If you’re still under the impression that resistance training is going to make you big, bulky and slow then it’s important you read this. When you take-off out of the blocks for a sprint; out of a pack in footy; during a fast break on the court; or any other scenario where you’re accelerating – you’re going from a standstill to a flat out effort. This requires strength. Remember that strength is our ability to produce force. When we take off, we have to produce enough force to overcome our bodies inertia (i.e. get our body moving from a standstill) Each step that we take, we are rapidly pushing force into the ground which propels us forward. How much it propels us forward; depends on how much force we push into the ground. Remember Newtons Third Law: ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’ Therefore if you push more force into the ground, more force pushes back at you – more force, therefore, pushes you forward – creating a faster take-off. Because sport is generally played and competed at, over 5-20m efforts, our acceleration and therefore, our maximal strength is crucial. Any exercise that focuses on applying force into the ground can help you explode out of the blocks; squats, split squats, deadlifts, Olympic lift variations etc. One that we like for athletes is the trap bar deadlift seen below.
We like it because its easy to learn, it distributes the load in line with your centre of mass and you can produce large amounts of force into the ground (max strength development). When training for maximal strength, focus on dropping the reps below 5. 3 is a good number. And perform more sets (3-5) at a high percentage of your 1 rep max (80% +). Ryan Flaherty aims to get his sprinters to a trap bar deadlift of 3.2x bodyweight. These are elite athletes performing at the highest level, but the message is important. Before you start worrying about plyometric drills that you might see on Instagram, improve your maximal strength. Get your trap bar deadlift to a minimum of 2.25x bodyweight before worrying about jumping and plyo’s. #one22