Improving speed should be a goal for every athlete. No matter what sport you play, being faster than your opponent can be the difference between winning and losing.
Below is five exercises to improve your speed, but you need to be sure to have a total-body strength and conditioning program in place, as well as proper nutrition and recovery protocols, to maximise your results.
- Squats – The squat is a great way to build strength in the lower body and power that will contribute to speed on the field. Using a barbell, front squats are a great way to begin if you’ve been cleared to load up your body. Not only does a good squat format require mobility of the ankles, calves and hips but it also requires extension strength of the back to keep the alignment of the spine in neutral.
- Deadlift – The Deadlift is a clear choice for this list because it increases the amount of force you can put into the ground. You can use both a trap bar or a barbell for this move. It is important that you have correct form, enough core to support the flexion of the spine and don’t load your deadlift too heavy to soon. Alternatives to the barbell could be dumbbells, or kettlebells.
- Broad Jump – No list of the best exercises for improving speed would be complete without some plyometrics. This move teaches your muscles to contract explosively, an essential part of developing speed. Starting with two feet hips width apart, jump in one leap as far forward as you can landing in the position that you started
- Single Leg Hurdle Jumps – Single-Leg Hurdle Jumps train quick single-leg movements and deceleration, important for multi-directional speed and quickness. Set up hurdles that are short off the ground, land as softly as you can on the landing leg and continue to repeat for 6-10 hurdles
- Single Leg Deadlift – The Single-Leg deadlift is another great movement, it focuses on the “go” muscles – your hamstrings and glutes, which need to generate power to drive into a sprint
This article is not to inform you how to do the exercises but to help you think about generating specific strength that will correlate to a field sport where you need speed. Making sure you have the right trainer and form is critical to gain the benefits of this strength that will directly go across to the field. Having a functional Movement screen and assessing you mobility and control of the range you have is a great way to see if you need specific training prior to doing heavy, complex lifts in the gym
At Rack Life, we are trained in the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and are able to help develop strength and conditioning programs that will allow you to be strong on and off the field. We also offer Infrared heated yoga, which is a great recovery tool for sports and athletes looking to add some alternative sessions into their training plan.
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Ammie Komel is a Chek Specialist (HCL), Strength and conditioning Coach (L1), Personal Trainer and Yoga instructor with over 10 years experience working with individuals.