Improving speed for football requires more than pure speed training. You must also train your fast-twitch muscles to produce powerful movements even when they're tired. This is the chief benefit of performing speed and agility exercises between sets of strength exercises in the weight room.
Jumping rope and ladder drills are two exercises that can be used as active rest for speed development. A third exercise, Quick Feet drills, is ideal for reinforcing the concept of moving your feet fast while fatigued.
Danny Arnold, founder and owner of Plex sports training facility, says, “Quick Feet drills create an aerobic effect while training your fast-twitch muscles, the ones you use when sprinting and playing football.”
Like the Jump Rope and Speed Ladder, Quick Feet drills are usually relegated to warm-up duty. However, performing them for 20 to 30 seconds between sets of power and Olympic lifts will help you enhance speed and conditioning for late in the fourth quarter.
Get the most from your strength training by incorporating speed work into your workouts. One variation of the Quick Feet series is Quick Steps, a mainstay in Arnold’s off-season program for NFL players such as Julius Peppers [pictured] and Charles Woodson.
- Stand in front of three- to six-inch high step
- Step up with right, then left
- Step down with right foot, then left
- Repeat pattern as quickly as possible for 20 to 30 seconds, alternating lead foot each set
Learn more about the benefits of Jumping Rope ["Develop Speed Without Leaving the Weight Room"] and Speed Ladder drills ["Enhance Endurance With Speed Ladder Training in the Weight Room"]. Then check out the following videos to learn about other Quick Feet patterns.
Note: the Quick Feet drills in the following videos are shown for warm-ups. To develop speed n the weight room, perform any of them for 20 to 30 seconds as active rest between sets of strength exercises.
Photo: Bill Baptist