explosive speed training

Explosive Speed Training: How to Train for Explosive Speed

Every athlete should include explosive speed training in their program. Who wouldn’t want to have explosive speed?

The thing is, not many athletes know what they need to do to improve explosive speed.

This article gives three clear points on how to maximize explosive speed training.

1. Explosive speed training happens in the weight room and the field.

A lot of strength coaches believe only in weight lifting. They think resistance training (also called strength training) is all an athlete needs. That is flat wrong.

On the other side, a lot of speed coaches think all an athlete needs is to sprint. No weights, maybe some jumps, and lots of sprints. They believe that is all an athlete needs for explosive speed training.

That is also wrong.

The truth is that to maximize explosive speed training, athletes must train in the weight room and on the field.

Can athletes get faster from lifting? Yes. Can athletes get faster from sprinting? Of course. But if you do only one and not the other, you are leaving significant speed gains on the table.

I want you to be as fast as possible. That’s why I’ve done my homework and learned from the best on both sides of the table.

To maximize explosive speed training, weight room training should emphasize two key elements. Those elements are power and elasticity.

How do you maximize power? Well, that’s the name of the game. Every strength coach wants to know how to maximize power. There are a few specific ways to do so.

First, get strong! Power is the combination between strength and speed. The faster you can summon your strength, the more powerful you are. But if you don’t have any strength to summon, well…

You just can’t be powerful.

Lifting to improve power

So number one, you have to be strong. Lifting is how you get strong.

Second, improve explosiveness. Exercises like jumps, hops, pogos, weighted jumps, and power cleans are great. These all development the speed side of power. Heavy lifting is the strength side, explosive movements are the speed side.

Knowing this is great, but only gets you so far. It’s like being handed a shopping bag full of ingredients. You have the stuff, but do you know how to mix it and put it all together to make a good meal?

That’s where hiring a strength coach is important. You have the basic ingredients, but a good strength coach is a master chef who knows how to put it all together to create an amazing explosive speed training program. Only then will you have excellent results!

Traditional speed training: acceleration and max velocity

Any great explosive speed training program should include traditional speed training. Skip the speed endurance work, though. If you want to get blazing fast and have explosive speed, focus on acceleration and maximum velocity development.

Maximum velocity is the same thing as top speed. The way to boost your top speed is by sprinting at or near top speed. How fast is fast enough? If your speed isn’t at least 95% of your top speed, it isn’t maximum velocity work. In other words, it’s not boosting your top speed.

Speed development workouts

A typical top speed workout is called fly runs. A fly run is when you start slow and gradually build towards top speed, hold top speed for 10 yards, then gradually slow down. It is not a full on sprint and a fast stop. I like using a 50 yard or meter stretch. Twenty yards to build speed, ten yards at top speed, and twenty yards to slow down. This is a great way to develop the top speed part of explosive speed training.

Acceleration development looks like short, full speed sprints. One of my favorite acceleration workouts is the 10×10 turnaround sprints, popularized by Derek Hansen. You sprint ten yards and then take ten yards to slow down. Then you turn around, and do the same thing. Repeat for a total of ten reps.

This type of explosive speed training increases your first step and explosive speed. This is great for all athletes.

One word of caution. Make sure you take full rest between reps and sets. Full rest is usually three to four minutes. If you don’t take full rest, then your next sprint will be slower. Running slow isn’t a good way to boost explosive speed, and definitely isn’t good explosive speed training.

So take your full rest, so you can sprint very fast with each rep.

3. Explosive speed training for game situations

Traditional explosive speed training looks a lot like track workouts. You sprint in a straight line. That’s a great way to improve your speed, but sports don’t always happen in a straight line. In fact, they very rarely do. So if you want to actually improve your explosive speed in game situations, you need to incorporate game situations into your explosive speed training.

The athletes I train in-person love playing games. I set up games to make athletes move. They have to chase, tag, and juke each other. These types of games get athletes moving in many directions, not just in a straight line. Just like in your sport, you probably have to move sideways, make cuts, start and stop quickly, and more. So it’s important to do that in your explosive speed training, too.

Other than games, you can incorporate change of direction training. Sprinting fast is great, but an important part of being explosive is stopping on a dime. If you can stop and dime and then explode out, you are an explosive athlete.

Deceleration, change of direction, and curved running for explosive speed

Training deceleration and change of direction is super important. As some coaches put it, the bigger your engine is, the stronger of brakes you need.

You can do exercises like 5-0-5s, 5-10-5s, or even simple cuts. One example is to sprint forward ten meters, and then cut. You can cut at different angles, such as 30°, 45°, 90°, and even 180°. Practicing cutting at different angles improves your explosive speed and athleticism in different ways.

Lastly, curved running is a great exercise. Curved running is exactly as it sounds. You run on a curve. An easy way to set this up is with cones. Walk or jog on a slight curve, and drop cones to use as markers. Then go back to the beginning, and sprint along that path.

Curved running happens in games, so it benefits you to practice curved running in your explosive speed training.

Are you ready to take your explosive speed training to the next level? Reach out to us today to schedule your first session for just $1.