Get Faster on the Pitch With the Red Bulls' Sprint Progression

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Being able to explode with a powerful burst of speed can spell the difference between getting to a beautifully-placed pass and converting it to a shot on goal, or banging it out of play and trudging back upfield.

Going out for a run, even several times a week, will not cut it for developing such explosive speed. "If you train slow, you'll be slow," says Scott Piri, New York Red Bulls strength and conditioning coach and a performance specialist with Athletes' Performance. "If you just jog, you'll train your body to just go at one speed."

Piri knows the value of training specifically for game situations. He says, "Even at the highest level, a player is going to be doing more walking than anything, but he 'll sprint 150, 175 times a game"—about 75 times a game at the amateur level. But it's important to train for that output. "That's still 75 sprints," he says.

During the season, Piri puts the Red Bulls through a sprint progression once or twice a week. The players go from a series of movements without resistance, to a series of movements with resistance, to a final free running series that starts with resistance but ends with the players exploding forward.

New York Red Bulls Sprint Progression

Directions: Perform all sets and reps of each exercise before moving on to the next Stage.

Stage 1: March, Knee-Up Skip, Accelerated Skipping

March

  • Stand with back straight and arms at sides
  • Lift the knee and foot of one leg while lifting opposite arm
  • Drive foot down to the ground as you lift opposite foot and knee and other arm
  • Alternate and repeat moving forward

Sets/Reps: 2x10 yards each

Knee-Up Skip

  • Stand with back straight and arms at sides
  • Lift the knee and foot of one leg while lifting opposite arm
  • Bring knee up high, so thigh is parallel to the ground
  • Drive foot down to the ground, generating a double foot contact as your foot and knee begin to lift
  • Alternate and repeat moving forward

Sets/Reps: 2x10 yards each

Accelerated Skipping

  • Stand with back straight and arms at sides
  • Lift the knee and foot of one leg while lifting opposite arm
  • Drive your foot down hard into the ground, generating a forceful double foot contact as the foot and knee begin to lift
  • Explode through the movement
  • Alternate and repeat moving forward

Sets/Reps: 2x10 yards each
Coaching Points: Perform without resistance // Focus on maintaining good form and posture

Stage 2: March, Accelerated Skipping, Sprint

Directions: With resistance in the form of a weight belt or band, repeat March and Accelerated Skipping exercises from Stage 1, then complete the following Sprint exercise, also using resistance.

Sprint

  • On a field or court area, mark 10-20 yards
  • Sprint and touch mark
  • Plant foot, turn and sprint back to start
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 2x10-20 yards each

Stage 3: Accelerated Sprint

Directions: Finish off the progression with Accelerated Sprints.

 

  • Perform a Falling Start, or lie on your stomach and get up before sprinting
  • Use a Bullet Belt or band as resistance
  • Have a partner hold you back for the first few yards, then release the resistance
  • Explode forward for the rest of the distance

Sets/Reps: 4-6x10-20 yards

Photo:  zimbio.com


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SOCCER WORKOUTS | SPEED TRAINING | COACH | EXERCISE | TRAIN | SPRINT