Speed strength training is a component necessary in many sports, and can be helpful in every day life as well. Speed strength comes from the neuromuscular system's ability to create a large impulse in the shortest amount of time. The stronger you are, the more speed you will be able to generate. Technique, however, must also be trained in conjunction with strength. The following strength training exercises are designed to promote speed.
Sprinting will develop both speed and technique. The more you train for a specific speed activity, the better your body will get at performing the activity. Perform five sets of sprints, either on a track, through a grassy field, or even on a treadmill. Sprint between 50 to 100 feet, then slow down to a jog for another 50 feet. Repeat the cycle approximately five to 10 times. As you progress, you should be able to increase the distance of your sprints, while, keeping your jogs at the same length.
This is a variation of sprinting, which involves running up a hill. This adds a greater level of difficulty, as you must fight even more gravity to reach the finish line. This activity builds muscle strength, speed and power, in addition to cardiovascular fitness. Find a hill that takes about five to 15 seconds to run up. Sprint up the hill with maximum effort, then jog lightly back down. Repeat this drill 10 times, ensuring that your rest at the bottom of the hill takes no longer than five seconds.
This exercise involves leaping as high as you can, while hopping over an obstacle such as a cone or a soccer ball. This plyometric exercise will improve power and strength in the leg muscles, while promoting powerful muscular contractions. This will allow the muscle to reach maximum strength in the shortest time possible. Perform this activity by leaping over obstacles that are lined up for about 50 feet, with each obstacle approximately three feet apart. When leaping, make every effort to jump as high as possible, while driving your knees up. The more power you exert during this activity, the better.
Sideways One-Legged Leaps
This is another plymometrics exercise that is designed to promote powerful muscular contractions, thus enhancing the muscles required for speed. Sprinters regularly engage in plyometrics bounding exercises such as these to increase their speed. This activity is performed using only one leg while leaping sideways. As you are jumping, try to get the knee up as much as you can. Jump for 25 feet, then return to the starting position using the other leg.
Squatting is the most basic form of leg strengthening and muscle building exercises, but it works wonders. Although weight lifting should not be the only form of strength training involved in a routine, it is an element that should be incorporated a certain amount into a training regimen. The stronger your muscles are, the better able they will be to perform speed skills. It is important not to bulk up as much as a bodybuilder, although a certain amount of lean muscle mass goes a long way for speed.
Begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your spine straight, slowly lower your body towards the floor until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Hold for one count, then slowly raise your body back to starting position, making sure not to lock the knees as your legs straighten. Perform these by holding dumbbells in your hands, or by resting a barbell across the top of your back for maximum resistance.