5 Essential Speed Training Exercises for Athletes

5 Essential Speed Training Exercises for All Fitness Levels

Looking to improve your speed and agility? Whether you're a professional or middle school athlete, speed training exercises can be a game-changer. Not only do they help you improve your athletic performance, but they also boost your overall fitness. At Vision Fitness & Performance, we understand the importance of speed training for all individuals, regardless of their fitness level. That's why we've put together a list of 5 essential speed training exercises that are suitable for every skill level.


Throw that Agility Ladder in the garbage!  Hands down, the most important tool to get faster is strength training, specifically lower body!  Simply put, the stronger you are, the more force you will be able to produce.  The more force you can produce down and back into the ground, the faster you will move forward.  

Athletes must train their quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves in multiple planes of motion.  Performing lower body exercises such as squats, lunges, and hinging movements will provide an athlete with the force to get faster.  Here at Vision Fitness & Performance, we will assign the proper program based on your specific skill level, including which exercises are best suited for your needs.


Athletes must strength train using a program, but the second most valuable tool is Plyometrics.  Plyometrics are defined as short, intense bursts of activity that target fast-twitch muscle fibers in the lower body. These fibers help generate explosive power that increases speed and jumping height.  Different plyo's will include, pogo jumps, both extensive (longer duration, lower intensity) and intensive (shorter duration, higher intensity).  Athletes should use single leg jumps, both forward and laterally, as well as box jumps and split jumps. 

Plyometrics will aid athletes in ground-contact time, i.e. producing more force through the floor, further enhancing their ability to run faster and jump higher.  Plyo's are also a great tool to work on coordination and overall athleticism, especially for younger athletes. 


Want to get faster??!  RUN!!!  RUN as hard as you can!

Similar to improving a basketball free throw, sprinting is a skill that must be practiced 2-3 times per week.  Sprinting at Max Effort means you are running short distances, for example 40 yards, as fast as you possibly can, and then recovering.  If you are not sprinting at full speed, then you are truly not training to get faster. 

Perform sprints such as 10 yard starts, Flying 10's 20's and 40's, and push-up sprints at Max Effort will improve your overall Speed!


Hill sprints are a challenging yet effective exercise to build explosive power, strength, and most importantly acceleration.  In order to conquer the hill, athletes must maintain a forward lean with a positive shin angle for the duration of the sprint....this is Acceleration! Safer than flat ground sprints, hill sprints shorten stride length, creating a longer ground contact time, therefore putting the hamstrings in a safer position. Mistakenly used as a conditioning tool by coaches, when done properly hill sprints enable athletes to focus on knee drive and sound arm action.  


Similar to hill sprints, heavy sled drives focus on longer ground contact times while getting full extension in the rear leg.  This should be a slower and more deliberate movement, lasting under 7 seconds.  

Step 1: Grab the sled with bent arms and 45 degree body lean.

Step 2: On your toes, maintain hip extension throughout the drive.

Step 3: Bring the knee to chest and focus on driving the foot directly down under the chest into the ground

Step 4: Fully extend the leg back with each step.