An athlete always has to start somewhere to become faster at their sport. Most athletes will increase their athletic performance just by playing their sport. However, just playing the sport has limitations without a proper understanding about how the body should move and function.
Strength training is a great way to increase muscle coordination and range of motion. It can reduce muscle imbalances and promote a more proportionate muscular development. In order to function your best in your sport and become faster, being able to navigate your way through the weight room will be crucial for overall speed increases.
Speed comes from the body being a well-oiled machine that has moving parts that complement each other. The gym can tremendously benefit an athlete with on-field performance. Strength training will improve force and power production, which increases top-end speed, starting, stopping, jumping, and overall agility.
Becoming proficient in the weight room is crucial for athletes that want to perform their best within their sport. Having an understanding of how to warm up, lifting techniques, range of motion, and mastering Olympic lifts directly relates to in-game speed. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts are all compound movements that will promote overall proportionate muscular development.
Power is the product of muscle force and movement speed. Larger, stronger muscle fibers (especially the “fast-twitch” variety) result in a higher rate and level of overall muscle force production, which results in the ability to exhibit noticeable power output. Speed will increase dramatically once an athlete is proficient with these lifts.
Strength training will also reduce the risk of injury due to the increased resilience of the joint stabilizers and tendons. Connective tissue needs to be pliable to absorb the forces generated in sports. Bone density is also increased which helps reduce the risk of injury. Range of motion is also extremely important with overall speed development. When one muscle shortens, the other side lengthens, and increased flexibility and mobility will directly result in speed increases.
When it comes to getting faster and packing on muscle, there comes a stigma of becoming stiff and not being able to be more athletic, but that is in fact not true. The gym is your friend when it comes to increasing speed for your sport.