Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ) are physical abilities that demand many hours of training for the athlete on the playing field or battlefield. It is possible to be naturally fast but not so agile or even quick. Likewise, one can be quick and agile but not have great running speed. Lets first address how one can improve how fast they run.
Speed. The key to speed is power training. Don’t confuse power training with power lifting. In developing power, we are training our bodies to move ourselves or an external force over a specific distance in the shortest amount of time. In many power exercises we find ourselves throwing, pushing, pulling, jumping, dragging, or hopping; often doing more than one activity at the same time.
Speed, as it relates to running is essentially determined by the power output of our legs as they touch the ground and by the rate of our strides. In rowing for example, speed is determined in a similar manner – the power output of each stroke and the rate at which the strokes are performed. Usain Bolt can generate greater power over 100 and 200 meters faster than anybody because his strides take him further per stride with a faster turnover than his opponents. If one wants to run faster; first focus on developing the stability and strength of the legs through standard exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges and all associated variations of the exercises. Once a good base of strength is developed then we can progress to power training using explosive movements like power cleans, snatches, box box jumps and kettlebell exercises.
There are also a whole host of tools available to improve one’s speed such as weighted vests, parachute attachments to increase wind resistance, and towing equipment that pulls the runner faster than he or she would normally sprint.
Remember to always warm up the body through general and dynamic movements prior to engaging in any intense strength and power exercises.
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