This week our exercise is more of a topic, and that topic is speed.
Whatever you goal is – to look good, be fitter or perform better – adding speed-work to your routine will deliver changes, and quick.
A quick bit of physiology
Our muscles can be roughly divided into two types: slow twitch and fast twitch fibres. Slow twitch fibres are used for endurance activities and fast twitch, as the name suggests, are for being fast 🙂
Fast twitch muscle fibres also expend more energy after an activity once you deplete them of glycogen, the fuel they are powered by.
This means a couple of things. If you’re looking to rev your metabolism up to burn more fat, adding some speed training is going to be very useful. It also means we need to learn to lift fast!
Ways to train for speed
Is one thing I see a lot in the gym right now, and is one of the best ways of developing speed and power. However, it’s a really complex and technical skill that takes months of training to gain basic competency. The rewards are high but so are the risks…
Have you ever seen an out of shape sprinter? Nope, neither have I 🙂 There’s a reason why sprinters are so athletic and that’s because sprinting is all about speed! Now sprinting is another really complex skill but there’s an alternative which makes it both harder and safer – hill sprints. The hill makes the sprint much harder to do and it also reduces the speed you can do it at, which lowers the risk of injury significantly. Hill sprints should be part of everyone’s routine, if you’re looking to get lean and athletic. If you have a lot of weight to lose, hill walks are a great way to start.
I’ve left the best for last! Medicine ball throws and slams are fantastically versatile ways of training speed in both upper and lower body. All you need is a bit of solid floor or a wall, a good non-bouncy medicine ball and away you go. Throw it at the wall, slam it into the ground, they are so simple to use, great for speed training and a fab conditioning tool.
That’s it for this week, next few posts I’ll share my favourite speed drills and how to do them 🙂