In my opinion, developing lateral speed is one of the most fundamentally overlooked factors when it comes to training. Moving from side to side without completely turning is a basic necessity in sports like football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and so forth. Athletes that struggle to move laterally with speed have no choice but to turn towards the direction they want to move, reducing their ability to change direction quickly, ultimately moving themselves out of position to make plays effectively.
Training for lateral speed is actually quite simple; just add a few stretches and exercises into your routine and the impact will be tremendous. The challenging part is actually knowing what to do, so I’ve covered a few of the basics below for your convenience.
Moving laterally with increased speed is challenging. The first step towards improving your lateral speed is developing range of motion in your hips. Try adding these stretches to your routine to improve flexibility in the hip area:
- hip raises
- bicycle kicks (on your back)
- bridge raises
There are a number of speed drills that you can do to activate the hips and lower body, which will lead to more engagement of the muscles necessary to move laterally. Here are the two most common:
Explosive speed in any direction requires a substantial amount of power. Try these dynamic, strength-based exercises to increase the power in your lower body:
- squat jumps
- jump lunges
- backwards ball tosses
Speed + Resistance
Add resistance to your speed training to give your lower body the stress needed to increase overall strength. The following are some suggestions to add to your regiment:
- weighted vest sprints
- parachute sprints
- sled sprints
If you’re training for lateral speed, begin with the above additions to your current workout. Start slow and change up your routine so your body has a difficult time adjusting to the training, which will lead to maximum results. Always remember to plan your workouts in advance under the supervision of a professional.
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