If you want to get fast--I’m talking speed that sets the ground on fire--there is one drill that needs to be a part of your program this summer. It’s a drill that has been a staple of my training for years.
If for whatever reason you don’t get to it, don’t worry. As Master Yoda might say, “One drill a program does not make.”
King Sports programs are customizable. Not everybody can make it to a track, and summer heat can keep you indoors for all training. No problem. However, if you can make track drills happen, you will love the results you get with your athletes.
It’s never hard to get football players to run 100 yards. A sport that plays on a field for extended periods of time, running 100 yards comes with comes with the territory and has been the traditional conditioning test.
For other sports, running 100 yards is a little more foreign--court sports in particular. I once had a parent ask me, “Why does my volleyball player need to run outside on a track? She only travels five feet and in air conditioning!”
The answer always goes back to speed. The only answer for speed is more speed. A great way to get faster is to get sprint stride reps. The best way to get sprint stride reps is running longer distances at high speed.
No matter what sport your kids play, the drill I’m going to share with you is a game-changer.
The reason I do different distances during speed training is because the body needs to be kept guessing. If you adapt to training you flatten out (plateau) or even regress.
As always, it is important to run these distances so that you can maintain speed at 90-95% effort. The change in distance alters the amount of time the body has to work, the number of ground contacts each foot makes, which increases the loading on the lower body musculature and repetitive amount of force development. Not to mention, the use of all three muscle contraction, concentric, eccentric and isometric.
Now, are you ready? It’s time to bust out the big boy. The drill that will make you a Top Gun. A drill so intense it is a stand-alone speed workout.
High speed 110s are the bread and butter of speed training. No matter what sport you play, this is an essential workout that needs to be done. Make it happen.
Why 110? I know a flat 100 may make sense. I mean, a football field is 100, right? The answer is simple: the 0-30 theme.
The reason why the speed training themes matter is because it leads us to a drill like the high speed 110s. It is on the edge of where athletes can maintain high speed. This distance is still anaerobic. This is also why it’s not arbitrarily longer because you’re getting out of the athlete’s capacity.
There is an important disclaimer: This workout is reserved for high school athletes and up. Freshmen need to be evaluated for their level of physical and mental maturity. You will already know this from other workouts that have a high degree of intensity.
It’s such a special workout that it has its own special rules. I want to go over those with you, in no particular order, so that you can go play with it.
We don’t need extra resistance. The worst thing that can happen is that you allow running into a strong headwind to influence your technique. Running with the wind will also make you faster, and I like that assistance.
We want good “flats.” Regular running shoes will work. You don’t need spikes. You’re more than welcome to wear them, though, I just know track athletes are the only ones that usually have track shoes. But a good running shoe beats cleats or a pair of chucks.
Make sure your kids tie them right! Kids these days need some shoe tying lessons.
This is ideally a track. It’s just not the same on grass. We have the need for speed. Also, less injury risk of stepping in a divot.
High speed does not mean 100%. If you were powerlifting, 95% of your max is heavy, right? Same principle applies for speed training. 95% of the athlete’s top speed qualifies as high speed. As always, the end-game is to stay healthy. As you’ll see in rule #7 in a moment, we want to do our best to mitigate injury risk.
Definitely no racing.
Pay careful attention to this one.
This workout is not designed to exceed six reps. Even if your athletes are in great shape, it is not the design of the workout to do seven or more. Don’t allow an athlete to force it. They may think four isn’t good enough. That is not true. Rules #6 and #8 will help you decide how many reps is right.
Another thing worth noting is that this is for the individual. If you have a team where some of your kids are good for six reps but some are only good for four, so let it be written and so let it be done. They don’t all need to do the same amount of reps.
This is crucial. Don’t go early. After the first one, your athletes will still be fresh and think that they don’t need to wait. Again, that is not the design of the workout. Be patient.
If you get to five minutes and they aren’t ready, the workout is over. Let them absorb that training session and live to fight another day.
This obviously applies to every workout, but the high speed 110s are the one drill you don’t want to forget about it.
After a rep, especially be careful how you decelerate. Coach your kids to take enough distance to gradually slow down. Don’t let them stop fast. There is no rush to walk back.
@coachbobking Hamstring Rx #strengthandconditioning #athletictraining #strenghttraining #strengthcoach ♬ original sound - Coach Bob King
This is one of the most important rules and really relates to rule #7. Don’t pull a muscle out the gate and give some distance to calibrate and see how the body is feeling on that particular day. Even though you have completed a thorough warmup (don’t forget the warm up lap and a stretch), this principle is critical.
By no means am I saying go slowly. Even if it's just accelerating from 90% to 95% in the beginning part of the sprint, gauge your body. When you know you’re feeling good, hit the jets.
This requires getting kids on the clock. This is preferable. I never do this drill with my athletes without a stopwatch.
Here’s the thing about timing. I found that timing the second runner gives a good baseline since #1 may change each trip down the track. Once you establish the time even on the freebie, keep it within .5 of the time. So if it is 13.0, then the window is 12.5-13.5. If the athlete fatigues and loses a second, it’s over. Don’t risk violating rule #7.
After completing this doozy, give your athletes at least 2 weeks before the next bout. We discovered some crazy by-products.
First of all – and the coolest thing was – the next 110 workout at the usual 1:3 work:rest pace (17 seconds to run, 45 seconds to rest) the following week, the athletes could not help but run faster. On the other side of the coin, if a new athlete showed up on the day of the high speed workout, they were instructed to not worry about keeping up with the veterans. Of course, it was best to impress in their minds and the crash and burn was not pretty. The veterans crushed the workout and the newbies got crushed.
The underlying truth is that those who had run it before and were in the ongoing program did absorb the training and did not go through a shock phase a second time.
This workout does not need to be done more than four times in a training season (10-12 weeks). It’s not relegated to the summer offseason. I did use it 3-4 times for in season football conditioning!
So there you go. The x-factor for speed.