9 Steps to Building MAX SPEED

9 Steps to Building MAX SPEED by Michael Volkmar, MS, CSCS, PES, CPT

Every athlete at every level wants to build MAX SPEED.  Here are the 9 steps high school to pro athletes take to build game breaking speed!

1 – Self Myofascial Release
2 – Dynamic Warm-up
3 – Mobility
4 – Plyometrics & Reaction Work
5 – Technical Speed
6 – Resisted Speed
7 – Over Speed
8 – Full Speed
9 – Cool Down

1. Self Myofascial Release

Grab a foam roller or tennis ball to massage trigger point in the body to help prepare you for today’s workout.  Massaging knots, adhesions, and scar tissue that build up from the trauma of exercise will be released and allow you to increase blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues.

2. Dynamic Warm-up

The benefits of “Dynamics” have been greatly covered.  Choose movements that mimic today’s workout.

  • Lateral Speed and Agility Day?  Work on Lateral Base Skips, Carioca Quick Step, and Micro Hurdle Lateral Skips.
  • Acceleration Day?  Work Acceleration Skips, Linear Agility Ladder Drills, and Micro Hurdle Linear Skips.


3. Mobility

This step is skipped most my young athletes.  Moving your ankles and hips through a full range of motion for MAX SPEED is so important.  It will help prevent injury and improve flexibility.  This also could be viewed as corrective exercise for the athlete who is really tight or coming off injury.  Start with prone scorpions, walking lunges, and lateral lunges.

4. Plyometrics & Reaction Work

Power production and quick feet are a priority for all athletes.  That is why it is best done when you are fresh (early in the workout) and loose (after your warm up).  Your strength levels will dictate your level of plyos.

5. Technical Speed

This step is more important at the younger levels.  For my advanced high school athletes, college and pro kids, I will include some Technique work in their Dynamic Warm up.  For a younger high school or middle school athlete, is it important that you learn the proper angles for MAX SPEED

6. Resisted Speed

This is my favorite step. Too many kids blindly run from cone to cone expecting to get fast.  WRONG!  You need to add an external stimulus (improved force production) for the body to respond to (similar to strength training).  Younger athletes will start with HEAVY sled drags.  My advanced (2-3 years of training) will sprint with low to moderate sleds.

7. Over Speed

Assisted Speed (Over Speed) training is best for improving stride length.  Speed is stride length x stride frequency.  Younger athletes will start with bounding and progress into Assisted Speed with bungees, towing, or running down hill.

8. Full Speed

Sometimes overlooked, but you have SPRINT to get FASTER!  Your volume (reps x sets x distance) will be dictated by the training emphasis of that day (Acceleration vs. Max Speed vs. Agility) and conditioning level.

9. Cool Down

Time to static stretch and reflect on your workout.  Develop a stretch routine that hits all the major muscles and targets the muscles that are consistently tight or sore

This program is best complimented with a progressive strength program focusing on posterior chain development (deadlifts, glute ham raises, and RDL’s).  Strength + Speed = One Nasty Athlete!



MICHAEL VOLKMAR, MS, CSCS, PES, CPT, received his master’s degree in Exercise Science with a specialization in Exercise, Nutrition, and Eating Behavior from George Washington University (GWU). In 2001, Mike started his well-traveled path in Sports Performance Training at the Junior College level (OCC, Onondaga, NY) working with the baseball team. He worked for three years as the Strength and Conditioning Coach at GWU, first with the Single A affiliate (High Desert Mavericks) of the Milwaukee Brewers, and later season with the Double A affiliate (Harrisburg Senators) of the Washington Nationals, before moving on to spend one year at the International Performance Institute of IMG Academies, FL. Mike continued his professional development by becoming the Director of Strength and Conditioning at the APEX Academies. Currently, Mike is the strength and conditioning coach at the Peddie School. A Division I baseball player during his undergraduate career, Mike is an amateur powerlifter with a passion for all things fitness.  Mike has advanced specialty certifications in strength and conditioning, post-rehab exercise, athletic development, and sports medicine. Mike stays active in social media with Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  He also runs a Summer Strength and Speed program at the Peddie School.