Improve Running Speed with These Tips
The ability to accelerate quickly and efficiently allows you, the athlete, to evade the opposition, rebound off the ground in seconds, and beat your opponent to the goal. You have an advantage over your opponent when you can reach a greater speed faster and you can continue to increase your pace until the end. A resistance-training program can help you develop the power required to improve acceleration performance. Acceleration is determined by an athlete’s strength and the angle of the body in relation to the ground. And strength training and using specific speed tools can help improve both of these factors.
Resistance training uses weighted devices to overload your body during workout sessions. Integrating these workout sessions into your weekly routine will help you move faster from a stationary starting point and help you keep that power long enough to the end of the sprint.
Determining the right weight to use is the key to using weighted vests for training acceleration. A group of Australian researchers discovered that stride length and stride frequency significantly decreases as athletes put heavier vests on and don’t contribute to acceleration speed. But the group that wore a light-weight vest saw improvements in their maximum speed. A good way to use weighted vests in your training is to time a distance, such as 100 meters, with no weight. Then, add a little weight to the vests and run the same distance. Your time should increase by 3-5 seconds. Any more than that and the vest is too heavy.
The goal of speed squats is to develop lower body explosiveness by completing a set amount of reps in the shortest time possible. You will need a stop-watch to record times. Stand in front of a bench where the tops of the thighs are parallel with the ground. For each squat you want your glutes to lightly touch the top of the bench. You will be doing 3 sets. Start with no weight, complete 10 squats and record the time it takes to reach 10. For your next set, hold 10-15 pounds and complete 10 squats. Record the time. Add 5 more pounds to what you were holding and complete 10 reps. Monitor your progress over time and you will see that your times to complete the squats will decrease.
Taking advantage of hills can help develop acceleration mechanics and develop lower body strength. The grade of a hill automatically puts your body in the right position for acceleration. Hill runs improve ankle, knee and hip extension and training these muscles to work simultaneously. Just like any exercise, hill runs can be done incorrectly. Ideally, use a hill that is no more than 6% grade for training. The run up is more like bounding up the hill, keeping your head in line with your torso, pelvis and leg, a straight back, top of the thigh parallel with the ground and your hip, knee and ankle extended in a long line.
The power of being able to turn quickly comes from your core muscles. This exercise helps develop your hips, back and abdominal muscles. Start with a medicine ball close to the body and work your way up to a medicine ball with a rope attachment. Stand with your back to the wall, about two feet away from the wall and your feet shoulder width apart. If you are holding the medicine ball in your hand, pivot your feet into the ground, and twist from the hips side to side, trying to touch the wall with the ball. If you have progressed to a ball on a rope, hold the rope with two hands, rotate to one side and swing he ball into the ball. Be prepared to swing the ball immediately to the other side. Aim for a continuous motion.
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