The 2 Best Drills to Improve Speed

May 3, 2012

Must See Speed Videos

Want to become the fastest player on the field? Build instant speed with two simple drills to improve speed: Hill Sprints and Prowler Sprints.

Many athletes trying to increase speed get caught up in performing set after set of Skips and Agility Ladder drills. Although they are great for warming up and improving agility and footwork, they won’t do much for increasing actual speed.

One of the fastest ways to build real speed is improving lower-body power. The more power you put into the ground, the more ground you will cover with each stride and the faster you’ll run. Lower-body power improves everything from acceleration to top-end speed.

Build lower-body power by performing Hill Sprints and Prowler Sprints at the beginning of your speed workout, once or twice per week.

Drills to Improve Speed

Hill Sprints

Hill Sprints are among my favorite drills to improve speed because all they require is a hill and a pair of cleats. Hill Sprints are great for strengthening the muscles involved in acceleration since they require you to constantly push yourself uphill, forcing you to produce an aggressive knee lift and powerful arm action. The incline of the hill also helps you reduce the risk of hamstring injury since it prevents top speeds.

  • Assume starting stance at bottom of hill
  • Sprint uphill for 20 to 30 yards
  • Slowly walk down hill to starting position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3x6 with one-minute rest between sprints and five-minute rest between sets

Challenge yourself with several Hill Sprint variations.

Prowler Sprints

While Prowler Sprints are famous for conditioning, they’re also among the best drills for increasing speed. Since the Prowler prevents you from producing an arm drive, this drill is all about building lower-body power. Prowler Sprints also allow you to change the target of the exercise by adjusting your hand position. Hold the high poles to focus on the hamstrings and glutes (top speed) or low handles to target the quads (acceleration).

  • Assume starting stance and place hands on Prowler poles
  • Sprint and push Prowler for 10 yards
  • Rest for specified time and change hand position to low handles
  • Sprint and push Prowler for 10 yards
  • Repeat pattern for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3-5x5 each position with 30-seconds rest between reps and five-minute rest between sets

You can also build the lower-body power you need for speed in the weight room. Check out two speed workouts you can perform in the gym.

Jason Spray
- A strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level since 2002, Jason Spray is a head strength coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he...
Jason Spray
- A strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level since 2002, Jason Spray is a head strength coach at Middle Tennessee State University, where he...

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 179,065
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 75,992
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,674
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

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,252,646
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,192
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,172
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,872
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,117,437

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

Speed is king. The more speed an athlete has, the wider their athletic window becomes. This can come in many forms such as linear speed, lateral speed,...

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

Le'Veon Bell Tweets Some Impressive Off-Season Workouts

Le'Veon Bell Tweets Some Impressive Off-Season Workouts

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

NBA All-Star Paul Millsap's Quick Feet Drill

NBA All-Star Paul Millsap's Quick Feet Drill

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

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

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

What Is Fast in Soccer?

What Is Fast in Soccer?

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

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

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

Get Faster With These Hamstring Exercises

Get Faster With These Hamstring Exercises

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

Increase Your Ankle Mobility to Sprint Faster

Increase Your Ankle Mobility to Sprint Faster

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

YardBarker