Today I’m going to remedy this by giving you a template that you can use as the basis of your speed training for the rest of your life. This template is based on the work of Joe Defranco and if you check out his work there will be no arguing over its effectiveness. The template is based around the following 2 ideas:
- If you get stronger you will have a much better chance of being faster. Weak muscles aren’t fast muscles so the first priority for any speed training should be to ensure optimal strength.
- A sprint can be split into 3 phases: the start where you break your own inertia, the drive phase where you are applying force into the ground with your quads and glutes dominant and the maximal speed phase where you reach and maintain your top end with your hamstrings becoming dominant.
- Box squat/Deadlift/Olympic lifts – Here we are developing the ability to display maximal force from a dead stop this will directly carry over into how explosively you can break your own inertia and power into a sprint.
- Single leg lift e.g. Bulgarian split squats, single leg step ups, reverse lunges – Here we are strengthening the glutes and hamstrings as well as getting the nice bonus of a hip flexor stretch, all of which combine to allow you to place bigger forces into the ground when driving into a sprint and thus accelerate faster.
- Hinges e.g. RDL’s, reverse hypers, sliders, Nordics etc. – Here we are developing hamstring strength to allow you to reach and maintain your top speed.
- Anti-rotation core exercises e.g. paloff press, suitcase carries – The core is the glue that holds together all the other elements in a sprint. If you have a weak core you will have sloppy form and waste a lot of your energy with excessive rotation and poorly controlled arm movements.
Hopefully it is apparent why these 4 lifts will combine to help you develop explosive speed and, also, just how much variation is available within the lifts to keep your programming fresh and yourself still interested. You can use this template as the foundation of your lower body session for ever more, knowing that you will be giving yourself excellent lower body development and that this will directly carry over into helping you get faster.
To help illustrate what this may look like in practice below is the lower body weights session that I have been using for the past month now:
- Box squat: Build up to 3RM, drop 20% and finish with 2x speed sets
- SIngle leg step up with knee drive: 4 sets of 8 reps
- Hamstring Slider: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Paloff press: 4 sets of 12 reps
It goes without saying that you can then add in specific mobility, jumping and field work to complement the above and facilitate maximal speed development.
I hope this piece has been useful for you to show just how simple speed training can be in the gym and that it doesn’t have to be done in a way that sacrifices other goals you may have.