If you have watched professional sports such as the NBA or World Cup Soccer, you would have noticed that professional sportsmen such as Lebron James and Messi are so explosive and quick in their movements. You are right in thinking that genes and professional sports training play a vital part in their physical prowess. But the truth to explosiveness and agility in sports, is that they can be trained and therefore very much within the reach of any recreational or amateur athlete like you and me. Of course, you may probably never be as good as Lebron James or Messi , but hard work and effective training will definitely give you an edge over your opponents in your game.
In this article, I will introduce you to four simple but effective ways to mprove your explosiveness and speed. Stairs Run
Running up stairs is a great way to improve your quickness and speed, and has the added advantage of giving you an intense cardiovascular workout. Choose a HDB flat that is at least 20 storeys high. Start by walking up the stairs 1-2 steps at a time during the first set to warm up. Walk / jog down the stairs slowly to recover your breath. Alternatively you can take the lift down. Run up the stairs 1-2 steps at a time for the next 4-5 sets (up to 8 sets if you are already conditioned to the form of training) Interval Sprints
Interval sprints can help to improve your speed and quickness and closely simulates the action in an actual game. There are many variations to this form of training. Basic sprint
: Start by jogging for about 20m followed by a quick sprint for the next 20m. Repeat the process 5-8 times. Change of direction sprint circuit: Set 6-8 Cones (or improvise with brightly coloured objects as markers) 15m apart in a haphazard manner. Do the Sprint and jog intervals through the circuit set by the markers. Advanced change of direction sprint circuit
: This circuit is similar to the above. However, you vary your sprints in the form of running backwards, sideways. At the same time you can add spin around moves at some of the markers to simulate dodging. Having a partner to call out random moves or actions will increase the difficulty of the circuit and help further improve your reaction time and quickness. Slope Sprint Up Slope:
Running up a slight slope strengthens your leg muscles and improve your explosiveness. Slopes can be found in some overhead bridges (of course for yours and others safety, only use it when there is very little human traffic) Keep the distance short, about 10-15m and repeat 6-8 times Ensure sufficient rest between sprints. Down Slope:
Similarly, downslope training is a good form of speed training. In this instance, you are building your speed and co-ordination. Keep the distance short, about 10-15m and repeat 6-8 times Down slope training is a separate training from the up slope sprint. Plyometric jumps
Plyometric jumps are widely used by top athletes to build power and speed, and are very effective if performed properly. There are many variations but I will focus on one of the more popular techniques which is easily performed. Stand on a stable raised platform (eg stairs) which is knee height. Jump off the platform and immediately jump as high as you can once your feet touch the ground. For basketball players, jumping down from a box followed by quick explosive jump to touch the rim of the basket is tremendous motivation! Gradually increase the height to waist level. Perform this for 3-4 sets of 8 repetitions. Hope you find these pointers useful, any queries please contact our sports physiotherapists for further advice!