Speed and Agility Training

Speed exercises and agility training – The true story.

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Speed and Agility Training – The One-Legged Squat Part 2

Friday 2 April 2010 @ 3:57 pm

In this article I will continue my discussion of the 1-legged squat as it pertains to your speed and agility training protocols. If you have not read the introductory first article you can do so here: Speed and Agility Training – One Legged Squat: Part 1

Article breakdown:

  • the criteria important in your speed and agility training
  • how to perform the 1-legged squat specifically in order to develop your speed and agility

…as a bonus I will also be including some tips on how to make this exercise even harder and a video of its performance.

My Experience – Your Gain
In taking from my experience of overcoming an injury, as well as the things I learned testing different variations, the training protocols as applied to the 1-legged squat are very impressive.  I will also offer you ways to incorporate this exercise in your speed and agility training. Give this exercise a trial period of two weeks.  Focus on no other exercise and use the variations as I show them to you.  I promise you are going to be VERY impressed with the results.

As we all know there are some things that you can feel or be aware of but are difficult to measure. Some of the benefits of this exercise are like that. One benefit of this exercise that you can both feel and measure are: increased rate of force development — ie explosiveness, the ability to generate a high amount of tension, read force, in a short amount of time, the result of this is that you can use your legs or leg to propel your body in any direction you want VERY FAST, something that can really show up in your speed and agility.

Something You Won’t See Anywhere Else
There is something that should make the variations of this exercise more appealing to the “looking for a secret” person.  These variations are not something you will find anywhere else.  I have  been involved in amateur athletic endeavors for 9 years.   I am an information junkie as well.  I have researched and studied the areas of bodybuilding, strength training, vertical jump development, speed and agility training, dietary supplements, isometric training, as well as others too numerous to name.

Why is this important?
In our hyped up marketing world, people tend to focus on niches.  They focus on either training for muscle, for strength, for fitness, for being ripped or a million other variations. Being an amateur athlete I have extensively researched and developed various training methods.   I have also applied many training protocols in the past 9 years.  So please bear in mind, if you are not familiar with these training techniques, it is simply because what I have exclusively developed them and they are influenced by many disciplines from which I have taken what I thought best served my purpose.

At this point in time I am focusing on developing speed and agility.  This means that I am taking all the things I have learned over the years and combining them to achieve the highest outcomes possible. This is a work in progress and what you are going to read about are the results I have gotten using interdisciplinary training protocols. It is by no means the only way, it is JUST :)  a very good and time efficient way of doing things. Please remember individual results may vary so do some testing of your own.  That being said, after 9 years I have a pretty good understanding — to say the least, of what can produce results and how fast you can get them.

So let’s get back to the 1-legged squat, first, the purpose. The 1-legged squat will have its training variables modified so as to maximize your speed and agility gains. It can be used to develop strength or to develop muscle mass, but I will focus on improving speed and agility.

Speed and agility largely depend upon your explosiveness.  In running for example, speed depends on your ability to drive force into the ground with your legs, one at a time, and propel yourself forward. The more force you can develop and the faster you can develop it, the more your speed will increase. With some aspects of agility the same apply. This is, in a nutshell, as far as running speed and agility is concerned.  This means that the variables of performing the 1-legged squat for the purposes of speed and agility training will need to maximize your maximum strength and your rate of force development.

Most Efficient Way to Train
The most efficient way to do this is to train in a range of 65% to 85% of your 1 rep maximum. This has the effect of making your muscles suffer a high degree of tension while keeping your rep number low, optimal ways to develop strength. Also, training in the 65% to 85% range while emphasizing speed of movement, has a very high training payout as far as your rate of force development goes.   Put another way, the faster you attempt to move a very heavy object, the better your body will become at generating force quickly – this directly influences acceleration which in turn directly influences both speed and agility. It influences speed by enabling you to accelerate faster and put more force in each of your strides.  It influences agility because you are able to change direction much faster.

For example, let’s say you are running and you suddenly have an object in front of you that you want to avoid. Your body must first neutralize the momentum it already has before being able to dodge the object, the faster you can develop the force needed to neutralize that momentum the faster you will be able to change direction. This is how the negative part of the 1-legged squat benefits your agility.

In summary: performing the 1-legged squat specifically for speed and agility training purposes requires that you:

  1. Use weight that is between 65% and 85% of your one rep maximum
  2. Move that weight slowly on the way down and take a 1 second break on the lowest part of the exercise (I did not do this in the video btw)
  3. Move that weight as fast as possible on the way up — without bouncing

Tip: how to make the exercise even harder- do it very slowly while emphasizing perfect posture and control

[flv:/speedandagility1leggedsquat.flv 560 450]

I’d love to hear what you though of this article, leave a comment here speed and agility training

All the best,

Speed and Agility Training and Strength

Wednesday 24 March 2010 @ 3:31 pm

This article will examine what part strength plays in your speed and agility training program. Let’s define some terms.

  • Absolute strength – is the maximum power you are capable of generating, your one rep maximum is your absolute strength
  • Starting Strength – a function of how many muscle fibers you can instantaneously contract

Think of it like this, if you snatch a heavy dumbbell off the ground you will strain your back. But if you were to pick it up slowly this would not occur. Starting strength (in this example), simply measures the

maximum weight you are capable of snatching off the ground without injury.

  • Relative strength – your strength per pound of body weight
  • Reactive Strength or Plyometric Strength – measures your ability to absorb and utilize force when switching from an eccentric contraction to a concentric contraction.

What is the relevance of these terms of your speed and agility training?
The higher your absolute strength, the higher your starting strength. The higher your starting strength, the faster your
acceleration, the faster your acceleration, the greater your explosiveness or your ability to reach your top speed faster. Ask yourself, “Is my speed and agility training improving my absolute strength for those muscles that matter in my sport of choice?”

Gregory Sedoc

A good question to ask is whether your speed and agility training improves your relative strength. Remember that when training for speed and agility your relative strength is more important that your absolute strength.

Note: you shouldn’t worry too much about bulking up because a 10% increase in LEAN body mass translates into a 30% increase in strength.

Relative strength is

important because the higher your relative strength, the more power you can produce. This benefits you in two ways:

  • your nervous system is better conditioned (this will also cross over into your agility)
  • it is easier for you to move your body (this is because you have a lower proportion of body mass to strength due to the 1:3 ratio); this crosses over and develops both speed and agility.

Lastly, we come to reactive strength. This sort of strength plays a critical role in agility, it enables you to quickly change direction and dazzle your opponent with surprising moves. It also enables you to jump higher when running (but not so much from a standstill position). It also plays a role in running speed but there are better ways to train for it if running speed is what you are after.

What’s the take away home from this article? In order to properly train for speed and agility you must incorporate strength training workouts in your routine. You must also customize it for the athletic endeavor of choice. There are no shortcuts but there are efficient ways of reaching your goals (whatever they may be).

If this has confused you a bit you should do one thing: Keep on reading till it makes sense.

Here’s a food for though question for you? Why do sprinters (50, 100 meter dash,

basketball players, quarterbacks etc) have ripped abs without specifically

training for them?

TIP: To help you answer this question, keep in mind that starting strength is different for different muscles groups. Starting strength in different muscle groups can be specifically trained for. Understanding which muscles play a part in the movements most critical to your athletic endeavor of choice enables you to focus on them and generate quick and efficient results.

PS: Check out the culmination of this article and learn the 1 legged squat here:  Speed and Agility Training – The 1 Legged Squat

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