Force-Velocity Curve and its Applications Pt. 6 - Speed


This is the final section in the series "Force-Velocity Curve and its Applications". In this section, we will cover the last section of the force-velocity curve speed. Speed, much like strength is a single variable block, however rather than producing the most force possible athletes are measured how fast they can move their bodyweight. Transfer of Training to Sport identifies a maximal state of sport readiness as "sports form". Often athletes in the best sports form are the fastest and agile. For example, in football skill positions must be able to stop on a dime, rapidly accelerate, then change directions. In volleyball, an outside hitter must be able to move laterally at a rapid pace, jump off the floor to take a full swing on the ball, then quickly jump back up to block the free ball coming back over the net. While there are aspects of these sports that do not classify as maximal speed, often the teams who do these tasks above better are most successful. Performance in the speed section of the curve is arguably the most important regarding on-field sports performance. 


As outlined above speed could be the most important variable when training for on-field athletic performance. When training speed athletes are aiming to move their body weight at the maximal velocity possible. Exercises for speed often do not take place in the traditional weight room setting. Some bilateral exercises would include depth jumps, hurdle hops, and drop jumps. Unilateral exercises include bounding, skipping, and hopping variations. These exercises outlined above all have a large stretch-shortening cycle component to them. The stretch-shortening cycle is critical to maximal speed because it shows how reactive an athlete can be off the ground. The last and most obvious way to train speed is just to simply sprint. Maximal velocity when sprinting occurs usually when the athlete is running for seven seconds or less. So when training for pure speed, athletes should keep their runs short, with lots of recovery in between runs. Lastly, maximal speed when considering on-field performance must have an agility component to it. Agility training is something that is very controversial in the field today. Most believe that agility ladders and quick feet drills are the best way to train agility. However, this is often not the case, usually, athletes have a much better response to drills that involve reactions to other athletes, such as a mirror drill. Another way agility can be trained is through the 5-10-5 drill, short shuttle runs, and other high-velocity change of direction drills. 


In conclusion, speed is a single variable section on the force-velocity curve. Although there is only one variable to train for there is a lot of variables that go into obtaining maximal speed during on-field performance. To maximize speed often times athletes must work their way down the force-velocity curve building a strong foundation at each section before maximal sports form is reached. If you feel that being faster is something that you can benefit from as an athlete, get in touch by emailing us at!

*Summit Sports Performance is not a medical practice, everyone should check with their primary care physician before starting any exercise regime.

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