Short of lacing up your old running shoes and hitting the high school track for a few 100s or 400s (which are absolutely effective in increasing speed), what else can you do to see a faster 5K time or a quicker sprint across the soccer field in your rec league?
Turns out to get faster at running outside, you might just want to head inside: to a CrossFit box. To increase explosive speed and power, we need to grow your fast-twitch muscles, and that happens with heavy loads and explosive movements, two things CrossFit is famous for.
Structure your workouts—using the following movements—in the same way a CrossFit box would outline a workout of the day:
Warmup: Begin with a warmup of 5-10 minutes which can include an 800m run, 1000m row, or intervals on an Assault Bike (AirDyne).
Mobility: Spend another 5-10 minutes on mobility work (leg swings, leg kicks, stretches using an elastic band, PVC dislocates).
Strength: For each workout, pick just one strength move to focus on. (We have some options for you to choose from below.) To really build that explosive power and train fast-twitch muscle fibers, you’ll want to look for reps around 80% of your 1 rep max, for sets of 1-5 reps and a rest time 3-5 minutes.
Plyometrics: Choose 2-3 movements from the list of plyometric exercises and work as fast as possible for 20 seconds on one movement. Rest for 60 seconds and move on to the next movement. Repeat the cycle up to three times or until you can no longer maintain proper form—whichever comes first. As you get more proficient at the movements, increase the time to 30 seconds per movement.
If you’re new to this type of training, incorporate these workouts into your run- or sport-specific training 1-2 times per week, eventually upping that to to 3-4 times.
- Pick a box of a height around 12 inches
- Step forward off the platform and land on the balls/toes of both feet
- As quickly as possible, spring back up into a a vertical jump (in space, not to an obstacle)
- As you progress, add more height to the box
- Begin with a low box, stool or bench
- With feet hip or shoulder-width distance apart, bend at the knees and hips
- Swing arms forward as you jump up and forward onto the box
- Step down
- As you progress, add height to the box. You can also begin to jump down off the box and back up
Standing long jump
- Begin with feet hip-width distance apart
- Bend at knees and hips with arms at sides or slightly behind the body
- Swing arms forward and explode up and forward, jumping as far as possible and landing with knees bent to absorb impact
Bounding mountain climbers
- Begin in a plank position
- Jump both feet off the ground
- Left foot lands just outside left hand; right foot remains extended back
- Both feet leave the floor to switch positions
- Begin in a standing position with feet hip-width distance apart
- Hands in front of you, squat to below parallel
- Immediately swing arms back and jump up as high as possible
- Land in the squat and go immediately into the next rep
- Begin in a standing position
- Squat down and plant hands on the floor directly in front of you
- Step or jump feet back into plank position
- Bend arms at elbows into a pushup and press immediately back up
- Step or jump feet back towards hands
- Stand up and jump vertically to complete one rep