05 May 10 Reasons I Train For Speed

I’m over 50 and I still train for speed.

I know 30 year-olds who don’t get out and sprint, so why do I it?

First, speed training is the absolute pinnacle of human performance.

Moving fast and explosively literally trumps everything else when it comes to human movement.

Strength is the foundation, but speed is king.

What if you’re not an athlete though?

Think about this…who wouldn’t want to be faster?

If you’re not fast, you’re slow.

Yes, training for speed is hard and if you’re not an athlete you might be thinking, why would I need speed?

After all, speed training takes an incredible amount of energy, the right mindset, and you have to push yourself hard to move your body fast and explosively and truly express the many qualities of speed.

I’ll give you the 10 reasons why I train, but before I do, I want to talk about something called the exercise paradox.

THE EXERCISE PARADOX

There’s something called the “exercise paradox” which I learned about from top speed coach and author, Phil Campbell.

The exercise paradox means the brain has an attraction to sedentary behaviors.

Yes, we’d rather sit down and watch a football game on a Saturday afternoon as opposed to heading out to the local field and running vicious sprints for an hour.

Do nothing or go work hard? Hmm.

That’s just one thing that make speed training tough – it’s hard to muster up a lot of energy to go and sprint all-out.

But, when you “know your why,” everything is a lot easier.

When you know why you need to get up from the couch and head to the field, that’s your advantage.

Here’s 10 reasons why I get up off the couch and go train for speed.

1-RESLIENCE

Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.

It’s the ability to bounce back.

It’s getting knocked down and then being able to get back up and come back strong.

It’s adapting and overcoming. It’s a lot of things actually.

One of the biggest drivers in my training the last few years is simply to be a resilient human being.

But what does that mean exactly?

For me, it means being able to live a highly active lifestyle and being able to do anything I want – physically, mentally, spiritually.

Life is tough and we have to be resilient humans to endure in this world.

Training for strength and speed allows me to be more resilient in the crazy world we live in.

2-FUN & ENJOYMENT

Training has to be fun.

The reality is that if what we’re doing isn’t fun, if we don’t enjoy what we’re doing at some level, we’re not going to do it consistently.

Speed training and sprinting is fun for me.

It’s hard, but it’s fun.

There are days when I can’t wait to get out on the field and run.

To move fast and explosively on an open field is exciting and engaging for me.

I love it and dread the day when I can’t do it anymore.

If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t be doing it.

3-TO BE LIMITLESS

You ever see the movie Limitless?

It’s a cool movie, if you haven’t seen it.

The main character, played by Bradley Cooper, stumbles onto a wonder drug that allows him to be truly limitless in almost every way possible (physically, cognitively, creatively, etc.).

He skyrockets to success in everything he does.

He basically becomes a super-human, until the dark-side of the drug emerges and things start to crash fast.

With speed training and being able to express the qualities of speed and faster human movement, I’d have to say there is a feeling of becoming limitless.

If you can go out and sprint on an open field, you can do just about anything.

That’s being limitless.

Many people, unfortunately, choose not to do this or simply can’t do this.

For me, to be able to fly across an open field…it just feels incredible. Amazing.

How many people over the age of 30, 40, or 50 do you know who can sprint and demonstrate explosive speed on the field?

If you’re in your 30’s and beyond and can go out and express the qualities of speed, you’re in a great state of physicality.

I want to be limitless, how about you?

4-TO EXPRESS HUMAN MOVEMENT AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL

To run fast, to sprint and to perform movements related to agility, these things would be considered a very high level of movement.

Perhaps the highest level of human movement.

Regardless of age, speed is high-level when it comes to human performance.

Speed is a skill.

Strength is a skill.

I want to be the best “skilled mover” I can be at any age.

I want to be able to move fast for as long as possible.

5-DURABILITY

I’ve already talked about resiliency, but durability is a little different.

I would say that any athlete wants to be more “durable” (or resistant) to injury.

Being durable, by definition, means to be able to withstand wear or damage.

For me, it means being able to do things, in this case moving fast, and not getting hurt or injured.

I’m able to go out and run a strategically and intelligently designed speed session and not feel crushed or beat up after that session.

I’m not saying I won’t feel some soreness after training, but I’m able to train and recover without crushing myself.

When you are able to move fast, you’re much more durable.

6-FAST AND EXPLOSIVE

Fast and explosive, fast and explosive, fast and explosive.

Did I mention I want to be more fast and explosive?

While I’m not playing organized sports at the moment, that doesn’t mean I’m never going to play sports again.

A few of the sports I have interest in playing again when the time is right, certainly require qualities of speed and explosiveness.

In most sports, speed is king.

But that aside, I really like the feeling of feeling fast and explosive as opposed to slow, immobile and sluggish.

(On the field working acceleration drills with the short sprints).

7-NEGATE EFFECTS OF AGING & IMMOBILITY

This is a big one.

As we age, our type-II muscle fibers decrease and at somewhat of a rapid rate.

The two types of skeletal muscle fibers are slow-twitch (type I) and fast-twitch (type II). Slow-twitch muscle fibers support long distance endurance activities like marathon running, while fast-twitch muscle fibers support quick, powerful movements such as sprinting or weightlifting. Field athletes need to always work on the type II fast twitch muscle fiber if they want to improve speed and explosiveness to maximize their performance. For field sports athletes, training to improve fast twitch muscle fiber is critical to success.

It is our type-II muscle fibers that provide for fast, powerful movements.

Basically, we want to do everything we can to prevent the selective loss of the type-II muscle fiber in the human body.

One way to prevent this from happening is to continue to work on the fast movements such as the kettlebell ballistics, weightlifting movements, and sprint training.

Working on speed qualities helps to not only improve speed, but prevent speed loss by improving the activation of our type-II muscle fibers.

If you’re an aging athlete, then I’m sure you want to preserve the qualities of speed.

Again, the alternate is slow and sluggish…so it’s kind of a no-brainer isn’t it?

8-ROLE MODELING

Another big reason for me is to role model.

I have 2 daughters and I’m also a youth sports coach.

Personally, I don’t want to be some fat, out-of-shape guy teaching my kids.

Nope, not good.

I want to represent what great looks like.

The way I like to teach, I demonstrate movement and drills myself, so it’s important that I can do the things I want my kids to do.

I want to inspire them that they can do what I do – and do things better.

Being a role model is extremely important to me – and it’s how I coach and teach.

9-TO UNDERSTAND WHAT ATHLETES EXPERIENCE

As I’ve come to learn a lot about speed development in the last couple of years, I feel it’s important for me to understand any drill or technique that I teach.

In other words, I want to experience what it feels like to run or move a certain way, especially if I’m teaching it to others.

I practice what I preach. Always have.

I want to experience what’s effective – and what needs to be discarded or removed from training.

When I teach something, I have to experience it myself.

10-SELF-GROWTH

The more I keep learning about speed, the more fascinating it is to me.

And growth is one of my top values. I love to learn.

Speed is human movement done fast.

Speed requires proper biomechanics and technical proficiency, so there’s a LOT to learn.

Any person can be – and should be – taught better biomechanics of speed development to reach their full potential.

There are many different qualities of speed development (liner, multi-directional, top-end, starting speed, and more) that athletes need to understand to move better and become faster.

There’s always something to learn about moving faster and I continue to grow as a coach by learning about speed development.

Drills, techniques, verbal cues, coaching corrections, programming, and so much more.

Never stop learning and developing yourself as an athlete or as a coach.

Learning Never Stops.

We must get out of our comfort zones and keep growing.

I train for speed because I keep growing as a movement specialist.


This article is why I train for speed.

In a future article on speed training, I’ll give you some specific examples of exactly what I do.


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Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS, CISSN, SFG-TL, USAW, CACWC

Scott’s background as a strength coach, athlete, and former clinician form the basis for his one-of-a-kind approach to teaching strength, human movement, and peak performance. Scott is dedicated to helping serious fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and lifters, regardless of age, background, or training experience, become the best version of themselves through improved strength and skill development for a lifetime of health, happiness, and high-performance.

Scott is the passionate host of The Rdella Training Podcast, a leading weekly fitness podcast in Apple Podcasts where he interviews the most brilliant minds in the industry. Finally, he is the author of The Edge of Strength, available in Amazon. To learn more about Scott, please visit our About Page.

Be stronger, perform better, and evolve into the athlete you’re meant to be.

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2 Comments
  • Lior
    Posted at 02:24h, 07 May Reply

    Thank you for this very convincing post. Can kb snatches, as a fast and explosive movement, provide some of these benefits?

    • Scott
      Posted at 15:58h, 10 May Reply

      Great question Lior. I believe KB snatches (and swings) are potentially a major contributor to sprint performance. Yes, I do think they can provide some of these benefits, but sprinting on the field is different. It’s a different movement and requires different effort, mechanics, movement skills. Hope that provides some insight.

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