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A solid speed and strength program will not only help in your everyday performance. It will greatly reduce the risk of injury. .

Here are 10 tips to becoming faster and stronger with a few misconceptions exposed.

  1. The best way to become faster and more explosive  is to learn proper technique. Proper technique will make you more efficient and smoother. Proper technique should be used at all levels of speed and strength training. Warm-ups, drills, games no matter what you are doing proper form and technique should always be used and must continually be practised.
  2. The most important muscles to work on for becoming a faster more explosive athlete are: hamstrings, glutes, abs, lower back, hip flexors and oblique (side of the stomach). Hamstrings and Quads should be 1:1 in terms of strength. If there is an imbalance you WILL get more injuries. The only way to become faster and more explosive is to become stronger in the proper functional muscle groups. Strengthening these muscle groups will make you stronger, faster, jump higher and give you more overall athletic ability. More than anything else this will help prevents injury. Training these muscles should be a top priority.
  3.  Becoming a faster, stronger, more explosive athlete requires you incorporate five areas of physical training, speed, strength, agility, reaction and co-ordination. All of these must be trained on a regular basis. All five are equally important aspects of any sport. Use tools such as short hill sprints, agility ladders, weight training, change of direction, balance and reaction drills as well as form and technique drills.
  4. When running, arm action is often overlooked. The faster the arms move the faster the legs will move. The shoulders and hands should be relaxed and placed in a 90-degree position. Only the shoulders should move. The elbows and hands should remain locked in the 90-degree position. The shoulder should act as a sort of hinge and should move the arms in a semi circular motion bringing the hands from the side of the face to the rear of the hip (cheek to cheek).
  5. Your training routine should be balanced. You should try and work speed training twice weekly, absolute strength (max effort gym work) twice weekly and dynamic explosive strength twice weekly  You can combine more than one area per day, but only work each area twice weekly. You also must consistently change your exercises and drills, as the human body will adapt to a specific task rather quickly. The only way you can get better is to challenge the body and mind to master new tasks.
  6. Speed and explosive strength are not gender specific. Females should train the same way as males. The same biomechanical principles take place in males as females. There is a great misconception about girls having to train differently. Absolutely not true. While there is a difference in the amount of strength a female may poses as opposed to males there is no difference in principle. Females must strength train in order to become faster and more explosive. The old myth about girls becoming too bulky is not true. Top female athletes train hard with weights and all follow the same principles as their male counterparts. 
  7. Train fast to be fast. You must train speed to become fast in short intervals. KM’s and KM’s or repeat 200s, 100s or 50s is not speed training. Speed training should be set up so you duplicate the game you play. In order to become fast and explosive you must train fast and explosive. The first ten meters are always extremely important. Maybe the most important, that is why you must focus hard on drills that create acceleration. Especially in sports such as rugby, netball, soccer, AFL, cricket where higher aerobic capacity is necessary and where short explosive speed is prevalent. “Long distance running will only serve to create slower athletes.” If your game is played in 20-30 meter sprints and you stop or sprint to get back on defence then again sprint that is how you should train. If you take a ball and place it 30 meters away and line up a sprinter and a marathon runner who do you think will get to the ball first?  You can build functional endurance without ever running distance.
  8.  Do not static stretch cold muscles. Before you begin a practice the best way to properly warm up is to use a dynamic warm up that moves from basic low intensity movements to faster more explosive movements. You want to simulate movements that you will use in practice or games. Stretching cold muscles actually reduces power output in a muscle. Therefore cold stretching will make you slower, weaker and less explosive and more prone to injury. Any static stretching should be done after your workout not before.
  9. Make sure you get proper rest and nutrition. Many people think you can train every day without any days off. This is wrong regardless of age you need rest and maintenance. TLC and nutrition of the mind and body are as important as proper training. Your body is the vehicle of your mind and sprit and you must take proper care of your body the same as you would any other vehicle, or the result will be the same your vehicle will breakdown.
  10. Make sure you get proper rest and nutrition. Many people think you can train every day without any days off. This is wrong regardless of age you need rest and maintenance. TLC and nutrition of the mind and body are as important as proper training. Your body is the vehicle of your mind and sprit and you must take proper care of your body the same as you would any other vehicle, or the result will be the same your vehicle will breakdown.

SPORTSPEED Physical Intelligence Head Coach

Nathan McKay (NM) has been with SportSpeed Physical Intelligence since it’s inception in 2010, he’s been training and coaching athletes and youth sport for nearly 15 years. NM has worked with everyday athletes and athletes at the highest levels of performance, in tennis, rugby, basketball, netball and track and field. A natural motivator, NM connects with peoples level of fitness, strengths and weaknesses in a way that is both authentic and inspiring. @sportspeedpi

References: Rick Scarpulla

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