Increase Speed and Conditioning With Resistance Band Drills

Get better at the sports you play and the life you lead at STACK. Improve your training, nutrition and lifestyle with daily

Matt Hawkins

Matt Hawkins (left), USA Rugby Sevens player

Being able to move faster, more powerfully and for a longer period of time is a simple recipe for success in athletics. One of the best ways to increase your acceleration, anaerobic endurance (short bursts of strength or speed) and lower-body power is through resistance band speed exercises.

Resistance band speed exercises challenge your muscles to develop increased levels of power in natural, athletic movements. When the resistance bands are removed, you will be primed to move faster around the field. Also, resistance band exercises offer an additional challenge over their non-resisted counterparts, improving your conditioning so you can move at max speed even late in a game.

At EZIA Human Performance (Carlsbad, Calif.), we use resistance band speed exercises with our athletes, such as USA Rugby player Matt Hawkins, in their power phase, typically starting at around week 12 of a workout program. Perform these exercises one to two times per week. Be sure to rest one to two minutes between sets, due to the high physiological demands of the exercises. These are advanced drills and should only be performed by a highly-conditioned athlete who has experience in the weight room.

10-Yard Acceleration Sprint
This drill will increase your stride length—a critical factor in speed—by increasing the amount of ground you can cover with each stride.

  • Assume starting sprint position, leaning forward at 45-degree angle
  • Attach resistance band around waist
  • Partner stands behind you holding resistance band
  • Sprint forward for 10 yards; maintain forward lean
  • Partner jogs behind you, holding onto band to provide steady resistance
  • 10 yards should take 10 seconds to complete

Sets/Reps: 4x2

Resisted Lateral Shuffle
The Resisted Lateral Shuffle is a great drill to develop your movement from side-to-side, which is a critical factor in agility— essential if you want to juke a defender or keep an opponent from getting around you.

  • Start in low athletic stance with slight forward lean and flat back
  • Attach resistance band around waist
  • Partner stands to left holding resistance band
  • Keeping toes pointed forward, laterally shuffle right until band reaches max tension, do not click heels
  • Repeat same movement laterally to left; maintain control
  • Perform set in opposite direction

Sets/Reps: 2x3 each direction

Resisted Broad Jumps
This exercise is all about lower-body power. It will help you run faster, be more agile and jump higher. It's particularly beneficial for collision sports because it mimics tackling.

  • Stand in relaxed and ready position
  • Attach resistance band around waist
  • Partner stands behind you holding resistance band
  • Bending hips and knees, sit back into quarter-squat
  • Swing arms back
  • Quickly swing arms forward and simultaneously explode with legs to jump forward as far as possible
  • Land with stable base; absorb impact by allowing body to return to start position and immediately repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 4x10 yards

Resisted Endurance Sprint

  • Assume starting sprint position, leaning forward at 45-degree angle
  • Attach resistance band around waist
  • Partner stands behind you holding resistance band
  • Sprint forward until resistance band reaches max tension; hold position and maintain forward lean
  • Sprint in place for specified time

Sets/Duration: 4x20-30 seconds

Ryan Gallop, CSCS, is the coaching director and a performance coach at EZIA Human Performance in Carlsbad, Calif. He specializes in rugby, football and action sports training. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in health and exercise sciences. For more information, visit eziahp.com.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SPEED TRAINING | RESISTANCE BAND DRILLS | COACH | POWER | EXERCISE | SPORTS | SPRINT | STRIDE | DRILL | ENDURANCE | STANCE | WAIST | SWING | RUGBY