Speed training is one type of training that most don’t really pay attention to. Speed is directly linked to agility and these are two important parts in many common sports, and training to develop them can make a great difference to your performance.
It’s time we break the four most common myths that are slowing you down.
- The more muscle or body weight, the slower you get
In a study from 2005 in “The Journal of Experimental Biology”, a group of researchers took 45 of the fastest male and female sprinters from 1999‐2013, and assessed their physical composition. They examined 100-meter runners all the way up to 10,000-meter runners. Their conclusion after the trial ended was that bigger athletes were better suited for sprinting, while smaller and lighter body types were more conducive to long-distance running. Also, ground forces produced from the 100-meter group were up to 2.5 times their body weight, according to the study.
When you add more muscle mass, you increase your muscles’ strength potential, then strength and power gains become greater than the actual quantity of muscle gained.
- No need for strength to run faster
As we’ve said before, carrying more muscle mass is great for speed. Strength is no different than this.
FORCE = MASS + ACCELERATION – what this means is that the more strength you apply to the ground at a given body weights, the faster your acceleration will be.
- Sprint technique is #1 factor that helps you get faster
Power is a result of speed combined with strength. The more power an athlete can generate in relation to their mass (assuming, of course, correct sprinting technique), the faster he will go. Technique is absolutely important, but it takes a backseat to power. Which is the key factor in speed is power.
- You have to run frequently and at high volumes in order to increase your speed
There is a rule that if you want to get better at something, you have to practice hard. But keep in mind that sometimes too much can be bad, even when talking about a good thing.
Sprinting too often and training to get faster and faster can increase injury risk and also limit the window for recovery that the body needs in order to restore and improve its strength so it can operate at maximum capacity when you need it too.
Improving speed should be a goal for every athlete, regardless of the sports you play, because being faster than your opponent can make you a winner. With that in mind, we’d thought we’d share with you the 5 best exercises that will help you develop the speed you need to be a winner.
Regardless of your goal, the squat is an exercise you should be adding to your workout routine. Squatting can very well improve your speed, whatever variation you enjoy doing.
How to: Grab the bar with a grip that's comfortable for your shoulders, brace your abs and push your hips back to descend into the squat position. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground or slightly below parallel. Keep your knees in line with your toes, chest up and back flat as you push through your heels to get back to the starting position.
Working in the same way the squats do, deadlifts can increase the amount of force you can put into the ground, which can push you faster.
How to: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, grasp the barbell with the grip that feels most comfortable, outside your knees. Keep your chest up and back straight as you pull the bar off the floor, while fully extending your hips. Keep the bar close to your body throughout the lift.
This exercise is a great addition to our list. It’s a great way to build strength and speed for sprinting. Because of the forward body angle, it is also very valuable for a more powerful acceleration.
How to: Load a sled with a weight that challenges you and push it forward for 10 to 20 yards, keeping your elbows straight and your back flat.
This plyometric move can teach your muscles to contract explosively and that is an essential component for speed.
How to: Stand up straight with feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back, then quickly extend them, your knees and your ankles and jump forward for distance. Make sure you land softly in a squat position.
Rear foot elevated sprint squats
Many athletic movements take place on one leg, including sprinting, so a good idea would be to include in your training single-leg exercises.
How to: Hold 2 dumbbells at your sides in both hands and one foot elevated on a bench. Squat with your back straight and your chest tall. Push through the heel to extend your knee and go back to your starting position
Although these exercises are great for improving your speed, they should not be the only exercises that you do. Make sure you incorporate speed training exercises in your routine today to help you become a stronger, faster, overall better athlete. Also, stop believing the myths we discussed earlier and work on doing things right.