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Drag Training Essentials for Optimal Improvements in Speed

September 29, 2015 by NCSF 0 comments

Increased sprinting speed is often at the top of the list of training goals among recreational and competitive athletes. There are a number of training methods available which can be used to increase maximum speed as well as acceleration, including but not limited to; technique drills for increasing stride rate and length, unloaded repeat sprinting, overspeed training, reactive strength drills, complex training and drag training.

Drag training includes the use of external implements such as sleds, vests, parachutes or bungee cords as well as variations in terrain (e.g., uphill or sand sprinting). Some trainers also use sled pushes or stadium-stair drills as part of their drag training repertoire; however, it should be understood that these options are not considered true drag training because the biomechanics required for proper execution are notably dissimilar from sprinting. Nonetheless, they can still be used in conjunction with drag training for improvements in hip power and speed.

When performed correctly, drag training helps develop the participant’s speed strength as well as increase recruitment of the hip and knee musculature used during acceleration. However, many exercise professionals employ drag training using loading schematics, distances or volumes that fail to match the goal of the client.

A few research-based guidelines have been provided for reference when implementing drag training to help ensure optimized adaptations:

When implementing drag training activities, trainers must take these guidelines into consideration. External loads should be added only when an individual demonstrates proper movement mechanics. If mechanics are affected once the external load is applied, even if it is less weight than the recommended percentages, it should still be reduced.

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