Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Use speed plyometric drills to learn to exert more force into the ground and run faster.

Speed plyometrics is jump training that enhances your sprinting speed. Try these drills to speed up your limb movement and increase the amount of force you exert when your feet hit the ground.


This important drill teaches you to exert force against the ground horizontally—something you don't normally learn to do in the weight room.

To perform Bounds you need a course.

  • Start about 5 yards behind the course and jog to the start line.
  • Once you hit the start line, drive your knee up until your thigh is at least parallel to the ground. As you do this, your foot should be flat.
  • Drive your foot down to the ground and push yourself forward. As you push forward, lift up your other knee.
  • Alternate, trying to take long strides.

Bounds are done for distance, usually 20-40 meters for three to five sets. Perform these after your warm-up on speed and agility days. Keep track of how many Bounds it takes you to cover a given distance. Over time, try to decrease the number of bounds it takes you to cover that distance.

Split Cycle Jumps

This drill teaches you to move your legs more quickly. Do it at the end of your speed/agility warm-ups or in conjunction with strength training.

  • Stand up nice and tall, pull your shoulders back and elevate your chest.
  • Place your hands behind your head so you can't use them.
  • Take a lunge step forward with your right leg. Your upper body should be tall, your right foot flat on the ground, your right knee and hip at about 90 degrees, and your left leg pretty straight with a slight bend at the knee.
  • From that position, jump straight up. As you do this, cycle your legs so when you land your left leg is in front.
  • Without pausing, jump up again and cycle your legs.
  • Make this a very explosive drill.

This drill is normally performed for 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps on each leg.

Learn how to increase stride power with Resisted Cycle Split Jumps.

Chest Passes

This drill helps you move your upper body more quickly, which is important for your arm swing during sprinting. You will need a medicine ball and a wall.

  • Stand up tall about 6 feet away from and facing a wall.
  • Hold the ball against your chest.
  • Rotate your arms so your hands are spread out against the chest-side of the ball with your thumbs down.
  • Explosively throw the ball against the wall. If you do this properly, the ball will rebound right back to you.
  • Catch the ball and, without pausing, throw it against the wall again. Keep this going as quickly as you can for five to 10 throws.

Perform this for three to five sets. This drill can be done as part of your speed/agility warm-up or in conjunction with upper-body strength training.

What follows is a sample week of speed workouts to show you how to supplement your training with these drills. Take a day off between these workouts.

RELATED: Plyometric Workouts for Speed and Acceleration

Day 1 (acceleration emphasis)

  • Warm-up (400-meter jog, 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises)
  • Straight Leg Marches, 3-5x20 meters
  • High Knee Walks, 3-5x20 meters
  • Sprints, Standing Starts, 3-5x20 meters
  • Sprints, Crouching Starts, 3-5x20 meters
  • Split Cycle Jumps, 3x10 on each leg
  • Shin Splint Prevention Drills, 5-10 minutes

Day 2 (maximum velocity emphasis)

  • Warm-up (400-meter jog, 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises)
  • Inchworms, 3-5x20 meters
  • High Knee Walks, 3-5x20 meters
  • Bounds, 3x20 meters
  • Stride Length Drills, 3x20 meters
  • Sprints, Standing Starts, 3x60 meters
  • Sprints, Crouching Starts, 3x60 meters
  • Shin Splint Prevention Drills, 5-10 minutes

Day 3 (conditioning emphasis)

  • Warm-up (400-meter jog, 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises)
  • Chest Passes, 3x10
  • Straight Leg Marches, 3x20 meters
  • Inchworms, 3x20 meters
  • High Knee Walks, 3x20 meters
  • A-Walks, 3x20 meters
  • Stride Length Drills, 3x40-60 meters
  • Sprints, Standing Starts, 3x150 meters
  • Shin Splint Prevention Drills, 5-10 minutes

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