Speed is a major component of sports performance. While strengthening and flexibility exercises are needed, speed drills specifically designed to address speed must also be included in the training program.

Speed drills will teach and encourage proper technique in running form, addressing the arms, legs and trunk.

These drills, when performed and used correctly, will also train the energy systems needed for speed and speed endurance in sports and athletics.

One very important concept must be followed when planning and performing speed drills. This is the 10% Rule.

What is the 10% Rule?

When using any type of resistance in speed drills the amount of resistance should not be greater than 10% of the individual’s body weight. If the weight is greater than 10% it can actually make the individual slower and compromise technique as the body will change how it moves in order to move the resistance.

Here is a list of drills to improve speed.


Run 30 meters on a “fly”, “sprint” 30 meters and “fly” 30 meters. Rest 2 minutes between each set. Repeat 5 times.

Scramble Ups

Start lying on stomach, on “GO” scramble up and sprint 20 meters. Rest for 1 minute and repeat 3 times.

Also perform starting lying on back and rolling over to scramble up and sprint. This helps with the drive phase taking shorter strides initially in getting up until upright position.

drills to improve speed_2Hill Runs (Up)

When running up a hill work on driving knees and forward leaning from the hips. Walk down the hill and repeat. This will help with the drive phase with knee driving and maintaining good trunk position by bending at the hips rather than bending over.

Repeat 10 times with 2 minutes rest.

Hill Runs (Down)

Over speed training”, run down a moderate hill with a good slope that you can run down under control. Walk up the hill to repeat.

Repeat 10 times with 2 minutes rest. Running down the hill promotes quicker turnover of the legs for quicker turn over when sprinting.

Work on proper foot and leg movement. Be sure you have plenty of room at the bottom of the hill to allow you to trail off or to gradually slow down. Do not try to stop abruptly.

Also, do not use a steep hill that you cannot control your downward descent. One – it can cause injury and Two – it will not promote proper running technique.

Resisted Speed Training

Using a weight vest that is no more than 10% of the individual’s weight, sprint 30 meters, immediately take weight vest off and sprint 30 meters. Rest for 1 minute and repeat 5-10 times.

There are several other speed drills that are effective. Always work under control and in safe environments. Be sure to keep up with strengthening and flexibility exercises.

You may feel in some of the drills any deficits in strength and control especially in the hill drills, both up and down, if you feel difficulty controlling the trunk position and foot and leg control in eccentric and deceleration.

As with any drills gradually progress into each exercise. Adjust sets, reps and distance as needed based on your fitness levels. Always perform exercises and drills under control.

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