In the world of sports, they say speed kills. The truth is, acceleration is what really separates elite athletes from the rest of us. In most sports, top speed is rarely reached during competition. So, while speed is definitely important, what matters most for athletes is their ability to explosively accelerate for short distances. Here are three exercises to increase acceleration, giving you a step up on your competition.
Resisted sprints are a great tool to teach athletes proper body position, allowing them to generate more force horizontally, creating faster acceleration. Also, for younger athletes, resisted sprints can be a great way to gain strength in the lower body, without the use of heavy weights.
A recent study has shown that athletes that did resisted sprints using 80% of their body weight improved their 5-m and 20-m times greater than those that did not use any resistance (study).
Hex Bar Deadlift with Bands
When adding bands to a deadlift, it makes the exercise more challenging at the top of the movement. In doing so, it forces the athlete to continue accelerating the bar all the way to the lockout position. As a result, the athlete learns to generate more power, which can be directly transferred to the field.
Barbell Squat with Chains
Similar to bands, the use of chains when squatting allows the athlete to manipulate the weight of the bar, so that it is lighter at the bottom (where they are weaker) and heavier at the top (where they are stronger). Secondly, this lets the athlete accelerate the bar through the entire movement, when normally they would have to slow down as the bar got to the top position, to prevent the bar from lifting off their shoulders. Again, this added power can be used by the athlete to increase their acceleration during competition.
Throw these three exercises into your routine and you'll for sure see an improvement in your acceleration and overall power.