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Improve Running Speed with These Tips

Updated on August 30, 2012

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.

Weighted Vests

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.

Speed Squats

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.

Hill Runs

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.

Wall Chops

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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    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Great info! I will be doing these soon.

    • mmsu profile image

      mmsu 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Great hub!excellent tips..playing soccer regularly i rely on speed very much to score goals!These tips will sure come in handy!

    • CCahill profile image

      CCahill 5 years ago from England

      Some great advice

      Those weighted vests are way to expensive though but would be nice to have :)

      Any idea what the norm results are for Speed Squats? Anything to aim towards

      Enjoyed this hub, Voted up and Shared via Hubpages

    • jamesdurk94 profile image

      James Durkin 5 years ago from Halifax, UK

      nice hub, im looking to get faster and fitter in general, these tips will come in handy !

    • howlermunkey profile image

      Jeff Boettner 5 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Awesome hub, great tips. Didn't know about Wall Chops.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      I would guard against any extra weighting of the body to avoid extra stress on joints as running multiplies the stress

      Have a look at some SAQ (speed agility quickness) books for some drills to target the neuromuscular system to enhance running speed as most of your exercises have been muscular strength related.

    • MayG profile image

      May Galnou 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Great tips! Thanks.