Something that is missing from a lot of people’s workouts is speed. This is a problem because if you train slowly you’ll be slow. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder to incorporate speed into your workouts.
A Need For Speed
Being able to produce force quickly is a key athletic skill. It's also important for the general population who want to be fit and active. Speed training strengthens the brain-muscle connection of high-threshold muscle fibers that regulate coordination and your ability to react quickly. It also taps into the powerful type 2 muscle fibers that have the greatest capacity for hypertrophy.
Incorporate Speed Into Your Workouts
The best way to incorporate speed into your workouts is to train to maximize concentric power output. Concentric power output correlates with sprint acceleration and peak sprint speed.
You can do this with an Intensification training cycle aimed at improving lower body strength, followed by a lower body power training cycle that maximizes concentric power output.
Exercises to include in the Intensification cycle include full barbell squats, step-ups, split squats, deadlifts, and hamstring curls. Squats are especially important. Research shows that squat strength correlates with 5-meter sprint speed.
For the power training cycle, incorporate speed with a combination of sled training and explosive exercises. Peak power output is maximized with loads between 40 and 50 percent of the 1RM for explosive exercises such as jump squats.
incorporate Sled Training
Weighted sled training is a great way to incorporate speed into your workouts. For example, when national team sprinters did a weighted sled program for 4 weeks they had greater increases in acceleration than following a traditional training program. Training with the sled increased ground contact time during free sprinting, which allowed the athletes to apply more force with each step. Stride length increased by 2.7 percent after sled training, and they improved maximal speed by 1.3 percent, which is a large amount in highly trained elite sprinters.
Researchers recommend weighted sled training be included once a week in a 4- or 5-day-a-week weight-training program. To increase running speed, do weighted sled runs of 15 to 25 meters. If you’re using heavier loads to improve acceleration, keep it to 10 yards and under.
Try pairing sled training with regular sprinting to take advantage of the fact that the lower body muscles are already activated. This will also reinforce correct running mechanics—just like if you are going to train heavy partial squats in the gym, you need to perform a set of full-range squats at a lighter weight so as not to compromise range of motion.
Build Speed With Sled Training
Here is a program to incorporate speed with sled training. As a general rule, use a load of 30 to 50 percent of body weight. Adjust the load depending on training background, goals, implements, and training surfaces
|Series||Exercise||Reps X Distance||Tempo||Rest|
|A.||Prowler Sled Sprints||8 X 10 Yards||X0X0||90-120 sec|
|B.||Prowler Sled Sprint||8 X 20 Yards||X0X0||90-12 sec|
|C.||Backward Sled Drag||4 X 20 Yards||1010||90-120 sec|
Whether you're training for sport or life, incorporating more speed into your workouts will set you up for success.