Improve Running Speed Through Acceleration

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Acceleration and deceleration should make up the majority of your speed training for athletes. An athlete will spend much more time accelerating then stopping quickly over time spent at max speed during a sporting event.

Thanks to everyone that chimed in and share the original post – Big Difference: Max Speed vs Acceleration – on facebook! Let’s get to a sample “acel/decel workout” (the term we use for acceleration and deceleration training).
Explanation and Tips
Importance of Acceleration/Deceleration

Check out this run by college QB Seneca Wallace. How many times did he accelerate, decelerate, and reach max speed?

He literally jogged into the endzone and never came close to his max speed. However, at the 17 second mark he lured in a D lineman, accelerated past him, hit another gear up the sideline. Once he was “pinned in” up the sideline he planted his foot to decelerate, changed direction(twice if you watch the slow motion version), and accelerated again so fast it looked like he barely even slowed down!

I also picked this clip because of the sweet block, but that’s another topic!

So, should do you think sprinting 10 x 40-60 yards prepare would prepare you for this time of play? We are approaching basketball season and there are even more examples there! It is literally impossible for an elite athlete to reach max speed and stop within the parameters of a basketball court – it is just too short of a distance.

So what should we be training….acceleration and deceleration!

Okay, okay, I think you get the point of my ranting, so let’s get to the workout.
Accel/Decel Workout

This workout should take under 30 minutes and be done in conjunction with a good strength training workout.

Full Dynamic Warm up (example warm up video)

1. Speed Ladder – 5 minutes. Choose any movements on the speed ladder. I prefer lateral movements that work on balance and minimize ground contact time with the foot. Acceleration and deceleration require a create deal of body control with your legs out from under your center of gravity. This is a good way to get your mind workout right before the more serious exercises.

Allow 30-45 seconds rest between each run.

2. Accel/decel box drops x 5. Standing on a box that is roughly 24 inches in height, drop off, land AS SOFTLY AS POSSIBLE, and accelerate into a 10 yard sprint. Check out the video below.

3. L Drill (also called 3 cone drill) x 5. All kinds of quickness and body control required here. Below is a video of one of Joe Defranco’s guys flying through it.

Allow 1-2 minutes rest between each run. DO NOT rush these drills and turn them into conditioning.

4. 5 yard starts and stops x 10-15. Start by exploding hard for 2-3 steps then stopping before the end of 5 yards. Next, start facing right and do the same, break to the left, sprint and stop under control. Repeat in the other direction. Finish with some 5’s and back. Keep this drill in a compact 5 yard area.

Done.

You should NOT be gasping for air at the end of this workout. Acceleration and Deceleration are separate abilities from conditioning.
Try out this workout and post your feedback!

If you do not have an agility ladder, any quick foot multi-directional movement will do. That exercise is just to get the mind and body firing properly.
6 Weeks Of Speed.

I do have all my templates done for the athletes at Synergy and have turned them into an easy to follow program. I be making them available as early as Wednesday (and giving some away to people that have been supporting Synergy!)

Stay tuned…

– Joe Hashey, CSCS –

PS. Congratulations to M-E football players and coaches, capturing their first sectional championship in 4 or 5 years! Off to the state playoffs. Here is a video of them cleaning house and showing some serious Bull Strength at the 2010 lineman challenge after training with us for 3 months.

 

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