3 Exercises for Speed & Strength Gains
Are you looking for ways to increase your speed, strengthen joints, and work all the major muscle groups of the body in one quick routine? Try this! Three classics performed back to back 2-3 times per week will provide all of that and more. Time strapped? This routine can be done in less than 15 minutes!
Are you already doing weight training as part of your overall training routine? Three sets of this routine at the beginning of your weight training sessions can enhance the results of the weight training. If you aren’t doing weight training yet, this series is a great way to introduce the fundamentals of weight training into your routine in a very manageable way.
Here are the three classic moves:
2- Plyometric box jumps
Take some time to learn how to perform a squat correctly as this set up will serve you well! A proper foundation of good form is the best way to get maximum results from performing squats while avoiding injury. Of the 3 moves the squat will take the most time to perfect.
Here is a good description of how to properly perform a squat:
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder to hip width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and a slight curve in your lower back. Keep your body weight in your heels and the slight curve in your lower back throughout the movement. Look straight ahead or slightly upward. Squat down by sending your butt back and descend, as if you were sitting down in a chair. Your knees should never move in front of your toes. Lower your butt until it is parallel with your knees, or just slightly below your knees. If this is too difficult, squat only to the point of your current range of motion. Reverse the movement and come to a standing position, fully opening your hip and knee joints. Repeat.
For the purposes of this series we’ll be doing squats without weight. Why? In order to increase your speed. This workout is geared to make you faster. The joint and full body muscle strengthening are the happy side effects!
Plyometric Box Jumps
Start with a 12” high Plyometric box. Jump onto it with both feet and land softly. Step backwards one foot at a time off the box. Repeat.You’ll see videos that show people jumping onto and backwards off the box with both feet. Since the benefit of the jump is in the spring onto the box, it’s best to go down carefully to avoid injury. When 12” gets too easy, add height in 3” increments.
If you’re already able to perform a pushup, try an inverted pushup with your feet on the 12” plyo box and your hands on the floor. Otherwise do your pushups on the floor in the standard way. Keep your hands at chest/shoulder level or the pushups will become more difficult to execute. Use your abs as well as your upper body strength to push up from the floor.
If you’re unable to perform a full pushup then it is critical that you work on this move. Pushups can be done with the knees on the floor instead of the feet, or against a wall from a standing position. Even if you’re only able to perform one full pushup in the traditional manner you should start with that and then use the modified position to complete the repeats. Anyone who considers him or herself an athlete should be able to execute pushups in the traditional manner because it is an absolute baseline exercise for upper body strength.
Here’s the routine:
10 12” plyo box jumps
Repeat for 3 sets with anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes rest in between sets. You should be breathing pretty heavily at the end of each set. If not, increase your speed. Do each set as quickly as possible and for time if you want to record your progress.
Make adjustments as the routine gets easier. Add an additional set. Increase the height of the plyo box. Increase the number of repeats. In the same way, if this routine feels too difficult decrease the number of repeats or use a lower plyo box. It’s best to do at least 3 sets at the level you are able to execute.
At somewhere between 4 to 6 weeks of performing this routine twice weekly you should definitely notice more spring in your step when you’re running, greater push/pull in your cycling and better results in your speed work. Let us know how it’s working for you!
Written by Victoria Nordgren. Victoria Nordgren, the founder of nordgren – women’s performance activewear at http://www.nordgrenactive.com/ is an avid cross trainer living in New York City.
Her weekly fitness blog can be found at http://nordgrenactive.com/wordpress2/
Please feel free to contact Victoria at [email protected]