Whenever an athlete
comes to me, chances are they want to become faster and be able to jump
higher. Speed is king, and rightfully
so. Speed is what sets you apart from
the competition, speed is what gets you looked at for high level college
programs. There’s not much difference in
skill between D3, D2 and D1 programs as there is a difference is Speed and
strength. So what makes an athlete
fast? I actually have a video of this
on my Instagram page I posted about a year ago I’ll share! When it comes to developing explosive speed
it really comes down to 5 things and you can find these 5 things below.
Relative strength is
king! If you are not strong relative to
how much you weigh you will not be fast.
Plan and simple, strength is your horse power. Trying to sprint as fast as possible with low
relative strength is like trying to go from 0-60mph in a prius you just won’t
be able to get to top end speed quickly and you’ll never be able to achieve
elite level speed like someone with higher relative strength. When your sprinting the only resistance you
have on you is your body weight. You
have to propel your body forward in a fast explosive manor and if you don’t
have the relative strength to do so all the sprints, speed and agility drills
in the world wont make you fast. Here
are some indicators that I use to determine if the athlete is relatively
- 15 or more chin ups
- 30 or more push ups
- Can trap bar deadlift over 2x their body weight
for 3 or more reps
- Can back squat to box or safety bar squat to box
1.5x their body weight for 3 or more reps
- Can sled push 4x their body weight or more for
- Can perform 5 chin ups or more
- Can perform 15 or more full range of motion push
- Can trap bar deadlift 1.5X their body weight for
3 reps or more
- Can back squat or safety bar squat to a box with
1.25x their body weight or more for 3 reps or more
- Can sled push 3.5x their body weight or more for
This is all a
general rule of thumb I use for my athlete to determine if they will respond
well to an increase in speed work volume.
Have you ever seen the athlete on the field who moves their legs super-fast but doesn’t seem to beat anyone to the ball or can’t keep up on defense? It’s like they’re going nowhere fast. Here’s why this is happening, the athlete who takes the least number of strides to cover a certain amount of distance will always get there first. If your athlete is tight in the hips they won’t be able to cover max distance with every stride. This usually becomes an issue as your athlete becomes more advanced with increase muscle and explosive power come increase stiffness. Or if your athlete is natural more on the stiff end daily mobility is a must as they become stronger.
Mobility also doesn’t mean just stretching, this is where flexibility and mobility get confused. Flexibility is the range of motion you can put your joins passively like reaching down to touch your toes. Mobility is the range of motion you can go actively, like driving your knee up as high as you can without moving your spine. Flexibility is a component of mobility that you need in order to be mobile.
Perform these mobility drills regularly to keep your hips in check while you become stronger and faster. These are all great examples where together they work on flexibility as well as mobility and becoming overall more mobile in the hips and moving better. I highly recommend watching all these videos.
- Core strength
The role of the core while your sprinting is to keep the midline stabile while the arms and legs are in motion. If your athlete does not possess the appropriate core strength it will result in energy leaks throughout their sprints and change of direction. The core is used as a foundation in which force can be translated from the lower body to the upper body while sprinting. If the core and spine are not ridged while sprinting there won’t be as much force being put into the floor even worse you’re at a much higher risk of injury. If you ever watched an elite level track athlete sprint with their shirt off, their arms and legs are moving violently while the torso is perfectly still.
Without good core stability and strength usually relative strength is low and mobility/movement quality is poor. Which is the first two qualities we spoke about in the last two news letters and addressing all three should be a priority is every athletes program.
Check out these exercises that are great for core development
These are some of the staple core exercises in our programs that help to develop core strength and show us what level of core strength our athlete possess.