best exercises to increase speed

The Best Exercises To Increase Speed

The Best Exercises to Increase Speed

Based on my experience as a track & field sprinter and speed coach, there are a number of training methods and exercises you can use to sprint faster.

For athletes who are focused on increasing speed, this article will show you the types of training and exercises you need to be doing in order to reach peak performance.

This article will give you everything you need to know so you can start working on running faster. Here are the topics we will cover:

  1. Sprinting Workouts To Get Faster
  2. Strength Training Exercises For Speed
  3. Explosive Power Exercises For Sprinting
  4. Running Workouts To Build Endurance
  5. Sprint Drills To Reinforce Technique
  6. Plyometric Workouts For Speed
  7. Running Tips To Help You Sprint Fast

      Different Types of Exercises to Improve Running Speed

      To run faster, you need to do the following:

      • Improve your skills at running and sprinting.
      • Develop acceleration and top speed with sprinting workouts.
      • Increase strength and relatively heavy loads.
      • Increase power with explosive movements.
      • Improve conditioning and fitness level.

        While this may seem like a challenging endeavor, you can use this article as a guide to help you along in the process of developing explosive speed and impressive athleticism.

        Sprinting Workouts To Improve Speed

        If running faster is your main goal, then the most important exercise you can do is to sprint.

        Sprinting is a skill, and skills can only be developed by practicing them regularly. This means that you need to perform sprint training sessions on a regular basis, at appropriate distances, and at high intensities.

        It is important that when performing sprinting workouts, that you emphasize good form. focusing on having appropriate posture and

        Acceleration Workouts To Run Faster

        Acceleration training teaches you how to build up speed, and doing this often will help you run faster. Since every fast sprint requires building speed up to maximal velocity, you must develop the ability to accelerate rapidly and efficiently if you want to run faster.

        Acceleration training typically consists of the following:

        • Fast sprints performed over short distances, up to 30 or 40 meters.
        • 6 to 12 sprints per workout.
        • Maximal intensity sprinting at an all out pace.
        • Recovery time of 1 to 2 minutes for every 10 meters sprinted.

          Running workouts for acceleration can be performed once or twice per week, starting with shorter distances and increasing the sprint distance over time. You may start out with 10 meter sprints, but over time progress up to 30 meter sprints. As you increase the distance of your acceleration sprints, you will learn to essentially switch gears and increase your sprinting velocity until you reach your max speed.

          Acceleration training can be performed with your own body weight, or with resisted sprints such as sprinting with a sprint sled or sprinting up a steep hill. These loaded forms of sprinting will improve your explosive strength and help you get faster at accelerating.

          Best Running Workouts For Acceleration

          Here are a few examples of acceleration workouts:

          • 2x10, 2x20m, 2x30m with 2-3 minutes of rest.
          • 6x20m sled sprints at a moderate load.
          • Sled Contrasts: 1x10m sled, 1x10m sprint, 1x20m sled, 2x20m sprint, 1x20m sprint, 1-2x30m sprint.

            Speed Workouts To Increase Speed

            Speed training is the most specific form of training for enhancing your running speed. Also know as maximal velocity training, speed work is the most effective exercise when it comes to getting faster.

            Speed training is usually composed of the following:

            • All out sprints performed over medium distances, typically between 30 and 60 meters.
            • 4 to 6 sprints per workout.
            • Sprints are performed as fast as you can sprint with good form.
            • Recovery time of 1.5 to 2 minutes for every 10 meters sprinted.

              You can incorporate speed training once or twice per week at most, as they are very intense and require that you are well recovered before doing the workout. As with acceleration, speed work can start at shorter distances, getting longer as your sprinting skills improve.

              It is important that when you do running workouts like speed training, that you emphasize quality rather than trying to make yourself tired. Sprinting is very demanding on your neuromuscular system, and we can only run fast if we expose our bodies to the specific stress of running as fast as we can.

              If you are doing a speed workout and you start to slow down, it is wise to stop the workout or move on to other exercises to sprint faster. When training for speed, we want the main signal being sent to the body to be related to getting faster, and as such we should never go to the point of exhaustion when training for maximal velocity.

              Best Running Workouts For Speed

              Here are some examples of the best running workouts for speed:

              • Flying sprints performed with a 20m to 30m acceleration, into a zone of maximal velocity of 10m to 30m.
              • 3x40m, 2x50m from starting blocks.
              • 4x60m from a skip-in start, running with the wind at your back.

                Strength Training Exercises

                When we sprint, we must overcome the forces of gravity and air resistance. Research has shown that faster sprinters can apply more force to the ground in shorter periods of time compared to slower people.

                best exercises to increase speed

                Additionally, getting stronger is a great way to prevent injuries, get better balance, and to feel better in your starting position.

                The best strength exercises for speed should achieve the following:

                • Activate large amounts of muscle fibers throughout the body.
                • Activate high threshold motor units.
                • Train the lower body and upper body.
                • Use a range of motion that targets the right muscles.

                  To get stronger for sprinting, these are the best exercises to use:


                  You can use a variety of squatting variations, such as back squats, front squats, box squats, split squats, or Hatfield squats. Start with larger ranges of motion, decreasing the range of motion as you get closer to competition.

                  Step Ups

                  Step ups can be performed on boxes as high as 18 inches or as low as 4 inches. Over time, you can progress from higher boxes to lower boxes, increasing the load and speed of movement over time.


                  Hex bar deadlifts, conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, and Romanian deadlifts are great exercises for building the leg strength required to run faster.

                  Heavy Sled Pulls

                  Heavy sled pulls are a good way to increase strength in a movement that is more specific to acceleration. I like to use contrasts between something like a squat and a sled pull, where I will go back and forth between theses exercises each set.

                  Leg Press

                  For athletes who have back injuries or cannot squat and deadlift, the leg press is a great alternative to help strengthen the legs.

                  Single Leg Calf Extensions

                  Single leg calf exercises are very important for lower leg strength in sprinting, especially in acceleration. I prefer to use belt leg calf exercises in order to targe the soleus muscle. This can be done on a bent leg calf machine or on a leg press, using one foot or both feet at once.

                  When using strength exercises like these, you can follow these guidelines:

                  • Train for strength 1 to 3 times per week.
                  • Use 3 to 5 exercises of 3 to 5 repetitions.
                  • Aim for loads that feel like a 7/10 or higher in rate of perceived exertion, or 70-90% of your 1 repetition maximum.

                    I view strength exercises as something which can build a foundation of force production abilities, and once these abilities are developed, we can then shift more toward explosive power development to make our strength more useful for sprinting. Strength development is the base upon which more explosive abilities are built.

                    When training for strength, a beginner athlete can use bodyweight or lower load variations of these movements to first develop the ability to move properly. A more advanced athlete can focus on using heavier loads and progressing to heavier weights over time.

                    Exercises For Explosive Power

                    Being strong is great, but there are many strong people who are not very fast. To take our strength and make it more applicable to running fast, we can use explosive power and rate of force development training to enhance our sprinting performance.

                    While strength training is done at heavy loads and with slower velocities, power training uses lighter loads and higher velocities to train how fast we can produce force.

                    The best power exercises for speed should exhibit the following:

                    • Rapid activation of muscle tissue.
                    • Exhibit a high rate of force development.
                    • Be performed at high intensities with submaximal loads.
                    • Incorporate rapid reversals from the eccentric to the concentric phase.

                      To build greater explosive power, here are some good exercises:

                      Jump Squats

                      Jump squats are a great exercise for improving eccentric rate of force development and power. When doing these, make sure that you drop, reverse, and jump up as fast as you possible can.

                      Bodyweight Jumps

                      Bodyweight jumps such as vertical jumps, broad jumps, box jumps, or lateral speed jumps are all great exercises for expressing power and learning to be more explosive.

                      Hex Bar Deadlift Jumps

                      Hex bar deadlift jumps are the perfect exercise for working on explosive strength as it relates to your sprint start. These jumps develop explosive concentric power and rate of force development, which can help you improve your block start or 40 yard dash.

                      Medicine Ball Throws

                      Medicine ball throws are another great exercises which can be used by both beginner and advanced athletes. With these exercises, we throw a weighted ball as far as we can, using forward, backward, vertical, and rotational throw variations. These are commonly used by elite track & field athletes to work on being more explosive.

                      When using strength exercises like these, you can follow these guidelines:

                      • Train for power 1 to 3 times per week.
                      • Use 3 to 4 exercises of 3 to 4 repetitions.
                      • Use loads that are moderate or somewhat light, ranging from a 3 to 6/10 RPE or 30-60% of your 1 repetition maximum.
                      • Emphasize activating muscle and initiating the movement as quickly as you can to reinforce a high rate of force development.

                        Power and RFD training are the forms of training that I believe are mostly likely to directly improve running speed, but these are only very useful once the athlete is generally strong.

                        As such, I usually will focus more on strength earlier in my training program, progressing toward working on producing more power as I find myself getting stronger. Both qualities can remain in the program, but the quality you emphasize more may shift with time.

                        Best Running Workouts For Endurance

                        While developing acceleration, top speed, strength, and power are the most important abilities for running faster, there are some things to consider on the topic of endurance training.

                        There are two primary forms of endurance training that is related to sprinting fast:

                        • Speed Endurance Training
                        • Tempo Endurance Training

                          Speed Endurance

                          Once an athlete is fast, their competition performance in a race like the 100 meter dash will be dependent on their ability to maintain their speed while running. To enhance this quality, sprinters perform speed endurance workouts.

                          This type of training is less important for team or field sport athletes, but can still be beneficial for any athlete who wants to sprint faster. Consider this as specific sprint endurance for certain types of athletes, not as a general conditioning workout.

                          Speed endurance training consists of the following:

                          • Fast sprints performed over longer distances, from 60 to 150 meters.
                          • 2 to 4 sprints per workout.
                          • Sprints are performed as fast as you can sprint with good form.
                          • Recovery time of 1 to 2 minutes for every 10 meters sprinted.

                            Speed endurance workouts should only be performed once the athlete has been exposed to a significant amount of acceleration and speed workouts, to ensure they have the technique and physical ability to do these intense workouts without getting hurt.

                            With these workouts, we will accelerate, reach top speed, and then try to maintain that speed for 10 or more meters. These workouts can be utilized once every 7 to 14 days once the athlete has performed acceleration and speed workouts for several weeks.

                            Start out with shorter distances, and build up over time. You should only run as far as you are able to maintain your technique, and can progress the distance as your running form improves. These are hard workouts, so you should make sure to not overdo it.

                            Tempo Endurance Training

                            While speed endurance develops specific sprint endurance, tempo endurance training develops more general endurance, like aerobic capacity and running economy.

                            Tempo runs are usually performed like this:

                            • Low intensity running from 90 to 300 meters per run.
                            • 1000 to 2000 meters per session.
                            • Sprints are performed at 50% to 70% speed.
                            • Recovery time of 30 seconds to 4 minutes.

                              The general idea with a tempo run is to run at a moderate speed at medium to high volumes, allowing you to get more fit, improve ankle elasticity, and to work on running on days where you cannot perform speed or acceleration workouts. Every time your foot hits the ground in a tempo workout, it is like performing a plyometric contact.

                              The tempo pace is usually similar to a 4 or 5 minute mile time, such as 15 seconds per 100 meters ran for a sprinter who can run 10.8 seconds in the 100 meter dash. The goal is not to run fast, but rather to run consistently throughout the whole workout.

                              This type of workout is great for improving fitness, improving body composition, as well as a way to ease into sprinting if you are more used to distance running workouts. These will help stimulate different muscle fibers, and are a good running workout for athletes of various ability levels.

                              Tempo workouts can be performed once or twice a week, usually following a sprinting day or a strength day. Remember to focus on a relatively easy pace and that you maintain good form.

                              Sprint Drills

                              Sprint drills are useful speed exercises for learning the posture and mechanics we need to see in sprinting. These are performed at a slower pace than sprinting, which allows you to emphasize certain movements and feel what you are doing.

                              I like to incorporate sprint drills in my warm up, as this helps me feel certain aspects of sprinting form before I get into more intense speed exercises.

                              Here are my favorite sprint drills:

                              • A-Skips - Standing on one leg with your knee up, drive your leg down & back into the ground, going onto one foot and alternating with the other leg.
                              • A-Runs - Similar to running with high knees, the a-run is performed by running with an up & down leg motion, focusing on bouncing off of the ground each step.
                              • Ankle Dribbles - Ankle dribbles take the sprinting stride cycle and condenses it down to running forward as you circle your foot around the ankle of the opposite foot. Roll from heel to toe, pick the foot up, and repeat. Avoid reaching out in front of the body and instead emphasize a down & back movement.

                                These sprint drills can be performed for a few seconds at a time, or for longer distances to develop muscular endurance. I usually do them for 1-3 sets of 20 to 40 meters during my warm ups, doing them for longer distances when using them for endurance training.

                                For sprint drills to benefit you, make sure you use proper form. Keep your posture upright, ensure your foot comes down & back to the ground rather than crashing forward, and you feel movement in your arms forward and backward.

                                Pay attention to any differences between your left foot and right foot, and aim to be as consistent with your movements on both sides of the body.

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