1. First and foremost, every coach and athlete should have a solid understanding of the difference between power and strength if they want to have an effective speed training program!
Strength, in the simplest sense is a measurement of absolute force output or how much force an athlete can generate and we often don't care how fast the force is generated. Have you ever seen a coach use a stop watch to time a max bench press or squat? Of course not. We don't care how fast the athlete moves the weight or how long it takes to complete the rep, we just care if the athlete generates enough force to get the weight up and complete the rep.
Power, the more valuable commodity in athletics is a measurement of the rate at which force is generated. The faster we generate force, the faster we accelerate that's physics pure and simple. Do not make the mistake of assuming low speed strength gains (squats & bench press max gains in the weight room) are going to automatically make you more explosive and bring high speed power gains in competition. Slow moving heavy lifts will develop your ability to generate more force (get you stronger) but they are not optimal for developing your ability to generate force faster. Light load, high speed, explosive training is the optimal way to convert those strength gains in the weight room to power gains and run faster in competition! Use of elastics is a great way to conduct light load, high speed training but conventional elastics have a lot of drawbacks but that's why Vertimax was created, to solve those problems and make speed training with elastics much more effective.
2. An athlete's speed & quickness is primarily a function three things. If you want great speed training results you need to focus on optimizing these three things:
A) The ability to quickly apply significant force to the ground and accelerate the body when the foot is planted on the ground and driving - and..
B) The ability to accelerate the foot when it breaks contact with the ground and enters the swing phase so the foot can achieve higher velocities and reduce the amount of time to reach the next ground strike point. This will reduce the amount of time both feet are airborne and allow the athlete to begin driving again on ground strike to continue the acceleration process. VertiMax was designed to provide unsurpassed speed training gains in both (a) & (b) above.
C) Thirdly, utilization of proper running technique to most efficiently utilize movement and power to promote acceleration to run faster is critical. Depending on your level of competition, a speed coach qualified in the analysis and improvement of running form may be recommended as a coach well trained to correct and improve running technique can deliver significant speed training improvements quickly.
When it comes to speed training, there's two important components athletes need to make sure their training includes. Those two critical components include training to improve high velocity power production and the study of proper running technique and stance from which to initiate explosive movements. Though not mentioned, conducting the appropriate Core & Functional training to facilitate high speed explosive movement and injury prevention are important aspects of any athletic training program. If you are considering hiring a speed trainer, here are some important things to know and potentially ask that person prior to paying them for a speed training service.
A) Ask the speed trainer what drills and exercises his workouts consist of before you hire them. You want to make sure the majority of the training actually applies to your goals! One of the most common issues we see with speed training programs offered by speed trainers is the vast majority of the training exercises are agility related as opposed focusing on developing power to improve acceleration. If you're trainer does not have any or many drills allowing you to conduct light load explosive training utilizing a LOW MASS form of resistance in addition to your own body weight, I can assure you that you are not going to fully develop your speed potential with that speed trainer. Almost all exercises that are designed properly have some benefit, but never forget to question relevance of an exercise as it relates to what you want to accomplish. A perfect example of one of the most over used, minimally effective drills used by speed trainers is the infamous ladder drill. The ladder drill certainly has some benefits for eye – foot coordination at high speeds which would be of great benefit for a soccer player. However, how many basketball, football or baseball players have you ever seen running around the field in the middle of a play mimicking a ladder drill with their feet? I bet you've never seen one. That is what we are talking about we you want to examine training relevance as it pertains to your goals. Ladders are very inexpensive products and look great when athletes are using them but they have very practical application in most sports and most importantly speed development.
B) When interviewing a speed trainer about how they intend to make you run faster, ask them how they intend to develop DRIVE AND SWING PHASE power. To improve Drive power they need to explain to you how they are going to increase explosive power in the quads, gluts and calves. To develop Swing phase power they need to have a solid plan for developing the explosive power of the hip flexors, abductors and adductors. If they tell you they are going tie an elastic band between your ankles and have you do a shuffle or high knee drive to develop hip flexor power or abductor/adductor power, ask them how they intend to develop explosive power at the beginning of those movements (where its most important for acceleration) when that elastic band is slack and provides no load on the muscle until it is 50 to 80 percent of the way through the range of motion when that band between the ankles finally tightens up. You'll get a blank stare from 90% of speed trainers on this one.
C) Speed training with elastics is a great way to develop explosive power utilizing high speed sports specific movements. However, NEVER FORGET THAT IF AN ELASTIC BAND TIED TO ANY PART OF YOUR BODY IS SLACK AND NOT PROVIDING ANY USEFUL LOAD WHEN YOU INITIATE THE EXPLOSIVE MOVEMENT – YOU WILL NOT BE DEVELOPING POWER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVEMENT WHERE POWER PRODUCTING IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR ACCELERATION! If you watch the videos above it is this exact issue with conventional elastic training methods that the VertiMax system has solved to provide the best speed training power gains possible for radically improving your vertical and for linear and lateral acceleration to run faster.
D) Don't get stuck in traditional training ruts. A lot of old training methods can be augmented or even replaced by VertiMax technology. Traditional speed and performance training consists mainly of weight training, plyometrics, speed and agility drills, running with parachutes and pulling sleds. All these exercises focus primarily on over loading and improving the power producing capabilities of the quads, glutes and calves, the muscles that provide driving power when our foot is planted on the ground and pushing. That's great for developing power to increase our drive velocity and speed when the foot is planted on the ground. However, when your foot leaves the ground, how fast it can accelerate in the direction you are running (Swing Phase) and make ground contact to drive again, is the other half of the speed equation that will dictate if you can run faster.
Power to generate airborne foot speed will greatly impact how fast you are! And guess what? The muscles that provide the power to accelerate the airborne foot are NOT the quads, glutes and calves they're the hip flexors, abductors and adductors. If you do not allocate training time appropriately and effectively to those muscle groups, you will never reach your full speed potential. Unfortunately for most athletes, traditional speed training protocols do not over load and target the hip flexors, abductors and adductors to improve their power producing capabilities. That is not a good thing if you are trying to improve your speed. Think about it, when you consider all your speed training protocols, when do you apply a resistance to your airborne foot? If you are like most athletes the answer to that question is unfortunately "never". Which basically means you can be significantly faster than you are now.