Fit Tip: Improve Your Speed; Improve Your Game
October 09, 2012 / Category: Fitness Advisor
The difference between catching and missing that long touchdown pass (or the train for your morning commute) comes down to only seconds and inches, but can end up costing a lot more. Put some hustle behind your muscle and improve your overall speed with these easy and quick tips.
Do Strength Training. View your body as an engine: more horsepower means quicker acceleration and faster speeds overall. Focus on building strength throughout your lower body with calf raises, squats, lunges and leg presses, and pay special attention to your hip flexors. Powerful hip flexors will improve your range of motion and are the key to sprinting faster. Try the Dual Adjustable Pulley machine for single leg and balance work. In addition to your lower body, strengthening your core will improve your speed, balance, and agility by fortifying the connection between the muscles of the upper and lower body.
Do Plyometrics. Plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions, which enables your muscles to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time possible, thereby improving your speed. Pre-stretch your muscles and then harness their maximum force by utilizing jumping, bounding, and hopping movements. Jumping jacks, split jumps, squat jumps and box jumps will torch calories and build lean muscle while helping you log faster times.
Do Intervals. Amp up your overall speed with interval training, which alternates short, high intensity bursts of speed with slower recovery phases in a single workout. Interval training will enhance your cardiovascular capacity (the ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles) and ultimately leads to increased acceleration and speed.
Put on the Brakes. Speed is more than just a mad, reckless dash. As an athlete, maintaining control over your movements and agility is paramount to your performance. You can’t stop and turn on a dime with your legs flailing wildly beneath you, right? The key to slowing down is to have flexible legs, bent knees and lowered hips. Staying low will occur naturally if you are strong enough. Practice flexibility training multiple times per week. Warm up before workouts with dynamic movements and cool down with static stretches.