Two major components of raw speed are glute strength and full hip extension [driving a leg back behind the body]. For proof, refer to the above image of Tyson Gay, the man who smoked Usain Bolt in their last 100m showdown, demonstrating his proficiency with both components.
Tight hip flexors and inactive or weak glutes, which prevent long, explosive strides, are quite common among athletes. The two issues go hand in hand. Tight hip flexors prevent an athlete from properly firing his glutes. Even when glute exercises are performed on a regular basis, tight hips will prevent the glutes from activating and getting stronger.
Due to the interrelationship between the hip flexors and glutes, exercises that target both are critical for their development. Supersets that combine two such exercises are even better.
Perform Reverse Lunges to simultaneously challenge the flexibility of your hip flexors and improve your glute strength in a knee-dominant hip extension [a pushing motion to extend both your knee and hip]. Then immediately perform Dumbbell RDLs, taking advantage of your loose hips to strengthen your glutes through pure hip extension.
Rest for 60 seconds and repeat the superset three times.
Reverse Lunge (8 reps each leg)
Assume athletic stance with bar resting on shoulders
Take large step backward into lunge position, keeping weight on heel of front foot
Keeping front knee behind toes, lower until back knee almost touches ground
Drive forward into start position; perform rep on opposite leg
Continue in alternating fashion for specified reps
Dumbbell RDL (8 reps)
Assume athletic stance, holding dumbbells just above knees with palms facing body
Keeping core tight, back flat and feet flat on floor, bend at waist and lower dumbbells down front of leg as far as flexibility allows
Forcefully contract glutes to rise to start position
Repeat for specified reps
Still trying to ramp up your speed? Our STACK “Get Faster” page is full of drills, workouts, and advice to get you moving.
Photos: zimbio.com, danny vega