There are few differences between the principles of strength and speed training. Most strength training programs are designed to improve an athlete’s muscle size, mass, strength and power—all of which play significant roles in determining an athlete’s speed.
Strong athletes are generally fast athletes, since greater strength allows an athlete to produce more force into the ground when sprinting. Lower-body strength, specifically in the quads, hamstrings and glutes, is what drives an athlete through space; and when those muscles are developed, they can contract more forcefully, propelling an athlete at a faster rate. If you need proof, take a look at Olympic sprinters, some of the fastest athletes in all sports. It’s no surprise that they are also among the most muscular athletes as well.
To most effectively build strength to run faster, athletes should perform multi-joint exercises like Olympic lifts, such as the Snatch and Hang Clean, and other power-building lifts like the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press.
When starting a strength program, athletes should begin with light weight and master lifting form before adding weight.