You train hard primarily so that all your effort in the gym can be transferred to the field. For field sports, speed remains the most coveted of athletic traits. Yet speed exercises are left out of many weight room routines. Reaching top speed takes power, strength and stability, all attributes built in the weight room, not out on the track. For this reason, athletes should use resistance training to reach their full speed potential.
To make sure your strength gains are transferrable to the sprinting stride, most of your lower-body strength work should be done in unilateral fashion. Here are some sample exercises to include in your speed training program.
Sets/Reps: 3x8-10 each side
This exercise builds unilateral strength in all of major muscle groups engaged in sprinting. Perform it in a slow and controlled motion while maintaining proper balance and stability.
Single Arm Dumbbell Split Jerk
Sets/Reps: 5x3 each side
A variation of a traditional Olympic style lift, this exercise requires power production—a key to increasing stride length and speed, because you must generate maximum force into the ground when sprinting. It also addresses balance and core strength to minimize power leaks and retain proper form and technique.
Prone Stability Ball Knee Lifts
Sets/Reps: 3x10 each side
This movement forces you to contract your core, stabilizing your body while mimicking a stride pattern.