No matter what sport you play or how hard you train, you can never be too fast. And, when it comes to adding speed, there’s no better time to separate yourself from the pack, literally, than the summer. Putting in the extra work on agility drills and speed workouts now will give you that added burst you need to dominate your upcoming fall sport season. So, let’s get right to it — here are some handy speed training tips that are sure to help you leave your peers in the dust:
1. Perfect Your Technique
Let’s make something clear … before you start doing cool workouts you need to master your technique. Having the proper running form is the essential first step in any speed training regimen. When starting a new drill, take it at a slower pace, focusing closely on proper technique, before taking it up a notch.
2. Add In Some Resistance Training
Incorporating additional resistance, like parachutes, into your speed workouts is the perfect way to gain some speed. Your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves will all put in some extra work and your top speed will start to rise.
3. Run For The Hills
Uphill repeats are a great way to improve in a variety of areas. As you push upward, you’ll work all sorts of muscles — from your lower legs to your hip flexors to your back, and the added incline also forces you to use the correct running form.
4. Make Some Time For Plyometrics
Plyometric exercises are all about exerting a maximum amount of force in a short burst of time. Standing long jumps, box jumps, and forward bounds are some of the best ways to upgrade your explosiveness and burst.
5. Fuel Up The Right Way
Proper nutrition and hydration are just as important as any of the steps listed above. Before a speed workout, make sure you have a carbohydrate-rich snack. During the workout, don’t forgot to stay hydrated. And afterwards, rehydrate your body while also consuming a healthy snack within the first 30 minutes. These steps are essential if you want to get the most out of every workout.
6. Don’t Forget To Recover
When you really push yourself, be sure to give yourself an easier workout the next day. When you feel exhausted post-workout, consider getting a good night of sleep. When your body is feeling strained or sore, think about getting a massage or trying yoga. You need to give your body time to build back up and get stronger.
Speed training is a whole lot more than just getting faster. There are a ton of benefits that come from pushing your body in specific workouts for speed. It’s a great way to gain muscle mass, strengthen your bones and connective tissue, improve balance and flexibility, and even reduce your risk for injury. When done properly, speed training will take your game to the next level.
Below are three quick movements you can add to your daily workouts to increase your leg strength, explosiveness, and speed.
1. Sprinting in place
This workout will help you with form and sprinting technique, plus it’s great cardio.
Find a sturdy surface with enough space to run in place. Stand with your back straight, feet shoulder width apart, and your arms relaxed at your sides. Begin by bringing one of your knees up to waist height and then bringing it down to ground, aiming to land on the ball of your foot. As one foot comes down, lift the other knee. Do this as fast as possible for 30 seconds while you swing your arms as if you’re running straight forward.
2. Resistance Training
Adding resistance to workouts causes your muscles to work harder on movements that you’re already used to making, increasing leg strength and speed.
One resistance band workout that helps with speed is the lateral band walk. Place a resistance band around both ankles and stand with your feet hip distance apart with a slight bend in your knees. Keeping the band tight, step your left foot to the side so your feet are shoulder width apart. Then step your right foot to the left, returning your feet to hip distance apart. Take five to eight steps to the left. Take five to eight steps to the right. Repeat three times.
3. Hip Flexor Stretch
Staying flexible is one of the most important things to do when training to improve your speed. Regularly stretching your hip flexors will improve your range of motion, which is important for getting faster.
Kneel on your left knee while you place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you so that both knees are at 90-degree angles. While keeping your upper body straight and chest lifted, shift your hips forward to feel a stretch. Switch legs to stretch the other side. Repeat three times and hold each stretch for one minute.
Freshman year of college is a make or break year for most students and athletes alike. Getting good grades, making the team, finding the right friends, and making a good first impression — these are the pressures former University of Alabama safety Eddie Jackson had to face.
Luckily for Jackson, he had a number of great mentors on campus to make sure he was headed in the right direction.
Learning From A Legend
Landon Collins and HaHa Clinton-Dix, both upperclassmen safeties during Jackson’s freshman season, were a big reason he was able to make such a smooth transition to the college level. Jackson credits Clinton-Dix for taking him under his wing as soon as he stepped foot on campus.
“He (Clinton-Dix) really took me under his wing and sat me down right away,” Jackson said. “He told me about things like, when Coach Saban yells at you, to listen to what he’s saying and not how he’s saying it.”
On the other side of things, instead of taking Jackson under his wing like Clinton-Dix, Collins led by example with his great work ethic, which Jackson said always pushed him to work harder in practice.
Learning from a legendary coach like Nick Saban, and the two pro-bowl safeties ahead of him in Clinton-Dix and Collins, motivated Jackson to become a leader himself.
The hard work began to pay off when Jackson was named one of the Crimson Tide’s captains this past season. Not only did he work to prepare himself for a great senior season and NFL career ahead, but he also led by example for the underclassmen, just like Collins had done for him.