Sprinting fast is predicated upon applying force into the ground at the right direction and at the right time. When sprinting an athlete produces horizontal and vertical forces that are always present. Acceleration has a greater horizontal emphasis whereas maximum velocity sprinting has a great vertical emphasis. When it comes to team sport athletes ACCELERATION is one of the number on determinants of performance success.
As an athlete reaches maximum velocity acceleration is no longer occurring. There is a small window of time that top speed can be held before the athlete begins decelerating. Our goal with our speed training is to spread out acceleration as long as possible to reduce the risk of achieving maximum velocity too early and decelerating too fast.
The fastest and most efficient athletes are able to maintain high ratios of force in the horizontal direction and prolong their acceleration. We train our athletes to do this by prescribing individual and optimal resisted sled loads for them to reach their maximum power during their sprints. This individualized approach to sprinting is the only way to get faster. If the load is incorrect the athlete will never train, there maximum power during the sprint.
A quick note on popular approaches to speed training. Cone drills and ladders unfortunately do not mimic the chaotic demands of team sports to have any real translation to actual in game performance, furthermore they do not train the athlete to create force in the proper direction that correlates with speed. The majority of movement with cone and ladder drills is coming from the foot when it needs to come from the hip to develop speed.
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EXPLOSIVE STRENGTH TRAINING
At Genesis we create FAST, EXPLOSIVE athletes. First, we test each athlete to determine their Force Velocity Profile. This unique profile determines whether they are FORCE deficient or VELOCITY deficient. All athletes are imbalanced one way or the other. Almost all youth and high school athletes are FORCE deficient, simply because they have not logged enough strength training time.
The best athletes create the most force in the fastest amount of time and display minimal amounts of imbalance between the two. There are many different types of strength and our approach to minimize the above imbalances and maximize force production is to develop these different types of strength in a specific order.
When these different types of strengths are trained out of order, athletes simply won’t maximize their performance potential. Athletes must be able to produce adequate amounts of force at lower speeds before they can maximize force at faster speeds. Therefore, speed and agility training for young athletes without training strength first is not best practice.
- Isometric Strength and Absolute Strength: The highest and slowest of all force outputs. Training this quality allows the athlete to create tension, stability, and minimize force leaks. It also improves the athlete’s ability to contract their muscles in a coordinated manner leading to higher power outputs. Isometric strength examples include displaying max force against an immovable object or holding static positions against gravity such as a front plank.
- Accelerative Strength: The ability to apply high levels of force once a movement begins against a resistance. (i.e., Offensive/ Defensive lineman applying force upon collision)
We cultivate this strength by teaching the athlete to move a particular percentage of weight that correlates to .5 meters per second using accelerometers to measure bar speed.
3. Strength-Speed/Speed-Strength: This is simply displaying strength quickly. Many folks think these two strengths are interchangeable but are not. Understanding the two and how to train these special strengths is crucial. Using accommodating resistance (resistance bands) and Velocity Based Training (VBT) which is standard procedure here is the way these attributes must be trained. Moving different percentages of an athletes One Rep Max at certain speed (.8-1.0m/s) is how this is done and directly contributes to increased vertical jumps and speed.
4. Starting Strength: The ability to rapidly accelerate from a dead stop. Think about Usain Bolt coming out of the blocks to start a race or a basketball player executing a tip-off.
Seated jumping methods and Box Squats (static overcome by dynamic method) are great ways to train starting strength. These techniques teach our athletes to create a
sudden spike in force production immediately before movement.
5. Reactive Strength: The ability to display maximal force at the highest velocities or minimal time. Think of a defensive back having to quickly change directions as a receiver make a move to separate from the DB. We utilize plyometric training to enhance this quality and create explosive athletes.
Starting strength is the ability to rapidly accelerate from a dead stop. Think about a basketball player that needs to jump for a rebound or a tip off. We train this quality through the use of the static overcome by dynamic method. Seated jumping methods and box squats are a great tool to teach our athletes to create a sudden spike in force production immediately before the onset of movement. Reactive strength improves the athlete’s ability to apply force at the highest velocities. We utilize plyometric training to enhance this quality and create explosive athletes. As you can see we utilize a variety of modalities to ensure that our athletes develop a broad spectrum of strength qualities that actually translate to the field. This alone will make our athletes much faster and more explosive. Our resistance training methods combined with our speed training help athletes dominate the competition.
It is very important that these strengths be trained in the order listed. One of the biggest mistakes we see in our industry is to build reactive strength without absolute strength. Science tells us that it simply does not work. Hours of speed and agility class is not the way to get faster. As you can see, we utilize a variety of modalities to develop ALL the above special strengths that translate to all sports. Our resistance training methods combined with our speed training maximizes results and helps our athletes dominate the competition. Follow the science, follow the order, see results.