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9 Speed Drills for Athletes To Boost Sports Performance

Speed is an essential skill that can help give athletes an advantage over their opponents in many sports. These speed drills and techniques can help you boost your athletic performance on the field. 

Whether you need to run longer distances or sprint for shorter bursts, improving an athlete’s speed should be an integral part of any sports training program.  It’s also something that athletes can develop regardless of age or experience, which makes it an ideal goal for athletes just starting out to focus on. 

However, many speed training programs focus on developing areas that might not be right for an athlete’s particular sport or try to address problems in an inefficient way.  For example, some training programs may emphasize increasing power and strength, but fail to address running mechanics, which may be the lowest hanging fruit for improved performance for some athletes. 

Athletes also need to be mindful of incorporating quickness and change of direction drills into their training program, as they may be critical to unlocking enhanced speed performance in their specific sport.  So while training to improve speed can be a bit complex, especially for those just starting out, there’s an easy way to perform various exercises and see exponential growth in speed: train with VertiMax.  The VertiMax resistance training system allows for an extended range of motion, making it an excellent way to execute sprinting drills, develop your running mechanics, and enhance speed.  Let’s take a look at some of the unique ways you can increase your speed and elevate your performance with the VertiMax.


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Training to Improve Speed

First, let’s quickly examine the most effective way for athletes to go about training for improvements in speed.  While it may be conventional thought that athletes should be attempting to train for strength gains and lifting heavy weights to increase speed, training for power will be more effective for building speed.  Power is the rate at which the force is generated, so in practice it is how fast an athlete is lifting the load they’re training with.  Therefore, going with lighter weights and attempting quicker, more explosive movements when training should be the focus of an athlete’s training program.  


9 Speed Drills 

1. Step Up Run

For those athletes that want to build the fundamentals of their running mechanics, the Step Up Run is a great place to start.  Using a plyometric box, an athlete starts on the ground in front of the box, then steps onto the box and intentionally drives their other leg up with force.  You can attach the VertiMax resistance to the waist or legs to really enhance the power in their stride and build their form.  Check out the video to watch an athlete perform this drill correctly.



2. Cycling Hamstrings

Another exercise designed to help athletes perfect their running technique, the Cycling Hamstrings is an excellent drill to develop forward force production and help athletes that need to be able to reach high end sprinting speeds.  As you can see in the video, the athlete uses the resistance from the VertiMax on their hamstrings and their swing arm while mimicking their running motion, helping the athlete to practice producing maximum force with this component of their mechanics.  Take a look at the video for a breakdown on how athletes should perform this exercise.  

@vertimax Want to #runfaster ? Try this hamstring cycle drill with #VertiMax resistance to build leg strength and improve hip mobility. Make sure to emphasize these 2 tips: 1️⃣ Dorsiflexion: point those toes upward 2️⃣ Full extension when swinging the leg down and back #vertimaxtraining #vertimaxraptor #getraptorfit #athleticdevelopment #hamstringexercise #athletesoftiktok #speedandagility #speedkills #speedtraining ♬ Instrumental Hip Hop 90´s - Vagabeat

3. Running in Place 

Athletes can build on the strength and power they’ve built with the previous two exercises and really start to see improvements in performance when running in place while using the VertiMax.  As the video demonstrates, athletes can attach the resistance bands to their thighs and ankles to give them some tension while running.  Athletes should then really lock in to maintain proper form throughout the drill, in an effort to achieve max sprint speed.  Watch the link to the video below to get a good idea of what you need to focus on with this drill.



4. Box Jumps

A great way to develop explosive power throughout the lower body, Box Jumps are a staple of many speed training programs.  Incorporating the VertiMax into the exercise only boosts it’s effectiveness at helping athletes create force with quick movements.  With the resistance attached at the waist, the athlete will jump as quickly as they can onto a box for 20 seconds, attempting to never let their heels touch the ground.  Athletes can increase the size of the box as they progress in their workouts to challenge themselves.  Check out the video link to see how to execute the exercise and learn some tips from the coach.



5. Raptor Load and Lift

Another drill athletes can use to achieve functional results is this Raptor Load and Lift exercise that’s utilized by Marquette University’s strength and conditioning staff.  With the VertiMax resistance attached, the athlete leans on a sled to maintain balance and then quickly performs three knee raises, really attempting to drive their knees up.  This drill is a good fit for athletes in field sports, as it replicates the movements you typically see in these sports.  Take a look at the video example to learn more about this exercise.



6. 20-Yard Over Speed

For those athletes who need to be able to reach their peak speed quickly, the 20 Yard Over Speed drill is a great way to achieve this.  With the resistance load around the athlete’s waist, they use the tension created from the resistance to assist in driving them forward during their sprint.  Adding the resistance of the VertiMax to this exercise helps increase the athlete’s stride length, allowing them to cover ground faster.  Check out the video below for more instructions.



7. Assisted Triple Extension March

Decelerating is a critical ability in most sports, as many athletic movement patterns aren’t in a straight line.  Improving your ability to decelerate will no doubt increase your speed in game, as you’ll be able to stay on balance and change directions rapidly.  To improve deceleration, athletes need to check out this Assisted March drill.  Starting with the resistance around your waist, begin marching toward the VertiMax platform, using the tension to pull them into the extension movement.  Visit the video at the link below for more details on how to perform this drill correctly.



8. 5-Star Cone Drill (Ankle Loading)

This is a great drill for beginners or young athletes to start their training off with.  Using the VertiMax attachments, athletes can add resistance to their ankles, which will help improve their ability to accelerate quickly.  With the resistance in place, athletes then will explode forward and backpedal back to 5 different cones.  Check out the video below for an excellent example of how to execute the drill.



9. 5 Star Cone Drill Timed with Tennis Balls (Waist Loading)

Building off the basic 5 Star Cone Drill, this drill changes the muscle group that bears the load (waist) and adds a competitive aspect to the exercise.  This is a great way for athletes to refine their running technique and develop the power they can generate with their lower body.  Check out the link to learn how to perform the exercise.


Another variation on the original 5 Star Cone Drill, this exercise helps train an athlete’s lateral movement.  This is a tremendous drill for specific sports where lateral quickness is critical, such as basketball or baseball.  


Max Out your Speed with VertiMax

In conclusion, speed is a critical skill that athletes must master to gain an advantage over their opponents in various sports. Being able to outrun the competition is at the core of many sports, so it’s only logical that athletes training for speed stand to have the biggest advantage once the games start. 

It is essential to incorporate speed drills and techniques into any training program, focusing on developing power and functional movements rather than just strength gains. Not all drills or equipment are created equal though, as athletes need to be deliberate about training for functionality and force production over pure strength gains when developing a training routine.   

The VertiMax resistance training system provides a simple yet effective way to execute various exercises and achieve exponential growth in speed. By using VertiMax, athletes can enhance their running mechanics, develop explosive power throughout their lower body, and improve their performance on the field.

VertiMax allows athletes to load any muscle group with consistent resistance, making it perfect for training with the explosive movements that are inherent to sports.  VertiMax Raptors and V8 Platforms are unique versatile because the equipment can be set-up and function just about anywhere. Athletes can take VertiMax to their field of play and use the additional space this provides to replicate the amount of speed they actually need to generate to be effective during game play.

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned athlete, VertiMax can help you maximize your speed potential and elevate your game. So, train with VertiMax to take your speed performance to the next level!


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