To develop quickness, you first need to target your first step. In the past 20 years of my strength and conditioning career, the amount of information available to youth athletes has grown exponentially. Similar to other training components, there is so much out there, it becomes challenging to know what is good or not or where to even start. Follow these tips, keep it simple, and in the next 4 weeks reap the benefits of a quicker first 3 steps.
1. Before you do anything, you need to test.
Understanding where you stand today is imperative to evaluate the progress you make tomorrow. Below is an example of a test you can perform.
Set 1 – Start with a single leg standing long jump (perform on both legs). For safety, take off on one leg and land on two.
Set 2 – Perform a single leg, double jump, standing long jump – jump from the same leg twice in a row, and perform on both legs.
Set 3 – Perform a single leg, triple jump, standing long jump – jump from the same leg three times in a row, and perform on both legs.
Don’t forget to write down your distance per set, per leg, along with the date!
2. Focus on quality over quantity when developing quickness!
Powerlifters are not doing 20 sets of 1 rep to increase strength because they can’t sustain a 1 rep effort for that duration. On training days, limit your reps to feel more explosive. Rest times between sets should be 3-5 minutes.
3. Track your results or don’t even bother starting.
Progress can’t be evaluated unless it’s recorded. You can measure an increase in reps, decrease in times, increase in load or increase in distance. This provides feedback and insight into knowing what you are doing and how it is working.
Workout for Quicker First 3 Steps
Here’s an example of a quickness training day you can do twice per week for 3 weeks.
First, you need to warm-up – open up those hips! Perform these exercises on both legs for 10 reps x 3 sets.
Second component of the workout is activation. Skip rope for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of rest x 4 sets.
Now it’s time for the main workout.
First, do a single leg depth catch from 8” step to a single leg forward bound. This could be just as simple as jumping off of your stairs at home.
Repeat x 5 jumps per leg. Record distance by having a tape measure out on the ground. Rest should be about 3 minutes between sets.
The second exercise is a single leg hurdle jump, using 2 hurdles traveling forward.
Repeat x 4 sets per leg. Record the time it takes from the take-off over the first hurdle to landing on the ground after jumping the second hurdle. Rest should be about 4 minutes between sets.
Last, is the single-leg depth catch to 2 hurdle jump traveling forward.
Repeat 3 sets per leg. Each week move the hurdles further away from where you land. Measure the distance so you can increase it each week. Rest should be about 5 minutes.
At the end of 3 weeks retest your standing long-jump and get fired up about your improvement.