I’ve got a great topic for you guys coming up: today we’re talking about the best bodyweight workouts to increase speed.
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It’s been a crazy year and while many of my athletes have been lucky enough to maintain their regular training, I really feel for the guys who are missing out on both their competitive season, and in-gym sessions.
Speed is one of the most critical aspects in any athlete’s arsenal of skills. Even if you’re training from your living room or backyard, I want to share the best bodyweight workouts to increase speed and sprinting ability.
Since you might not be in the best situation for a lot of explosive training like jumping or actual sprinting, I’m going to tell you how to modify a few “gym” exercises that you could do in your own home.
These drills are specifically meant to help address the fast-twitch muscles that you use while sprinting.
Let’s get started:
1. Bulgarian Split Squat
This first exercise is one I often use with my football players since it’s great for building power and explosive strength through the posterior chain.
You’ll need a bench, chair or even your couch for this.
- Place your back foot on the bench or chair with your front foot on the floor in front of you.
- Both knees should create about a 90-degree angle.
- As you come up from the bottom of the squat, focus on placing all your weight into the heel of the front foot so you feel the glutes doing most of the work.
Start with 3 sets of a 30-60 second hold on each side and see if you can build up from there.
The key to making this bodyweight exercise a serious strength drill, is by using an isometric hold.
What this means is that you’ll hold the position at the bottom of the lunge with your rear knee hovering about 2 inches over the floor.
The reason we train this drill isometrically, is to put those muscles into a lengthened position for an extended period of time, you generate more stress.
In the case of performance training: stress on the muscle = strength.
While a muscle is lengthened, it’s actually at its weakest point waiting for contraction to occur. This position recruits additional motor units to the area and overtime causes strength to build.
Using the Bulgarian split squat as a bodyweight exercise targets the exact muscles you utilize while sprinting: the glutes and quads.
By recruiting the both of these muscle groups at their longest length, you train all of motor units to respond with more power.
2. Buddy Hamstring Curls/Nordic Hamstring Curls
Grab a friend or family member for this one.
These hamstring curls are an awesome bodyweight exercise to increase speed since they target the hamstrings and glutes.
- Begin in a kneeling position, using a towel or mat below your knees.
- With the feet flexed, have a partner kneel behind you, and hold onto your ankles so that your feet are anchored to the floor.
- Keeping a strong core, lower yourself as slowly and as controlled as possible until you reach the ground.
- From there you can simply push yourself back up to the starting position.
Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions and begin playing around with how long you can maintain that isometric hold.
As soon as you begin leaning forward on these, you should begin feeling your glutes and hamstrings fire up.
An important key to this drill is making sure that your upper body remains totally flat. That way you don’t cheat by just having your chest dip towards the floor.
Focus on exploding back up to the top with every single rep using.
For a challenge, add a pause to this by locking up at 45 degrees once you reach the hardest spot for that isometric effect.
ISOMETRIC TRAINING FOR SPEED
Isometric training is such an important tool for developing your sprinting ability.
Using these bodyweight exercises to increase speed is a key way to get some serious intensity in, even when training from home.
As I always tell my athletes, be sure to train every single rep as if you’re competing.
What do I mean by this?
While a lot of guys think you can only increase your speed with heavy compound lifts, I’d argue they’re wrong.
Many of my athletes have seen major progress simply from brining more intensity to every area of their workout.
For even more on this, check out the 5 Ways to Become a Better Athlete At Home.
If you want to begin making serious speed gains and sprint faster, start incorporating these isometric, bodyweight exercises.
Looking for at-home friendly, bodyweight exercises? I recommend looking at my Athletic Calisthenics Program.
This is the #1 Athletic Bodyweight Training Program around: containing speed mechanics drills, plyometrics, ballistic movements and more.
Push yourself, and work hard