8 Keys to Speed Development

To have the speed you need to have a mobile hip for excellent front-side mechanics and a stable pelvis. You also need to have mobile ankles to have more energy transfer when grounding. A more mobile ankle also allows your ankle to be more rigid for greater energy transfer. You also need to have good hamstring mobility and hamstring strength for the isometric actions involved in sprinting. You also need to have mobile and active glutes to improve the drive phase for speed development. 


With all of this in mind, you can use the following exercises to help with your speed development.

1. PVC Pipe Walks

The feet play an important role in speed development and sprinting. Having strong plantar flexion in the drive phase is important to give stability in the joint for speed development. In maximal mechanics, at top speed, you end up grounding around 20 centimeters in front of your body. Again, stability in the joint is important because so much force goes into the ground to propel you down the track.


PVC pipe walks help wake up your feet and strengthen your Achilles tendon. 5 sets of 15 rollouts both forward and backward help with speed development.

2. Couch Stretch

When you first start doing a couch stretch it feels like your entire hip is going to blast out of your body. You want to think about getting your hip and trunk perfectly upright. Moving the knee forward or backward depends on your mobility. You can even reach up with the arm of the leg that is being stretched to take that speed development even further.


Do the couch stretch for 4 to 6 sets for 30 seconds to each side.

3. Downward Facing Dog

Doing the downward facing dog you can feel your ankles being more mobile, your hamstrings lengthening, and your glutes being stretched all while being as mobile as possible with your T-spine to help with speed development. 


You want to get up to that V with the butt up nice and high. Ideally, you want to peddle your heels to the ground with your head through your arms. Developing this level of mobility will help with your speed of development. It is important to be active through your hamstrings so they lengthen so you have greater speed when running.


Do 3 to 4 sets for around 30 seconds.

4. Plantar Flex Hold Into A Hip-Lock

Being rigid and stable in the Achilles helps you run faster. The plantar flex holding into a hip-lock is a hard movement. It can be done on a slant board, a plate, or a stair as long as the front heel is floating and unsupportive. 


In the split position with the unsupported front feel, you drive with the back leg into a hip-lock. The point is to hold the hip-lock and be stable to develop your speed. 


The movement allows you to feel what the ankle is doing when running. The movement helps with overall speed. Do it for 3 to 4 sets of 5 reps on each leg.

If you get good at this movement, you can hold plantar flexion. Do 5 sets for 5 reps on each leg when doing this movement to get your hip to rotate through its entire range of motion to create a more stable pelvis for greater speed development.


With a hurdle, rotate the leg back and up, come through, and then come back rotating down and out. It is almost as if the whole foot slides forward and through and then back and through. The goal is to not have the hip with the leg on the ground holding still. As the movement is done, you don’t want to place the foot on the ground as the hip rotates through.


You will feel the movement in your glute mead and it will help you improve your speed tremendously.

6. Banded Straight Leg Pull Over

The focus is for you to focus on a stable pelvic region performing this exercise. You are training your hamstrings along with your trunk with this exercise.


Laying down on the ground with the hands extended overhead with a PowerLastic band at full tension. Have your belly button push down through your lumbar spine into the ground while maintaining tension. You then raise your legs as high as you go. Your trunk will shake and you will feel the movement in your hamstrings. Make sure you hold tension through the PowerLastic band.


You can even do this movement unilaterally for 4 sets of 7 reps for each leg. You can do 4 to 5 sets of 7 reps bilaterally. This movement is great for speed development for coming out of the drive phase when running. 

7. Banded Leg Raise

You want to train quads, glutes, and hamstrings all together when working on speed development. It is important to activate your muscles before lengthening them. 


Standing on one leg, you can bring a PowerLastic band over your shoulder while your foot is being pulled up as you use your glutes to extend your hips. It will stretch your quads. The PowerLastic band allows you to bring a ton of tension. The movement can even be done on the ground.

You want to dorsiflex the ankle while doing the movement to get more tension. Go through this procedure 3 to 4 times for 5 passes on each leg to increase your speed.

8. Razor Curl

If you want to be fast, you need to do razor curls. It is a movement that can be done on a glute ham or with someone holding your ankles.

On the glute ham, you want to focus on keeping hip flexion at the start. The whole goal then is to go forward and pull back. Your body looks like a step that flattens out and then like an accordion comes back in by you curling through your hamstrings. The pull-in is rapid and lights up the hamstrings. 


Do 5 sets of 5 to 10 seconds of razor curls. Ease into the movement but pick up the intensity as you go.

Recap

Mobility is key to speed development and being fast. You need to put the work in every day to develop your speed for you to optimize your body’s potential. Do the exercise above and find yourself being faster, quicker, and enjoying the look behind when your speed leaves everyone in the dust. 

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