We provide parents the opportunity to enhance their child's sports performance by providing them a custom Sports Specific workout, which will ultimately give them the EDGE above their competition, all while building confidence in their sport and in life.
Resisted Sprinting for Game Changing Speed
When looking at speed training we can break it down into two categories. The two most impactful categories are: Technique and Power.
It is hard to argue the best way to develop power is through traditional strength training, but we can also develop Power and Technique through different forms of resisted sprinting.
As we take a look technique there I focus on two areas that an athlete can control the most, body awareness and acceleration. Acceleration effects many factors of technique. This includes posture, placement of arms and where the foot strikes the ground. This is best illustrated by the controlled fall.
On the strength training side for developing power, some of the best ways to develop lower body strength through heaven squatting, deadlifting, sled pulling and pushing (I use with high school athletes and advanced middle school athletes), Olympic lifts and single leg squatting and hinging variations. The biggest game changer I have found and produces quick gains in speed is resisted sprinting with resistance bands.
Here are a few reasons you should use resisted sprinting to improve an athletes acceleration.
1. During resisted sprinting hip muscle recruitment goes up (1), leading to higher force output in unloaded sprinting.
2. Increases in lower body power have been shown to improve ground reaction forces (2) AKA Push Harder = Run Faster
3. Increased loads during resisted sprinting help improve the athletes arm action during sprinting. A serious arm action can improve leg movement and improve stride length (3)(Technical bonus!!!)
Here are 3 types of resisted sprinting I commonly use in my facility.
Sprinting against the resistance of bands is similar to that of towing a sled, but the force is greater on each subsequent stride. Benefits of sprinting against band resistance are easy increase or decrease in resistance without the loading and unloading of plates, and the extreme portability of the implement.
There are other types of resisted sprinting that are unavailable to us in our facility (parachutes, self powered treadmills, etc) those tools can be useful as well to improve an athlete’s ability to produce power in acceleration.
With the athlete hooked to a sled behind them this form of resisted acceleration has been shown to improve the fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment, while not having a great impact on the form associated with acceleration (1). In this form of training athletes’ arms are free to swing in the proper patterns and athletes are able to get the great benefit of increased arm action.
Based on where the load is attached to the athlete (a harness, or belt) you may see differences in the body lean during acceleration for athletes using this technique. I prefer a harness as it encourages a large body lean and a drive phase where the shoulders lead the action.
Sled pushing is typically done against a Prowler or other drive sled. In this use of a sled, the athletes’ arms are not free to swing and there is no involvement in the upper body.
The biggest benefit to this type of sprinting is that the body position (lean) can be pre-determined by you as the coach. Immediate feedback as to the nature of the ground strike is also available from this type of sprinting. If an athlete’s upper body begins to rise quickly, or their hips rise (from a break in posture) you can determine that their foot strike is likely happening in front of their body in acceleration and you can make adjustments accordingly to prevent this braking motion.
1. Lockie, R. Murphy A. and Spinks C Effects of resisted sled towing on sprint kinematics in Field-Sport Athletes. J. of S&C Research. 17 (4), 760-767. 2003.
2. YOUNG, W., B. MCLEAN, AND J. ARDAGNA. Relationship between strength qualities and sprinting performance. J. Sport
Med. Phys. Fit. 35:13–19. 1995.
3. BHOWMICK, S., AND A.K. Bhattacharyya Kinematic analysis of
arm movements in sprint start. J. Sport Med. Phys. Fit. 28:315–
By Danial Blunk