How do I sprint faster

Do you want to be able to sprint faster and finally be the decisive step in front of your opponent? Many top players are characterized by their speed and thus gain a great advantage. This is exactly why it is important for you to work specifically on your speed as a footballer.


  • Importance of speed training for footballers
  • Football-specific speed
  • Physical basics
  • Strength training
  • Specific training on that place
  • Food
  • Test results of a U13 team
  • How effectively can I improve?
  • How can you measure your speed exactly?

Importance of speed training for footballers

If you "only" play football on the side and don't have much time for additional training, then you should prioritize exercises with the ball. The speed training is of enormous importance for footballers who have big goals and have to hone all aspects. In order to achieve your maximum potential as a footballer, training your speed is essential. Big players like Bale or Mbappé clearly show how their speed can even make a difference.

Football-specific speed

When we talk about speed training, you are probably thinking of a normal straight sprint. However, in football there are extremely many abrupt changes of direction, "stop and go" movements, and above all 1-10m sprints. Accordingly, you should also approach the training and incorporate various elements (more on that later).

Physical basics

I have prepared a very short theory block for you so that you understand the necessary background knowledge for the structure of the speed training: The muscles consist of different types of muscle fibers. A distinction is made between slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers (Fig. 1).The latter are decisive for the speed and to a large extent innate. These fibers are activated during high-intensity loads such as sprints or strength training with the barbell. However, there is a third type of muscle fiber, the intermediate, which are very adaptable and can therefore ensure that you become effectively faster with the right speed training. For this reason, it becomes clear why you need intensive loads with sprints and strength training for speed training. We will go into more detail on this in the next point.

Figure 1: Muscle fibers twitch slowly on the left, rapidly twitch on the right

Strength training

Strength training is an important part of speed training. Effective speed training not only includes sprints, but also specific strength training. Above all, speed and explosive strength are important for sprints. You can train them very well through targeted strength exercises for the torso and leg area. Well-trained muscles are the basis for all sprints. However, if you want to optimize your speed training plan, you should also integrate explosive (perform the exercise with the greatest possible effort and speed) and reactive (backward movement and then slow down with target muscles and immediately accelerate again in the other direction), strength training. As described above, the rapidly twitching muscle fibers are responsible for enabling us to perform rapid explosive movements, such as when starting up. If you now almost exclusively do endurance exercises. In a sport like football, there is a risk that too many intermediate fibers will turn into slowly twitching fibers and you will lose speed. Appropriate strength training is necessary to counteract this transformation. On the one hand, classic strength training is included Basic exercises important to optimize the interaction of the muscle fibers and to be able to apply more strength in the shortest possible time. Important basic exercises to build up the necessary power are:

  1. Deadlifts
  2. Lunges
  3. Squats

In all of these exercises, you should work in the low rep range in order to train maximum strength (1-5 repetitions) and include enough rest (approx. 2-4 minutes) between the sets. You can do about 3-6 sets per exercise. Initially a little less and with training experience tends to be more. In order to achieve sustainable progress, you should pay attention to a steady progression (increase weight, number of sets, number of repetitions).

A clean execution is also a prerequisite to avoid injuries to the musculoskeletal system.

On the other hand, explosive strength training specifically trains the fast-twitch fibers and ensures that they are maintained. A combination of basic exercises and explosive strength training is recommended.

The 9 most important explosivity exercises that anyone can do from home can be found here (free e-book & videos).

You can find top explosive force exercises for on the pitch in the following video:

By the way, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel HERE to always be up to date.

Specific sprint training on the pitch

A good warm-up is particularly important for speed training, without this the risk of injury is extremely high. During the explosive steps in speed training you can otherwise easily get a strain if the muscles are not already warm. Therefore, at the beginning of every speed training, a good break-in is on the program.

Since the speed cannot be improved in a tired state, sufficiently long breaks between the exercises are extremely important. The nervous system must have enough time to restore its full readiness for action, as must the muscle fibers to completely replenish their ATP and creatine phosphate stores.

A rule of thumb:

  • Include a break of at least 30 seconds for every 10 meter sprint distance

It is also important that you internalize the movement sequences of the exercises well at the beginning and only then do them under time pressure. Quality before quantity! If this requirement is met, it is important that you complete the exercises at maximum speed. Measuring with a training partner is ideal here. This is how you push each other to achieve maximum performance. If there is no training partner available, you can run against the clock and fight against your own record. This makes training more fun and increases motivation.

In order to respond to the football-specific requirements, exercises are recommended with:

  1. Running ladder (Primarily helps coordination and not maximum speed)
  2. change of direction
  3. Stop and go
  4. Explosive elements
  5. resistance

In the following video exactly 5 exercises in the area are presented:

The resistance belt that you need for the 5th exercise and that challenges you again and achieves faster results is the Recoil 360 °. We use it in all of our personal training sessions.

The following exercises are ideal to put another focus on the change of direction:


In strength and sprint training, in addition to optimizing the interaction of the muscle fibers, muscle growth can also play an important role. In terms of nutrition, the following must be observed: In order to build muscles for the sprints, you should eat more than you burn (a calorie surplus of approx. 300 calories is sufficient) so that your body can use the excess energy to build the necessary muscles. If this is not the case, you are wasting potential. In addition, it can be useful to take creatine as a dietary supplement.

If you want to learn all the basics about nutrition for footballers, watch the video below:

Test results of a U13 team

Within six weeks we carried out 10 training units, each of which lasted 20-30 minutes (a total of 4.2 hours of training time). For the sake of simplicity, we have focused on a few exercises with the running ladder, various sprint variants and a short core strength training. We then measured the 10m and 30m times of nine players before and after the training program.

On average, the nine players improved by 0.04 seconds or 1.89% in the 10m sprint.

On average, the nine players improved by 0.14 seconds or 2.96% in the 30m sprint.

How effectively can I improve?

As we already know, your speed potential is largely due to the genetic distribution of the muscle fasting types. In addition, our test seems to have the tendency (in order to make a clear statement that significantly more subjects would have to be tested) that in 10 weeks only an improvement in the low percentage range is possible and therefore no great effect can be achieved compared with the specific training with perseverance, for example. But if you put the training effort in relation to the result, a noticeable effect was achieved in ONLY 4.2h training time. What do we learn from it? The speed is still dominated by the genetic conditions. With relatively little effort, however, you can scrape out the maybe 2-3 crucial percentages and be on the ball faster than your opponent.

How can you measure your speed exactly?

When measuring speed precisely, one usually thinks of expensive equipment. Fortunately, nowadays there are inexpensive and practical speed measuring devices that measure to the hundredth of a second. Our recommendation is the measuring device from Jawku, which we use with our players almost every day. The device is similar to a clock and works in conjunction with the Jawku speed app.

Since we stand behind this product ourselves, and the measurement of speed can be very important for every footballer and coach, we have one 15% discount code for Jawku can organize which one "360football" reads. You can use this code when buying a Jawku measuring device.

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Fig1: "Muscle fasting species"

Speed ​​"

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"Recovery against overtraining"

"Basics of speed training"

"Training with the coordination manager"

"Power and speed in football" Swiss Football Association p. 8,9 (accessed on 16.09.2015)

"Aerobic-Anaerobic Threshold"