Movement Skills – Acceleration

Every sport or position requires specific movement skills for an athlete to master. These movement skills are crucial to maximising efficiency, speed and performance, and to minimising the potential for injury when training and competing in the sport. 

There are many elements to enhancing speed, no one training method holds the key. Rather it is a combination of components that results in greatest improvements. For example, developing specific strength qualities is one of the most effective ways to increase the power necessary for maximal sprinting, however, unless an athlete first focuses on movement, and in turn movement skills, they may struggle to maximise the results from their efforts in other areas. Whatever your sport or level, you will benefit from learning to optimally apply force, decelerate, jump, land and change direction.

In our programmes and with the athletes we work with, we focus primarily on linear, multidirectional and rotational movement. For the purpose of this article we will look to describe the key components of improving linear movement, specifically acceleration!

LINEAR MOVEMENT SKILLS

Linear movement skills focus on developing the optimal patterns required to produce maximum power and speed when propelling the body forwards, in a straight line. Linear speed development is typically broken into acceleration, transition, and absolute/maximum speed. 
In many positions in the various field sports, acceleration is regarded as the physical quality which has the greatest impact on performance. 

Below, we’ve outlined some simple progressions we commonly use to develop the movement skills necessary to maximise acceleration and linear speed.

ACCELERATION POSTURE HOLD –
SETS & REPS: Hold 10-15 seconds on each side for 1-2 sets
TIPS: Ensure a straight line from your heel through the knee, hip and shoulder. The heel of the support leg should be off the ground slightly. The lower leg on the raised side, should be parallel to the support leg, with toes/laces up!

ACCELERATION LOAD & LIFT
SETS & REPS: 3-5 reps on each side for 1-2 sets
TIPS: Reach back or “load” from the set position, allowing the knee on the support leg to bend, then “lift” to a strong acceleration posture position, driving the knee upwards forcefully. Make corrections to your body position if required before continuing the set.

ACCELERATION SINGLE EXCHANGE –
SETS & REPS: 3-5 reps on each side for 1-2 sets
TIPS: From an acceleration posture hold position on the wall, quickly switch the support leg driving the opposite knee upwards. Make corrections to your body position if required before continuing the set.

ACCELERATION LOAD, LIFT & SWITCH –
SETS & REPS: 2-3 reps on each side for 1-2 sets
TIPS: Combine the two movements above to perform this drill, taking care to make corrections to your body position on each rep.

The positions and patterns outlined above should serve as a good introduction to acceleration mechanics. These movements are typically advanced further with drills which incorporate arm movements, and with variations which utilise harnesses and sleds to enable the same controlled patterns to be practiced, while allowing the athlete to move in a forward direction.
It’s important to note at this point, that incorporating these or any movement skills into a training plan will provide only a modest return to an athlete unless they possess the underlying movement patterns, in addition to adequate levels of strength. Mastering Movement Prep and engaging in consistent and appropriate strength and power training are important steps in building the foundation that enables optimal movement skills and speed.
If you are interested in learning and applying more movement skills to your training, check out the growing catalogue of AXSOM Sports training plans and subscriptions for an integrated plan specific for your sport.

3 Push-Up Progressions

3 Push-Up Progressions

The push up is a staple in many resistance training plans, and for good reason. It is a large compound upper body exercise which also demands excellent trunk stability. It is also a very safe option for youth and inexperienced athletes – “failing” on a repetition just means you are left lying on the floor! The one downfall of this exercise is that the intensity (resistance) can not be as easily progressed/regressed as is the case with dumbbell or barbell exercises. But don’t let that put you off. Below, we’ve outlined 3 push up variations to keep athletes of all levels challenged!

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Indoor Conditioning Session

Indoor Conditioning Session

At the moment, thankfully, conditions are perfect for getting out for a steady run a few times each week. While this is great for helping to maintain aerobic capacity, it’s easy to miss out on the high intensity (anaerobic) conditioning that is so important in many sports. Below, we’ve outlined a session you can complete in a room of your house that requires just a few yards of paint tape to mark out a ladder on the floor!

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10 Core Exercises to Add to your Training

10 Core Exercises to Add to your Training

When many athletes think of anterior core training they think sit-ups or static planks. Of course both of these exercises can target the abdominal group effectively, but we think of core training a bit differently!
It’s important to understand that the primary function of the core is to stabilise the spine and pelvis, particularly while the limbs are in motion. However, neither of the above mentioned most common exercises replicate this function well. Find out some of our favourites..

read more

Indoor Conditioning Session

At the moment, thankfully, conditions are perfect for getting out for a steady run a few times each week. While this is great for helping to maintain aerobic capacity, it’s easy to miss out on the high intensity (anaerobic) conditioning that is so important in many sports. Below, we’ve outlined a session you can complete in a room of your house that requires just a few yards of paint tape to mark out a ladder on the floor!

10 Core Exercises to Add to your Training

When many athletes think of anterior core training they think sit-ups or static planks. Of course both of these exercises can target the abdominal group effectively, but we think of core training a bit differently!
It’s important to understand that the primary function of the core is to stabilise the spine and pelvis, particularly while the limbs are in motion. However, neither of the above mentioned most common exercises replicate this function well. Find out some of our favourites..

Blood Flow Restriction Training

Restriction to blood flow first emerged as a form of exercise training with Japanese bodybuilders in 1995, but is now more commonly referred to as Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training.  Over the past 3-4 years, BFR training has exploded in popularity amongst strength coaches and physiotherapists alike. Early research identified the capability of BFR to stimulate hypertrophy and strength gains when combined with low-load resistance training but there was a distinct lack of research on how this was happening.  

Field Sport Conditioning

As teams across the country are forced to suspend all collective training, we thought we would help out with a sample session that can be completed individually and modified to suit!
This session includes work in all energy systems to maximise transfer to your sport.
Give it a go and pass it along to your team mates if you think they would benefit. Feel free to get in touch with any questions!

Repetition Tempo

Tempo is a training variable equal in importance to reps and sets. This programming tool allows coaches to target specific adaptations in an athletes programme and is a key component of a training plan. Essentially, in resistance training, tempo refers to the speed that an exercise is performed. The tempo that each rep is performed at will dictate the total time under tension (TUT) for any given set, and this component is one of the major keys to achieving the desired training response.

Maximal Aerobic Speed

In recent years Maximal Aerobic Speed has become popular among team sports in particular, primarily because it presents a simple and effective method of testing aerobic power. However, the real value of this method is that the data from testing can be used directly in the prescription of conditioning loads. This article aims to provide detailed instructions on how to effectively administer an MAS test, in a team setting, and examples of how to effectively use this data.

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