Improving Linear Speed

March 1, 2009 | Featured in the March 2009 Issue

Must See Football Videos

 
If you’ve been attempting to shave tenths off your 40 time, but for some reason your training isn’t producing results, read on. To supply the sharpest blade for slicing away patchy training stubble (and stumbles), we hit up Lance Walker, director of performance at the Michael Johnson Performance Center (MJPC), whose speedy clients include up-and-coming NFL stars Darren McFadden, Knowshon Moreno and Michael Crabtree.

STACK: Is it important to develop a plan of action before attempting to train?
Lance Walker:
Yes. Formulate a plan with realistic goals and timelines to assess. Train and reassess goals. An athlete who knows where he is and where he wants to head is [more likely to move] in the right direction and pace toward individual goals.

STACK: What training mistakes do young athletes commonly make when trying to boost speed?
LW:
Too many athletes work on speed endurance—such as conditioning runs and repeats sprints—in hopes of getting faster. Being in great shape is critical to success, but a slow athlete that gets in great shape in the summer is still a slow athlete, but now he can run slowly for longer.

STACK: How do you approach training linear (straight ahead) speed?
LW:
An athlete must be complete with his training. To maximize linear speed improvement, an athlete needs to attack all three factors of speed: force development, rate of force and application of force. If a player is not attacking all these areas, then he’ll never realize his full linear speed potential.

STACK: Define force development, rate of force and application of force.
LW:
Force development primarily deals with increasing stride length and decreasing ground contact time. Rate of force focuses on improving stride frequency and turnover. Application of force improves technique and attempts to maximize efficiency.

STACK: What’s your overall philosophy for linear speed training?
LW:
I believe an athlete should not just train hard, but also smarter. This basically means I’ll use any effective, efficient and ethical training methods to get the most out of my athletes. Obviously, if a player isn’t working hard, then the smartest training in the world can never be truly effective. However, many times, “hard work” without a smart approach limits improvement and can increase risk of injury.

Check out Lance Walker’s exclusive eight-week summer training plan for improving speed and acceleration in the April/May 2009 issue of STACK Magazine, which will also be available online. The plan is similar to the speed training used by MJPC clients McFadden, Moreno, Crabtree, Michael Oher, Brandon Pettigrew and Peria Jerry.

Must See
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 6,156,231
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,742
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,225,893

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 68,738
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 8,003
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 131,367
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,758
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,255
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,651
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,761
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,460

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

Track season is knocking on the door, and the pursuit of maximum speed in training and preparation is on. Conventional wisdom states that speed is...

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

Todd Durkin's 5 Drills for Faster Sprints

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

The 10 Best Speed Exercises for Athletes

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

6 Essential Multi-Directional Speed Drills

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Supreme Speed: 6 Training Tips from Football's Fastest Man

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

Deceleration: The Missing Link for Hockey Speed Training

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Run Faster and Longer

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

3 Simple Steps to Get Quick

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism