Exercises To Improve Speed

Spread the love

Are you looking to boost your speed and agility? Look no further! In this article, we will explore a series of exercises that are specifically designed to help you improve your speed. Whether you are an athlete aiming to enhance your performance on the field or simply someone who wants to move faster in their daily life, these exercises will provide you with the tools you need to reach your goals. So, lace up your shoes and get ready to take your speed to the next level!

Exercises To Improve Speed

1. Sprint Drills

Sprint drills are an essential component of any speed training program. These exercises focus on developing proper running technique and improving explosive power. Incorporating sprint drills into your training routine can help you increase your sprinting speed and efficiency. Here are some effective sprint drills you can incorporate into your workouts:

1.1 High Knees

High knees are a great drill for improving stride frequency and developing strong hip flexors. To perform high knees, start by standing upright with your feet hip-width apart. Begin jogging in place, lifting your knees as high as possible while keeping your core engaged. Aim to bring your knees up towards your chest level. Continue to alternate knees as quickly as possible, maintaining a brisk pace. Perform this drill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.

1.2 Butt Kicks

Butt kicks are an effective drill for improving stride length and strengthening the hamstring muscles. To perform butt kicks, start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Begin jogging in place, focusing on kicking your heels up towards your glutes with each stride. Aim to make contact between your heels and your glutes during each repetition. Continue to alternate legs quickly, maintaining a steady pace. Perform this drill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you become more proficient.

1.3 A-Skips

A-skips are a drill that targets coordination, hip flexor strength, and ankle stability. To perform A-skips, start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Begin jogging in place, exaggerating the knee lift while driving the foot down to the ground. As you lift your knee, extend your opposite arm in front of you, and swing it back as you drive your foot down. Aim to maintain an upright posture and a quick, bouncy rhythm throughout the drill. Perform this drill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you improve.

1.4 B-Skips

B-skips are similar to A-skips but involve a more pronounced skipping motion, targeting the glutes, hip flexors, and calf muscles. To perform B-skips, start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Begin jogging by skipping forward, driving your knee up while extending your opposite arm in front of you. As your knee reaches its highest point, extend your leg and push your foot down, emphasizing a strong push-off. Aim to maintain a smooth and fluid motion throughout the drill. Perform this drill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.

1.5 Carioca Drill

The carioca drill is a lateral movement exercise that enhances agility, coordination, and hip mobility. To perform the carioca drill, start in an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Begin by crossing your right leg over your left leg, stepping out to the side with your right foot. Then, step with your left foot behind and across your right leg. Next, step out to the side with your right foot again, and finally, bring your left foot back to its starting position. Repeat this lateral stepping pattern for a designated distance or time, alternating the leading foot. Focus on maintaining a quick and light footwork rhythm. Perform this drill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you develop your lateral agility.

2. Interval Training

Interval training is a highly effective method for improving speed, endurance, and overall cardiovascular fitness. By alternating between periods of high-intensity effort and active recovery, you can maximize your training stimulus and push your limits. Here are three popular forms of interval training for enhancing speed:

2.1 High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief periods of active recovery. It can be performed with various exercises such as sprints, cycling, or bodyweight exercises. The key is to push yourself to your maximum effort during the high-intensity intervals and then recover at a lower intensity. For example, you could sprint at full speed for 30 seconds and then walk or jog for 1 minute to recover. Repeat this pattern for a designated number of sets or time. HIIT not only improves speed but also increases aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

2.2 Fartlek Training

Fartlek training is a form of continuous training that combines steady-state running with interval bursts. Unlike traditional interval training, where intervals are predetermined, fartlek training involves varying the intensity and duration of your efforts based on feel or external cues. During a fartlek run, you might sprint between specific landmarks, jog for a certain distance, then pick up the pace again as desired. This type of training challenges your body’s ability to transition between different speed zones, simulating the unpredictability of race conditions and improving speed and endurance simultaneously.

2.3 Tempo Runs

Tempo runs are another effective form of interval training that aim to improve lactate threshold and running economy. During a tempo run, you maintain a challenging but sustainable pace for an extended duration. The intensity should be challenging but manageable, allowing you to sustain the effort for a longer period. A typical tempo run may involve running at a pace that feels comfortably hard (around 80-85% of your maximum effort) for 20-30 minutes. Tempo runs not only improve speed but also enhance your ability to maintain a steady pace during races or high-intensity workouts.

3. Plyometric Exercises

Plyometric exercises involve quick and explosive movements that enhance muscular power, coordination, and agility. Incorporating plyometrics into your training routine can significantly improve your speed and explosiveness. Here are some effective plyometric exercises to incorporate into your workouts:

3.1 Box Jumps

Box jumps are a popular plyometric exercise that targets the lower body muscles involved in generating explosive power. To perform box jumps, start by standing in front of a sturdy box or step with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees into a quarter squat position, then explosively jump onto the box by driving your arms forward and extending your hips, knees, and ankles simultaneously. Land softly on top of the box with your knees slightly bent, then step or jump back down to the starting position. Repeat for a designated number of repetitions or time. Box jumps are also effective for improving vertical leap and overall lower body strength.

3.2 Jump Squats

Jump squats are a dynamic variation of the traditional squat exercise, incorporating explosive jumps to enhance power and lower body strength. To perform jump squats, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself into a deep squat position, keeping your chest up and your weight on your heels. In an explosive motion, jump as high as possible, extending your hips, knees, and ankles. Land softly back into a squat position and immediately repeat the jump for a designated number of repetitions.

3.3 Broad Jumps

Broad jumps, also known as long jumps, are an excellent plyometric exercise for improving lower body explosive power and horizontal distance. To perform broad jumps, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees into a quarter squat position, then explode forward by driving your arms forward and extending your hips, knees, and ankles simultaneously. Propel your body forward as far as possible, landing softly on both feet. Take a moment to reset, then repeat for a designated number of jumps or distance. Broad jumps simulate the explosive power needed for sprinting and help improve stride length and running economy.

3.4 Power Skips

Power skips are a plyometric exercise that targets the leg muscles while improving explosive power and coordination. To perform power skips, start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee up towards your chest as high as possible while simultaneously hopping off your left foot. As you bring your right knee down, explosively drive your left knee up while hopping off your right foot. Continue to alternate knees and hops, maintaining an upward bounce with each skip. Perform power skips for a designated distance or time.

3.5 Single-Leg Bounds

Single-leg bounds are a plyometric exercise that focuses on single-leg explosiveness, balance, and stability. To perform single-leg bounds, start by standing on your right leg with your knee slightly bent and your arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Explosively push off with your right leg, propelling your body forward while driving your left knee up towards your chest. As your left leg reaches its highest point, extend it forward to land on your right foot, absorbing the impact by bending your knee. Repeat the exercise, switching the leading leg. Perform single-leg bounds for a designated distance or number of repetitions.

4. Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are a challenging yet incredibly effective way to improve sprinting speed, lower body strength, and running mechanics. The incline of the hill adds resistance, forcing your muscles to work harder and develop greater power output. Here are different types of hill sprints you can incorporate into your training routine:

4.1 Uphill Sprints

Uphill sprints involve sprinting up a hill, utilizing the incline to increase resistance and challenge your muscles. Find a hill with a moderate gradient that allows you to maintain good running form without compromising your safety. Start at the base of the hill, get into a sprinter’s stance, and explosively drive your arms and legs as you sprint uphill as fast as you can. Strive to maintain good form and posture throughout the sprint. Once you reach the top, jog or walk back down to the starting position and repeat for a designated number of sprints. Uphill sprints build lower body strength, enhance power, and improve running economy.

4.2 Downhill Sprints

Downhill sprints focus on developing agility, stride length, and eccentric muscle control. Find a moderate downhill slope that allows you to maintain control and provides a slight challenge. Start at the top of the hill, get into a sprinter’s stance, and accelerate down the hill while maintaining good running mechanics. Pay attention to maintaining a fast turnover rate and a relaxed upper body. Once you reach the bottom, jog or walk back up to the starting position and repeat for a designated number of sprints. Downhill sprints place a unique demand on your muscles, improving eccentric strength and enhancing your ability to control your movements at high speeds.

4.3 Stair Sprints

Stair sprints are an excellent way to target additional muscle groups, such as the glutes and calves, while improving speed and agility. Find a set of stairs or bleachers with a sufficient number of steps to provide a challenging workout. Start at the bottom of the stairs, get into a sprinter’s stance, and sprint up the stairs as fast as possible. Focus on driving your knees up and quickly pushing off with your toes to maximize power. Once you reach the top, walk or jog back down to the starting position and repeat for a designated number of sprints. Stair sprints help improve leg power, muscular endurance, and explosiveness.

Exercises To Improve Speed

5. Resistance Training

Incorporating resistance training into your speed training routine can greatly enhance your explosiveness, strength, and overall athletic performance. By targeting the major muscle groups involved in running, you can improve stride power, reduce the risk of injury, and increase your sprinting speed. Here are some essential resistance exercises for speed improvement:

5.1 Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and lower back. To perform deadlifts, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell in front of you. Bend your knees and hinge at your hips, keeping your back flat and your core engaged as you grip the barbell with an overhand grip. Push through your heels and lift the barbell while maintaining a neutral spine. Extend your hips and knees until you reach a standing position, and then lower the barbell back down with control. Deadlifts build overall lower body strength and power, which translates into faster sprinting speed.

5.2 Squats

Squats are a fundamental exercise for developing lower body strength and power. They target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. To perform squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your chest up and your knees in line with your toes. Lower your body by bending your knees and hips, as if you were sitting back into a chair. Keep your weight on your heels and your core engaged throughout the movement. Go as low as your flexibility allows while maintaining proper form, then push through your heels and extend your hips and knees to return to the starting position. Squats improve lower body strength, stability, and explosiveness, helping you generate more power during sprints.

5.3 Lunges

Lunges are a unilateral exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hip stabilizers. They help improve balance, coordination, and leg strength. To perform lunges, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Take a long step forward with your right foot, then bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground. Keep your chest up and your core engaged, ensuring your front knee stays in line with your ankle. Push through your front heel and extend your hips and knees to return to the starting position. Complete the desired number of repetitions, then switch legs and repeat. Lunges help correct muscle imbalances, strengthen the lower body, and enhance overall athleticism.

5.4 Leg Press

The leg press is a machine-based exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It allows you to lift heavier weights without placing excessive stress on your spine. To perform the leg press, sit on the leg press machine with your feet about hip-width apart on the platform. Position your knees at a 90-degree angle, then push the platform away from you by extending your knees and hips. Lower the platform back down with control and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Adjust the seat position to target different areas of your leg muscles. Leg presses build lower body strength and power, enhancing your ability to generate force during sprints.

6. Agility Drills

Agility drills focus on improving your ability to change direction quickly, react to unpredictable situations, and maintain overall body control. Enhancing your agility can greatly enhance your speed, as it allows you to navigate obstacles, opponents, or complex movement patterns effectively. Here are some agility drills to incorporate into your training:

6.1 Ladder Drills

Ladder drills are a popular tool for improving footwork, coordination, and agility. Using an agility ladder or simply drawing lines on the ground, you can perform a variety of exercises to challenge your speed and agility. Some common ladder drills include the forward run, lateral shuffle, high knees, and quick feet. Each drill focuses on different movement patterns and emphasizes rapid foot turnover. Practice a variety of ladder drills to improve your overall agility and quickness.

6.2 Cone Drills

Cone drills involve setting up a series of cones in different configurations to simulate specific movement patterns or sport-specific scenarios. They help develop quickness, acceleration, deceleration, and change of direction abilities. Cone drills can include the T-test, 5-10-5 drill, and the figure-eight drill. Each drill challenges your ability to react, change direction, and maintain balance. Incorporate cone drills into your training to improve your agility and simulate game-like scenarios.

6.3 Shuttle Runs

Shuttle runs are a classic agility drill that involves sprinting back and forth between two points. They improve acceleration, deceleration, reaction time, and change of direction abilities. To perform shuttle runs, set up two cones or markers a designated distance apart. Start at one cone, sprint to the second cone, touch the ground, and then sprint back to the starting cone. Repeat for a designated number of repetitions or time. Shuttle runs can be performed in various distances and configurations to mimic specific sport requirements or training goals.

7. Skipping Rope

Skipping rope is an excellent exercise for improving cardiovascular fitness, foot speed, coordination, and endurance. Incorporating skipping rope into your training routine can help enhance your speed and agility. Here are some skipping rope variations to try out:

7.1 Double Unders

Double unders involve rotating the skipping rope twice with each jump, challenging your coordination and explosiveness. Start by holding the skipping rope handles in each hand, ensuring the rope is the proper length for your height. Begin by performing single jumps, then increase the speed and height of your jumps to attempt double unders. Use a flick of your wrists to increase the rotation speed of the rope. Double unders can be challenging initially, so practice patience and consistency to improve your ability to perform this advanced skipping rope variation.

7.2 Boxer Skips

Boxer skips, also known as jogging skips, involve hopping from one foot to the other while maintaining a steady rhythm. Start by holding the skipping rope handles in each hand and begin hopping on one foot while slightly lifting the other foot off the ground. Make quick, small hops, alternating between each foot, as if you were jogging in place. As you become more comfortable, increase the speed of your hops while maintaining good form and posture.

7.3 Side-to-Side Jumps

Side-to-side jumps involve hopping from side to side over an imaginary line or a physical marker. Start by holding the skipping rope handles in each hand and stand with your feet together. Begin by hopping to the right side, then quickly hop back to the left side, mimicking a lateral jumping motion. Focus on maintaining a quick and light footwork rhythm, landing softly on the balls of your feet during each jump. Side-to-side jumps help improve lateral quickness and coordination, which are essential for speed and agility.

8. Treadmill Sprints

Treadmill sprints provide a convenient indoor option for enhancing speed and cardiovascular fitness. Whether you are training during inclement weather or looking for a controlled environment to monitor your progress, the treadmill can be an effective tool for speed improvement. Here are different ways to incorporate treadmill sprints into your training routine:

8.1 Intervals

Interval training on the treadmill involves alternating between periods of high-intensity sprinting and periods of walking or jogging for recovery. Start with a warm-up jog or walk on the treadmill for several minutes. Then, increase the speed to a challenging sprinting pace and run for a predetermined time or distance (e.g., 30 seconds or 200 meters). After the sprint, lower the speed to a comfortable walking or jogging pace for recovery. Repeat the interval pattern for a designated number of sets or time. Adjust the speed and incline of the treadmill to increase the challenge and simulate outdoor running conditions.

8.2 Incline Sprints

Running on an incline on the treadmill simulates uphill running, which challenges your muscles and cardiovascular system. Set the treadmill to a moderate incline (e.g., 5% or higher) and increase the speed to a challenging pace. Sprint on the incline for a predetermined time (e.g., 30 seconds) or distance. Adjust the speed and incline to match your fitness level and training goals. Incline sprints improve muscular strength, power, and endurance, translating into increased speed and running efficiency.

8.3 Hill Programs

Many treadmills offer pre-programmed hill workout options that simulate outdoor running conditions, including uphill and downhill segments. These programs automatically adjust the incline and speed of the treadmill to replicate the sensation of running on various terrains. Engaging in hill programs on the treadmill can help improve running strength, power, and speed. Follow the programmed instructions and challenge yourself to maintain proper running form and speed throughout the workout.

9. Sprinter Stance Exercises

Sprinter stance exercises specifically target explosive starts, reaction time, and quick footwork. Incorporating sprinter stance exercises into your training routine will improve your starting speed and enhance your overall sprinting performance. Here are some sprinter stance exercises to incorporate into your workouts:

9.1 Explosive Starts

Explosive starts involve practicing your sprinter’s stance and accelerating explosively from a stationary position. Start by getting into a sprinter’s stance with one foot slightly in front of the other and your hands on the ground. Explode off the ground, driving with your lead foot, and quickly transition into an all-out sprint for a designated distance. Focus on pushing through the balls of your feet while maintaining a forward body lean. Practice explosive starts from different starting positions, such as three-point stances or crouching starts, to develop overall explosiveness.

9.2 Reaction Drills

Reaction drills help improve sprinters’ reaction time, agility, and ability to quickly respond to external cues. There are various reaction drills you can incorporate into your training, such as the partner mirror drill or the command drill. In the partner mirror drill, stand facing a partner who performs random movements. Mimic your partner’s movements as quickly as you can, challenging yourself to react and change direction explosively. In the command drill, have a partner or coach give verbal commands (e.g., “go,” “left,” “right”), and respond with the appropriate movement (e.g., sprint, shuffle, change direction). Reaction drills enhance starting speed, mental focus, and body control.

9.3 Fast Feet

Fast feet exercises focus on improving foot speed, agility, and coordination. They involve performing rapid foot movements within a confined space or in response to external cues. Some examples of fast feet exercises include ladder drills, quick feet drills, and dot drills. These drills challenge your ability to maintain a quick foot turnover rate, make precise movements, and react efficiently. Practice a variety of fast feet exercises to improve your overall footwork and quickness, which are vital for explosive starts and maintaining speed during sprints.

10. Flexibility and Mobility Exercises

Flexibility and mobility are crucial for enhancing running efficiency, stride length, and injury prevention. Incorporating dynamic stretching exercises and mobility drills into your training routine can improve joint range of motion, muscle elasticity, and overall movement mechanics. Here are some exercises to enhance flexibility and mobility:

10.1 Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching involves performing controlled movements through a full range of motion to improve flexibility and prepare your muscles for physical activity. Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching helps activate and warm up the muscles while improving mobility. Some dynamic stretching exercises include walking lunges, leg swings, arm circles, and high knees. Perform dynamic stretches at the beginning of your workouts to increase blood flow, improve joint mobility, and prepare your body for the demands of speed training.

10.2 Foam Rolling

Foam rolling, or self-myofascial release, is a self-massage technique that targets tight muscles and fascia to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension. By applying pressure to specific areas of your body using a foam roller, you can release knots and adhesions in the muscles and improve tissue mobility. Focus on rolling out major muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Foam rolling before your workouts can increase muscle elasticity and range of motion, helping you move more efficiently and reduce the risk of injury.

10.3 Hip Mobility Exercises

Hip mobility exercises focus on improving the range of motion and stability of the hip joints, which are essential for optimal running mechanics and speed. Some effective hip mobility exercises include hip circles, leg swings, hip flexor stretches, and glute bridges. These exercises target the hip flexors, hip abductors, and gluteal muscles, reducing restrictions in the hips and improving stride length and force generation. Include hip mobility exercises as part of your warm-up routine to enhance your running performance and prevent potential imbalances or injuries.

By incorporating these comprehensive exercises into your speed training routine, you can enhance your sprinting speed, improve stride mechanics, and become a faster and more efficient runner. Remember to start slowly and gradually progress the intensity and duration of each exercise. Consistency, proper form, and adequate rest are key factors in achieving optimal results. So lace up your running shoes, stay committed, and unleash your full speed potential!