5 Pieces of Equipment Needed in Your Speed Training Toolbox

October 12, 2012 | Lee Ness

If getting faster is your goal, obviously your main mode of training needs to be speed workouts. (See the STACK Guide to Getting Faster.) But simply running sprints is not enough to enhance your performance. To really improve your times, whether you're a sprinter or a football player, start incorporating training equipment into your routine.

To be effective for sprinting, a piece of equipment doesn't need to be complex or expensive; it just needs to work. As in other forms of training, do not overuse the equipment. You wouldn't perform five straight days of dumbbell shoulder exercises, would you?

Here are five pieces of equipment you need to include in your speed workouts. (If you don't have access to any equipment, try this speed workout.)

Speed Ladder

Although it lies flat on the ground, the speed ladder is the best method to control foot placement and increase foot speed and foot turnover.

  • With a 10-meter run-in, sprint through the ladder placing one foot in each gap
  • With a 10-meter run-in, place both feet in each gap—right foot first, then left foot first
  • Repeat these two exercises performing Butt Kicks and High Knees

Want more drills? Check out STACK's Speed Ladder Exercise Library.

Parachute and/or Pull Sled

Both of these resistance devices attach with a harness and help resist forward linear motion—basically the faster the motion, the more resistance. Parachutes are relatively inexpensive; sleds tend to be a little pricey, but are best for acceleration training. I use both resistance devices for the first  few sets of exercises, then always finish with no resistance. Here are two examples:

Parachute

Sets/Reps: 3x3 20-meter flys with a 30-meter run-in, at maximum speed, with two minutes rest between reps and full recovery between sets

  • Perform first two reps of each set with the parachute
  • Perform final rep without the parachute, so you will feel the over-speed with no resistance

Sled

Sets/Reps: 3x3 30-meter accelerations, with two minutes rest between reps and 10 to 15 minutes between sets

  • First set: place heavy weight on the sled, as appropriate to your fitness level (roughly 30% of your body weight at 100% effort)
  • Second set: weight at 10 to 15% of your body weight
  • Third set: completely unresisted

High-Speed or Slow-Motion Camera (Coach's Eye)

Slow motion cameras are available for around $300, like this one from Casio on Amazon, which is similar to the one I use. It's perfect for high-speed work, because it enables slow motion playback of maximum speed sprinting to reveal necessary form corrections.

If that simply isn't in your current budget, the coach's eye app, available for most smart phones, is a good alternative. It allows video, playback in slow motion, annotation, voiceovers and sharing, all quickly and easily. The image quality is only as good as your smart phone's video camera, but thumbwheel control makes it extremely useful.

Pull Harness

The pull harness is a partner system, where you drive against resistance provided by a partner. More complex versions (e.g., Bullet Belts) allow the partner to release you to freely accelerate after a short time. This piece of equipment is used primarily in the warm-up or preparation phase of a speed session, as a lead-in to acceleration and maximum speed drills.

Weight Vest

Most weight vests have several pouches, so you can vary the number of weights you carry and evenly distribute the load around your upper torso. This allows proper sprint mechanics against the resistance. Overloading with the vest compels you increase the amount of force production during a foot strike. Just keep the weight low enough to prevent your sprint mechanics from breaking down. A typical training session using a weight vest should be similar to one using a parachute.

Must See
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,784
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 37,267,881
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 20,641,762

Featured Videos

Abby Wambach's Med Ball Core Workout Views: 187,099
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 12,178
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 220,234
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

Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,842
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,378
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,865,919
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,784
Johny Hendricks Workout Overview
Views: 822,554

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 New Game-Changing Fitness Inventions

Spend Less, Get Stronger

Best Baseball Equipment for Pitchers

Your High School Weight Room Is Inadequate

Push-Up Equipment That Works

Low-Cost Speed Training Gear

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips, Part 3

Basketball Workout: Vary Your Equipment

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips

6 Ways to a Better High School Weight Room

A Simple Home Gym Setup and Workout

Mayfield Wildcats Get a New Training Home

3 Pieces of Inexpensive, Effective Football Training Equipment

Improve Your Batting Average With a One-Handed Bat

VertiMax CEO Mike Wehrell on Life After Football

Battle-Tested Workout Equipment You Can Make Yourself

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips, Part 2

12 Must-Have Items in the Athlete's Gym Bag

17 Insanely Expensive College Athletic Training Facilities

Under Armour's Armour39 Helps Athletes Get Better

Previewing the New Fitbit Flex

Guide to Training on Different Surfaces

New Cirrus Yoga Mats Let You Show Team Spirit

You Need These 4 Fitness Training Accessories

Common Lifting Accessories and What They Do For You

8 Training Innovations Shaping the Future of Fitness

5 Fitness Trackers That Are Worth the Money

3 Specialty Barbells That Build Strength and Size

Pros and Cons of Using a Weightlifting Belt

Previewing the Armour39

A Better Foam Roller: the enso Roller by EvoFit, Reviewed

Fitbit Force: They Got it Right

The Best Workout You're Not Doing

Fitbit Surge vs. Charge HR: Which One Is Right for You?

Nike+ FuelBand Tracks Your Everyday Activity

A Field Guide to Weird Looking Weightlifting Bars

Show Your Team Pride With a Cirrus Stability Ball

The Most Overrated Equipment in the Gym

Training Tool: SKLZ Recoil 360

The Best Home Exercise Equipment For Under $200

Embrace Contact in Basketball With This Tool

One Piece of Home Exercise Equipment Every Athlete Needs

Weight Room Debate: Should You Wear Lifting Gloves?

Spark Motion Takes Baseball Training to the Next Level