What is the best way to improve your speed? How do I increase my power output during a sprint? What are the most effective exercises for increasing power output?
These are some of the questions that many coaches and athletes have asked themselves when they want to increase their performance.
There are several ways to perform these types of training. Some methods involve using weights while others rely on specific exercises or techniques. However, there is no single method that will work for everyone. There are however certain exercises that will produce better results than other exercises.
The following list contains the top ten exercises that you need to include in your program if you want to improve your sprinting speed:
Squats are one of the best exercise to train your legs because it allows you to use a wide range of muscles and also works all parts of the leg musculature simultaneously. It is also very useful for improving balance, flexibility, strength and power.
Deadlifts are another good exercise to train your legs because it uses a large number of muscles in addition to working the whole leg musculature. They are also useful for developing power and endurance.
3) Lunges (High Knees)
Lunges are excellent exercises to develop the quadriceps muscle group which helps with running speed and jumping ability. In order to perform this exercise effectively, you need to make sure that your knee does not go over your toe and keep your back straight.
4) Leg Press
The leg press is an excellent exercises for strengthening the legs without the stress on the lower back which is often present with the squat. In order to achieve maximum results, the toes should be slightly pointed out and the movement should come mainly from your hips and not from your knees.
5) Jump Rope
This is an excellent exercise to improve your coordination, agility and flexibility. It is especially useful for developing the fast twitch muscle fibres which are crucial for sprinting ability. It should be a priority to learn proper jumping rope technique as this will help reduce the stress on the joints and also increase your speed and endurance.
It should go without saying that sprints are one of the most important exercises for sprinters. The only problem with sprints is that they put a lot of stress on your body. As such, it is important to allow your body to recover in order to prevent injury. Sprint training should only be performed 2 or 3 times a week and at most 5 times a week.
Hurdle drills are excellent exercise to increase your stride length which is essential for increasing your top speed. Strength, power and coordination are also developed from this exercise.
8) Agility Training
This drill involves changing direction quickly and is an important exercise for improving your agility and balance. It is also an excellent exercise to develop the fast twitch muscle fibres in your legs which are crucial to sprinters
9) Hill Sprints
Sprinting up a hill is very similar to sprinting on the flat and as such it increases your aerobic capacity and leg strength which are essential for increasing your top speed.
This drill involves running a short distance of around 40 metres at near top speed. This drill is excellent for practicing your top speed and also helps to improve your starting sprint.
Advanced Speed Training
Now that you are an expert on the basics of speed training, it is time to look at some more advanced techniques for developing your speed. As with the basic techniques, there are particular exercises which should only be performed by people who are fully grown as they put an enormous amount of stress on the body. It is also important to remember that in order to achieve fast times, everything else in your life has to take a back seat. This includes school, work, friends and family. If you are seriously interested in becoming a professional sprinter, it will be virtually impossible to hold down a full time job and train for competitions at the same time.
If you are fortunate enough to have the financial resources to support yourself through school or already have a professional track and field scholarship, then by all means, you should give professional sprinting a try.
Plyometric exercises are excellent for developing your speed. They involve explosive jumping exercises where you push off the ground with as much force as you can. It is important that you start off this training slowly and increase the intensity as your body gets used to it. It is also important not to overdo it, otherwise you risk pulling a muscle or even tearing a muscle in your leg.
2) Triple Drop Training
This is an excellent drill for improving your starting speed. It involves starting from a standing position and dropping into a crouch and then into a plank position and then down to the ground and back into a crouch. From the crouch position, you then explode up into a standing position and immediately sprint at full pelt for around 40 metres. This process is repeated 8 times in total. This is a very difficult drill and should only be attempted by advanced athletes.
As with the other drills, warming up first is very important before attempting this training.
3) Speed Medley
As well as sprinting in a straight line, you also need to practice sprinting around cones which tests your ability to turn quickly. Start by placing 4 cones approximately five metres apart from each other and turn right or left at each one in a zigzag pattern. Time yourself and try to improve on this time.
The pros of this training are that it is less stressful on the joints of your legs and back. The cons are that it is less specific to the movements involved in sprinting which are more complex than just running in a straight line or round in a circle.
4) Running up stairs
Running upstairs is another good plyometric training exercise as it improves your speed off the mark and also your leg strength. Find somewhere with stairs and start off by jogging up them. As you get fitter, try to jog up the stairs and then quickly run back down and do it again. Try to do this as quickly as you can. After a few weeks, try running up the stairs, jumping off a step or two and then running back down again.
Many stadiums and sports arenas have sets of stairs for spectators to sit on so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to find somewhere to train.
The more you train, the fitter you get and the more you will be able to push yourself. Eventually, you won’t be content with just running up the stairs, you’ll want to start jumping off them too and adding more and more height each time until you can leap off several steps at a time. This is very similar to how professional athletes will train for the Olympics. You need to start somewhere and then work your way up to the elite level. Don’t be afraid to try these exercises, everyone starts somewhere and you may find it easier than you think.
Kristen and I get back to the car and I begin the drive home. Before we leave, she makes me pull over on the side of the road so she can vomit. Apparently, she isn’t feeling very well after all.
This girl is going to ruin everything if she carries on like this.
I thought she was supposed to be an athlete? She’s been training for the last four years for this event and she can’t even do one session without getting sick?
What am I saying?
This isn’t about sport, this is about survival. If she can’t do this then I’ll find someone else because this is too important to me.
That evening, I make sure to give her lots of fluids and keep her head down. She feels dreadful and actually says she’d rather not go to the track. After all the effort I’ve gone to, I’m not going to let her miss this opportunity. I put on my sneakers and tell her to get ready. She protests but I’m not in the mood to hear it.
“I don’t feel well,” she whimpers pathetically from bed.
“I don’t care. Put on your sneakers and let’s go.”
Why are you being so mean to me?”
she cries with despair.
If she’s trying to fool me then she’s doing a very good job at it because this is exactly the right approach if she wants to put herself through more training. I’m unmoved though and pull the car door open.
“I’m not being mean, I just want you to try. Now get in the car.”
She does as I say and wipes her eyes with some tissue. I drive the car out of the driveway and head towards the track. It’s a silent journey and I can’t stop thinking about the events that happened in the past.
I think back to my own high school days. They were probably the happiest of my life. I had good grades, good friends and a lot of hope for the future. Of course, I wasn’t as big as I am now but size doesn’t matter it seems because I had a big heart too.
I think back to my girlfriend Cindy and how we were so in love. Everything was perfect between us and we were together all the time. I’d usually drive her to and from school every day just to be with her for a little longer.
One fateful day however, everything changed. Cindy had been feeling sick for a few days and she thought it was a cold or the flu.