Speed Training for Athletes
Speed Training for Athletes – Two Factor Strength Training
When discussing speed training applications for athletes, there are numerous factors to consider.
Some of which include:
- improving stride length
- improving stride frequency
- improving leg drive
- improving transverse hip to shoulder action, ie. rigidity (resistance to movement), mobility for the sporting action (remember, mobility is specific to the action), removal of soft-tissue abnormalites
- improving the strength of arm action; drive speed and turnover
- improving individual and synergistic kinetic segment stability (where appropriate) and mobility (where appropriate)
- improving RFD (rate of force development) and reactivity
- decreasing ground contact time
- increasing sporting age, ie. speeding time developing technique over a long period
- improving maximal upper, lower and full body strength levels through the incorporation of various CKCE’s – closed kinetic chain exercises.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on developing the strength of the posterior chain which falls under 1, 2, 3 and 7 above.
Two Factor Training
When engaging in closed-chained strength training movements, there are two options.
Factor 1: Unilateral
Examples include; step-ups, lunges, split jumps, 1 leg RDL’s
Factor 2: Bilateral
The exercise we are demonstrating today are RDL’s.
But not your typical RDL’s.
How to execute conventional RDL’s:
1. Brace your abdominals and with an upright, neutral posture, unrack the loaded barbell from the power cage.
2. Take as few steps back as possible and setup with a shoulder width foot position.
3. Reset your air, brace your abdominals outward and start moving your hips backward while keeping the bar scraping your legs as the bar moves downward.
NOTE: DO NOT BEND OVER!!! MOVE YOUR HIPS BACK
4. When the bar reaching a position right below your knees, extend back to the starting position with a powerful glute contraction.
5. Do not let the bar move away from your legs.
6. Reset your air and repeat.
For the purposes of our demonstration today we are showing a variation to the RDL.
Beyond the Range (BTR) Sumo RDL
This movement is the same as the conventional movement but is done with a sumo stance and on an elevated surface. The elevated surface increasing the range of motion (ROM). The sumo stance allows the foot position to be turned outward and the wide position engages the gluteus medius (one of the external rotators of the hip and essential for unilateral (gait, running) strength and stability) to a greater extent. As you can see we also overloaded the lockout with jumpstretch bands.
Now if we can improve our lower body strength, specifically improving hip extension AND improving the deceleration of hip flexion, we will improve:
- stride length
- stride frequency
- leg drive
- maximal lower body strength levels through the incorporation of various CKCE’s – closed kinetic chain exercises.
Quick Note: If you engage a movement in one anatomical plane of motion your decelerate its antagonistic counterpart. This is VERY important to understand when programing for athletes.
Also remember when the muscles that externally rotate and extend the hip are weak, there is more prevalence of anterior knee pain. (Ireland et al. (1))
I actually recommend this movement over good mornings for young athletes. It is a safe alternative where you can let the bar go if you are in trouble and it is very easy to teach. It also is a greater progressional training movement for the conventional RDL’s AND the transition of the 1st to 2nd pull in the clean and snatch.
Other exercises to activate the glutes are: clam shells, X-band walks, glute bridges
BTR SUMO STANCE RDL’s
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