The effects of different speed training protocols on sprint acceleration kinematics and muscle strength and power in field sport athletes

Robert G Lockie, Aron J Murphy, Adrian B Schultz, Timothy J Knight, Xanne A K Janse de Jonge
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2012, 26 (6): 1539-50
A variety of resistance training interventions are used to improve field sport acceleration (e.g., free sprinting, weights, plyometrics, resisted sprinting). The effects these protocols have on acceleration performance and components of sprint technique have not been clearly defined in the literature. This study assessed 4 common protocols (free sprint training [FST], weight training [WT], plyometric training [PT], and resisted sprint training [RST]) for changes in acceleration kinematics, power, and strength in field sport athletes. Thirty-five men were divided into 4 groups (FST: n = 9; WT: n = 8; PT: n = 9; RST: n = 9) matched for 10-m velocity. Training involved two 60-minute sessions per week for 6 weeks. After the interventions, paired-sample t-tests identified significant (p ≤ 0.05) within-group changes. All the groups increased the 0- to 5-m and 0- to 10-m velocity by 9-10%. The WT and PT groups increased the 5- to 10-m velocity by approximately 10%. All the groups increased step length for all distance intervals. The FST group decreased 0- to 5-m flight time and step frequency in all intervals and increased 0- to 5-m and 0- to 10-m contact time. Power and strength adaptations were protocol specific. The FST group improved horizontal power as measured by a 5-bound test. The FST, PT, and RST groups all improved reactive strength index derived from a 40-cm drop jump, indicating enhanced muscle stretch-shortening capacity during rebound from impacts. The WT group increased absolute and relative strength measured by a 3-repetition maximum squat by approximately 15%. Step length was the major limiting sprint performance factor for the athletes in this study. Correctly administered, each training protocol can be effective in improving acceleration. To increase step length and improve acceleration, field sport athletes should develop specific horizontal and reactive power.

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