Try These Two Exercises to Increase Your Acceleration
When training athletes to increase their speed, there should be three main focuses:
First should be their stance, which comes solely down to technique, and sometimes, fixing their muscle imbalances.
Next, is their acceleration phase.
The acceleration phase has to do with the first 10 yards of their start, which, in most cases, is the most important factor in a 40 yard dash, 60, or any other shorter distance run.
Yes, if I’m able to improve a 10-time, an athlete’s whole game can change.
And third is top speed.
Top speed comes with time, and has a lot to do with mechanics. That comes from constant repetition and correction. I go more into that here.
For today, my main focus is your acceleration phase.
To help you out with that, I’m going to give you two exercises, a pair of exercises that go together, that will help you improve your force production in your acceleration phase.
Let’s get into it:
The Training Principles
The principle at play here is contrast training. The basis behind contrast training is you heighten the nervous system with a heavy weighted movement, then immediately perform an explosive movement of the same movement pattern.
This essentially allows you to perform that explosive movement at a higher capacity than you’d be able to if the nervous system was heightened.
The goal, then, is to make your performance with that explosive movement, the norm, even when the nervous system isn’t heightened.
Now that that’s squared away, let’s get into the movements.
The first exercise is the heavy sled march.
We’re going to make this movement as specific to your first few steps in your acceleration phase as possible by mimicking those positions.
Approach the sled with a flat back and your chin tucked.
Then, you’re going to focus on pushing out rather than down. In addition, you want to see the toe over the knee, and over exaggerate each stride.
Be sure to get full hip extension with every step. Squeeze the glute to push through the entire sled.
Perform these for 20 yards with a heavy weight.
The next movement is a 10 yard start.
You can perform these however you’d like: from a 40 stance, standing position. What I like to do start on all fours, almost like a mountain climber position, and blast off from there.
Give these two complex a shot and let me know what you think in the comments below.