Improving your hand speed takes training your neuromuscular system to react and respond quickly. Developing quicker hands can help boost your athletic performance, whether you’re a baseball player looking to swing the bat around faster, a boxer wanting to land more blows or a football lineman needing to shed off your blocking opponents. Add hand speed drills to your training regimen two to three days per week.
Weighted Plate Drills
Using a 45-pound weighted plate, build hand speed with the alternating plate tap, lateral plate taps and the in-and-out plate tap drill, each from a pushup position. Start, with the plate positioned one to two inches in front of your hands, by alternately tapping the plate with your right and left hands, switching back and forth as quickly as possible. The plate is set one to two inches to the left of your hands to perform lateral taps, in which you quickly walk your left and then right hand to the left so they’re atop the plate, then once again so they finish to the left of the plate. Repeat to the right and continue back and forth. The in-and-out plate drill features the plate between your hands; lift and tap the plate with both hands simultaneously and then tap them to the floor again. Continue each drill for 15 to 20 seconds.
Shadowboxing, which involves throwing an array of punches as quickly as possible, builds hand speed and coordination. Without heavy gloves or a bag to hit, training focus remains on speed. Move around with your hands up in a fighting position as you perform an array of combinations for 60 seconds. Incorporate the left jab, left and right hooks, left and right uppercuts and the right cross. Possible combinations include a jab to right cross; a left jab to a right cross to a left hook; or a left jab to a right uppercut to a left hook to a right cross. If you're a southpaw, or left-handed boxer, keep in mind punch selections would be reversed. Complete each punch with swift hand speed.
Train your fast-twitch muscle fibers to contract quickly with the wall tap and tennis ball drills. To perform the former, hang a large sheet of paper with numbers written or different-colored circles drawn on it on the wall. While you face the paper, have a partner call out numbers or colors. On command, tap the number or color in the order they’re called out as quickly as possible. To perform the tennis ball drill, stand facing a wall and have a partner standing behind you toss a tennis ball against the wall and you try to catch it using the closest hand. Complete each drill for three sets of 30 seconds.
Upper Body Plyometrics
Plyometric exercises, like plyo pushups and medicine ball pushups, challenge your neuromuscular system to work faster and thus help build power and explosiveness for better hand speed. For plyo pushups, get into a pushup position and lower your body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Explosively extend your arms to propel your upper body off the floor. As soon as your hands land, lower into the next rep. For an extra challenge, try to clap your hands while they’re in the air. Perform a medicine ball pushup with one of your hands atop a medicine ball. Explode up out of the pushup and launch your upper body up and over so that your other hand lands atop the medicine ball. Go right into the next rep. Complete three sets of 10 reps of each exercise.
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