By Jose Fuentes/Performance Enhancement Coach

Speed strength continuum. At the end of the continuum is speed. Therefore, speed can be defined as the ability to recruit muscle fibers. True speed is the combination of antagonistic muscle groups working together not simultaneously, but in sequence. Speed not only refers to how fast you run, but how fast your muscle fibers get recruited when throwing a ball, drive a golf ball, hit a homerun, punch your opponent or simple knock him out!

Sports that fall at the speed end of the continuum include most throwing activities, swinging a racket,  golf club or baseball bat and kicking and punching movements. To help you determine the needs of your sport, I look specifically at its position and movements on the speed strength continuum .

All speed sports require the muscles to fire rapidly and sequentially to produce tremendous body segment and joint speed. Additionally most high speed movements end with a follow through movement that slows the motion. Without this follow through you would throw your arm out of the socket or your arm would slam into your body at high speed. Explosive activities needs follow through. Movements that require the follow through to slow the body down serve as another marker for determining high speed activities and should be  a major factor in determining the  speed training requirements for your sports. Finally most high speed sports release and implement or contact an object with an implement.

Based on this criteria you can see that running is not necessarily a high speed activity. It uses not implement and because the movement is continuous there is not follow through after contact. The joints don’t move nearly as quickly as those use for throwing and hitting. Recall the power is located in the middle of the continuum and that it is the optimal combination of speed and strength. The heavier the object such as your body the more speed you need to move it. Thus, you begin to move towards power and away from speed.

My speed training strategy is simple:  MOVEMENT SHOULD BE AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE. Whether the exercises uses resistance or not, the movement must be rapid!