Developing speed requires specific training. You may need to add or subtract exercises from your regular program to hit the mark. To help you figure out where you’re at, here are 10 areas where your speed training program may be lacking.
How many reps are you performing on your major lifts, such as the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press? Performing too many will only increase your muscles’ endurance capacity, not the capacity for speed. Performing between 2 and 5 reps with a very high intensity will increase the development of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are good for quick movements.
2. Long-Distance Running
Unless you’re a long-distance runner, distance running hinders speed and slows down the muscles’ contraction. Running short, quick bursts (along with some other drills) will increase your speed. If you want to add conditioning but don’t want to lose speed, try running a bunch of short-distance sprints of 200 to 400 meters. To recover, simply walk back to the start.
Understanding how to put your body in different angles and learning different body positioning will help you develop speed. But without sound fundamentals, you will not be efficient and you will fail to maximize your potential. Read this article to learn how to refine your running technique.
You need good range of motion in your joints to extend your legs farther and more quickly. Flexibility exercises in the lower limbs should activate the entire hip complex, including the smaller muscles like the hip flexor. Try these nine hip mobility exercises to get started.
Doing too much may be slowing down your progress, or even worse—causing you to regress. Developing speed is not about going 110 percent all the time. It’s more about teaching and allowing the body to register corrective movements. Overexerting yourself will only cause you to repeat your mistakes and could lead to injury. Overtraining is a serious syndrome that takes anywhere from weeks to months—even years, in some cases—to reverse. You do not want to go there.
Let’s face it, thousands of coaches say they can make you faster. But success could be short-lived. You will get faster within your first 4 to 12 weeks of training because of the new adaptations your body experiences, and probably because you never ran on your own. After that, you might level off because your coach doesn’t know how to train for the long term. Look for a speed coach with good references from athletes you respect.
7. Strength training
A vital part of getting faster is developing proper strength. Everyone lifts weights and does Squats, but what are the key essentials of strength in relation to speed? Over the past six years of coaching, I have found that the athletes with the greatest relative body strength succeed the most. Just by knowing how many chin-ups you can perform, I can tell if you are going to be a fast runner without even watching you run.
RELATED: Why Strength Work Should Always Come Before Speed Development
Jump training ia great way to get on and off the ground as quickly as possible. When you run, the object is to place your foot on the ground and take it off as quickly as you can and repeat the pattern. Plyos can help with this. Your muscles are like rubber bands when you use them the right way. They slightly stretch and contract rapidly. Training with plyometrics definitely engages the muscles in this fashion.
9. Back Strength
The muscles in your back pull your arms back. And the faster and harder you hammer those elbows back as you run, the faster you go. Try this back routine.
10. Stride Length and Frequency Balance
Stride length is the amount of ground you cover per stride; stride frequency is the number of times you hit the ground. More frequent and longer strides lead to more speed.
RELATED: Improve Your Stride Length With Hill Sprints