Three Drills to Increase Speed

  • By Dynamic Sports Training
  • 22 Jun, 2017

Kevin Poppe, Director of DST North


The wall drill is a drill we use with all of our athletes. It emphasized body position and leg action during the Acceleration phase of sprinting. Here are simple coaching cues for the wall drill.

  • Good forward lean with body in a straight line
  • Head position is neutral
  • Core is tight
  • Big chest
  • Glutes contracted
  • Don’t flex your spine when your knee drives into flexion
  • Knee Up, Toe Up once in maximum hip flexion
  • Keep opposite glute contracted and knee straight as your knee drives into flexion


The arm drill is what we use to teach arm action in both the Acceleration and Maximum Velocity phases of our sprinting technique. It is important that the shoulder goes through full range of motion in both flexion and extension. Some keys to the Arm Drill are:

  • Start with elbow bend at a larger angle, outside 90 degrees
  • Core Tight, Big Chest
  • Slowly bring the arms in to 90 degrees and work cheek-to-cheek
  • Hammer the elbows back (do not only flex/extend at the elbow)
  • Relax through the face, shoulder and hands
  • Head position is neutral


The best way to work on your start technique is to practice it. You can obviously do this anywhere. A big key to getting better at the start is simply getting more comfortable with it and allowing your body to adapt to corrected mechanics. Apply your techniques to practicing the start in a deliberate way. Do not just run through it.

Dynamic Sports Training Blog

By Dynamic Sports Training 18 Jul, 2017

This week's DST Exercise of the Week is the Dowel shoulder mobility series, which is an alternative to the old-fashioned shoulder dislocators that a lot people do for their shoulder mobility work. The problem with the old-fashioned dislocators is when we go up and over, we’re forcing our body into a fixed range of motion that might not be appropriate for that athlete at the time. This is going to lead to anterior glide of the shoulder once we turn it over, and that is going to lead to a lot of excessive extension when we are trying to go over the top.

We have the athlete grip a PVC pipe about shoulder width apart. He’s going to turn one hand out and one hand in, right in front of his body. We tell the athlete to take his bottom hand and push the other hand straight to the sky. Don’t worry about rotating yet, just try and reach up. As we reach up as high as we possibly can, we’re getting a good stretch through this entire side through the lat. Then, we tell the athlete to take this bottom hand and start pushing his other arm into a big arm circle. He’s going to rotate back so we’re also getting a little bit of thoracic mobility and core stability while he maintains this position. 

We want to maintain pressure through the entire range. Then, when he gets back to the start, he’s going to do the same movement in the other direction. We go up and over pushing up with the other hand. It is important to know that whichever hand starts at the bottom is always applying the force, so we want to tell the athlete to try to keep the hips as square as possible. 

After the athlete does eights reps or so on each side, we’ll go backwards with it. So we will have the athlete start in the same position, and we'll use the top hand this time to push the bottom hand down. Going through the Dowel shoulder mobility series is a better option to get that extra should mobility work or movement preparation work before your workout. We usually do one or two sets of eight to twelve reps of this.

By Dynamic Sports Training 17 Jul, 2017
Mindset Principle: Integrity

Integrity - “The State of Being Whole and Undivided”

This definition fits the building analogy we often use with our athletes. We compare our approach of training our athletes to the construction of tall buildings - you have to have a strong foundation, a well-thought out blueprint, and perfect execution to get the result you want. Following that analogy, a structure is said to have “good integrity” when it’s architecturally sound - sturdy and unmovable. The same should be true of our athletes’ bodies and character. To stand for truth and what is right - unable to be moved or shaken.

You don't have to dig too far to find stories of athletes who had all the right pieces physically but didn't meet their potential due to issues outside of their sport. That's why we want to work on more than just physical preparation. The way you talk and the way you act matter on and off the field.

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
- Proverbs 22:1

Nutrition Principle: Supplementation  

Supplementation is a large part of many athletes' nutrition plans. And, just like in training, there isn't a 'silver bullet' when it comes to taking supplements. Every athlete has different demands (in-game, training, etc.) and should plan both their diet and supplementation intake with those demands in mind. Typically, we recommend getting most, if not all, of your necessary nutrients from natural food sources. We know sometimes this isn't possible - especially  for extremely active athletes or people with deficiencies outside of their control. In these instances, a well-planned supplementation strategy can be very effective to help you get all the nutrients your body requires to prepare and recover. Below are some supplements that our trainers recommend looking into (*note: this is not an exhaustive list).

  • Supported for use  (In specific situations in sport using evidence-based protocols):
    • Sports drinks, Gels, and Bars
    • Whey Protein
    • Iron & Calcium Supplements
    • Multivitamins
    • Vitamin D
    • Probiotics
    • Caffeine
    • Beta Alanine
    • Creatine

*For any specific questions about certain supplements, or a supplement strategy, get in touch with any of our trainers*

Physical Principle: Periodization  

One of the core principles for our athletic development processes is the concept of periodization. Having goals is vital for all athletes. You need to know where you want to go before you can take the proper steps to get there. However, constant fixation on an end-goal can be detrimental to actually achieving it. That is where the idea of periodization helps immensely.

Periodization is taking the end-goal and breaking it down into smaller, more achievable steps. Think of it this way: Your end-goal is a finished bookcase from IKEA . Periodization is what helps you build it with steps A through J.  This process-oriented mindset creates daily opportunities for little victories, which helps sustain the motivation required to accomplish long-term goals. Focusing on, and believing in, the process is what periodization is all about.

"Rome wasn't built in a day, but  they were laying bricks every hour."

By Dynamic Sports Training 11 Jul, 2017
DST Sports Performance Specialist, Dennis Koenck, teaches us how to properly perform the hamstring curl on the slide board for the DST Exercise of the Week.

Begin by laying down on the slide board, back flat, knees bent. Next, raise the hips up into a hip bridge, keeping the hips up and the glutes tight. The main pressure needs to be focused in the heels, pushing down into the ground as the feet slide out in front of the body.  Slide the feet out slowly, maintaining the hip bridge position. Once both legs are fully extended, activate the hamstring and glute muscles to try to "scrape" the heels across the ground back towards the body, bending the knees. The hip bridge position is to be maintained throughout this entire movement. 

The posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back) are often weaker than other muscle groups in most athletes. However, a strong posterior chain is a very important element in allowing athletes to create explosive power and speed. This region should be not be neglected! The slide board hamstring curl is a great exercise to work into any training program, as it targets the hamstrings, glutes, and the lower back. And if you don't have a slide board, all you have to do is find a slippery floor and throw on some socks, and you can do this movement just the same. 

If you're looking for more posterior chain-strengthening exercises, try the glute ham raise , RDL , and the split squat
By Dynamic Sports Training 29 Jun, 2017

Everyone loves an underdog story. A long-shot with little hope who defies logic, silences doubters, and overcomes all obstacles on their way to ultimate glory. But that’s not always how it plays out in real life, is it?

The truth is, some teams are really hard to beat. Some obstacles are big . Some goals are nearly unattainable. Some challenges are actually impossible.

What do you do when you're faced with a situation like this?

This month, our Trigger Focus is dedication. When I asked DST athletes and coaches what it meant to be dedicated, I got a lot of really good answers. One of my favorites was very simple: "Being committed to a task or cause and never giving up." I love this answer because it mentions nothing about the completion of the task or success of the cause -- only the commitment to never give up. You see, failures are bound to happen. Un-winnable games will be played. Goals won't be hit. Impossible challenges will prevail. But here's the good news:

Just because you ended up failing doesn't mean you were wrong to start fighting.​

If you haven't seen the movie Mr. Holland's Opus, add it to your must-watch list. I won't spoil the movie, but I do want to share a very poignant scene with you. The titular character is a substitute-turned-lifer music teacher whose music program is at risk of falling victim to budget cuts. In the scene, Mr. Holland talks to the current principal, Mr. Wolters, about how his mentor, Mrs. Jacobs (the former principal), would not have sat idly by while the school abandoned the fine arts departments. The dialogue unfolds with the following:

Mr. Holland : ​ "Jacobs would have fought this."​

Principle Wolters : "She would have lost."

​    Mr. Holland : "Yes, she would have lost. But she would have fought this. And so will I."

This is a prime example of what true dedication looks like. Sure, it's dedication to a losing cause, but Mr. Holland absolutely refused to go down without a fight.​

I've found that I'm drawn to this same mentality in fiction and reality alike.

One of the most inspiring stories in all of mythology is the Battle of Thermopylae -- Anyone want to do a Gerard Butler "This is Sparta!" impression?  Now's the time -- I'll wait. What an incredible narrative: 300 men vs. hundreds of thousands . The Spartans faced certain death, yet remained undeterred in their resolve to fight for their land and stand up for what they knew was right.

Or how about a historical account? The Battle of the Alamo is essentially the same storyline. We absolutely love it here in Texas -- and for good reason. If you don't know the details, you need to do some research. The epic line in the sand drawn by William B. Travis. The willingness of every last man to give his life for the greater good. THAT is dedication.

Here's my point: You're not going to win every game you play.¹ You won't achieve every goal you ever set for yourself. You cannot and will not be perfect. But does that mean you shouldn't try? Absolutely not. Find something of great value, throw caution (and probability of success) to the wind, and dedicate yourself to it.²

By Dynamic Sports Training 27 Jun, 2017
For anyone who is trying to build the strength to do a regular pull-up without any assistance, we recommend starting with these pull-up progressions. DST Director of Adult Fitness, Chelsea Bellinger, takes us through three pull-up progressions, beginning with a modified pull-up, progressing to a band-assisted pull-up, with the final progression being an unassisted pull-up.

The pull-up is a compound lift that builds the pulling muscles of the upper body. These muscles include the latisimus dorsi, biceps, and the smaller stabilizing muscles of the shoulder and upper back.

A strong back is a major advantage for athletes of all sports. Along with bent-over rows, pull-ups are a major way to achieve this. The lats are one of the bigger muscle groups of the body and span from under the arm all the way down to your waistline. Because of their big, cross-sectional area, they play a key role in stabilizing the lumbar spine and, therefore, can help you improve on all of your major lifts, including the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Another advantage to strengthening the lats through pull-ups is to help reposition and stabilize the shoulder joint. Scapular elevation (shrugged shoulders) is something that is seen quite often when we are conducting our bio-mechanical assessments. Pull-ups will help counteract this poor posture by driving scapular depression (shoulders down and back).

On the flip side, it is common for baseball players and other throwing athletes to develop very tight lats after a long season of throwing. We will still incorporate pull-up variations for this type of athlete, but may need to emphasis the eccentric (lowering) of the movement to improve mobility.

There is a reason pull-ups have been around forever and are a staple in any good strength program. If you are seeking to achieve your first unassisted pull-up, start with the modified pull-up shown and work your way through the other progressions. Once you feel like you've mastered the unassisted pull-up in neutral grip, watch this video  by Director of DST North, Kevin Poppe, showing a more advanced pull-up. 
By Dynamic Sports Training 22 Jun, 2017


The wall drill is a drill we use with all of our athletes. It emphasized body position and leg action during the Acceleration phase of sprinting. Here are simple coaching cues for the wall drill.

  • Good forward lean with body in a straight line
  • Head position is neutral
  • Core is tight
  • Big chest
  • Glutes contracted
  • Don’t flex your spine when your knee drives into flexion
  • Knee Up, Toe Up once in maximum hip flexion
  • Keep opposite glute contracted and knee straight as your knee drives into flexion
By Dynamic Sports Training 20 Jun, 2017
Our DST Exercise of the Week is the Tricep Dip. DST Personal Trainer Stephen Magee will demonstrate several progressions of this movement.

The first Tricep Dip variation uses the athlete's bodyweight and can be performed on any elevated surface. The starting position for this movement is hands on the elevated surface, palms down facing behind us. The legs are straight out in front, toes in dorsiflexion (pulled back towards the knee). Next, the athlete should move their bodyweight off the elevated surface with a slight bend in the elbows. Slowly, let the body down toward the ground by bending both elbows, keeping the hips as close to the elevated surface as possible. Once at the bottom, press up extending both arms straight back up into the start position. This movement can also be easily modified by slightly bending the legs. 

The next variation of the Tricep Dip is recommended for a more advanced athlete, as it incorporates the athlete's full bodyweight. This movement is performed using two parallel bars shoulder width apart. The starting position for this exercise is gripping the bars with both hands, elbows in full extension, feet hanging below either crossed or side-by-side. Using the body as a lever, move both knees back behind the shoulders, and then carry out the dip movement. 

When training for any high-level sport, it is important to train each muscle group. Often times, athletes focus on training the bicep and back muscles, but the tricep needs to be trained in conjunction with those other muscle groups to prevent upper body imbalances. The Tricep Dip is a great exercise into incorporate in any training program. 
By Dynamic Sports Training 14 Jun, 2017
Mindset Principle: Dedication
By  Josh Graber  

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed...above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” — Roald Dahl

Lukewarm is no good.  Let that sink in. Of the things you say you're passionate about, how many do you truly go after full speed?

Unfortunately, we see a lot of athletes whose actions don't align with their words. Almost every athlete who comes to us has lofty goals they've set for themselves. Almost all want to play high-level college ball and most tell us they want to play professionally. We love hearing that, but only if the follow-through is there as well. We'll have guys/girls come in consistently for a couple of weeks then start to drift in attendance and focus to the training process. Eventually, some athletes stop coming in altogether. Is this because they didn't actually want to play pro ball? Probably not. It's probably because they don't want to put in the work and dedication it takes to reach that goal. 

This isn't a problem exclusive to athletes. It's a problem that can arise in every single facet of life. Relationships. School. Jobs. The list goes on. People write checks with their words, then fail to cash those checks with their actions.

Enough negativity! That doesn't have to be your narrative. Be different. Want it more. Trust the process. And achieve your dreams. To put it another way: If it's important, you'll find a way. If it isn't, you'll find an excuse.

What's important to you? 

Nutrition Principle: Nutrient Density
 By  Chelsea Bellinger  

Nutrient Density is the measurement of macro and micronutrients per calorie. Foods that are more nutrient dense are linked to having greater health benefits and providing more energy. Eating nutrient dense foods allows you to consume many nutrients without consuming a lot of calories. It is important for athletes to consume nutrient dense foods to ensure they are getting the nutrients necessary for muscle recovery and performance. 

Ask your trainer about the importance of consuming nutrient dense foods and different ways to incorporate them into your diet!

Physical Principle: Dynamic Correspondence

By Lee Fiocchi

The basic idea behind what we call Dynamic Correspondence is that an athlete's training off the field should translate to an athlete's performance  on  the field. Let's look at speed as an example.

Not all speed training is created equally. The common mantra that “you have to train fast to be fast” is very important but not entirely true.  The last couple years in research -- largely elucidated by JB Morin and his research group -- is that direction of force is critical, which really isn’t the biggest nugget that we learned from the research. Most effective coaches know and purposely design their training to achieve improved position and posture to help athletes perform more effectively in acceleration. The myth that I fell for is that loaded sprint training with loads greater than 10% of body weight can have a negative affect on performance. As it turns out, loads should be tailored to the individual's body and their goals. This thought process is true of almost all training: strength and speed training should vary depending on how it will impact the athlete in their sport and for their position.

By Dynamic Sports Training 13 Jun, 2017

DST Exercise of the week is the Glute Ham Raise (GHR).  In this video, we’re going to go over just the hamstring portion of the full Glute Ham Raise. 

We’re going to start by making sure the athlete's knees are up on the pads. Some things to look for are to have the glutes and the core tight. A cue for creating tension in the core is to tell the athlete to think about bringing the rib cage and the pelvis together. When first going out, some athletes will try to just tip straight down. But that movement leads to a bit of a hip hinge, and we want to eliminate that. We’ll coach the athlete to take their heels and push them through the platform, and that’s going to force the athlete to extend their legs straight out. Pushing through the platform, you want the athlete to keep tension through the hamstrings, avoiding relaxation of the back. 

They’re going to go down to about a flat position, then, before coming back up, they’re going to want to think about kicking their heels to the ceiling and attacking with the hamstrings, never losing core engagement. Once again, we’re not relaxing at the bottom, we want to make sure there’s tension through the hamstrings throughout the entire movement. 

This exercise is shown on a GHR machine. The Glue Ham Raise can also be done with an athlete using a pad on the floor. In this scenario, the athlete's knees would be resting on the pad and they would need something or someone to keep their legs and feet from coming off the ground when extending their body down to the floor. Both versions of this exercise are equally effective and will target the hamstrings and posterior chain.

By Dynamic Sports Training 08 Jun, 2017

Recovery is a difficult topic to research. Often times, there are conflicting studies and conclusions, because so much of the recovery process is measured anecdotally. So what’s one to do? For one, start with defining the terms. Next, read the methods of the study to see if they are actually addressing the topic at hand. From there, we can get a better picture of truth outside of the spectrum of opinion.

Defining Recovery

So what is recovery? Is it at the cellular level? Is it in reference to perceived soreness or recovery of specific and relevant range of motion? Is it recovery from an injury? Is it recovering strength? For this blog we will define recovery as being at the cellular level, referencing perceived soreness decreases and strength recovery. Relevant range of motion is a tricky topic to try to throw in here because of all the factors and mechanisms that could lead to lost mobility and the reacquisition thereof. It would be irresponsible to reduce that topic to whether or not cold-water immersion aids recovery of that nature. Same goes for recovering from injuries.

Finding Applicable Studies

While researching this topic, you will find numerous studies pointing in all different directions, most of which deal with recovery from highly metabolic activities like running or playing soccer. We acknowledge these, but for our purposes, we want to look specifically at resistance training. With how much traction cold-water immersion has had for decades and with the more recent surge of cryotherapy, one would think resources would be plentiful on this topic. This is simply not the case. Very few research papers and studies get into the specifics of recovery, especially as it relates to resistance training.  I was able to find some, however, and they are cited throughout this blog.

Effects on Perceived Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness is a common, yet not always a reliable, indicator of recovery. However, the effects of cold-water immersion therapy are pretty clear. Pretty much every study ever done on this topic has shown that cold-water immersion significantly aids in a reduction of muscle soreness. However, there are very few studies that even attempt to find out why this is the case. There needs to be more research on this topic, but I believe there hasn’t been because we already have a decent hypothesis on this. The cold has the ability to numb the area and provides relief of pain. In-short, if you only care about reducing soreness, then cold-water immersion or cryotherapy is definitely a viable option for you.

Muscle Recovery at the Cellular Level

This topic specifically lacks applicable studies to indicate viability. However, a 2016 study by Peake, et al. does a pretty good job of attacking this. They used single-leg resistance strength training in three groups. One performed cold-immersion, another group performed active recovery and the third group used a passive (sedentary) recovery. The study controlled nutrition and even bathing schedules to eliminate the heat from the showers and baths from affecting the results. They monitored the results using muscle biopsies and blood work. Without getting into the entire study that you can read yourself, the results were not necessarily what you might expect.

Cold-immersion therapy showed no significant (statistically, not my determination) difference in muscle recovery when compared to active recovery. One could stop there and make a claim that active recovery would be superior because of its ability to be broadly applied in a group setting. It also comes with zero monetary cost. Not so fast. The study also showed that the benefits of either method were minimal when compared to the passive or sedentary group. So now what? Is this a referendum on all recovery methods? Well, not exactly. Methods are important.

The active recovery method was pedaling on a stationary bike, so all we see here is that, for recovery purposes, hopping on the bike for a warm-down seems to be a waste of time. It is not an indicator of the effectiveness of other active recovery modalities. Each would need to be studied or observed independently. In fact, I read another study that showed tremendous backing for active recovery over static or passive recovery. The problem is that they do not detail what the active method consisted of. My opinion is that it more than likely depends on the method itself.

It is important to note there are many studies that seem to indicate real benefits with cold-immersion. However, they don’t really apply very well to strength training. The studies base the findings on activities with a high metabolic stress and moderate mechanical stress. When it comes to strength training, we typically see a reduced metabolic stress with a heightened mechanical stress. That is an important difference. In the end, this study shows that the biological indicators at the cellular level do not support cold-immersion being used as a primary recovery method.

**Note: The study also references a 2003 study by Roberts, et al. that seemed to show a loss of muscle mass and force production when cold-emersion was implemented post-workout over a 3-month period. That is significant.**

Strength Recovery

This is where people could easily get lost. The studies seem to show contradictions rampant, but when observed more closely, there seems to be more of a bell curve. One study by Pfeiffer, et al. seemed to show drastic decreases in strength when using cold-immersion methods. However, the method to determine this was repeating high-intensity exercise with a quick turnaround (within an hour). As I stated before, there is a 2003 study by Roberts, et al. that indicates a loss of strength over a 3-month period of using cold-immersion in comparison to other recovery methods.

But let’s slow down a bit. There are also studies that seem to indicate strength recovery increases over a three day period in comparison to other methods. Some point to this as a proof-positive for cold-water immersion. Others point to it as misleading. I tend to fall into the latter camp. We know cold-water immersion reduces perceived soreness. That three day period seems to be in a typical soreness window, so a study taking place in that window seems to exploit that effect. While it is important to those looking for a quick turnaround, it also could be detrimental. This is only my opinion.

As an example, we know that to cause actual changes in soft tissue by stretching takes at least 2 minutes of constant stretching. However, we see increases in joint range after 30 seconds, at times. This is because we have affected the stretch tolerance of the muscle. This can give an appearance of increased soft tissue extensibility, but it is misleading. In the same way, because of decreased soreness, we should be able to tolerate more load than while experiencing soreness. Some need that from time to time, but I am in the business of developing long-term athletes. I don’t really care too much about a false two or three days of perceived recovery. I really want to see more studies attacking this topic, but until then, I can only go on this. For these reasons, it is my current opinion (which could change), that not only is cold-immersion not beneficial for strength recovery, but it can be detrimental in the long-run.


Please make your own determinations. Don’t blindly listen to what I’m saying, but these are the conclusions that I’ve come to with the current information available. There are simply not enough studies out there on this topic. The ones that are out there, when looked at as a whole, do not seem to support to the use of cold-immersion as an efficient or effective recovery method post-workout. This is especially true when it comes at a monetary cost to you. Alternatively, active recovery is going to depend on the specific method.


  Thibaut Méline, Timothée Watier, Anthony MJ Sanchez, Cold water immersion after exercise: recent data and perspectives on “kaumatherapy”, The Journal of Physiology , 2017, 595, 9, 2783

Wiley Online Library

Gillian White, Jessica E. Caterini, Cold water immersion mechanisms for recovery following exercise: cellular stress and inflammation require closer examination, The Journal of Physiology , 2017, 595, 3, 631

Wiley Online Library

Chris Mawhinney, Helen Jones, David A. Low, Daniel J. Green, Glyn Howatson, Warren Gregson, Influence of cold-water immersion on limb blood flow after resistance exercise, European Journal of Sport Science , 2017, 17, 5, 519


  R. Allan, C. Mawhinney, Is the ice bath finally melting? Cold water immersion is no greater than active recovery upon local and systemic inflammatory cellular stress in humans, The Journal of Physiology , 2017, 595, 6, 1857

Wiley Online Library

  Angus Lindsay, Sam Carr, Sean Cross, Carl Petersen, John G. Lewis, Steven P. Gieseg, The physiological response to cold-water immersion following a mixed martial arts training session, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism , 2017, 42, 5, 529

  Pearce, et al.   Journal of Physiology . Volume 595, Issue 3
1 February 2017 
Pages 695–711

  Jeremiah J. Peiffer et al. Journal of Sports Sciences , Published online: 21 Aug 2009
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