Speed Workouts | Kbands Quick Step Sprints
An athlete’s body is programmed to adapt to outside stimuli placed on it. When athletes lift weights both the amount of weight being lifted and the time the muscles are placed under tension (time under tension) dictates what kind of recovery will be utilized by the body to repair the worked area. The same is true for running, speed workouts, and agility training.
Athletes need to utilize training which is specific to their sport. A baseball player would not receive the same athletic enhancements from running 10 or more miles a day as a long distance runner would. This is because long distance running trains the muscles of the leg to produce energy slower, but more efficiently, while training the rest of the body to adapt to the extensive aerobic activity. This cone drill is fantastic for enhancing the speed of athletes who compete in soccer, football, track, baseball, lacrosse or any sport requiring quick, responsive actions.
One of the major adaptations which is made by the body through athletic training is neurological. When athletes force their bodies to move faster than normal the body must create neurological connections with more of the required muscle fibers. Neurologically recruiting these muscles is the body’s way of adapting so the next time athletes perform a speed workout or agility training their bodies will already have activated and trained these additional muscle fibers. The more activated and trained muscle fibers that an athlete has, the greater force they will be able to produce with those muscles. This turns into faster sprints, quicker cuts, and higher vertical jumps for all athletes who utilize speed workouts and agility training.
Speed Workouts For Athletes
“ Speed Kills” is a common term used in sports. Any athlete who has faced an opponent who has simply outrun them knows how top end speed can enhance their athletic performance. As was stated earlier athletes can enhance their foot speed by actively forcing their legs to move faster than normal. By adding resistance to this speed workout, athletes will be able to further enhance the muscle recruitment in their legs and hips, leading to greater enhancements in speed and quickness.
To perform the cone drill athletes will need 9 Speed and Agility Cones and a set of Kbands Leg Resistance Bands. After securely attaching the Kbands above the knees athletes will place the Speed and Agility Cones evenly spaced apart in a line. Athletes will then place the remaining Speed and Agility Cone 15-20 yards past the last Speed and Agility Cone for the “Sprint Out” portion of the speed workout which will be performed after each set of the speed workout. Speed and Agility Cone spacing should mimic the spacing on a Speed and Agility Ladder.
This speed workout will be performed in several different variations. The first cone drill variation involves the athlete placing one foot in each opening of the cone drill set up and then performing a 15-20 yard sprint-out immediately after finishing the foot speed cone drill portion of the speed workout. During this portion of the speed workout athletes need to drive their knees up and work off the balls of their feet through the cone drill. Athletes need to keep their chests and eyes high to help improve balance and coordination as they work through the speed workout.
For the second variation of the speed workout athletes will begin the cone drill with explosive jumps in the first 3-4 holes of the cone drill setup, before switching back to the first variation of the cone drill (one foot in each hole) then perform the 15-20 yard sprint out once all Speed and Agility Cones have been cleared. For these jumps athletes need to practice explosive arm action to help accelerate them off the ground. Once greater muscle activation is achieved through the jumping portion of the speed workout athletes should be explosive when performing the sprinting portion of the cone drill.
The third and final speed workout variation involves a karaoke type movement across the cone drill setup. Athletes will line up so the Speed and Agility Cones are at their side, first stepping their outside foot into the hole and then driving their back knee across their body. Athletes will repeat the footwork combination until they have reached the end of the cone drill set up before performing the sprint out portion of the speed workout. Athletes need to be sure this portion of the speed workout is performed evenly from both sides of the body.
All variations of the speed workout should be performed for 4-6 sets per variation.
Great Cone Drills For Team Speed Workouts
The cones drills are a great way for teams or small groups to efficiently get in a large volume of speed and quickness training in a short period of time. Coaches can have teams continuously run through each variation of the speed workout before moving into more sports specific training. Athletes can work on strengthening the legs and abdominals to continually increase their body control and foot speed. Speed work out drills such as the Fast Feet Speed Taps or even speed workouts involving different equipment such as the Reactive Stretch Cord will utilize different mechanisms in the athletes body to help them increase their speed and quickness.
Using the Speed and Agility Cones to complete the speed workout, instead of a Speed and Agility Ladder, allows athletes to build more speed as they work to complete the cone drill. If athletes are performing their speed workouts at a faster rate this will help translate into greater speed during competition.
Great Form For Great Results During Speed Workouts
Athletes looking to maximize their results while performing the cone drills need to pay extra attention to how their body is positioned and how it moves throughout the cone drill.
When athletes are performing the one foot in each hole variation it is important athletes get each foot on and off the ground as quickly as possible to increase the speed at which the muscles fire.
When athletes are performing the jumping variation of the cone drill they really need to take advantage of their bodies natural stretch shortening cycle to help increase muscle activation and force off the ground. The body’s stretch shortening cycle is the natural process of tightening and storing extra energy in the muscles of the legs. If this extra stored energy can be quickly released it has a profoundly positive effect on how much energy can be released by the body at a given point.
The final phase of the speed workout exercises come at speed and agility from a different angle. Instead of forward sprinting or jumping athletes will attempt to powerfully drive the knee across the body while moving laterally. This helps athletes attain greater balance while moving explosively.
All portions of the speed workout need to be performed with eyes facing forward and not at the feet. This will help athletes attain greater balance and a greater sense of where the feet are in relation to the body and the Speed and Agility Cones. Athletes cannot look at their feet to ensure they are moving correctly during competition, so it should not be allowed during speed training. Athletes will get the most out of the speed workouts that are closest to game like situations.
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