31 Speed Training Exercises To Become Faster
Speed Training to Become Faster
Combative sports and mixed martial arts as a whole are enjoyed by millions of people whether they’re participants or MMA enthusiasts, and deep down we probably would all love to be superior fighters, if not for ourselves then we would do it for those we care about to protect them and keep them out of harm’s way.
But to be a great fighter, there’s a quality you need to have and it’s pretty important regardless of what your fighting sports style or system is, be it martial arts, wrestling, boxing, judo, or MMA. To be efficient in your fighting sport you need to incorporate speed training to increase your combat speed, and that speed needs to be carried out with accuracy. I’ve personally always known speed was important, that’s why I decided to find out exactly how important it was for combative fighters and share it with you.
Why would a combat fighter need speed training? A combat fighter or anyone training in combat sports will need strength and speed training to create power. These are the key characteristics for success in self-defense and against opponents.
The Purpose of Speed Training is not for Demonstrations
You’ve probably known friends or family members that have taken some form of martial arts and all they did was take part in dojo school training and demonstrations. Then one day they were confronted with a real fight situation and all their training failed them, I bet a big shock on their part because they’d probably trained for years.
The problem with that is their techniques were only used for demonstration purposes to get the next level belt or they were used in controlled sparring contests. What they should have been doing all along and what you must do is shift your focus from controlled sparring to real competition and self-defense, and real combat speed training.
What is the Difference Between Combat Speed and Demonstrative Speed?
I’ve come across some wild claims on the internet and the most recent was about a person punching twenty times per second from a one-inch distance. Do you believe that? I don’t, and even if it was true, how effective could this kind of punching be? Speaking for myself, punching that many times with full extensions is not happening, and it’s not happening in one second at a distance of one inch.
Can that even do real damage? I don’t think so, it’s just for demonstration purposes, not real combat.
Combat speed is more complicated to understand in a real fight, competition, or self-defense. It’s not about wild claims made by people with something to gain. It’s about having more knowledge, fighting experience, and characteristics than your opponent so you can use them towards your success in competition or self-defense. This means that you need to train realistically and that you need to use your common sense when it comes to farfetched claims.
Just because someone has some sort of belt in the martial arts, doesn’t make them unbeatable or even a real threat to someone untrained.
So what does this all have to do with combat speed? The main point I’m making is for you to watch out for scams, Yes scams exist in the world of combat sports and mixed martial arts. People will have you believe in a lot of nonsense. So you should understand an idea, not a theory, and how it works, only then can you use it in real fights and increase your combat speed with speed training.
Six reasons why speed training counts for combat fighters:
- It allows you to land strikes faster than your opponent has time to react to
- It makes your punches and kicks harder to predict
- Combat speed and strength are power
- You can avoid harmful blows
- It maximizes power
- It opens opportunities for damaging blows
The quickest way to improve your combat speed is to train with someone who is at a level higher than you, someone who’s faster, stronger, and better conditioned.
Why Combat Speed Was Important in the Early Days of UFC
In the early days of the UFC, fighters fought almost without rules like in the arenas of Rome and most likely earlier than that. They fought anyone regardless of weight limits, rules, and time limits. The fights were mismatched when it came to body weight and size, and the brutality led to next-level no-holds-barred grudge matches.
Due to these mismatched fights between fighters, everything mattered to win and if your opponent was stronger than you, combat speed was going to be your edge. Of course, speed alone is not going to get the job done, you have to have skill. This leads us to the following real UFC fights when UFC was born.
The First UFC Fight Between a Savate Fighter and Sumo Wrestler
Have you ever heard about the first fight in the UFC? It was between a Savate fighter named Gerard Gordeau and a sumo wrestler named Teila Tuli (his real name is Taylor Wily). Gordeau is 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighs 215 pounds. While Tuli stands at 6 foot 2 inches and weighs 450 pounds.
To make a long story short the actual fight of throwing fists and kicks was about twenty-four seconds long, and that was that. Gordeau ends up knocking a tooth out of Tuli’s mouth with a kick and they stop the fight. As big as Tuli was, Gordeau was faster because when Tuli clumsily fell, he was slow to get back up after the first punch.
The Fight Between “The Giant Killer” and Tiny
How about the fight between a Kenpo & Taekwondo MMA fighter called Keith “The Giant Killer” Hackney and a Sumo-Wrestler-Judo martial artist named Emmanuel “Tiny” Yarborough? Hackney stood 5 foot 11.5 inches tall and weighed 200 pounds, while Tiny was a giant of a man at 6 foot 8 inches and weighing in at 616 pounds. Don’t you think that’s an incredible mismatch between these two?
Hackney throws his first punch and lands, dropping Tiny to the mat but then he grabs a hold of Hackney and does some punching himself. As Hackney tries to get away, Tiny throws him out of the ring’s gates, breaking them. That’s 616 pounds pushing him out like a rag-doll.
Hackney gets back in the ring and hits and dodges Tiny using his combat speed as the faster fighter. But Tiny makes a big mistake by grabbing his opponent’s leg during a kick and gets a rush of punches to the head knocking him down, That’s when Hackney continues his relentless onslaught of punches making Tiny tap-out. You should check that fight out, it’s short but exciting.
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Versus a Giant Sumo Wrestler
Here’s one more. The fight between a Jiu-Jitsu fighter Royce Gracie and a Sumo-Wrestler named Akebono Taro. Gracie’s height is 6 feet and his weight is 176 pounds. Akebono stood 6 foot 8 inches tall and weighed 514 pounds. It was b grappling contest with Akebono on top. Imagine all that weight on you, but Gracie did his thing and forced a submission by applying an arm lock on Akebono.
At the end of all these fights, it was combat speed training, quickness, and skill that won these MMA fighters their matches.
You don’t need to be big and have large muscle mass to be a great fighter. You just need to be strong and fast. Even fighters in heavier weight classes must also develop these two characteristics. A great example is Mike Tyson.
If you can develop your strength and speed, then your strikes and grappling will become more effective. This is going to help you a lot against your opponents because MMA is an intensive sport and it’ll take a lot out of you.
Because of the high intensity of MMA combative sports, the best athletic physique for fighters is an average body size with a low body fat percentage, but of course, there are exceptions to this without a doubt.
What are the Differences Between Combat Speed and Quickness?
Speed is mostly referred to as a straight line from your punch or kick to your target, while quickness is how fast you can react.
Having the ability to throw fast hands and feet gives you a better chance of overcoming your opponent. Combat speed allows you to strike harder and that means you’re not required to have heavier muscle mass as some might think, so if you want to hit harder, you should work on getting faster and not bigger. Unless your goal is to have size along with that speed, you should know that the added muscle mass may hinder your performance.
When you think of quickness, think of your body’s reflexes because they’re related by blood. But seriously, being extremely quick in your reflexes is very important for both your offense and defense in mixed martial arts.
You’re not only working on punching and kicking strikes, you’re going to be working on defending yourself by blocking and dodging your opponent’s kicks and punches. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you reacted faster than your opponent had time to counter? It’s hard to believe but deciding factors can happen in a matter of a brief moment.
Related Article: Eye Exercises For Martial Arts
What is More Important in a Fight Speed or Strength?
In a fight, strength, and power are very effective, but if you’re not able to use them as effectively as a conditioned fighter who possesses speed and quickness, you’ll risk being taken down.
Another thing to consider is that if you possess too much added muscle mass, you can increase the risk of you experiencing fatigue and that can play against you if the fight goes on longer than you’re ready for. That’s why fighters train hard and are very well-conditioned. So they’re physically prepared for a longer fight, that’s why cardiovascular fitness specific to MMA fighting is part of their speed training.
How can I Increase my combat speed? To increase combat speed, implement the following movements & calisthenics assets for speed training to increase strength and quickness without the risk of packing on muscle mass.
- Jump rope
- Kettlebells clean
- Kettlebell swings
- Turkish get-ups
- Kettlebell military press
- Goblet squats
- Kettlebell snatch
- Squat jumps
- Jumping jacks
- Duck walks
- Single arm deadlift
- Single leg deadlift
Kettlebell exercises are an excellent way to develop your speed, agility, and conditioning skills because they are great to use in many different combinations. Kettlebells are an amazing tool to add to any fitness. For those looking to challenge their body and develop their skills, get yourself some kettlebells and use them to exercise with.
The body weight movements will build your strength.
Incorporating these exercises into your speed training will be great if you want to become fight-ready.
Does Speed Equal Power?
Speed alone does not equal power, but both speed and strength will because they are both components of it. To have the greatest gains in power, an increase in both strength and speed should be achieved by fighters.
As a fighter, if you’re weaker in any one of these two, then you’ll need to train more in the weaker until both are equal or close to an optimal balance. Also, if you’re training in one more than in the other it will cause the other to weaken.
The best thing you should do is isolate the components you’re weakest in and develop each one. Giving each component five minutes of intense training to build it. Longer training time on any component will just make you lose interest or determination, not to mention productivity.
To strengthen the areas you’re weak in, you need to find a place and a good time so that you’re not interrupted by anyone. You need to focus on what you’re training and prepare mentally for it. You must have an intense amount of concentration on developing that component. The more you do this for each part you’re lacking, the greater your progress will be.
If you’re looking to increase your power, then try doing these three things by incorporating them into your component training:
- Focus on speed training
- Focus on strength training
- Do exercises that incorporate strength and speed training
Table 1. Gain speed, strength, or power.
|Speed Exercises||Strength Exercises||Power Exercises|
|Plyometric||80-90% Weight of your max in exercises, multiple sets, low repetitions||50% to 65% Squats of max weight + high acceleration|
|Loadless||50% to 65% Bench presses of max weight + high acceleration|
|Medicine ball tosses||60-80% Weight of your max, higher reps inducing muscle growth||80% Olympic lifts of max weight|
This table presents the different exercise categories along with their respective descriptions for gaining speed, strength, and power. (40% or < Weights of your max + high acceleration)
What Matters Most in a Fight?
What matters most in a fight is striking power, reaction speed, and conditioning, along with knowing how to fight using combative sports techniques.
If the fight is a street fight then there are other factors involved
- Skill level
- Fighting prowess
- The number of opponents
- If it’s hand-to-hand combat
- Are weapons involved
- The Surroundings
- The weather
- The ground surface, if there’s debris, dirt, it’s rocky, or it’s just plain concrete
Is Technique Better than Strength?
Technique is better than strength because technique beats strength and it is the main principle or concept that makes physical movements successful in combat sports such as when executing a leg lock or arm lock for submission. Strength can force the movement of an opponent’s arm or leg, but the technique is the controlling, leveraging, and positioning of your opponent correctly and with precision timing.
Just take a look again at Gracie using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ, also the gentle art) in his fight against the giant Akebono and how he used the technique against Akebono’s overwhelming strength. Akebono is truly a big guy and there’s no doubt about it, he may not be muscular, but that doesn’t mean he’s not strong.
BJJ’s focus is not on strength because it was designed for smaller, weaker practitioners who rely on leverage to defeat bigger and stronger fighters. Case proven with Akebono and I believe that was the intention of the fight in the first place, to show the world how Brazilian jujitsu can be used against someone like Akebono.
While we’re talking about the subject of technique versus strength, if you haven’t checked out the fight between Hackney and Yarbourgh, there’s a perfect example of strength as you watch Hackney get completely thrown out of the ring like a baby.
I want you to understand I’m not saying that this is always the case because it’s not. These MMA fighters just happened to be good at using their MMA fighting style and they had to use technique and speed to do it, and they are of course using strength as well, just not at the level of their opponent’s physical strength.
What Speed Training Exercises Can I Do to Punch Faster?
I’m sure you’ve got a favorite fighter who’s explosive when it comes to punching speed. Mine is Mike Tyson because it was incredible how fast he was as a heavyweight. When I think of a fighter who possesses serious combat speed in boxing, I think of Tyson because he’s built like a tank but fast like a featherweight. It was a beautiful sight to watch because you knew someone was getting knocked out.
Now was that speed naturally blessed to him and other fighters like him, or did they work on it with speed training exercises? The quick answer is they trained and worked at it just like anything else in life you train to be better. I’ve listed some exercises that’ll help you with building your punching speed.
Exercises to punch faster can include:
- Do fast push-ups
- Practice punching on a heavy bag
- Do jump rope sprinting
- Build a stronger core
- Wear focus mitts while training
- Do shadowboxing with weights
- Do speed bag drills
- Do medicine ball throws
- Get a medicine ball for squats
- Plyometric push-ups
- Do squats and lunges together
- Rotate your torso
- Do chin-ups
- Practice your reflexes
What is the Fastest Punch?
Having studied traditional Wing Chun and its punch which emphasizes economy of motion along a straight center line, I can say firsthand that it’s pretty fast. The only other punch that comes to mind when I think of a quick punch is the boxer’s jab, which turns out to be the most important punch for a boxer because it’s used the most.
The Wing Chun and jab are used differently. The Jab is long and is used as an opening move to find an opening to prepare for combination punches. The Wing Chun punch is short and is the reverse of a jab because it is used last after finding an opening in your opponent’s structure throwing him off balance, and then attacking with multiple blows.
To my knowledge, there are nine types of jabs:
- The basic jab
- The tapper
- The double jab
- The step jab
- The power jab
- The pivot jab
- The back-step jab
- The body jab
- The counter jab
As you can see, the jab has many uses but is mostly used as a long-range weapon, and because of its quickness, it helps you navigate your distance, keeping your opponent busy while preparing other types of punches to attack.
Whichever punch you use, the best thing to do is learn when and how to use them and then train to make them better.
What is the Most Dangerous Punch? The most dangerous punch is a punch you don’t see coming, especially when it’s a running punch. This type of punch can be used by anyone and it can be very effective, so effective that it could kill. It’s said to be the one punch that’s killed the most people with a single hit. The running punch is so dangerous because it doesn’t matter where you share it in the head, death can be imminent.
What Punch Generates the Most Power? The one punch that generates the most power does not exist because striking force comes from great techniques and improving it will happen through strength and conditioning, thus increasing the force of your fist.
The Boxing Science website has a great article on this and it breaks down the ‘The Science Behind The Punch’. You can check it out at http://boxingscience.co.uk/science-behind-punch.