What is the best workout to increase speed and agility? Here are some great workouts and drills from our forum members to help improve performance. Get opinions about what sports require the most and least amount of speed.
Speed and agility are very important qualities of a good athlete. Some sports can rely solely on speed and agility.
How can you increase your speed and agility? Be specific?
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Speed and agility is an important part of many common sports and developing these two attributes can make a massive difference to your performance. Below I will guide you through the basics to start improving your speed and agility and help you get on track to becoming a more powerful and explosive athlete.
Increasing Speed & Agility
How Can You Increase Your Speed And Agility? Be Specific?
There are many ways you can increase your speed depending on many attributes such as your level of fitness, training experience, body composition etc.
For the average trained athlete the quickest way to increase linear speed is through short sprints with full recovery (5-50m for team sport athletes) and improving technique. Weight training (via improving relative body strength i.e. strength/bodyweight) will help improve speed. Without sprinting it will not have much of an impact on increasing your speed. The same goes for leaping and bounding plyometric drills and improving flexibility and mobility.
Improving technique requires a coach to analyze, critique and suggest improvements whether that coach is physically present at your training sessions or not (i.e. posting videos of your training sessions online to your coach is an option).
For the untrained athlete the quickest way to increase linear speed (as well as agility) is through improvements in body composition (i.e. losing fat if overweight or increasing muscle mass if underweight) and GPP (stands for general physical preparation i.e. in the case of sprinting boosting general fitness and relative body strength).
Max effort sprinting and agility training is not required until the untrained athlete has reached a suitable body composition and level of GPP.
Agility refers to the ability to start, stop and change direction. Most training drills that develop agility can be very stressful on the joints and on soft tissue and hence must be done with low volume. Examples of these higher impact drills are plyometric drills (leaping and bounding) and cone drills. Medicine ball drills fall under
the low impact category.
In the in-season it is not necessary to work on high impact agility drills. Practices and games will cover specific agility required for the sport. Doing more agility drills will not provide any extra benefit during this time. It will only increase the chance of injury.
There's a lot of misinformation out there about sprint training, so be careful what you read. In the opinion of most good sprint coaches, getting fast requires you to train smart rather than train hard.
You shouldn't feel absolutely dead on your feet with bucket loads of lactic acid flooding your muscles after any session (this will only hamper recovery between sessions, which is not ideal; recovery is the key to progress). Whenever you feel you start to slow from fatigue, the session should stop immediately. It's important to remember you are not training to be a slow, long distance runner, you're training to be a powerful, explosive athlete.
Before I get into the sample routines, I must mention that training to get fast and agile can be hard on the body (even moreso if the volume is higher). Not only do your muscles need time to recover but so does your CNS (Central Nervous System), which controls motor responses to sensory stimulus in the body.
It is recommended you have at least 48 hours rest between high intensity training days in order to optimize the functioning of the CNS so you can train at your best every high intensity session, so between each high intensity day you can have a low intensity day to recuperate.
Below is a sample training schedule to improve speed and agility in the off season geared toward team sports athletes (that's not to say it wouldn't benefit other types of athletes, but their training may take a different focus, particularly track and field athletes).
Pre/in-season training would require the athlete to be able to adjust his training volume to fit the frequency and intensity of the team practice sessions/games i.e. if the athlete is going through a high intensity team practice/game regimen then the training volume and frequency for weights and sprint training would need to be lowered and agility training removed (If you don't understand you'll see better when I discuss my own training plans).
Disclaimer: As with undertaking any exercise program be sure to consult a physician before jumping straight into any of the program or exercises listed below.
Off Season (Trained Athlete)
Day 1 (HI): Sprints & Weights: