The Best Strength Exercise for Sprint Speed

The Best Strength Exercise for Sprint Speed

Posted on Tuesday 4th December 2018

What is the best exercise to increase your speed?

As athletes we need to understand that everything that we do in the game is a skill. Not only dribbling, shooting and passing, but running, jumping, shuffling etc are all movements skills that we can get better at. 


For a long time coaches and athletes relied on getting stronger to get faster and jump higher. The general philosophy was “Get them stronger in the weightroom, and then get them to play their sport” I must admit, I also had this thinking at the beginning of my career because it makes a lot of sense. However, as coaches we have to understand that everything that we do in the weightroom is known as general physical preperation (GPP) Squats, Deadlifts, bench press, rear foot elevated split squat (all GPP) The reason that these things get you better initially it that it elevates your general fitness and allows you to produce more force… in a general way.


After much research in Russian text a coach may discover that there is a grey area, something that bridges the general fitness that we do so well, to what we do on the court/field/pool. This is what I would term Special Strength exercises. In order to be classified as a special strength exercise the movement needs to:

  • Have the same neuromuscular pathway as the skill that they are trying to improve
  • The same muscle contraction type and same sequence of muscle firing as the skill that they are trying to improve.


The glute ham raise machine was invented by Dr Michael Yessis who worked closely with the Soviets coaches during the 1960s. The exercise now has many different variations that has vered away from the original way the exercises was meant to be done.


When done with the first version. The muscle firing sequence is exactly the same as it would be during a sprint, which makes it an exercise that properly transfers into the skill of running.


I would never consider the glute ham raise as a lift that I would be doing at the beginning of the workout but I would keep doing it all year round. I feel like 3 sets of 8-10 generally works well. Then as you build a better base of general fitness, there can be different variations of the movement such as being explosive and incorporating loaded eccentric portions of it.


Give this a go and watch your sprint speed increase.


Have fun!

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