Have you ever watched the 100 meter race at the Olympics? The winner is not usually the one who starts off leading. It is the athlete who accelerates faster and attains their peak speed before other competitors do.
The same principle of acceleration applies to other sports such as football, rugby, and tennis. In rugby and football, one way to penetrate the defense is by stunning the guard with an unexpected burst of speed.
Similarly, racket sports players accelerate to serve back their opponent’s strong shots. So, what would constitute effective acceleration techniques?
How To Accelerate
The Angle of Your Body
The body has to slant at a 45-degree angle during acceleration. This means every part has to lean forward.
The shins slant forwards and the upper torso is at a similar angle to the leg that is on the ground.
When you accelerate, your feet spend more time hitting the ground. You should stamp as much force with each step you take as you can.
Triple the length of your strides. Long powerful strides are excellent for acceleration. Contrary to popular belief, short, fast strides are not effective for speeding up.
Move like a Piston
During acceleration, the range of motion of your legs will be limited. This is similar to the action of speeding pistons.
When you run, you drive your legs into the ground and then position it again to repeat the same motion.
When you quicken your pace, the range of motion decreases, and the leg completes a cycle more quickly.
A horizontal force is crucial to propulsion during acceleration. The angle at which your body leans when you run forward generates a force that propels you ahead.
An optimal horizontal force is achieved when your running body is leaning forward at 45 degrees.
Create Wide Splits Between Arms and Legs
Remember, we need to create long and powerful strides. Broad separation between your limbs will achieve this effect.
How to Improve Your Acceleration with Exercise
There are two exercise regimens that are commonly used by coaches and trainers to help with acceleration. They include:
- Speed drills
- Plyometric exercises
Let’s dig into each one and give some examples for you to think about!
Hill Sprint – Running up a hill strengthens your legs. Running at a steep angle means you are moving hard against gravity.
Sprint as quickly as you can up the hill and then take your time going down so that you cool down. Do this exercise as many times as you can.
Hill sprints will make you faster and improve your accelerating techniques.
Acceleration Wall Drill – This workout does not require any special equipment except a wall.
Wall drills are for enhancing the knee drive.
To perform this exercise, position your hands on the wall such that the arms are parallel to the floor.
Keep the rest of your body straight and slanted at 45 degrees. Raise one knee to your hip level, bending your foot. Lower it and repeat with the other side.
Keep doing alternate movements as quickly as you can. Wall drills engage your core and lower back.
Weighted Sled – This move requires a gym setting and some professional help for beginners.
Load the sled with a weight not exceeding a tenth of your body mass. Place your hands on the sled with your body bent at 45 degrees.
Sprint while pushing the sled for 20 yards (18.29 meters). Repeat the movement three or six times.
Sled pushing grows the strength of your legs for more powerful stomping force that is crucial for acceleration.
These are only three of the most popular speed drills used by athletes. For additional examples, there’s a wide range of workouts you can find here.
This is the second method you can use to improve your acceleration skills.
Plyometric exercises are also popularly known as jump training. They are Herculean aerobic exercises designed to improve your endurance, strength, and speed.
Plyometric exercises work the muscles to their limit in short bursts of time. As you can imagine, they are very intense. For this reason, they are only recommended for professional sports players and athletes who have achieved peak fitness.
As long as they’re under guidance, people who are trying to achieve peak fitness can use this regimen – but it’s important to maintain safety throughout.
Box Jumps – Box jumps enhancethe fast-twitch muscles that are engaged during powerful bursts of movement.
Most gyms have plyometric boxes that you can use with a trainer if it is your first time.
Choose a box height that you are able to jump onto and land back down in the same position you started.
Use exaggerated forward and backward arm motion to propel you on mounting and dismounting the box.
Step back from the box as opposed jumping down.
Start with your knees slightly bent forward, swinging your arms back in wide motion then immediately swing it forward and jump driving your feet hard into the ground.
Propel as far as possible and bend your knees slightly upon landing to absorb the shock. Repeat the motion.
Hurdles and Standing Jumps – This is another workout to strengthen the fibers on the fast-twitch muscles.
The force you apply in your jump goes into increasing speed and acceleration.
Repeat the high jumps using exaggerated movements and pay attention to your methodology rather than frequency.
Bound Quickly to Build a Force – Bounding is mimicking running movement. It builds the sprinting muscles.
You are required to jump quickly alternating both legs. Lift the front knee to your hip or higher while the other leg stays straight. Repeat as quickly as possible over several meters.
Single-leg Variations – Exercises done on one leg build strength faster than those that stand on both. These exercises further improve balance and dexterity.
Note: Strong ligaments and tendons are required forplyometric exercises, since they generate a great deal of stress on these body parts.
This is why a beginner to fitness should not undertake this exercise routine. The same goes for individuals suffering from chronic conditions or any injuries.
It will greatly benefit people who have a set exercise routine.
To achieve your maximum acceleration, you must consistently train for it. Both individual effort and professional assistance are great. As long as you keep practicing, your acceleration should keep improving over time.