Nearly all sports require some form of fast movement, whether it’s sprinting, changing directions, jumping, or all of the above. Power and explosiveness are essential for almost every athlete, yet many don’t know how to properly train for it. Improving movement mechanics is key to becoming a more powerful, explosive, and fast athlete.
But what if you already have power and explosive strength, and you’re still not as fast as you want to be?
The answer lies in improving your movement mechanics.
Power with bad mechanics is inefficient at best, and can lead to injury at worst. Improve your mechanics and you’ll move better, feel better, and perform better.
Being able to move efficiently can give athletes a significant competitive edge. Even small improvements in movement mechanics can lead to big gains in speed and overall athletic performance.
There are many factors that contribute to good movement mechanics, but here are a few of the most important:
- Range of motion
- Muscle Strength
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
Proper alignment means that your body is in the right position to produce the most force. When you’re properly aligned, your muscles can work together more effectively to produce power (and speed).
Think of it like a machine with all its parts in the right place.
If even one part of the machine is out of alignment, it can throw the whole thing off and cause it to break down.
The same is true for your body. If even one joint is out of alignment, it can cause problems throughout the kinetic chain.
To maintain proper alignment, you need to be aware of your posture and how your body is positioned when you’re performing any given movement.
Are you standing up straight? Are your shoulders rolled down and back? Is your pelvis in a neutral position? These are all things to consider when trying to maintain proper alignment.
Range of Motion
Good range of motion allows your muscles to generate more force. If your muscles are tight, they won’t be able to contract as forcefully. As a result, you’ll be less powerful and explosive.
Think of a rubber band. If the rubber band is fully stretched out, it can generate more force than if it’s only partially stretched. The same is true for your muscles.
To improve range of motion, you need to focus on stretching and mobility work. This will help to loosen up your muscles and improve your flexibility.
Mobility work is a bit different from stretching, although the two are often confused. Mobility work is designed to improve the function of your joints, whereas stretching is designed to improve the length of your muscles.
Both are important for good range of motion, but mobility work is often overlooked, so it’s something to focus on if you want to generate more force and move faster.
Strong muscles are important for good movement mechanics because they provide the force that’s necessary for movement. The stronger your muscles are, the more force they can generate.
There are two types of muscle strength: absolute and relative. Absolute muscle strength is the amount of force your muscles can generate regardless of body size. Relative muscle strength is the amount of force your muscles can generate relative to body size.
Most athletes are more interested in relative muscle strength because it’s a better predictor of performance. After all, you’re not competing against other people’s muscles, you’re competing against other people.
There are many ways to train for muscle strength, but one of the most effective is through resistance training. This can be done with free weights, bodyweight exercises, or resistance bands.
Focus on compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time, such as squats, deadlifts, and presses. These exercises will help to improve your overall strength, which will in turn improve your movement mechanics.
Building a foundation of good movement mechanics is essential for any athlete who wants to move faster. By improving your alignment, range of motion, and muscle strength, you’ll be well on your way to better performance.
It can be challenging, sure, but it’s well worth the effort. The benefits of good movement mechanics extend far beyond “just” improved performance in sports. Training for speed and better movement mechanics can also help you avoid injuries and feel better both physically and mentally—improving your quality of life in general.
Challenging your movement patterns can be uncomfortable at first, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. In fact, pushing yourself (safely) outside of your comfort zone is essential for making progress.
If you’re not sure where to start, a speed training program can help you improve your movement mechanics. A good program will progress gradually, challenge your muscles in new ways, and help you develop the strength and power you need to move better.
The benefits of more efficient movement are many. Start working on your movement mechanics, and see how much faster you can become.