Leg speed

Hi guys, I've been reading that to build leg speed plyometrics and explosive weight training is the way to go. Is this correct?

I really have no idea about this stuff, I've been very overweight the last 8 years or so.

From weighing 82kgs 12 years ago (not much muscle if at all), to a couple of months ago weighing 112kgs (again virtually no muscle), and just generally feeling like shit, health issues etc, I started going to the gym 2 months ago and cleaning up my eating. My diet is my biggest issue, no excuses just not trying hard enough to overcome my weaknesses

I'm now at about 108-110 (haven't weighed myself lately), and mostly doing weights and very little cardio.

Sorry for the long story, anyway I now have a goal in mind which is to get fit and strong to go back and play rugby league again which I haven't done for 4 years. I am very slow with regards to running/sprinting and would appreciate any advice in regards to improving leg speed


P.S. I am 176cms tall and would like to play at a weight of around 90kgs just to cope with the contact. Is this feasible or will I naturally be lighter than that if I achieve my goal Phone Post 3.0

The main thing you need to do man is get the weight down. Sure, doing sprints and stuff will be helpful, but the greatest assist to gaining speed again is getting your weight back down.

I personally do not use any standard "plio" stuff when training for sprinting speed. I agree with C.S. that being as light as possible is important. You are looking for maximum Mass Specific Force (high power to weight ratio).


Thanks for the responses, I've always been fairly slow even when I was fit and a good weight, but given it has been a decade since I was light I'm sure it will make a massive difference Phone Post 3.0

Thanks mate appreciate the advice Phone Post 3.0

Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson could squat 600lbs. In 1988 he ran the 100 meters in 9.79 seconds.

Get stronger and get lighter. Phone Post 3.0

If you want ideas for speed training let me know.


Wouldn't really bother training for speed until you lose the weight/get stronger

You'll just tear a hammy if you go out sprinting right now

I would focus on a combination of strength and mobility, e.g. lots of squats, lots of hamstring work, and a lot of stretching through the hips/glutes/hammies/quads/etc

Add to that some general cardio work and an improved diet to shed pounds

To reiteratve what everone has already said- leaning out will improve your speed more than anything else. When's the last time you saw an overweight sprinter or runningback...

Cleaning up your dietary habits is a great place to start.

John Berardi has some great materials for managing your eating; not only recipes but how to grocery shop, meal plan etc.

Never go grocery shopping when you're hungry btw. It's a lot easier to eat clean when you don't have your cupboards filled with bad stuff.

"btw. It's a lot easier to eat clean when you don't have your cupboards filled with bad stuff." <---TRUTH!

Back on the speed topic...If one is truly trying to train for pure speed, it's a lot different than training for conditioning. When I train sprinters, they rest a minimum of 60 seconds for every 10 meters they run. So for example they would take 6 minutes rest after a 60 meter sprint. 


Hey Taku, have you ever toyed with having them rest until their pulse is under a particular rate? Rather than a set time (i.e. a flat six minutes rest after a 60m). Do you find benefits to one or the other? Just wondering


For conditioning, absolutely. Using THRZ info is very helpful at times.

Some coaches use the long to short method when preparing sprinters, feeling that they are building some sort of conditoning base. I feel this is a mistake. I use the Short to long method (Charlie Francis inspired), always working on developing maximum speed at all times. Long for my guys is no more than about 50 more meters more than their target race distance. I would not have a 100 meter guy doing repeat 400's.

As far as Hear Rate goes with the sprinters...For max speed training, I want the maximum recovery possible between bouts. I need them to be able to give a max effort each time. In fact we are tracking speed based on best times and distances with desird goals in mind. If they fall below a certain threshold,then they are done for the day no matter how far along the workout session is. If they are unable to give the required effort, then I call it.



Josh_underground - 
BreakALegAndy! -
Roberto Silva - Must suck Frankie having to be the same guy 3 times.

Pointless fight. Phone Post 3.0
Pointless post ^^ Phone Post 3.0
I really respect Frankie for taking the fight. He gets nothing out of it really (other than a paycheck), cool of him to do it. Phone Post 3.0

That's a good job by you. I can't think of an instance where anyone can argue that he's ever tried to pick and choose his fights.

Right on with the speed work stuff Taku. I'll never get sport coaches who consider long shuttles and +100M sprints with short rest to be speed work.

OP everyone else said it already but you need GPP work more than specific speed work. I do like plyo's with more advanced athletes but wouldn't suggest them without 3-6 months of preparatory work.

Hey iftStrong,

Thanks for that. Yep..So many coaches seem to think that they are training for speed, when they stack up a bunch of short sprints into an exaustive conditioning circuit. Just lack of understnading I guess.