Resistance Training for Acceleration

Sprinting has been described as consisting of a series of phases: an acceleration phase (typically the first 10 metres), a transition phase, and a maximum velocity phase.  For sports such as soccer, rugby, football and basketball, maximum velocity is not always attained, and repeated short sprints are more common.  Taking this into consideration, the ability to develop speed in as short a time as possible (acceleration) may be of high importance to many athletes.  It has been proposed that acceleration and maximum velocity are relatively separate and specific qualities.

An athlete’s ability to accelerate his or her body during sprinting is dependent on several factors.  These factors include technique and the force production capability of the body, in particular the leg muscles.  It has been shown that the technical aspects may have less importance for the acceleration phase of performance than for a typical sprinting event.  For example, in many sports the athletes have to accelerate from a lying or crouching position, from landing on 1 leg and pivoting, from catching a ball, and so on.  Therefore, the force capability of the muscle may be more important in improving acceleration of the athlete.  This point was supported by R. Mann in his publication titled “The Elite Athletes Project: Sprints and Hurdles.” which stated that the ability to perform well in sprints over short distances is dependent on the ability to produce large amounts of force at crucial times.

A variety of methods are used to enhance force output.  These methods include resistance training, plyometric training, and assisted and resisted sprinting techniques.  For this article we will focus on resisted sprinting which involves athletes sprinting with added load.  This load can come in different forms: weighted vests, sled-sprints, uphill sprinting and limb loading.  More specifically, this article will focus on the towing of weighted devices such as sleds which is the most common method of providing towing resistance for the enhancement of sprinting.

It has been shown that the use of towing as a form of resistance may increase the load on the athlete’s torso and therefore require more stabilization.  This training stimulus may increase pelvic stabilization, leading to a positive effect on sprint performance.  Increased torso loads also cause an increased upper-body lean and increased thigh angle at both the beginning and the end of the stance phase.  This increased thigh angle reflects the increased need for force production during the prolonged stance phase.

It is important to note that sprinting speed should not be decreased by more than 10% when adding resistance; adding too much resistance may alter running kinematics in ways that are not desirable.  It is also maintained that sled-sprinting should not be employed when the desired training effect is neural (i.e. maximal velocity).  Sled-sprinting is an effective method for a metabolic training effect (i.e. acceleration).  Due to evidence that only the first 10 metres of a sprint have been designated as the acceleration phase, it is suggested that sled-sprints should be performed for distances no longer than 10 metres.

S.S.T. holds that a well implemented speed program should include a variety of methods to achieve desirable results (i.e. resisted sprints, assisted sprints, unassisted sprints and resistance training).  Also, methods such as resisted and assisted sprints should be used sparingly, such as in the final or next-to-final block of an athlete’s periodized program.

To find out more information regarding SST’s upcoming Lightning camp please visit our website at www.sstcanada.com

 

Q&A with Coach Delroy Rhooms

Delroy- thanks for taking your time and speaking with me

1. So Delroy why do have so much success with Soccer teams?
I really enjoy training soccer teams. Soccer was one of the first team sports we had come to us for training when we started SST Oakville. My staff and I have spent many hours with soccer athletes and have a great understanding of what is required for a soccer athlete to succeed. Our reputation and our results with soccer athletes have spread through the soccer community. We have teams from Burlington , Oakville , Mississauga and Brampton come out to train with us. The coaching staff of these teams trust us and understand our facility is “ no nonsense “ training center, as we build our soccer training programs to get their teams prepared for the season. We have worked with many soccer athletes who have gone on to play NCCA , CIS and professionally. We soccer athletes playing at University of Miami , University of Maine, Memphis University , kent State , Eastern Michigan , Louisiana State , Miami – Ohio , Carleton University , University of Western Ontario, Mc Master University to name a few. Today , we have Dianna Matheson from the Canadian Women’s National training in our facility to get herself prepared for the FIVB womens world cup. Here is what Dianna has to say about why she trains at SST Oakville:

“I use SST Oakville when I am a home because it has everything I need to train at the highest level. I go not just for strength training, but to be a stronger, faster, and more complete athlete.”

Thanks,
Diana

2. What are some of the unique coaching points/cues and training methods you use with your volleyball players?
Our volleyball athletes are unique in their needs for success. They work within a confined
9 ‘ x 9 ‘ area, so they need to be quick and very , very explosive athletes. We spend a tremendous amount of time teaching our volleyball athletes how to load their hips and fire their glutes so they are explosive in their attack. We use several lateral and linear movement drills like the “ N” drill and Figure 8 drill to help our athletes move quickly in a low volleyball posture. We do a lot of single leg work , like TRX single pistol squats and single leg opposite side load plyobox heal touches these are tremendous for our middle attackers. We work the trunk with a variety of Medicine ball throws and also land mine rotations to develop power for our outside attackers. Our Setter use a variety of Medicine ball wall drills and well as extended medicine balls pushes from the floor , so they can develop more power to push the sets out to the antennas during play. During the off season we spend a lot of time developing the vertical jump through a variety of power movements focusing on the posterior chain.

3. Can you add some insight into your strength coaching style?
My style of coaching stems from the type of coaches I had growing up as a young athlete to the coaches I had , as I trained while playing the Canadian pro Beach Volleyball Circuit . It was “ no nonsense” work hard , give a 110 percent and leave it all on the field. I have taken this approach with all my athletes and adult clients , I am tough and I expect you to give me everything you have while you are on the training floor. I have had athletes and adults see my car in the parking lot and tell me we know it is going to be a tough day when “ the dark over lord “ is on the training floor. I treat everybody the same, I want the same for everyone of my clients. Results period. I approach every training session with energy that fills up the facility. I want all my clients to have fun , challenge themselves and most of all work hard. For my athletes I treat them like family , my goal is help them all understand from my own experience and the experience of my high level staff what it takes from a training stand point to get to the next level. Mentoring is so, so important to me for my athletes. As I move around the community nothing makes me more happy than to here an athlete shout to me “ hey Coach “ . I absolutely love to train.

4. You have had many girls in many sports on scholarships…is there a key to your success?
I believe you need to understand the female athletes in order to get the best out of them. We have had such success with female athletes who have received scholarships , because we have created an environment at SST Oakville were these ladies feel they are at home . We have seen other facilities focus on “ just the boys” and at SST Oakville we treat everybody the same. The female athletes who come to us like us because we push them , we discuss their goals , we are not afraid to have them try complicated movements and they see the results of their hard work. Communication , Communication , communication is the key ingredient when dealing with high performance athletes. We take the time to explain , critique and most importantly coach and this seems to work really well as our female athletes respond and get tremendous results.