You've been working on the mechanics of speed for months, and your numbers in the weight room are growing ever greater.
Now, it's time to specialize your speed development a bit further and generate more power, coordination and speed. Different drills offer different results and alterations to speed improvement. Odds are, the following four drills are not currently a part of your routine. However, each of them helps develop a unique component of speed, making them quite valuable.
Step 1: Develop Better Stiffness (Variable Height Stiff-Leg Jumps)
With Variable Height Stiff-Leg Jumps, the goal is to teach athletes how to create quicker returns off the ground. This training of the brain and tissue to get stiff quickly will help athletes "bounce" from the floor faster.
This skill is one that high-level athletes naturally do so well. Creating greater force and using it to contribute to speed, rather than detract from it, is the first step of moving your sprint speed up a level. Better stiffness accomplishes this.
Step 2: Develop Coordination and Power (Split-Squat Jumps)
Along with increased stiffness, we need to be able to move our body off the ground higher and faster than before if we want to run faster. We also need to transition bilateral (two-limbed) power into unilateral power (single limb).
Split-Squat Jumps bring coordination and power together, allowing you to develop more power in a static position while learning to switch between sides. This is important for future drills, such as bounding, that increase force, speed and coordination while also moving through space.
Focus on height and limiting the time on the ground as best you can in the early stages and then progress after a few weeks.
Step 3: Build Single-Leg Power Through Space (Single-Leg Hurdle Hops to Sprint)
Once we have established ab increase in stiffness and power, we can add complexity by adding space, time and change to the equation in the form of single-leg hurdle hops into a sprint.
This exercise will enhance power and coordination while also deepening the body's ability to create stiffness. This stiffness is heightened on the very last hurdle as we transition from hopping to sprinting and carrying that speed and power into the first step.
Step 4: Overload the Tissue (Kneeling Single-Leg Box Jump with Pre-load Stomp)
Like all training, there is constantly an ebb and flow in improvements. Constantly focusing on one area creates overuse and injury risks. Too narrowly develop certain qualities, and you will never create the necessary adaptations to truly separate yourself from the competition.
In the video above, you will see the athlete working on creating a lot of power and force in a very short window. The preload to stomp accelerates the leg and begins to help the athlete learn the force required for faster speeds.
This exercise is advanced, and should only be done if an athlete can do the first three drills effectively and along with a strong strength program. But for those athletes adequately prepared for it, this drill can bring out a lot of power that transfers to speed in a big way.
We always have more things we can work on. To get faster, you must practice running fast. But by integrating these four drills into your speed program, you address some unique qualities that can further help accelerate your gains.
READ MORE FROM BILL ROM:
- Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training
- Best Plyometric Exercises for 5 Sports Skills
- How Much Strength Is Enough?