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Train “the Whole Spectrum” for Maximum Athletic Potential

As the famous saying goes … “speed kills.”

The faster an athlete is, the more greater his or her capacity is to win games, beat the competition, and be overall more competitive than other players.

But how does one train to increased “speed”?

Speed is part of an inverse (or, opposite) relationship with strength.

You see, speed is defined as how quickly an object moves from point A to point B. Conversely, strength is defined as the max amount of weight that can be successfully moved from point A to point B.

The heavier you lift, the slower you move. The faster you lift, the less weight you can move. This is called the “strength-speed spectrum”. When one goes up, another goes down.

Exercises and athletic movements all fall somewhere along this spectrum. And to maximize speed, one must not only train with “speed exercises”, but with other exercises that are on different parts of the “strength-speed spectrum”.

Here are 3 categories of exercises an athlete must incorporate in a training program to maximize speed, allowing them to become the best athlete on their team.

#1 – Strength Exercises for Higher Speed Potential

As backwards as it may seem, focusing on weight and not quickness for certain exercises does in fact develop speed.

You may be asking yourself, “how?”

Well, within certain limits, as athletes increase their strength, they also increase their potential for speed.

Strength exercises, like deadlifts, involve near-maximal contractions of muscle groups – as do speedy movements, such as sprints. These heavy lifts allow the muscles to contract with more force, allowing an athlete to lift heavier weights AND to move with more speed.

Heavy deadlifts, squats, and bench presses qualify as strength exercises. So do advanced bodyweight movements, such as pullups, that can only be performed for a few reps per set.

Two caveats …

First, if an athlete gains a disproportionate amount of weight, especially bodyfat, they’re increases in strength will result in not as much speed increased.

Second, if an athlete focuses purely on strength for months on end, they’re speed may degrade. Like any other skill or attribute, if you don’t practice it, you’ll only become rusty.

#2 – Power Exercises to Bridge the Gap

On one end of the “speed-power spectrum”, you have speed, and on the other, you have strength.

So what lies in the middle? Power.

Power is defined as how much can be moved over a certain distance and how quickly can it be done.

Movements and exercises are rarely ever pure strength or speed. It’s always a mix of the two, sometimes being biased towards one end or the either.

But for those movements that are both pretty heavy and fast, we’ll define as power exercises.

The importance of power exercises is that they bridge your strength to your speed. Basically, when you increase strength, you need something to “bridge it” to speed. Power exercises is this bridge.

Kettlebell swings, prowler sprints, and power cleans (for advanced athletes) are perfect for power.

#3 – Speed to Actualize All of Your Hard Work

Once an athlete develops both strength and then power, he or she is ready to test out speed.

At this point, the athlete has sharply increased the potential for speed.

Working on speed exercises – such as sprints, cuts, shuffling, jumps, throwing, just to name a few – will result in greater quickness and shorter times at this point.

As athletes train with these real-life movements after developing strength and power, they will literally see their speed improve workout-to-workout, practice-to-practice.

Structuring your training to work on strength, power, and speed guarantees that you not only become faster, but increase your future potential to become faster.

This endless-improvement is what takes athletes to the next level, and makes them the stars of their team.

For this reason, we’ve designed our athlete’s training programs to include these three types of training – to give our athletes maximal speed and potential.

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