’t know if there is a best practice on this. Overall, I’m probably a spinner. Historically I might have done better in the small ring but am not sure. Lately, I’ve been doing these in the big ring but find my legs are cooked before the end. Its probably a combination of factors (like going out too hard) but I’m looking for more information.

BTW, great video!

  • Big ring all the way.
  • Sprints are rarely solitary and taken form a slow roll. Most often they happen on the tail of a build up in speed that is quite fast already (greater than 25 mph / 40kph), and then the “sprint” is the over and above kick that aims to create the real separation.

To your time/length question, longer “sprints” are still sprints, but 60 seconds all-out is different than 15 seconds all-out. As above, those final minutes are usually an acceleration in the big ring, and then there is an official kick somewhere around 100-300 meters from the finish.

I’d say your 60-90 second efforts may be a bit much with you probably spending too much power early and not saving for the later kick that you want to have in your pocket.

Thanks for the reply! Okay, so I’m on the right track with the big ring. At least I’m doing one thing right. And you are correct, these are usually with a rolling start with the speed generally around 27-30mph for a mile or less. I just don’t have enough in the tank at the end. Honestly, some of my better efforts are part of a longer, even harder ride, rather than focusing on just the sprint early in a ride.

I am no expert, but pre-fixation on the end of the ride/race end can really sabotage the majority of the event. If you want to “be there in the end”, that’s great, but you have to roll with the group and respond as needed, without overly worrying about the impact later. Efforts are efforts for everyone, so match and follow, just be smart and do your best to not over-extend when it’s not needed.

Love Chris Tolley. No easy way around doing the work:


That video is a riot! Apparently, I’m doing this correctly. Just slower. I’ve been hammering away at it but am also interested in best practices.

On another note, none of our roads are this smooth for this long. He cheats :wink:


Motor pacing into efforts on flat roads works too if you have a driver and scooter. Hard to find rollers like what Chis is doing in the video for sue. I and most I know do these fresh and earlier in the week fwiw…


Thanks @Landis! I’ll try doing some early next week.



What kind of speeds are we talking about here? Watts?

@team_bunty Well, its hard to say because I don’t have a power meter. I know, I know… Its the next thing on my list. Mostly 27-30+mph.

How in the world were you rolling those (or anything close) in the small ring???

Were you a hamster in a prior life? :stuck_out_tongue:


Coyote finally got him. Reincarnated as @FattyLumpkin.

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