Speed is KING
Here’s a look at our first segment broken into 4 key components to helping you guys get fast!
Part I: First Step Explosiveness
Often times when we talk about speed we're actually are referring to acceleration. Acceleration for most athletes is even more important than top end speed and an explosive first step is key to fast acceleration, something that just about every sport demands and all athletes are looking to improve.
Luckily for us who do not have a Connor McDavid or Cristiano Ronaldo first step, there are effective ways to get fast through hard work in the gym.
There’s a certain criteria in an exercise and its execution that we look for when aiming to improve our first step explosiveness.
Exercises that focus on:
1) Overcoming inertia from an “at rest” position
2) High force production
3) Relatively light loads
4) High velocity movements
Below are a few different exercises that are sure to improve your first step and acceleration that are also demonstrated in our video:
-Barbell Box Squat w/ Resistance Bands
-Speed Sled Push
Part II: Strength
Although strength and power maybe sounds two different things, when applying them to sports many strength coaches will talk about a strength-power continuum that shows how the two compliment each other, and are actually highly related.
In a sense, strength is necessary for power, and vice versa. Typically we will teach our athletes how to be strong first, with high intensity compound exercises done at slower speeds with low repetitions. From there we will try to turn the strength and ability to produce a high force into fast and explosive movements.
Exercises such as a “bench press” and “pull ups” (as shown in the video) are great for building upper body strength, which is vastly important because, as many strength coaches will say, we run on our legs with our arms.
“Bulgarian split” squats are also demonstrated in the video and are a pinnacle to building lower body strength and the fact that they are done unilaterally (single legged) is a bonus for speed!
To work true strength remember:
1) Keep the reps LOW (<6) and the
2) Weight HEAVY (>80% 1RM)
3) The movements to compound ones
4) Longer rest intervals (up to 5 mins)
as that protocol is more likely to help you get fast!
Part III: Power & Plyometrics
Once a good base of fundamentals and strength as been built from the ground up, we can advance onto some more advanced power and plyometrics movements. These movements do wonders for our nervous system which can yield faster and larger fast-twitch muscular contractions.
A plyometric movement is one that has minimal time between the eccentric and concentric phases of a movement, or more simply put, very little time between the downward movement in a jump squat, for example, to the extension, or "coming out" phase of the squat.
Our muscles have elastic-like properties that we use when moving around day to day, but if we train properly we can help them to actually store more energy that results in increased speed. Exercises such as:
-Jumping split squats
are great plyometrics exercises that utilize the elasticity in our soft tissue to result in a large production force in the right planes of movement.
Part IV: Reactive Agility
Strength, power and explosiveness are all great qualities that are sure to help you with your speed, but in most sports there is a high demand for quick thinking to a stimulus. For example, if we look at a running back’s job to find holes in the line and juke out linebackers there are tons of split section decisions to make that require movement to avoid being tackled.
Luckily reaction time is something that is highly trainable. By practicing exercises that require decision-making turned to movement to a obtain a goal we can decrease reaction time, this is what we call reactive agility training. This is something that all team sport athletes who appear fast playing their sport possess, as they can think and react quicker than their counterpart.
Although in our demo’s we use our agility lights, the same goal can be accomplished through any type of stimulus, whether it’s an audio recording or a friend that is flashing cones or yelling numbers.
A couple things to keep in mind when looking to improve your reactive agility:
Keep the exercise duration relatively short (<15 seconds)
Incorporate dynamic drills involving multiple changes of direction
For more info, check our “3-Day Speed” program written by Pat Busby, CSCS, Dir. Sports Conditioning at ProEdge. This will be your best tool to help improve your speed!
3 DAY SPEED PROGRAM
Day 1- Full Body Strength
1a Bulgarian Split Squat 5/leg x 4 sets
2a Bench Press 5 x 4 sets
2b Chin/Pull Up 5 x 4 sets
3a Romanian Deadlift 6 x 3-4 sets
4a Front Plank (weighted) 45 secs x 2-3 sets
4b Side Plank 30 secs x 2-3 sets
Day 2- Full Body Power
1a Hanging High Pull 5 x 4 sets
1b Depth Jump Over Hurdle 5 x 4 sets
2a Plyometric Push Up 5 x 4 sets
2b Jumping Split Squat 5/leg x4 sets
3a Cable Twists 6/side x 3 sets
3b Inverted Power Row 6 x 3 sets
3c Lateral Bounds 5/leg x 3 sets
Day 3- Speed, Agility, Quickness (SAQ)
1a Reactive Agility Drills 10-15 mins
2a Pro Agility Races 1/side x3
3a Resistance Acclerations 10 yards x5
3b Lateral Resistance Shuffle 10 yards x5
4a Speed Sled Push 15 yards x 5
*All workouts should should begin with a proper 5-10 minute dynamic warm up and finish with a cool down