Thursday, September 8, 2011

Football Lineman Speed Acceleration

Football linemen need speed acceleration during short distance sprints. Football linemen typically run 5-15 yards during a play. So, the sprints must be explosive and powerful. And, the big fellas are often blocking and pushing against each other! Speed acceleration and leg power is critical.

Football linemen will often use blocking sleds to practice explosion against resistance. Short, unresisted sprints (10-20 meters) should also be used to train linemen. Training with towing sleds would come later.

Speed acceleration training with towing sleds is not the place to start when training for is an advanced training method that can cause more harm than good if your body is not ready for it.

Speed acceleration is important because you rarely reach maximum running speed during a game. So, the lineman who can accelerate the quickest will make the plays or blocks that win games.

Greek researchers found that athletes training with towing methods (sleds, tires, etc.) improved their running velocity over the first 20 meters (i.e. acceleration) but that overall maximum speed did not improve. The researchers found that unresisted sprint training techniques improved maximum speed velocity more.

So, resisted and unresisted training has a place in the overall speed training program. Finally, the researchers found that towing sleds that were too heavy forced the athletes to use bad running mechanics.

So, for developing acceleration speed in the first 20 meters, towing methods teach you to drive force into the ground, use arm drive and overcome gravity and ground forces.

If you use a tow sled that is too heavy, it will affect your running mechanics. Start with a sled about 10% of your bodyweight. As you progress, you can use heavier sleds as long as your running mechanics are correct.

What's the take home lesson? Experienced athletes with enough strength and power should use speed acceleration training with towing sleds.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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  1. Great drills, I am putting this into practice. Thanks, Solo Arizer

  2. Vivape...thanks for stopping you use these drills for football or rugby?

  3. Solo...let me know how the drills are working for you. Are you a coach?

  4. How has your development been going? Have you seen measured increases in your speed and acceleration?


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