Everybody wants to be faster — a faster runner, faster biker, faster swimmer — it doesn't matter what sport; speed is the ticket to winning. What if getting to the gym isn't possible because of scheduling problems, work commitments or because of travel? Don't let that interfere with a speed training routine.
There are several body-weight only exercises that will help improve speed and don't require any specialized equipment to do. Try the following five highly-effective exercises to get in some speed training, regardless if it's in a living room, hotel or local park.
1. HIIT Sprinting in Place
Sprinting in place can be done anywhere there is enough room to stand. Sprinting in place is also perfectly suited to high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is training in short bursts of maximum effort with only a short rest between sets of work.
HOW TO DO IT: Begin by standing on a stable surface with your back straight, feet shoulder-width apart and arms relaxed at your sides. Next, lift one knee up to waist height and bring it down again landing on the ball of the foot. As the first foot comes down, lift the other knee up. Repeat as fast as possible while swinging the arms as if running straight ahead.
A HIIT sprinting in place workout could consist of four 30-second intervals of all-out effort with a 30 second rest in between sets.
Burpees are a whole-body exercise that are extremely intensive and have the potential to develop explosive strength and speed. A May 2015 study published in Military Medicine discovered that four weeks of HIIT training using Burpees was as good as steady-state endurance training for building and maintaining fitness.
HOW TO DO IT: From a push-up position on the floor, jump your feet between your hands and raise up into a squat position before jumping straight up into the air. As the feet return to the ground, reverse the process until you're back in the push-up position to start another rep.
Try four or five all out sets for 30 to 45 seconds of work with no more than 45 seconds of rest between sets.
3. Jumping Jack
Jumping Jacks, also called a side straddle hop or star jump, work the whole body just like Burpees. The jumping motion involves all the leg muscles while swinging the arms increases the cardiovascular training effect.
HOW TO DO IT: From a standing position, jump both feet wide and raise the hands overhead, sometimes clapping them together. Immediately jump the feet back together, returning to a standing position with the arms at the sides.
Work on your speed by doing four or five sets of quick-paced jumping jacks for one minute; rest only 30 to 45 seconds between sets.
4. Vertical Jump
Vertical jumps for improved speed should be performed for time not reps. Thirty seconds of vertical jumps with about 30 to 45 seconds of rest between sets provides a tough workout.
HOW TO DO IT: Begin vertical jumps from a standing position with the legs roughly hip-width apart and hands at waist level. Drop into a squat while swinging the arms behind the hips. Rapidly swing both arms overhead while jumping as hard as possible. Drop down into a squat again and repeat. Be careful to only squat until the thighs are parallel with the floor to avoid possible knee injury.
5. Mountain Climber
The mountain climber exercise works the entire body and offers a hard cardio and strength workout that contributes to an improved anaerobic capacity.
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a push-up position with both arms straight, hands on the floor, a straight back and the legs together. Next bring one knee in and place a foot under the chest. Quickly push the leg back while bringing the other leg to the chest. Continue repeating the motion.
Although mountain climbers may be done for either time or reps, when your goal is to improve your speed, do five or six sets of one to two minutes. Perform each set at 100 percent effort; rest 30 seconds between them.
- ACE: High-Intensity Interval Training
- Effects of Low-Volume, High-Intensity Whole-Body Calisthenics on Army ROTC Cadets;Gist NH, Freese EC, Ryan TE, Cureton KJ;Military Medicine;(2015)
- Short-Term Jump Activity on Bone Metabolism in Female College-Aged Nonathletes; Kohei Kishimoto,Ryan P. Lynch,Jamie Reiger,Vanessa R. Yingling;Journal of Sports Science and Medicine;(2012)