9.58 seconds! The time it takes the current world champion, Usain Bolt, to cover a distance of 100 meters in a sprint. Athletic speed is something associated with our endurance and explosive strength. To be precise, our sprinting ability is the function of our explosive strength, and our stamina is the function of our endurance. If you are looking to enhance your athletic speed and set the next benchmark for your personal fitness level, then this post comes highly recommended for you.
In this article, we will unravel 3 secrets to improving your athletic speed.
Here we go!
While the advice to ‘Get Stronger’ might sound obvious, but there are insights to be revealed when it comes to building bodily strength. Strength is a function of your muscles. The more muscle mass you have, the more will be your strength. You can start building strength by following these tips;
- Practice until Fatigue: Your muscles only build up after they have been ‘worn’ out. When you exercise, the muscle fibers work up and as the load increases, the muscle fibers cannot hold to it for much longer. After consequent sets and multiple days, your body automatically instructs the muscles to regenerate more and stronger muscle fibers, ultimately providing you more strength. The simplest way to ensure regeneration of strong muscles is practicing your exercise sets until fatigue.
Practice HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training, as the name suggests, is a form of interval training that includes performing a set of different cardiovascular exercises. These exercises are separated by fixed time intervals and performed at maximum to minimum strength. It helps in enhancing the Glucose metabolism and overall endurance building. HIIT begins with a ‘warm-up’ phase. This phase is ensued by intense anaerobic exercise at near 100 percent strength. It can include sprints, intense pushups, etc. One must lift maximum weight from time-to-time as it stimulates your nervous system and allows you to become faster.
- Focus on your Explosive Strength: Explosive strength is the type of strength measured as a force factor versus the time. In other words, explosive strength is the measure of ‘how fast can your body produce the required force’ to lift a weight, sprint, etc. The amount of weight you can lift or the distance you can sprint depends on your explosive strength. You can build up superior explosive strength with guided Resistance Training and even Ballistic Resistance Training.
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Plyometric Exercises are the way to go!
Plyometric exercises are designed to improve muscle power by the virtue of ‘Plyometric’ movements. A plyometric exercise is a quick and strong movements starting with ‘muscle lengthening’ action (eccentric action) and ending up with ‘muscle-shortening’ or concentric action. High-performance athletes usually combine resistance training with plyometric exercises to attain maximum power and strength. However, they do so alternatively on different days to prevent ‘muscle burnout.’
Some plyometric exercises you can include in your workout are;
- Plyo Pushups
- Box Jumps
- 2-Leg Bound
- Depth Jumps
- Box Squats
Improve Your Running Form
Your Running Form is a crucial decisive factor in determining your running/sprinting efficiency and overall performance. Following are some scientific tips to improve your running form to achieve optimum athletic speed;
- Running Posture: The ideal running posture constitutes of holding your head high with your back straight. Instead of looking down, you must look ahead with your head centered between the shoulders. While running, ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and parallel to the ground.
- Breathing: For running long or strong, you need to build endurance. This can be achieved by the right breathing pattern, i.e. breathing deeply via abdomen (also called stomach breathing).
- Foot strike: Your foot strike method is important to prevent muscle injuries and running inefficiencies. To attain the high-performance running form, your foot must strike the ground roughly at an obtuse angle from heel to toe.
Your athletic speed largely depends on your strength, endurance and posture. Follow the above tips for best results.