When your fitness goals include a faster reaction time, speed and the ability to accelerate quickly, your weight lifting routine needs to accommodate these needs. Bodyweight exercises such as plyometrics (plyos) are essential for teaching your muscles to contract with speed. Pair plyos with specific weight lifting exercises and your body will carry you through your sport, work and play events.
4 Plyo/Weight Lifting Exercises That Will Increase Your Speed
1. Box Jumps: To perform box jumps, stand facing a box that is between 12 and 48 inches high, depending on your strength and balance ability. Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and with your knees and hips slightly bent, as if you are starting a squat. Quickly swing your arms behind you and as you swing them forward, explode off the ground and jump onto the box. Land with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Step down and repeat five to eight times for approximately three sets.
2. Kettlebell Swings: Continue to improve your speed with kettlebellweight lifting exercises. Grab your weight lifting gloves and begin with a swing. Stand with your legs wider than shoulder-distance apart, a kettlebell on the floor between your legs, and your toes turned slightly outward. Grasp the bell with both hands and keeping your arms straight, swing the bell underneath you as you bend your knees and hips. Swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height as you straighten your legs and slightly push your hips forward. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
3. Standing Long Jumps: Another plyometric exercise to enhance your forward speed is a standing long jump. Begin with your feet positioned shoulder-distance apart, your toes facing forward and your knees and hips slightly bent. Swing your arms behind you and as you bring them forward quickly, push off the ground and propel yourself forward as far as possible. Land with your feet solidly on the ground and with your knees and hips slightly bent. Do not remain here long—push off quickly again and repeat the jump. Aim to complete three sets of three to eight repetitions.
4. Kettlebell Cleans: To perform kettlebell cleans, first place a kettlebell on the floor. Stand over the bell with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Bend your knees and hips as you squat and grasp the kettlebell with your right hand. Quickly extend your legs as you jump slightly and raise the bell toward your shoulder. Allow the kettlebell to rest on the outside of your upper arm. Pull back your elbow to lower the kettlebell to the starting position. Repeat eight to 10 cleans with both arms.