| Written By Nick Giles Features, Stories

Three pro tips for improving your strength & speed

Ever wondered what drills the pros do to build up their strength and speed? We recently spoke to Adam Pulford, Sports Scientist at Rotherham United, to get some tips you can take into your own training as you look to boost your physical performance.

Tip 1: Leap, Bound, Jump

Adam’s first tip is to build basic plyometric (jump) exercises into your sessions. These movements are designed to exert maximum forces on your leg muscles in short bursts.


  • Don’t overthink it. Plyometrics can be as simple as jumping, skipping and bounding.
  • Include these movements in your warm-ups, you don’t even need any gym equipment.
  • Get creative to make the movements a fun part of each session.


Adam says: “You want to focus on short contact times and being really aggressive with the movements in trying to elicit that powerful response.”


Tip 2: Lower Body Strength

If you’re going to increase your speed, you need to build strength and power in your lower body. This strength is built up through lower limb exercises such as lunges, squats and leg presses.


  • Practice exercises that create a triple extension (working the ankle, knee and hip joints) in your legs.
  • Safely use equipment like bands, boxes, and leg presses if you have access to a gym.
  • Technique is key. Doing exercises with the incorrect technique can reduce the benefits and increase risk of injury.


Adam says: “Squats are great because of the benefits that are involved. It’s a really basic type of exercise, but learn the technique properly before you do it.”


Tip 3: Start Slow & Work Together

If you’ve not got much experience doing speed and strength exercises, it’s always best to start slow and gradually work your way up. Training with friends and teammates is a good way to stay safe and keep workouts fun.


  • Start with bodyweight exercises and get comfortable with those before moving on to anything heavier.
  • You don’t need to go to the gym for a good session. Working out on the pitch or even at home can be just as effective
  • Train with friends to make workouts safer and more enjoyable.


Adam says: “Start off just using your own bodyweight and practice the movement. Master that before you start to load up.”


Download the PLAYR app for more tips to improve your technical and physical performance.