It doesn’t matter what you play, faster athletes are usually the best players on the field, court or ice. Yet, speed training might be one of the least understood areas of training for sports.
Almost every coach will be happy to offer their opinion on the subject, yet at the end of the day few know any tangible way to get you faster. Lots of folks will talk about the latest fads to get you running faster—don’t buy it; it’s not going to work. Just because something is a hot-button topic and everyone on social media is talking about it doesn’t mean it will work. It just means lots of people will try it and then move on to the next latest craze.
Here is a look at what will work. The answer is really quite simple and we at Ultimate Advantage Training Center have produced many very fast athletes. If you want to get faster, you must get stronger in the areas that produce the body’s horsepower—the posterior chain, specifically the hamstrings, glutes and and other muscles around the hips.
Before you get up in arms about the many other aspects of speed, I am talking directly to high school athletes, not advanced track athletes. Far too many times high school athletes lack the base of strength they need to sprint fast, but nevertheless use advanced training methods of track athletes to get faster.
Less horsepower equals less speed
Put simply, in most cases the reason you’re slow is because you are weak.
Yes, you must work on your running technique, but without adding horsepower to the body, you’ll experience little change. Think of it like a car: You can add fancy tires and a spoiler and such, but until you put more horsepower in the engine you won’t run much faster. We are no different: Less horsepower equals less speed. More horsepower equals more speed.
Weights will give you the horsepower, and drills like hurdles will teach you how to use your new horsepower (strength.) You must learn how to run correctly, but learning how to run correctly without more horsepower will again only add small increases to your performance. It’s very simple. If you want more speed, get more strength in your hams, glutes and hips.
So what should you do?
First thing you need is lots and lots of hamstring work. Perform some big boy movements like explosive Box Squats and RDLs, which are key developers of horsepower. You should also include a boatload of Band Hamstring Curls and Lying Hamstring Curls.
To specifically target your glutes try exercises like Glute Bridges, Hip Thrusters, Bulgarian Split Squats and Mule Kicks.
For general hip strength, Weighted Marches and Sled Drags are great tools. Drag your sled sideways to blow up your hips. We also like explosive jumps such as Frog Jumps and Broad Jumps.
You can use all your other drills, such as hurdles and marches, etc. Just remember strength first—not the other way around. You must learn how to run correctly but your first priority is getting stronger.