Low-Cost Speed Training Gear
November 26, 2012 | Wray Watkins
You don’t need fancy or expensive gadgets to get faster. In fact, many top speed coaches use surprisingly low-tech equipment to help their athletes shave seconds from their sprint times.
While you can make dramatic improvements just by learning proper technique (see Perfect Your Sprint Technique), the following three items can help you speed up without blowing your budget. Get the gear—then try the move that accompanies it.
The Gear: Medicine Balls (price: $10-$60)
The Move: Med Ball Squat Push-to-Sprint
This exercise addresses an athlete’s starting power and ability to accelerate. The medicine ball creates resistance at the start of the sprint, forcing you to produce as much power as possible to throw the ball and then explode into your run.
Check out STACK's Medicine Ball Exercise Library for more great med ball training options.
The Gear: Speed Ladder (price: $40-$80)
The Move: Speed Ladder Accelerations
This drill forces you to increase your stride frequency. The key is to continue using faster footwork during the 10-yard sprint outside the ladder.
Learn more speed ladder drills.
The Gear: Wooden Sticks (price: $0-$10)
The Move: Stick Arm Swings
This drill emphasizes arm movement during the sprint, cueing you to maintain a good, straight front-to-back path throughout the run. If your arms go out of alignment, you’ll feel through the sticks that something is off-track. Work at multiple speeds during the drill while keeping your motion straight throughout.
Bonus Move: 1st Step Stick Drill
Sit with legs straight out and place the stick at your lower calf. This ensures that you’ll cover the right distance with your first step. Stand up and get into sprint start position. Use a high knee drive as you push off the ground and step just beyond the stick with your first stride. A quick and powerful first step is the foundation for building sprinting speed.
Looking for more cheap workout gear? Check out these step-by-step instructions for building your own homemade workout equipment.