Strength Doesn’t Make You Slow

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At Evolution, speed and agility training is a big part of what we do. It is what helps our athletes improve their performance tremendously.

There are plenty of options for athletes in the area to go to train. There is not a single one that blends speed, agility, strength, and conditioning like we do.

A lot of places may be a great option for a single quality but when it comes to Sports Performance, I’d put our program against any other.

You see some of these other people think that strength is going to make athletes slow. They’re going to become so muscle bound that they cannot move anymore.

There are 2 issues with that. One is that it ignores the effect strength has on speed. The other is that getting so much muscle that you can no longer move is really difficult, even with drugs. Don’t flatter yourself.

This summer was a good example of how strength plays into speed. We did a training with 2 field hockey teams this summer. We tested them on 2- 300 yd shuttles on Day 1 and 16.

The biggest improvements came on their conditioning. We did a lot of running with the groups but no strength training (hopefully next year though). The groups experienced a 6% increase in speed because their times dropped that much on average.

The groups improved their conditioning a lot more. The decrement in time from the first run to the second was cut in half. Now it is not fair to assume that they were going to cut the time to run them in half. That would have been impossible.

Had these girls done some strength training we could have seen a greater drop in the time that it would have taken to run the shuttles as well as improving their decrement.

Neglecting Speed

A good way to become slow over time is to forget about training your speed. When not addressed we will slow down as we get older.

As athletes grow they will weigh more and the same effort will not move a heavier body further. You will also have longer limbs to move. It takes more work. Strength is our ability to do work.

It is not recommended to stunt your growth.

Make sure that you are continuing to work on your speed and agility as you get older. It is not uncommon to be faster as a freshman than a senior. It is up to you to address this and maintain your speed as you grow.

Sprinting is Powerful

Sprinting is one of the most powerful activities we can perform. High power movements are a lot of force production in a short amount of time.

This is sprinting.

To become more powerful we either need to increase the amount of force we can produce, do it in less time, or both.

Strength increases the amount of total force we can produce. Its half of the equation. The other half is probably a mix of technique, effort, and other training methods.

You must continually improve your strength to get more power to sprint fast.

Deceleration

There is a large strength component in decelerating. You need to have eccentric strength to slow yourself down. This is the body’s ability to absorb force.

Most people only think of speed as the ability to run fast. You also need to slow down and re-accelerate quickly in sport. If you take too long to decelerate, you are going to struggle with quickness.

The more muscular force you have the better you will be at slowing down. Most exercises have a lowering and pushing phase. This trains both eccentric and concentric muscle action. We can also use exercises that require a prolonged lower to train that eccentric portion.