Speed Training Drills

These sample speed training drills are designed to develop quick feet, power and acceleration. Use them as part of a more comprehensive speed program or as a session on their own. You can get more information on speed training by visiting the speed training section.

Here some general guidelines to bear in mind…

  • A typical speed session might consist of 5 sets of 10 repetitions in total. You could do 1 set of each of the speed training drills below or choose 3 drills and do 1-2 sets of 10 sprints for each.
  • Try to keep a work to rest ratio of 5:1. For example a 6 second sprint should be followed by approximately 30 seconds walking recovery.
  • Speed training drills are best performed when you are fresh. Don’t attempt these drills after a long endurance run or a heavy strength training session for example.
  • It goes without saying that you should be fully warmed up before starting a speed training session. Do at least 10 mins light aerobic exercise followed by some dynamic stretches.
  • Avoid static stretcing in the warm up. These are best left until the end of the session when increasing/maintaining flexibility is important.

Speed Training Drills

Plyometric Bounding

Drill #1 – Bounding
This is a plyometrics exercise. Along with a strength training program, plyometrics will help to improve your sprinting power.

  1. Jog into the start of the drill for forward momentum.
  2. After a few feet, forcefully push off with the left foot and bring the leg forward. At same time drive your right arm forward.
  3. Repeat with other leg and arm.
  4. This exercise is an exaggerated running motion focusing on foot push-off and air time.

Drill #2 – Alternating Strides
Speed training drills like these help to develop foot speed and co-ordination.

  1. Set up a series of cones in a straight line. The first 10 cones should be about 1 meter/yard apart. The next 10 should be 2 meters/yards apart.
  2. From standing start sprint the total length of the cones taking one step between each marker.
  3. The cones close together will encourage faster, shorter strides. You can gradually decrease the distance between cones as you progress. Walk slowly back to the start to recover.

Drill #3 – Alternating Starts
The basis of these speed training drills is a 10-20 meter/yard sprint. You should focus on accelerating as quickly as possible by powering away with your arms and legs. If your sport involves reacting quickly from different starting positions (as most sports do) try to vary the starting position. Examples include doing a press up then sprinting, sitting on your hands, lying face down, doing 5 squat jumps before sprinting etc.

Weave in/out

Drill #4 – Accelerating Sprints
This drill requires you to mark out distance of about 100 yards/meters where you can sprint in a straight line. You also need to mark a halfway point either with some landmark or a mark on the ground. Starting at one end, gradually accelerate to reach full speed at the halfway point and continue to sprint to the end. Slow down gradually to a jog, turn and walk/jog back to the start. Speed training drills like these help to develop speed and power endurance. Remember though the emphasis should be on the quality of the sprint so allow plenty of time to recover as you walk between sprints.

Drill #5 – Weave In/Weave Out
This is an excellent drill for developing lateral (sideways) agility.

  1. Place 4 cones in a straight line about 3 yards/meters apart.
  2. In between each pair of cones place another cone about 3 yards/meters to the left.
  3. Sprint from one cone to the next touching each one with your hand.
  4. Try to take quick side steps, rather than turning to face the marker and running forward.