When athletes hear or talk about resistance training, they typically think of lifting weights and other traditional strength training exercises. However, resistance training doesn’t need to aggressively overload a specific muscle group. Rather, resistance training is best when it’s performed with a lighter load and the athlete can still perform athletic movements as naturally as possible.
Resistance training is meant to load the movement, and apply a stress that the athlete either needs to overcome, or a stress that needs to be controlled. For example, an athlete that is sprinting with a resistance cord behind them is trying to overcome the stress of that band and continue to sprint forward. If the cord was in front of an athlete going through a speed ladder, they would need to control the stress of the band pulling them out of position.
When an athlete is looking to improve the velocity of a given movement (jump, throw, sprint, etc.) the use of bands or cords can help the athlete still perform the motion with their normal mechanics. The resistance forces the athlete to increase their joint velocities under that specific load. After the load is removed and the joints are under less stress, the joint velocities should be greater, resulting is more a faster, more powerful muscular contraction. This would lead to increased turnover during a sprint, or increased bat speed for a baseball player or more explosive jump for a basketball player. The opportunities are endless.
On our high speed treadmills at BlueStreak, we use Sprint Cords to apply horizontal resistance to the legs of the athlete. During incline sprints, the additional resistance helps teach the athlete how to drive their knees through their hips while maintaining proper hip and trunk positioning. With increased joint velocity within the hips, recovery phase of a sprint can happen at a faster rate, resulting in more momentum being created, and an increased turnover rate. The one thing to make sure of though, is that the athlete doesn’t start to shorten their stride with the increased turnover. Stride length and stride frequency are equally important, so don’t try to compensate too much with one and forget the other!
– Dave Robbins
Facility Director at BlueStreak Headquarters
Masters in Exercise Science and Nutrition
Matheson, James W., and George J. Davies. “Speed and Agility Training With Elastic Resistance.” The Scientific and Clinical Application of Elastic Resistance 131 (2003).