Many athletes require speed to perform explosive sports specific movements. Increasing your speed can help give you the added benefit that will improve your athleticism. Runners, football players, bicyclists, boxers, basketball players, and even weekend warriors rely on quickness to perform the required movements of their sport.
For example, a football player needs to be able to utilize running speed to outrun a defender, just as a boxer needs to develop hand speed to effectively throw rapid combinations. Each specific body part requires different training principles.
- Legs – Strong leg muscles are crucial for explosive power and speed.
- Upper body Exercises that utilize the fast twitch fibers of your chest, shoulders and arms will help to develop upper body speed.
- Lungs Cardiovascular training is also an important factor in speed. One of the goals of your cardio training should be to increase VO2 Max. According to the College of Sports Medicine, the VO2 Max measures the amount of oxygen that a person utilizes during aerobic activity.Frequent cardiovascular activity increase VO2 Max, which will ultimately increase lung capacity.
Workouts to Increase Running Speed
Athletes need to have the ability to cover distance on foot quickly. To do this, a speed specific training routine needs to duplicate the range of motion movements utilized during running.
When you sprint, the fast twitch fibers of your muscles are recruited. Effective sprinting routines will vary the tempo of the run from slow to fast. For example, sprint for 40 yards and then jog for one minute. Repeat this circuit until you reach 20 to 30 minutes of running.
Sprint workouts can also be done on treadmills. While on a treadmill, sprint for 30 second intervals and then jog for one minute. Try to do at least 5 to 6 sets of sprints.
Because of the demands that sprinting puts on your joints and muscles, it’s best to take at least one day off between workouts. This will give your body a much-needed chance to recover. Also, remember to warm up for at least 5 to 10 minutes prior to starting your workout.
2. Shuttle Run
The shuttle run assists you with speed and cordination. During this exercise, you are forced to continually change directions and will have to accelerate quickly while performing the movements.
This routine involves sprinting for a preset distance, and then quickly turning back and sprinting to the starting point. During each run, the distance progressively increases. The goal of this drill is to increase foot speed and cardiovascular endurance.
3. Functional Running Exercises
There are several exercises that can be done with resistance bands. These movements are intended to resemble the range of motion that running produces on your muscles. The goal of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles that are used during running.
4. Foot Raises
Start this exercise by standing on a resistance band. With the ends secured to a stationary object, stand on the balls of your feet and then lower your heels until you feel a stretch in the back of your ankles.
From this position, rise up as high as possible on your toes. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions. This exercise will increase the explosive power of the push-off during your run.
The lunge duplicates the downward motion of sprinting. To do this exercise, stand with both feet shoulder width apart and step forward with one leg.
Slowly lower your upper body, while shifting your body weight backward and then return to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions with each leg.
6. Hip Extension
Attach one end of the resistance band to your ankle and the other to a stationary object. Start in a standing position and raise your leg parallel to the ground.
Straighten your leg and then pull it down toward the floor. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions of this exercise.
7. Weight Training to Improve Speed
A resistance training routine will also help to increase speed if done correctly. For example, if you have weak legs, you won’t be able to generate explosive power to propel yourself forward quickly.
Compound weight training movements such as squats, bench press and deadlifts will help to strengthen your entire body. An effective program can be done 2 to 3 days a week. To improve strength, try to increase the weight you lift during each workout.
Don’t forget to incorporate core strengthening exercises into your resistance training program. A strong core will help provide stability to the rest of your body and will also assist with explosive speed.
Plyometrics incorporate functional movements that are often sports specific and are designed to increase speed and power. These exercises require intense short burst of energy and involve jumping, leaping and other intense movements.
Research has shown that plyometric exercises promote speed and explosive power; however, due to the demand on your joints, they should be performed with caution.