I’ve written about this before, but summer is not the ideal time to think your athlete is going to make huge performance gains.
It CAN be, but only if you will not be going on any family vacations, attending any camps that take you away from a gym, and not playing a fall sport. If that is the case then you have a good 12 weeks to be put on the perfect speed program. Maybe longer, if you can continue into the school year uninterrupted.
For your Fall sports’ athlete though, that isn’t possible.
This week is the first week of summer for some of my athletes. Most of them though have been on summer break for at least 1-3 weeks. That being said, you now have about 7 weeks before fall practices start. If you missed out on training, those first 1-3 weeks, UH-OH.
With 7 weeks left, you better start working on getting faster. You can definitely make work on improving your speed and it should be good enough for the fall, but it won’t be the speed you really could develop with the maximum time I was talking about in the earlier paragraph.
It takes a good 4-6 weeks for your body to break down old habits and start new ones. To change neuromuscular responses and have muscle stimulus created. So, basically, if you start now you should be getting faster by that 7th week as you head into your fall practices.
You need to start doing the following pronto:
- You have to get stronger. You need to be lifting three times a week. Focus on multi-joint movement lifts such as deadlifts, squats, bench press and fill in some crucial other exercises such as posterior chain and core. If you have lifted before, great, dust off your old workout and get going. If you have not lifted before. You’ve just made this a little bit harder. I could tell you to do some easy bodyweight exercises, but at this point, shell out the money and pay someone to get you strong.
- Do plyometrics. Plyometrics are explosive exercises such as horizontal jumps, squat jumps, box jumps, any type of jumps. You can do them isolated for single explosions or multi-plyos doing rapid fire. These will help develop your fast twitch fibers which are important for speed.
- Combine the two. This means, you can do a workout where you lift and do plyos at the same time. Do a heavy squat and then rest 30 seconds and do some bodyweight jump squats. This is called contrast training and is a really good way to get you more explosive.
- Fix your running mechanics. The easiest way to improve your speed is to make sure you are mechanically sound when you run. If you are mechanically sound, great, then focus on everything else I’ve discussed. If you are not mechanically sound, fix them and you will definitely improve your time with this correction alone.
- Sprint. Sprint for varying distances, but you have to run fast. In order to improve speed, you have to train at 90% or more of your max. Otherwise, you aren’t stimulating the nervous system enough to improve speed. To really help you out, find an incline and do uphill runs for power. And if it is the right incline (about 10 degrees), you can do decline runs to give you an overspeed effect which will get you faster. As long as you are running mechanically correct.
- You cannot treat your vacation/camps/etc. like normal vacation/camps/etc. What this means is you cannot do nothing during this time. YOU ONLY HAVE 7 WEEKS TO GET FASTER! This means you have to go figure out what you need to do or where you need to go to continue this regimen if you are going on a vacation/camp/etc. Figure it out and make it work. If you do nothing, you will lose any momentum/progress gained from the previous weeks to get you faster.
You don’t have any time to waste. Start figuring out what you need to do to accomplish each one of these steps so that come August, you will be as fast as you can be and ready for your season.