Having a high top end speed is obviously great. However, in most sports, you are unable to reach this max speed as the majority of the time you are stopping in your path. Whether you’re playing American football, basketball, rugby or soccer, you always have an opponent wanting to slow you down and not allow you to get ahead of steam.
This is where specific acceleration training comes into play. To beat an opponent ‘one-on-one’, acceleration is far more important than your maximum speed. Acceleration is also just as important in explosive sports such as powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting and throwing. As an Olympic Discus thrower myself, it is vitally important that explosive movements are integrated into to my training programme to enhance my ability to increase my acceleration.
Here are the top three ways I personally train to increase my power and acceleration time to help aid my results in my own sport. I can guarantee if you input these 3 training methods into your daily routines then your acceleration will improve and you will end up leaving your opponents for dead.
1: Olympic Lifts
Full Clean, Power Clean, Clean & Jerk and Snatch
Have you ever seen how high an Olympic weightlifter can jump? Even the huge guys weighing over 130kg are able to jump and accelerate their body mass at incredible speeds. Why is this? Well, the fastest movement in sport is when weightlifter drops under the bar. There cannot be any hanging around, if this movement is slow then you fail the lift! These exercises build up huge amounts of strength in the Glutes, Hamstrings and Quads, the 3 of the main muscle groups in the legs, used when trying to sprint at high speeds.
2: Plyometric Training
A lot of people associate the word Plyometrics with jumping onto boxes. In fact, Plyometrics is a lot more than that. Plyometric is actually the time it takes for a muscle to contract eccentrically and then immediately concentrically. This can also be known as a stretch reflex action of the muscle in question. Plyometrics is quite advanced and I would personally advise athletes to build a solid base strength first and be in full control of all jumping movements before this method of training is undertaken.
3: 10-20 Metre Sprints
10 to 20 meter sprints…why so short? Ok, I won’t get too technical and talk about energy systems or ATP, but we are looking to train power here and train our bodies to get from 0-100 in the shortest time possible. There is no need to push this to more than 10 seconds of hard work. Remember, we are training for acceleration and power so the work time has to be minimal and at a maximal intensity and the rest periods should be set to full recovery. Training without a full recovery between reps won’t allow you to give your maximal 100% effort, meaning the effects of the session won’t be quite what you want. You may feel good, get a bit sweaty and ready to take on Usain Bolt but your body hasn’t done the correct work required to make improvements in the one area you are looking to improve. Speed endurance is a totally different training method and can be trained at a later date!
Ever wondered how other stars of British Sports train and become so quick off the mark? PROMiXX has spoken to the biggest star of British sprinting, Adam Gemini, and one of the up and coming stars in the Weightlifting world, Sonny Webster, and this is what they have had to say.
Team GB Olympic Sprinter
One of the main training methods I use is sled pulls. (Weighted sled attached to the body whilst sprinting). Helps you to punch your knees forward, work on the shin containment and patience to stay low while you are accelerating.
A lot of Olympic lifting and Plyometric work, the main key tip from me is when doing any training of power is starting the moment smooth and changing speed as quickly as possible as well as making sure all of your muscles are engaged before the start of the given movement.
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