This weeks fitness questions comes from Daniel Feliz who asked, “What tools can we get from a sporting good store that can help with speed development?”
Great question Daniel! There is so much random equipment in the sporting good stores it’s easy to get lost, confused or sold on a waste of money product. I’m going to focus on what tools to purchase for speed/performance on the paintball field.
Check Your Diet to Get Faster
If you’ve read my latest book, “Performance Training For The Paintball Athlete.” You would know first off that I’m a huge advocate of being in ideal body fat percentage as step one to improving your speed. You already know where I’m going with this. That’s right! Improve your diet to lose that extra weight that’s slowing you down. Incorporate your diet with your training and it’s a recipe for success! So make sure to head over to the nutrition section of Bki.
So What are the Essential Training Tools for Speed?
I’m going to go down in order from most important to least and explain what each piece of equipment does.
That’s right, my first recommendation is a foam roller! I require all my clients to foam roll before or after our training sessions and I recommend them all to invest in one. Use foam rollers to stretch, loosen up the muscles, break up any inflammation, scar tissue or lactic acid to prevent injury. You will recover faster, lower your chance of being injured, and be more limber and flexible on the field! If you are up for a little more pain and saving some extra cash, buy a PVC pipe instead. Works better to be honest. Just might be a little too painful for most of you.
- Parachute/Sled bag/ or Incline Hill
All three of these are doing the same thing. Giving you resistance as you sprint full speed. Resistance is the only way to increase your speed! A steady jog will never make you faster. The parachute must be used in an open area with a little bit of wind. Usually a flat park, football or soccer field work best. The weight sled also needs to be used on an open flat grass area. The incline hill is absolutely free, you just have to find one. If you are going to sprint up a street where cars pass by, please make sure it’s not a busy street and be careful.
The agility ladder doesn’t need much space. You can use it in a small room just as long as you have enough open space to lay it out. This tool is used to improve those quick lower body movements. Being fast on your feet and super responsive can be the matter of life or death on the paintball field. Not to mention the agility movements will strengthen surrounding muscles and ligaments that are not always triggered in a forward motion.
These can honesty be home made. You can lay out just about anything on the grass field as your “cone” such as extra pair of shoes, sandals, water bottles, t shirts and so forth. But the cones are fairly cheap and a little easier to lug around. The cone drills are going to be a hybrid of breakaway speed that you would get from the resistance sprints and agility that you would get from the ladder.
These can be a little pricey and a pain in the butt to haul around, but if your gym doesn’t have one and you got room and the money for it, get it! This is my favorite upper body cardio workout you can do. Cardio is mostly always done with your lower body, so lets give it a rest and target the upper. If you find yourself dropping your gun to load due to your arms getting tired, it’s time to build that upper body endurance.
You might recognize them as TRX bands. These are a handy portable device that can be attached to just about any overhead bar, tree and even some doors. Great to get a full body workout and really focuses on your core and stabilization. You can find TRX bands for about $150USD or you can look online for “suspension trainers” or “suspension bands” and get a knock off pair for $20USD that are just as good. You’re welcome J
Finally, resistance bands are an awesome portable tool that can be used anywhere and are great for building that upper body strength. Lower body is so very important for paintball but don’t forget your upper body. A lot of your speed and movement comes from the upper body.
Final notes to save you money!!!
I recommend you look online first before you overpay at your sporting goods store. Exercise equipment can be expensive so shop around for a little bit, it’s worth it. Most of these items online can be ½ the cost or less than what your sports store sells them for!