How to train fast

Functional speed training: tips from the experts

© Manuel Ringlstetter / Perform Better Europe
Train your speed like MMA ace Conor McGregor & sprint legend Usain Bolt: With these training tips from the experts you will take your reaction and movement speed to the next level.
Do you want to be the next Usain Bolt? Forget it! Genetics cannot be trained ... but your technique and speed, as well as your reaction and movement speed. Personal trainer Ole Foerster reveals what functional speed training should look like and which exercises will get you from 0 to 100 in no time at all.
Ole, what is speed and how does it differ from speed strength? Speed ​​is made up of various muscular, cognitive and coordinative factors. It results from a mix of technique, reaction and speed of movement and, especially at the beginning of a movement, is strongly related to rapid strength, i.e. the maximum strength that an athlete can generate in the shortest possible time. In addition, genetics and two development windows play an important role, in which we can optimally improve our speed.
When and for how long do these development windows open? In elementary school and then again in puberty. In these two phases of growing up, speed can be influenced very strongly. If you want to send the next Usain Bolt on the way, you should make sure that your child moves versatile and fast in the first phase and receives good basic athletic training, for example in gymnastics or ballet. In the second phase, good strength training should be added.
If you want to send the next Usain Bolt on the way, you should send your child to gymnastics or ballet early and to strength training during puberty.
Ole Foerster, personal trainer FT-Club Munich
What can you do if you have long missed this time window? As always, it depends on what you're training for. Basically, however, you should train your speed - i.e. your explosive power - as well as your speed of reaction and movement. In general, when it comes to movements in sport, you have to use a lot of force at the beginning to bring your own body or the playground equipment up to speed as quickly as possible. Then it's about keeping the pace. Both aspects must be trained, one with the highest possible resistance, i.e. a lot of weight and high force impulse, the other with the lowest possible resistance and high frequency.
Let's take the short track as an example: How is a possible functional speed or high-speed strength training designed for Anna Seidel? In order to be able to choose the right exercises and set priorities, you have to look at the movements you have to perform over the 500-1500 meters. With her bent forward, slightly inclined position, squats, sledges, and medicine ball throws are ideal for starting. For running in a circle, you should include lateral movements in your training, for example side one-legged jumps or exercises on the slideboard. The rest takes place on the ice.
If you want to get faster, you should basically train your speed as well as your speed of reaction and movement.
Ole Foerster, personal trainer FT-Club Munich
Which three functional speed exercises do you recommend to amateur and professional athletes across all sports? Box jumps. Sprint against rubber band or mountain sprints and tennis ball boxes against the wall.
  • Box jumps: Here you should choose the height of the box so that you land in the same position as you jump, i.e. in a slightly crouched squat. Also important: a soft, clean landing. This is how you train jumping and landing in one without putting too much strain on your joints.
  • Sprint against elastic band: elastic band around the waist, a partner holds the elastic band behind you on the train or you fasten the elastic band somewhere. Then you sprint briefly and at most with plenty of forward leaning against the increasing resistance. When you come back you have to brake the tension of the belt in a controlled manner.
  • Tennis ball boxing against the wall: An exercise that Connor McGregor did a lot with Ido Portal: Standing two or three meters in front of a wall, you punch a tennis ball against the wall alternately with the left and right. Here, quick reaction with quick lateral movement is trained, because you don't just have to follow the ball with your fist, but with your whole body.
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