Run Faster: The Best Workouts for Speed

workouts for speed

Here’s what you need to know about speed training. There’s speed strength, which is applying maximum force at high velocities (like a power clean or snatch), and there’s speed conditioning, being able to maintain running speed for about seven seconds or longer. Both types of speed training can benefit athletes of all experience levels since being able to accelerate quickly then slow down correctly can prevent injury in the gym and workplace. Not to mention, speed gives athletes a critical advantage over their competition in the field of play. “This workout focuses on the technical component of speed training, going over the movements to perform at an optimal level,” says Curtis Williams, C.P.T., P.E.S., and former NFL wide receiver. “The moves are specific to building speed, and it works.” Blast through this performance-boosting speed workout to burn fat, get faster, and improve endurance.

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Curtis says: Rest as needed after Phases 1 and 2. Do the workout twice a week with a day or two of rest in between on a day you’re not lifting or an upper-body training day. You want to do these moves explosively; Don’t do the workout following a lower-body workout. You’ll probably see your conditioning improve in two weeks, and at four you would see substantial results.

Perform the following exercises for 20 yards (except for the striders, which are 100 yards.)

High knees
Butt kicks 
Reverse lunge hip stretch
Step back into a lunge and bring hands overhead to stretch hip.
Power skips for height
Power skips for distance
Karaoke with drive step-over
Drive the knee above the waistline.
Backward run
A, B skips
A skip: Drive right knee up and strike it back down forcefully. Alternate to left leg.
B skip: At the top of the A skip position, extend leg straight out then strike back down.
Straight-leg runs
Keep your legs forward with toes pointing upward, legs straight, striking with the ball of your foot to propel you forward.
Single-leg bounds
Balance yourself on one foot, push off that leg, and land on the opposite foot. Keep going without a pause in between.
Striders (60%) 100 yards


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Hip rotations
Stand with feet at outside hip width and rotate right leg forward in a circular motion. Then, rotate backward. Repeat on other side.
Reps: 10

Wall swings (lateral)
Reps: 10
Face a wall and place both hands on wall. Swing one leg across body and back out.

Wall swings (saggital)
Place one hand on wall so you’re perpendicular to it, facing the back of the room. Kick one leg forward, then backward. Repeat on other side.
Reps: 10

Spider-Man steps
Reps: 12 (each side)
While in pushup position, step forward with left leg so your heel is two inches away from your left hand. Repeat on right side.

Reps: 10 (5 each side)
Do a pushup, and then pivot your body to the side so you’re facing the side with one hand posted on side and the other in the air.

Glute hip bridges
Reps: 10

Cook hip lifts
Reps: 8
While lying on ground with one knee bent, hug your knee to your body. Then, do a hip bridge with the single leg that is bent on the ground, driving through the heel.

Seated arm mechanics
Duration: 2 x 20 sec
While sitting on the ground, imagine that you’re are sprinting without your legs. Mimic sprint arm mechanics without twisting or turning and while keeping good posture.

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1-2 strike (high knees)
Sets: 2
Reps: 8 each leg
Face the wall and place both hands on it with arms locked. Start with left leg up and right leg out. Drive left leg down and right leg up. Then, drive right leg down and left leg up to return to start position. That’s one rep on the left side.

High Knees
Sets: 2
Duration: 20 sec.

Duration: 20 yards
2 part stance x 2
With one foot forward and one back, work on getting a burst out of this stance, driving through the hips, then sprinting.
Pushup Position x 2
Pushup Down Position x 2

Sled Pushes
Distance: 20 yards
If you don’t have access to a sled, use resistance bands with a partner to do resisted sprints.

PHASE 3: Stair Sprints and Strength

Set 1: Run up stairs, run down stairs, do 10 pushups.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 2: Run up stairs, run down stairs, do 10 pushups.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 3: Run up stairs, run down stairs, do 8 squat jumps.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 4: Run up stairs, come down stairs, do 8 squat jumps.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 5: Run up stairs, come down stairs, do 10 burpees.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 6: Run up stairs, come down stairs, do 10 burpees.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 7: Run up stairs, come down stairs, do 10 split squat jumps each leg.
Rest: 20-30 sec.

Set 8: Run up stairs, come down stairs, do 10 split squat jumps each leg.


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THE COOLDOWN: Full-Body Static Stretching

Duration: 30 sec. each exercise

Quadriceps Stretch
Standing hip-width apart, bend the left leg at the knee, bringing your heel to your glute. Grasp the front of your left ankle keeping your shoulders retracted and your chest wide. Repeat on other side.

Hamstring Stretch
Sit down on the floor with both legs extended. Bend your right knee and place your right foot just outside your right hip. Then, lowering your chest and keeping your shoulders retracted reach with both hands toward the left ankle. Repeat on other side.

Hip Flexor Stretch
Start in a kneeling position and bring the right foot forward making sure the right knee is now at 90 degrees and does not travel past your toes. Keeping your shoulders retracted and your spine in neutral draw your hips forward until you feel a slight stretch. Repeat on the other side.

Shoulder (anterior deltoid) Stretch
Stand upright with shoulders retracted and clasp your hands behind your back.  Extend your arms, bringing your hands away from your back.  Lift arms upward and hold when you feel a slight tension in the shoulders.

Triceps Stretch
Stand tall raising both hands overhead. Bend your right arm placing your right palm on the center of your back. Brace your right elbow with your left hand and and gently apply downward pressure keeping your shoulders relaxed.  Repeat on the other side.

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