3 Quickness Exercises to Blow-By Your Opponents

Getting a faster first step requires elite levels of acceleration. While I have shared acceleration drills designed to improve your acceleration mechanics, for more quickness, you also need a base of strength. 

Below, I’m going to share some of my favorite quickness exercises. They’re easy to plug in to any workout program, and you should see improvements quickly.

Be sure to use proper form, and perform them with explosiveness.

Here’s a video that discusses two of the exercises (one is a variation) I’m going to lay out below:

Bulgarian Split Squats

By far one of the best movements an athlete can do. The Bulgarian split squat is a versatile exercise that maximizes recruitment of the lower extremities, and it can even be manipulated to be used as a plyometric movement.

Even more, you can change the focus of the exercise to target more of the glutes, or more of the quad, depending on your deficiency.

It’s great for first step quickness because the movement can mimic the shin angles you have when you’re taking that first step, meaning it’s very specific to proper acceleration mechanics.

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Here’s how to perform a Bulgarian split squat:

  1. Get a foam pad/mat and a bench
  2. Place the top of one foot flat on the bench, that knee on the pad. The other foot will be flat on the ground, that knee bent at 90 degrees.
  3. If you want to make this move target more glute, move the ankle of the working leg slightly in front of the knee, if not, keep the ankle under the knee.
  4. Extend your knee and push your hips forward as you come to full knee extension, then lower back down with control, slightly above the pad.
  5. Repeat this for desired reps and switch sides

SL Romanian Deadlift

Here’s a powerful unilateral movement that focuses on hip extension, another critical piece, yet overlooked piece, of a getting a quick first step. Not many athletes perform this movement, because not many athletes focus on hip extension, but this is a powerful tool to have in your belt if you’re looking to blow by your opponents.

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Here’s how to perform the single leg Romanian deadlift:

  1. Grab a dumbbell. Whichever leg is working, the dumbbell will be in the opposite hand (if I’m on my left leg, dumbbell is in my right hand).
  2. Keeping your eyes on a single spot on the floor, and your shoulders down and back, you’re going to put a slight bend in the knee (10-20 degrees).
  3. Keeping your knee fixed at that angle, you’re going to push my hips back, keeping the shoulders down and back, and lower the dumbbell towards the ground until you can’t go any further
  4. When you hit that point, push the hips forward and squeeze the butt until you reach your starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

Elevated Reverse Lunge

The last movement is one I don’t see a lot of athletes doing. The elevated reverse lunge is a movement that is the most specific to acceleration.

It requires the work of both the glute and quad, and gets your body in the acceleration forward lean. Although it’s advanced, it can be another game-changer for you.

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Here’s how to perform the elevated reverse lunge:

  1. Find a stable surface that’s raised about 8-10 inches off the ground.
  2. Stand on top of the surface, dumbbells in hand.
  3. Take a big step back off of the raised surface with one leg, bringing that knee towards the ground. While you do this, keep all weight on the front leg.
  4. Drive off the front leg and glute, and come back to standing.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

Importance of First Step Quickness

While mechanics are absolutely essential for acceleration, you need some oomf behind those mechanics to really rattle your opponents with your quickness. These three movements are the best movements I know of to translate directly into more explosiveness with your speed.

More Critical Information on Speed

To get the most out of these quickness exercises, you have to place them into a program cohesively.

Even more, you need the correct tempos, reps, and intensities to make these movements really work for you.

Plus, speed is built not just on strength, but also power, core strength, and mechanics. All of them build upon each other to really harness the speed that’s waiting to be unleashed in your body.

If you want to see how these movements can work in an effective strength and conditioning program, designed to get you more speed, click the link below to take a peek at Elite Speed Academy…

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