The Most Important Part Of Speed

This may sound a bit unusual but one of the biggest parts of learning speed is to be flexible.

Recent studies show that the more flexible somebody is the more fast twitch fibers they have.

Your body contains 3 kinds of twitch fibers:

  • Fast
  • Medium
  • Slow

Let me explain how this actually works.

If you are a slower athlete you have more slower twitch fibers. This means that your reaction time takes a lot longer to tell your body to move.

You think to yourself, I need to move this direction, which signals your brain that you need to move your body in that direction, which then sends signals down to your muscles in a split second to start going that way.

However, the split second that takes is so fast you won’t even recognize it. Literally it is less than nanoseconds.

If you have average speed then you are made up of more medium twitch fibers and the same is true that if you are a faster athlete; most of your muscle fibers are already fast.

Now here’s the one caveat you should know.

Most people have mostly medium twitch fibers but you can begin to train those medium fibers to work faster and change them into fast twitch.

So essentially you can train them to become faster to the point where most of your medium twitch fibers turn into fast twitch fibers and then you have an army with you that can explode for you with power.

Understanding this is just one crucial element and that leads us to how we gain these.

Well first of all we want to make sure that our muscle fibers are loosened and relaxed which is why you want to stretch before every practice or game.

But before we can stretch we want to warm those muscles up slowly.

Think of your muscles being in a hibernate state before you go out to practice. You need to slowly awaken them. If you start by doing a full on sprint then you are going to stretch them out too quickly causing a strain.

Because when you are not warmed up your muscles are naturally tighter. So if you were to do too much too quickly those muscle fibers are pulled too far apart without being loosed and that’s what can lead you to being sidelined or injured until you get better.

Let’s avoid that…

So watch this video here to get a quick understanding of what to do for a great and efficient warm up:

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Stretching

In my opinion, the most overlooked aspect of speed is this.

In fact, most coaches really do a horrible job at teaching their kids stretching and just consider it a nuisance. So instead, they hurry up and get them onto the field and usually too late and that’s when problems occur.

Again, recent studies had shown with our United States Olympic track and soccer athletes that the more flexible an athlete is, the faster his muscle twitch fibers will fire, and the faster top speed he will reach.

So start by stretching properly and start with your biggest muscles first such as your quads and your hamstrings.

I will tell you this much that if you learn to stretch your hamstrings great then you will feel about 10 pounds lighter on your feet.

This is something my speed training coach taught me so I would make sure I took my time with hamstrings.

After these major muscles you can work down to doing hip-flexors, groins, and eventually down to calves.

Then definitely take a few minutes to stretch your arms as they will be the thrusters.

TIP: Most people don’t realize that your legs will never move faster than your arms while running so you when we talk about form we are using are arms to speed up our legs and our legs to drive us forward.

Also you want to make sure you are sweating some beads of sweat on your body before you start stretching. This means your body is ready to stretch.

If it’s cold where you live you should wear some warm-ups to keep your muscles warmer and you’ll feel your legs might start feeling warm or even sweat as well.

Lastly, they have found that stretching before a game prevents muscles from being pulled or injured but stretching after a workout, game, or practice is when you begin teaching your muscles to stay flexible.

Additionally, this will also help the lactic acid move through your body so you don’t cramp up and your recovery time is better.

Trust me get into the habit of doing this. It’s a little secret that works wonders.

So take a look at this stretching video to help you cover all the major muscle groups.

Remember this is your first step to training your muscle fibers and to avoid injuries that would set you back in your training.

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