3 Tips to get Faster, Faster

author - melissa witmer strength and conditioning

Adaptations to training for top speed can take months or even years for elite athletes. Fortunately, increasing hip range of motion and core strength only takes a few weeks and can also lead to increases in speed for many athletes. As your hips move more freely your stride length automatically increases. Core strength helps your posture and efficiency. Here are three tips just in time to get ready for the club season!

1. Cook Hip Lifts

Hip lifts help to train proper firing of the glutes and also act to stretch the psoas muscle and hip flexor. Both of these actions will help to increase the range of motion in your hip. Hip lifts can easily be incorporated into your dynamic warm-up or your core strength training time. To perform the hip lift, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on flat on the ground. Bring one leg up to your chest and hold it there. The purpose of holding your leg is to prevent you from arching your back, forcing you to use your glutes. Now lift your hips up with the leg that remains on the ground. It may be helpful to think of making a fist with your buttocks. The first time you try this you may be surprised to find that you can only move your hips only 2-3 inches off the ground. That’s normal until your glutes learn to fire properly. Hold this position for 2 counts and return your hips to the floor. Start with 6 reps on each leg 2-3 times per week. Add 2 reps per week until you can do 12 reps on each leg. You will find that you’ll eventually be able to form a straight line with your body from knee to shoulder.

2. Stop Jogging!

Most players already understand that long-distance running is counterproductive when trying to develop speed because of conflicting physiological adaptations. Jogging, especially slow jogging, also uses a very limited range of motion in the hip when compared to sprinting or even walking. Therefore I recommend avoiding repetitions of the restricted range of motion by avoiding jogging whenever possible. Use a dynamic warmup instead of taking a lap around the field. Use walking instead of jogging when doing interval training. Many runners always have tight hamstrings because your hamstrings adapt to operating in the range of motion you use most frequently. If you want to be a sprinter, do the majority of your training at 70% of your sprinting speed or above.

3. Work the core muscles that keep you upright

Crunches are the most common of core exercises, but crunches work muscles that help you to bend in half.  To have good sprinting form, you want to work the inner core muscles that help to keep your body upright and give your diaphragm and lungs space to move. Planks and dead bug exercises are a good place to start.