I love training for speed. Nothing feels better than the knowledge that you can out-run other people.
It is just comforting to know that if there is going to be a zombie attack, I won’t be the first to go.
Besides that, I think that speed-training is one of the most efficient ways to shape up your body.
So let’s start doing some speed training. This type of training is all about power. It comes down to how much force you can you push into the ground to propel yourself forward. Think of it as throwing a ball into the ground, the harder you throw that ball into the ground, the higher it will bounce.
Action = Reaction. The more energy you put into something, the more you can get out.
The way it works with speed training is that by contracting more muscle fibers at the same time, you can push harder into the ground. That’s why bigger muscle have an advantage over smaller muscles when it comes to creating speed.
You can clearly see this difference when you look at the build between a sprinter and a marathon runner.
I like to see it as functional bodybuilding. Meaning that you develop muscle to create faster movements. This is what differentiates speed training from regular bodybuilding. Both build muscle but with speed training you have to train the muscle to contract fast as well.
Therefore, If you want to increase your speed, you will need to do explosive movements in your training also known as plyometric exercises. Think of burpees, jump squats and those type of activates. Remember, the key is to contract as many muscle fibers in a single moment.
Exercises like star jumps, skipping, mountain climbers are plyometric exercises as well but they don’t concentrate on maximum contractions of the muscle. So they are not going to help you increase your speed.
Barbell squats, leg presses and similar exercises will help you put on muscle but unless you train those fibers to contract at the same time, it is not going to make you faster.
If you are just starting out, I suggest you do a couple of sprints in your warm up at about 80% of your max. Combine this with some speed-ladder exercises and you are off to a flying start.
When you get to your strength exercises do some leg presses or barbell squats to push blood into the legs. This way you prepare your muscles for explosive movements.
The next step is important. If you want to maintain or improve your speed when going to the gym, you have to finish your set with some jump squats (or a similar exercise) to teach the nervous system to fire up as much of the muscles fibers as possible. Try to jump as high as you can at a very slow pace to stimulate recovery between jumps.
This is great when you just starting out but after you done this for a while, you want to step it up. That’s cool. I understand; you want to take it to the next level.
Well, my friend. I am glad you asked that because that’s what I love doing. Here are my 4 absolute favorite exercises to improve your speed. Watch the video and read the tips below if you to want to bring you speed-training to the next level.
1. Kettlebell snatch with lunge.
You start this exercise with 2 feet next to each other, lowering the kettlebell like a deadlift. Remember to stick your butt back as far as you can and to squeeze your shoulder blades together for a straight and strong back.
Explosively straighten up, lifting the kettlebell above your head. Use this momentum to jump into a lunge position. Step back into your starting position and repeat
2. Explosive single leg lunges.
This exercise is performed like a single leg lunge with the difference that you are going to jump up and backwards to transfer your bodyweight onto the back leg that is on the bench. One you weight is shifted back you can use the bench to jump up even higher. Think of stepping over a very high hurdle.
3. Elevated burpees.
Burpees are one of the most effective exercise to create explosive strength and if you want to increase the exercise to the next level, try jumping onto a bench or step to really concentrate on the jumping movement. One very important thing to pay attention to when doing burpees is that you are not bouncing with the hips when you land in push up position. Tighten up your abs like you are doing a plank to prevent back injuries.
4. Plyometric Curtsy lunges with the TRX
This exercise will fire up the glutes as if it is a lonely night in prison. By placing your back knee behind your front foot, you are going to place more emphasis on the butt muscles. Although this seems like the easier exercise out of the lot, I found it hard to balance when I started doing this exercise. That is why I use the trx to prevent me from falling over. Try to drive with your knee and make each jump as high as you can.