Increase your speed – monthly feature in Health & Fitness magazine
March 26, 2015
We’d all like to be speedier in our given sport and perhaps you’re frustrated because, despite your efforts, it doesn’t seem to be happening?
Want to be faster? Just follow these simple rules:
The stronger and more explosive you are, the more force you’ll generate, and the faster you’ll be. Strength training in the gym, coupled with some plyometric (jumping) exercises, is essential if you want to get faster. Don’t be afraid to lift some heavier weights – try a weight you can lift for five to eight reps per set, as this is will help you see the biggest strength gains initially.
The heavier you are, the more difficult it is to move quickly, so decreasing your body fat is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your speed. What you eat will have the biggest impact here, so you need to be sure that you’re eating for your specific requirements. This will be different for us all, so recording what you eat and finding a way to track your body composition on a regular basis can be very useful to help keep you on track.
IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE
Structural balance and good posture play a big part, not only in keeping you injury free, but also in helping you move and breathe more efficiently. And the more efficient you are in both of these areas, the faster you’ll be. Typical areas of weakness that need attention are the hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes and lower- and mid-back, which can be improved through exercises such as lunges, deadlifts and rowing variations.
WORK ON TECHNIQUE
The more proficient you become in certain movement patterns, the more efficient your body will be and the faster you’ll go. Want to get faster at running? Working on the technical aspects of running mechanics, such as stride length and arm drive, will make a huge difference to your efficiency, and in turn, your speed. To improve your stride length for example, you need to think about driving your leg back to push you forward.
DO SHORT SPRINTS
Performing short sprint intervals and improving technique are the quickest ways to improve speed. You need a good base of overall conditioning and to be as strong and lean as possible, but once you have a good level of general fitness, you need to sprint if you want to go faster. Start with shorter distances of, say 10-30m, and get complete rest between sets.
Personal trainer Jean-Claude Vacassin owns W10 Performance gym in West London. He has advised athletes, sports brands and film companies, as well as working in nutrition, functional medicine and rehabilitation.