3 Advanced Top Speed Drills to Increase Your Linear and In-Game Speed

Top speed. It’s something ALL athletes want more of, but not many know how to get it. In fact, increasing top speed is still a mystery to many coaches out there.

Here’s the truth. To increase top speed, you don’t need to add a bunch of pop in your step. Yes, it helps, but when it comes to top speed and linear speed, you really want to hone in your mechanics.

Because to be honest, sprinting is like painting. Each day, you have to pull out the canvas and work on your brush stroke to create the picture you have in your mind.

Same with sprinting. In order to become the fast, explosive athlete you picture yourself as, you need to sharpen your mechanics constantly.

And most guys aren’t doing this.

Far too many guys are reaching back when they run, have wonky arm pump mechanics that make them look like a wild turkey, and they’re not harnessing the power center of their lower limbs. All of these mechanics mistakesย  weigh down your speed potential.

So, today, what I want to do is share 3 advanced linear speed drills that will increase your top speed, whether you’re running a 40 yard dash, or blasting past a defender.

These drills will work to chip away at bad running habits and give you the speed you’ve pictured yourself with.

Advanced Linear Speed Drill #1: A-Skips

A-Skips are a staple for anyone looking to increase linear speed. This drill teaches an athlete to keep the three points of flexion that areย crucial in sprinting: the ankle, knee, and hip.

See, a lot of guys have a tendency to point their toe when they run, which creates a lack of pop in your sprint.

When you keep that ankle flexed, you activate more glute (the power center of your sprint) and stab your foot into the ground.

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All that said, here’s how to perform an A-Skip:

  1. Ensure your thoracic stays upright, and your arms are bent 90 degrees. Arms should move from your cheek to your butt cheek.
  2. Keeping your ankle cocked, bring your knee up to hip level, and your heel toward your hamstrings
  3. Stab that foot into the ground and switch legs with rhythm

Advanced Linear Speed Drill #2: Single Leg High Knee

This is another great building block to increase your speed, and it’s a great follow-up to the A-Skip.

The Single Leg High Knee teaches the athlete to correct the common error of swooping the leg back while sprinting. This linear speed drill also teaches the athlete to simultaneously flex the hip and knee, another key mechanism for more top speed. In fact, it ingrains motor patterns that, if you do these drills enough, will make running with proper mechanics second nature.

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Here’s how to perform the Single Leg High Knee:

  1. Ensure your thoracic stays upright, and your arms are bent 90 degrees. Arms should move from your cheek to your butt cheek.
  2. Flex your right hip and bring your knee to hip level, keeping the ankle cocked and bringing the ankle as close to the hamstring as possible
  3. Keep your left leg straight with the ankle cocked. This leg will stay straight the entire time.
  4. Stab the ground with the right foot to propel yourself down the floor.
  5. Repeat with other leg

Advanced Linear Speed Drill #3: Elevated Hip Switch

The elevated hip switch is one of my all time favorite linear speed drills, no matter what the athlete’s level is.

If you’re a young athlete, this drill will teach you to absorb force in a sprinting motion. If you’re an older athlete, it will increase your stability when striking the ground.

This drill short-strokes the athlete by having them place one leg on an elevated surface. The elevated surface forces the athlete to create and absorb more energy than he normally would.

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Here’s how to perform the Elevated Hip Switch:

  1. Ensure your thoracic stays upright, and your arms are bent 90 degrees. Arms should move from your cheek to your butt cheek.
  2. Find an elevated surface. It should be a 6-10 inch elevation.
  3. Place your right leg on the elevated surface and extend that knee.
  4. Bring your left knee to 90 degrees, level with the hip. Keep the ankle cocked and up near the hamstring.
  5. Place your arms in proper position (right hand by the cheek, left hand by the butt cheek)
  6. Drop your left foot toward the ground, then quickly drive through your right glute, and stab the box with your right foot to return to starting position.

Fitting These Linear Speed Drills into Your Workout Program

These linear speed drills are very mechanics focused. In fact, the only one that’s really taxing to your nervous system is the elevated hip switch.

That said, I’m giving you the OKAY to perform these mechanics drills before every workout after your warm-up.

Also, it helps to film yourself performing these speed drills, as these drills are mechanics focused, so you want to be performing these right.

Before I go, if you haven’t checked out Elite Speed Academy, make sure you do so. It’s my speed program designed to unlock yourย full speed potential.

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