Speed Training Drills That Provide That Extra Edge

Give yourself that extra edge with these top stationary and movement speed drills from STACK Expert Ramon Williams.

Arm Swings
Looking for a competitive advantage for the coming season? If so, speed training is exactly what you need to gain that extra edge against your opponents. An excellent component of any training routine, sprinting uses nearly every muscle in the body and requires a great deal of coordination.

Speed development is a skill that can be learned as well as a natural talent. Practicing the correct running technique is critical for a faster, more effective and efficient stride. Begin each drill slowly, gradually increasing speed as you get more comfortable with your form. Complete your speed workout by checking out STACK's Speed Drill library.

Stationary Speed Drills

For athletes with limited sprinting space, stationary drills are great for perfecting running technique. The following drills are also good just to warm up before a speed workout.

For speed development, maximum effort on every rep is extremely important. If you need more than 30 seconds to get the most out of your sprint, take a few more seconds. Use these speed training drills in your training sessions two to three times a week in preparation for next season. With each drill, start simple and increase speed and intensity as you get comfortable with your form.

Wall Drives

This drill helps reinforce the proper body angle, hip, ankle, and knee position during the first phase of sprinting. Repeat the movement for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

  • Stand about an arm and a half-length away from a wall. Lean forward on the balls of your feet with your arms straight and hands pressed firmly against the wall.
  • Bring your hips as far forward as you can without arching your back. At this point, your body should be at about a 45o angle (diagonal line) to the ground.
  • Bring your right knee forward while keeping both arms and your left leg straight. Bend the right knee until your calf touches the back of your thigh. Point your toes upwards.
  • Aggressively push your right leg backwards while bringing your left knee forward.

Arm Action

Proper use of the arms while sprinting can immediately improve running efficiency. Do 3-5 sets for 5-10 seconds. To add a challenge, hold 5-pound dumbbells while performing arm action (Like Tyson Gay's Swinging Hammer Curls). This will help strengthen the shoulder, chest, and back muscles involved in moving your arms while you run.

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your elbows so your arms are at a 90o angle. Keeping your hands open and thumbs out, bring your right arm forward. Your right hand should be high enough so that your thumb is directly across from your chin, but far enough away from your face that you can see it without looking down. Your left thumb is all the way back past your waist. Make sure to keep your wrists straight.
  • Maintain the 90o degree angle in your arms and rapidly swing them back and forward without moving your torso.

Movement Speed Drills

For movement drills, you need adequate space for sprinting and a partner. Performing these drills with the right technique will have a large impact on your speed development.

Partner Wall Drives

To maximize stride length and frequency, use the same body angle, ankle, knee, hip, and arm placement as you practiced with the stationary drills. Keep your legs, hips, and back straight while your partner holds you.

  • On partner's command, sprint towards partner and push him or her backwards for 10-15 yards.
  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Partner holds you by the shoulders while leaning out to about a 45o angle by stepping backwards slowly.

Resistance Sprints

When used correctly, resistance sprints are among the best speed workouts. Sleds, parachutes and rubber tubing are all great ways to practice resistance running. Sleds and parachutes are more convenient, because no partner is required. If a partner is available, rubber-tubing sprints are a great option.

A harness or belt is required to attach the resistance. When running against a sled, add about 10 percent of your body weight for best results. For the partner providing resistance with rubber tubing, the goal is to provide enough resistance to allow you to move forward with great form. Your body angle, ankle, knee, hip and arm placement should be exactly the same as they were during stationary drills.

Do resistance sprints for 10-20 yards, depending on your level of development. Varsity and collegiate athletes will go for about 20 yards, while younger, less experienced athletes will go for 10-15 yards. Do 4-6 reps with about 30 seconds rest between reps.

Check out three more tough resisted sprint drills.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SPEED DRILLS | WORKOUTS | RUNNING | SPRINT | DRILL | TUBING