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Speed & Conditioning Workouts

by
author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
Speed & Conditioning Workouts
Sprint intervals help to improve an athlete's speed conditioning. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

While athletes will build their speed, agility and conditioning via their practices and competitions, incorporating extra workouts into their regimen can give them the extra edge against competitors. Structure three separate training sessions per week, with each one either focusing on agility and acceleration, speed, or agility and speed conditioning.

Organizing a Training Regimen

Speed and conditioning workouts should be incorporated into a training regimen three days per week. If done on practice days, speed workouts should be performed before practice so that fatigue doesn't adversely affect you reaching max speed during training. Conditioning workouts should be performed after scheduled practice so that fatigue doesn’t adversely affect sport performance. A 15-minute dynamic warm-up is needed before beginning. ExRx.net recommends organizing a three-day speed conditioning regimen to focus on agility and acceleration drills on the first day, speed drills on the second day and agility and speed conditioning drills on the third day. The only equipment necessary for training sessions is a set of four cones.

Agility and Acceleration Workout

The agility and acceleration workout focuses on developing the ability to change directions quickly and improving first step quickness. It includes zig-zag agility sprints, the box drill and the first step drill. For the zig-zag agility sprint, cones are set out in a straight line a few feet away. The athlete sprints through the cones, zig-zagging through each one as quickly as possible. For the box drill, four cones are set out in a square, with each one five yards away. The athlete makes their way around the square, sprinting forward, sliding sideways and backpedaling so that they’re always facing forward. The first step drill requires cones to be set out in a zig-zag formation with each one about five-yards apart. Athletes start at the first cone and sprint diagonally toward the next cone. Decelerate to run around the cone and then explode again to sprint diagonally toward the following cone. Complete each drill five times, resting 60-120 seconds between each set.

Speed Workout

A speed workout will consist of drills that involve sprinting straight ahead. Rest periods will be slightly longer so that athletes can fully recover in between each drill. The distance sprinted should reflect the demands of the sport. For example, soccer players will need to incorporate sprints of a longer distance than basketball athletes due to differences in size of the field and court. According to ExRx.net, baseball and softball players should sprint a distance of 30 yards, basketball players should sprint distances of 20 yards, and football and soccer players should sprint 10 to 40 yards, depending on the position they play. A total of four to 10 sprints are to be completed during the workout, with four to seven minute rest periods in between each set.

Agility and Speed Conditioning Workout

The agility and speed conditioning workout incorporates both change of direction drills and straight-ahead sprints. To improve conditioning, rest periods are kept short. For agility, 10 sets of the shuttle drill are included, with 30 second rest periods in between each one. For the shuttle drill, three cones are set in a straight line so that they’re 10 yards apart. The athlete begins at the center cone and sprints to the cone on their right. The athlete touches it and then changes directions, sprinting 10 yards to the cone on their far left. The athlete then hits that cone, turns and sprints back to the center cone. The workout finishes with 10 to 20 straight-ahead sprints of 20 to 50 yards, with 15 to 30-second rest periods between each set.

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