Speed Training Part 1

Speed is one of the greatest assets an athlete can possess. In football, it doesn’t matter if you are a lineman or a wide receiver. The faster you are, the bigger advantage you will gain. In basketball, your ability to get down the court on a fast break, either to score, or to defend, depends on your speed. The faster you are as an athlete, the greater of an advantage you will have over your opponent. 

Everyone has a certain potential for speed. It used to be believed that you were born with your natural gifts and that was it. Each individual was as fast as they were meant to be. Obviously, though, we have found that anyone can train to increase their overall speed. The secret to becoming faster and reaching your full potential for speed is to understand that no matter what you are doing, you body is reacting and changing based on that stimulus, so the goal is to find out how to give it the stimulus it needs to cause it to change and become faster.

The idea of it seems quite simple, and thats because it really is. Speed is simply a high level of efficiency and power throughout your entire muscular system. When your muscular system is operating extremely efficiently, and is trained for power, you will inevitably become a faster athlete. An efficiency muscular system means that it can do its two main jobs of holding the skeletal system, the bones and joints, in their anatomically correct position, and the ability to then move those joints through their full range of motion. Training to achieve this is not a simple process, however. There are a ton of speed training programs out there. Each one is based on physiological principles that pertain specifically to your muscles and how they operate on a cellular and neurological level. Most programs incorporate different aspects of quick twitch muscle fiber training to develop those muscles and make you run faster. The way these programs go about it is sometimes quite different. Some programs may do different speed drills that focus on different muscles in the running stride, others use different techniques such as isometric training and over-speed training to develop specific fibers, the II-B quick twitch fibers that produce most of the muscular force for sprinting.

At runwithpower, we we realize that speed-specific programs do not provide each athlete with a complete training system that ensures a high level of efficiency in their muscular system. Most programs only focus on the muscles on a cellular or neurological level. They typically do not think of the muscular system in terms of the entire body. If they say they do, their styles of training do not reflect it. The difference between the mainstream training world and us is that our focus is on the body, whereas most other programs focus on the specific exercises. I can’t count the number of times I have heard the phrase, “This is the single most effective exercise for developing…” Really? It is the single best exercise? Did they even take into account that maybe if they take an athlete through a program that extensively uses this one stimulus, it may, depending on that athletes individual muscular imbalances and compensations, have some significant negative impacts on their performance. No two athletes have the same body, and certainly none have a perfect body. THerefore, each athlete has the potential to react differently as well as negatively to any stimulus. This means that there really can be no perfect exercise. What would happen is an athlete did not have full articulation of the hip joint and was asked to perform heavy squats? There would be a huge potential for negative muscular compensation, as the hip would not be able to accept load through its full range of motion. Other parts of the body, such as the knees and lower back, would have to compensate for this lack of mobility in the hip, leading to imbalances that would further diminish the athletes overall efficiency. The obvious strength benefits of the squat are now defeated by the compensated muscular patterns that develop. Each exercise has things that are good, as well as things that negatively affect performance. If there is one thing you get from reading this post, it would be this: begin to think in terms of the body, not the exercise or drill. The goal of training should not be to come up with the “best exercises” but rather to understand which exercises should be used and when they should be used, depending on the specific body and its current lack of efficiency. 

This is just the beginning of a much bigger speed training philosophy that runwithpower would like to share with you. Hopefully you will continue to stay updated and will take something valuable each time that will impact your athleticism in a positive way.

If you haven’t yet checked out the posts on the 4 Laws of Training, follow this like here to learn more about these laws in regards to how the body is designed to react to stimulus and how this stimulus impacts our performance.

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