How to Improve Quickness | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

How to Improve Quickness

October 19, 2010

You've probably heard your coach yell, "You have to be faster!" Speed is important, but in a typical game, the players reach top speed in only a few instances.  Thus, your focus should be on quickness, which is explosively accelerating to a high speed over a short distance.

To train to be quick, you need to understand how muscles work. Essentially, they are comprised of slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers. Slow-twitch fibers specialize in endurance, allowing athletes such as Lance Armstrong to bike hundreds of miles. Fast-twitch fibers specialize in quick movements, like those of a sprinter. They produce powerful, high-speed contractions, but they fatigue easily, because they rely on anaerobic metabolism, which uses stored glucose to power muscle contractions instantly. This energy source depletes quickly, producing lactic acid, which causes the burning sensation that all serious athletes experience.

Training programs that target fast-twitch fibers must consider their function, and how and when quickness is needed during competition. Not only can you strengthen the fibers and increase contraction speed and endurance, you may also be able to raise the proportion of fast-twitch fibers in your muscles. A recent study produced evidence of conversion from slow- to fast-twitch fibers resulting from high-intensity exercise.*

The combination of strength and quickness provided by fast-twitch fibers is what makes athletes such as Dwight Freeney and Thomas Vanek so intimidating.  Freeney uses exercises like the Rip and Press and the Machine Hang Shrug to train his explosiveness, which puts fear in the eyes of opposing quarterbacks.

Vanek's quickness makes him a constant threat on the ice. Cal Dietz, University of Minnesota hockey strength and conditioning coach, has Vanek perform exercises that strengthen his muscles to be explosive—like the Power Step-Up and the 180 Reverse Bench Jump. You can perform these and other exercises (see below) to strengthen your fast-twitch fibers and train them to fire quickly.

Additional Exercises

Tendo Back Squat

Front Squat

Box Toe Touches

Resisted Starts

Dumbbell Squat Press


*Jansson, E., et al. (2008). Increase in the proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers by sprint training in males. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 359-363.

 

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Must See
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,306
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,176,187

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,672
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,478
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,880
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

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,427
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,006,048
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,529
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,176,187

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Footwork is incredibly important for football agility. Being able to move your feet quickly can have a big impact on your performance on the football...

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

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

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

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

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge