The Best Drills to Build Complete Speed | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

The Best Drills to Build Complete Speed

February 12, 2013 | Colby Harris

Must See Speed Videos

Speed training is more complicated that simply running sprints. For your speed workouts to be effective, you must account for both acceleration and top-end speed, and how best to train them.

Acceleration

Acceleration is the most important element of speed in most sports, because short bursts of speed are much more frequent than top-end sprints.

To increase your acceleration speed, you need to improve your ability to put force into the ground. The more force you can apply into the ground with each stride, the faster you will go. To do this, you must perfect your form and minimize stride inefficiencies.

One phrase I stand by is, "Form dictates function." When you accelerate, you have to position your body in a way that you can create the most leverage through the ground to push off. So, you should have a 45-degree forward lean to ensure that you can drive your knees forward and powerfully push through the balls of your feet (your heels should not touch the ground).

Here are some of the best speed drills to work on the acceleration phase.

Wall Drive

  • Face a wall and extend your arms out in front of you
  • Lean onto the wall with your body at a 45-degree angle
  • Keep your hips forward
  • Keeping your feet flexed, drive one knee forward toward the wall; this is the position you want your body in when accelerating
  • Drive both legs fast as if you were trying to push the wall down

Mountain Climber Starts

  • Assume a push-up position
  • Drive your knees forward in an alternating fashion as fast as you can for five seconds
  • Keep your back flat and your shoulders in line with your hips
  • Explode into a 20-yard sprint
(Watch Mountain Climbers in action.)
Check out these other exercises to train acceleration:

Top Speed

When you reach your top speed, the action of your body changes from pushing to pulling. You want to pull back on the ground with the ball of your foot instead of driving forward, as if you were pulling the finish line toward you with each stride. During the top-speed phase, your body angle switches from a forward lean to approximately 10 degrees and you want to stay tall with your hips forward.

My favorite top speed drill is:

Straight-Leg Bounds

Bound with your legs straight and feet flexed. Go for 20 to 25 yards in as few bounds as possible.

Here are two other drills for top-end speed:

 

Topics: SPEED DRILLS
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

Michael Johnson's Guide to a Faster 40

How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

2-Week Long-Distance Track Workout Training Plan

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout