By Travelle Gaines
Most people believe speed is something you’re born with. But in reality, that’s not true – speed is a science and can be developed.
Speed is defined as a limb’s quickness of movement generated by the athlete’s ability to apply force and utilize it with great frequency (or in simpler terms: Force X Frequency = Speed.)
You can actually train your body to deliver more force to the ground and, once that happens, become faster and more explosive. Speed is an integral part of almost every sport and can be utilized in a variety of different ways.
To maximize your stride length and frequency, you need to work on your stability, mobility, strength and technique. Working on your hamstring flexibility and hip mobility is crucial for stride frequency improvement, while workouts such as Olympic Lifts and Plyometrics elevate your stride lengths by developing your muscular strength and power.
However, developing speed is a rather complex process, and mastering the technique behind your movements may be the most important part. The brain and the nervous system need to learn the motor skills to control these fast motions efficiently. Practicing the basic fundamentals of running form will not only improve your skills, but it will also improve your brain’s ability to adapt to these quick movements. You have to be able to perform these complex motions at slow speeds with 100% accuracy before you can transition to high speeds. Working on your technique on a consistent basis will ensure that your movement patterns and nervous system stay in sync.
So, to recap — here are your general principles for speed development:
- Work on your mobility to upgrade your range of motion in your hips. This will drastically effect your speed and assist in preventing injuries.
- Improve your flexibility through stretching to improve your turnover ability.
- Perform plyometrics movements such as jumping, hopping and bounding to develop explosive power.
- Make sure the skills you develop relate to movements you will make in your sport!
For more performance and workout tips from world-class trainer, Travelle Gaines, check out athleticgaines.com.