Developing Speed

How to develop speed

There is a famous saying out there in the sporting arena: “if you don’t have speed, it kills you”.

First, let us tell you what speed training is not: running at maximal speeds with minimal rest in between runs. This is a form of high intensity interval training. Something completely different. 

Defined, sprinting is “moving at your top speed for a short distance.

Sprinting can rehearsed at lesser speeds and then this can transferred to runs at a maximum speed. There is stimulation, excitation and a firing order of the motor units, composed of a motor nerve (Neuron) and the group of muscles that they innervate; this makes it possible for speed to occur. This involves a lot of stimulation of the central nervous system (CNS) which is explained in our detailed personal training courses. Simply sprinting will not optimise your speed as other factors need to be tailored for.

Having awesome flexibility will allow your muscles to reach there range of motion which can increase your stride length (Usain Bolt is a master of the stride length). This must be maintained all year round. Take a look at PNF stretching. 

Skill development must be (technique) pre-learned, rehearsed and perfected before it is done at relatively high speeds. Again this allows your brain to connect with your muscles in synergy.

Speed training is performed by using high velocity speeds (rate of force development) for short intervals by utilising your creatine phosphate system. This will ultimately bring into play the correct neuromuscular pathways and energy sources used.

Correct conditioning of muscle groups will have to be in top shape. For example if your hamstrings are weak and not firing correctly you will be inviting a nice hamstring tear after driving your leg forward at 100% effort as these help to decelerate the leg to return to the ground to get ready for the next stride. So spending some time eccentrically loading your hamstrings will be of high importance amongst other physical conditioning.

Preparing yourself or a client for speed takes prudent planning and analysis of the individual at hand. On our PT courses we spend some time going over these aspects.