Becoming Fast: Training for Speed
Whether you’re a competitive athlete or just inspired to be more fit and fast, you’re probably interested in learning how to push the limits of your speed. Fortunately, the human body can be engineered for greater speed through proper weight, power, and technique-building exercises.
Here’s a look at some of the key training elements that fitness experts believe can help you reach your true speed potential.
Weight training helps build the foundation for speed. The stronger you are, especially in the lower body—glutes, hamstrings, hips, and core—the more you’ll be able to generate force to propel yourself forward. A simple exercise like the bodyweight squat can help build functional strength in the muscles of the lower body, enabling them to activate faster during a run.
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Push hips back and bend knees, lowering your body as far as you can.
- Hold, then push back into the starting position.
- Do 3 sets of 20 reps, or as desired.
Once you’ve established fundamental strength, the next step is to utilize strength through explosive movements. Plyometric exercises involve quick, explosive movements that utilize fast-twitch muscles to help increase speed and power. The box jump is a simple, yet effective plyometric exercise that can help you become more explosive.
- Stand and face a sturdy box, aerobic step, or exercise bench.
- Spread your feet slightly apart, sink into a squat position, and jump onto the box.
- Step down 1 foot at a time and repeat.
- Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
Focusing on proper technique will ensure that the strength and power training come together seamlessly. A great way to learn proper speed mechanics is to practice wall drills. Wall drills, such as the slow single-leg march, allow you to focus on the full range of movements and help you maintain proper posture, developing muscle memory along the way.
Slow single-leg march
- Facing a wall, hold your arms out straight against the wall.
- Step back at a 45-degree angle from the wall.
- Slowly lift 1 leg into a knee-drive position, in which your knee is raised above the ground.
- Do 1 set of 8 reps, alternating legs.
Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
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