T Nation



Hey guys I'm trying to increase my speed. Is there anything other than running a lot that I can do? Such as calf raises or something?


Olympic lifts -- cleans, snatches, jerks, and all of the variations.


Get stronger legs. Do squats, deadlifts, lunges, and one legged squats, but more importantly, strengthen the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, low back). The real power comes from there. Running up hills is also great and has a big transfer.



What exercises are the best for the strengthening of hamstrings, glutes, and the lower back?


When you refer to running what does that exactly mean? for pure speed anything less than 8 seconds falls into that category and anything over that falls into more speed endurance work.

in a distance speaking sense; faster over what distance? this would depend on how you train.

RE: calves. calf raises really won't do much and if anything make you slower potentially (depending on subject)

Best exercises to do incorporate the most motor units and those are the o-lifts along with other compound lifts which have already been listed. in earlier posts.

Building Speed:
1. technique
2. start short distance and build longer
3. speed endurance comes after speed increases

1. max strength
2. explosive strength
3. strength endurance


bent knee deadlifts, regular grip, snatch grip; not power lifter style, start hips a little lower and keep back with natural arch. drive needs to come from glutes and hamstrings

glute-ham raises

hamstring extensions

good morning, standing, seated

romanian deadlifts


You don't need to do any calf work, you'll get enough from running. For top speed I'd recommend plyometrics, they will help you with speed. I know your question was what can you do besides running, but flying 30s really help for speed.

Make sure your legs can handle plyometrics before you do them. Especially if you aren't already lifting for legs. Start with strengthening your ass, hammies, and lower back.

I think it would help everyone if you told what you were training for specifically, like a sport or distance.


Possibly but by definition sprinting is a plyometric activity and although doing plyos can assist with speed, the speed at which one sprints is much faster than you could reproduce with any plyo jumps/movements.

if choose to do plyos then make sure the reaction/speed of movement is the most important thing and not the depth or height you get out of your jump. start with low heights, fast returns and build from there.


Explosive concentric and 5-second eccentric lifting. In my opinion the absolute best speed strength building exercises are

  1. Stiff-leg deadlift
  2. Deep squats
  3. Hyper extension/ Glute Ham raise

I disagree about not working the calves just don't go overboard. And again just like the other exercises they must be explosive. Use a variety of rep ranges. 2 weeks of 4-6, 2 weeks of 12-15, 2 weeks of 6-8.


Try Litvinovs. I do them using a front squat, but there are a couple other moves you can use instead.

-8 reps of front squat(or other move), followed immediately by a sprint(calls for a 400, I have been doing them at max speed on a treadmill, most recently bumping the incline up for more intensity); rest, and repeat for 4 total sets. I am front squatting 245 for these, and using a 90sec rest period between iterations.

For the Navy PRT, we only have to run a 1.5mile. For the last 11 years, the best run time I recorded was a 10:13 while deployed(last fall). Using these twice a week, and no other running for a couple months, I turned in a 9:09 last month. And felt better afterward than I did following the 10:13 last fall. I've also noticed my recovery time between bouts of intense exercise has improved.


Check the technique first:
-Make sure stride lenght is optimal and that no energy is unecessarily channeled vertically.
-Make every stride count since top running speeds are accomplished by greater ground forces and not faster leg movements.
-Check the arms movement, without proper arm movement, you can't get a decent stride, no matter how powerful.

As far as training goes, I find plyometrics to be very efficient: bounce-running, power sidesteps, that sort of things


Like I said right above, and agreeing with Biocidal13, I believe plyometrics to be the biggest speed building method right after proper technique.

Plyometry isn't all about jumping. By definition you can do biceps dumbell curl in a plyometric fashion if you so choose. Plyometric exercices are simply defined as a fast concentric contraction following immediately a fast eccentric contraction. Results with this method will be all about specificity: how close to the real thing the exercice is.


I am surprised that NOBODY mentioned mid-section/core muscles work (abs) and all variation of rotation work!!!

I think you call it "full-contact twists" - would be a good one to look at.
any other diagonal chops, tornado ball work, russian twists, etc.

I agree with all the above re strenth training and theory of running, however, you need to have "something" to efficiently transfer power between lower and upper body. therefore, core muscle work is a must!!!

Remember to do some upper body rows, chins and presses and you'll be sorted!

Choose you training protocal waisly

Good luck,


Yeah, everything.


Too many things to name. Dig through the articles.

As far as weights, give overhead squats a try, good for torso strength etc..


All of the above suggestions are good. Because sprinting requires a lot of explosive energy from the legs. Any sort of explosive type of olympic lift or power lift will definitely help.
Some of the best lifts that I have found to help have been squats, deadlifts, powercleans,snatches,and stiff legged deadlifts. Also it extremely important to make sure that you have a strong lower back; if it is weak it will definitely bother you while you are running. But finally the weights will help you get fast,but the only way to be a better sprinter is to run. By running that means doing some sort of form work and some plyometrics (i.e. bounders).


Thanks guys. But after doing all this how long did it take for you to get noticable results. I trying to cut down 0.5 second on my 40 in a month.


if you're looking for that kind of improvement, you're going about this the wrong way. You won't get that much faster in a month, but you can take time off of your 40 by working on technique. Joe DeFranco is definitely the man you want to look in to for that.


I couldn't find any articles on it. So I email him?