Have you ever wondered why some players are so damn fast and explosive off the mark as if they have rockets in their shoes? The likes of James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters) and Carlin Isles (USA Rugby 7s player and fastest Rugby player in the world) come to mind. They seem to be able to change gear and BOOM - off like a rocket! It’s doesn't seem fair.
So how is it that Tedesco and Isles possess deadly speed and explosiveness off the mark? What is their secret to leaving defenders for dead?
I can tell you: They have a higher ratio of fast twitch muscles than the average player.
So how can your child develop these exciting fast twitch muscles?
Before I show you my 5 tips to developing fast twitch muscles, we need to firstly understand what they are.
WHAT ARE FAST TWITCH MUSCLES?
We are born with 2 types of muscle fibres - fast and slow.
Fast twitch muscles are great for short duration, high intensity activity that includes a quick explosive movement, or the rapid development of power. They fatigue quickly hence the reason why they are called to action for short bursts. In Rugby this is when you perform a quick burst of speed off the mark, brake through a tackle or make a big hit.
On the other hand, slow twitch muscles are perfect for endurance activities like long distance running and can perform for long periods before fatiguing.
So if your child is a rugby or league player, they need to be utilising their fast twitch muscles, more than their short twitch muscles.
Are you born fast?
Most people have an even number of fast and slow twitch muscles. Some people genetically have more fast twitch muscles than others which makes them suited to speed, and some have more slow twitch muscles that makes them suited to endurance activities.
The good news is that you can change - to some extent - other muscles to function as fast twitch muscles if you include the exact fast twitch muscle developing drills and exercises into your child's training (The Rugby Speed Coach Online programs do exactly that).
How do I get my child to build fast twitch muscles?
Simply incorporate any of my 5 tips into your child’s training sessions to take their speed to the next level.
1. Sprinting – This is one of the best ways to develop fast twitch muscles due to the fact that you need to be performing at maximum effort which results in more fast twitch muscles being recruited. Not only does sprinting develop fast twitch muscles, it’s also generating better use of those fast twitch muscles. All you need to do is to perform 10m and 20m sprints as this is generally the distance you would sprint during a game.
2. Lift Heavy – The heavier you lift the more fast twitch muscles come into play as you require more force to lift the bar. Lift 80% of your 1RM but ensure that your movement is explosive and fast. Perform compound movements such as the squat, deadlift and bench press.
3. Train Fast - Whether you're lifting weights, sprinting, jumping or bounding do it as fast as possible. To become fast, you must train fast. You wouldn’t jog if you wanted to become faster at running would you?
4. Depth Jump – Depth Jump training will teach your body to better recruit fast twitch muscles as this exercise involves absorbing force as you drop off the box then having to recruit fast twitch muscles quickly by getting off the ground as fast as possible.
Watch the below video on how to perform a Depth Jump.
5. Resisted Speed Training – Using resistance when sprinting is a great way to develop more fast twitch muscles. The key is to add weight without affecting your sprint mechanics and form. As soon as your technique is affected the exercise loses its benefits. The general rule is to ensure that the weight doesn’t slow you down by more than 5% of your regular sprint speed over the same distance. Try weight sled pulls, resistance band sprints, downhill sprints and sand sprints.
Developing fast twitch muscles can be the difference between your child being an average Rugby player to a superstar try scoring machine. The main key factor is to develop fast twitch muscles by training fast and explosively. Follow my 5 tips and your child will become that player who is explosive off the mark and leaves defenders for dead.
Let me know how you go!