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 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.

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!

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.

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.

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 our online training plans.

Blood Flow Restriction Training

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.  

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Field Sport Conditioning

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!

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Repetition Tempo

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.

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Psychological Resilience in Sport

Think of the physical preparation that goes into an athletes performance; nutrition, sleep, strength training, recovery, rehabilitation are just a few. Ask, is mental performance receiving the adequate amount of time and dedication that it should be in comparison to the physical preparation, and if not, why?

Movement Prep

The purpose of any physical preparation routine should be to optimise performance in the upcoming session or competition, while decreasing the risk of injury.
Traditional warm-ups have typically included light aerobic movement followed by static stretching, and while this approach is successful in raising body temperature, it does not contribute significantly towards reducing injury risk, and certainly not towards optimising performance.

Pre-Season in Gaelic Games

We are at that time of year where a lot of teams are returning to training for the season ahead. Of course, most will have different league and championship calendars and will go about their preparation for each competition in various ways. Some will begin with gym sessions only, some will opt for field sessions only, and some will choose a combination of both. Some may even decide to give their players another few weeks before returning to any form of training.

Fuel Your Performance

At AXSOM, we believe that the process of eating should be viewed simply as fuelling the body. In the same way that a high performance car needs clean fuel to perform to the highest level, the body needs clean fuel to be at its most efficient and effective. We fuel to train, fuel to recover, and fuel to compete. This is applicable in all areas of life, not just with regards to competitive athletes. With nutrition, you are not only fueling the body, but the mind too, as food provides energy for our brain as well as our bodies.

Training Variables – Part 3

As is the case when determining the optimal reps and tempo, the training objective also dictates another important variable – the number of sets.
In general, the higher the number of repetitions, the less sets that are required to achieve the optimal volume. Conversely, the lower the number of repetitions being performed, the more sets that are needed. There are of course exceptions to this, but to illustrate how training objective will most typically influence the number of sets performed we will take two examples for comparison..

Training Variables – Part 2

As a general rule of thumb, the higher the total time under tension, the greater the impact on body composition. This is due to greater metabolic adaptations associated with increased time under tension. In order for an athlete to maintain control over a weight for a prolonged period, he/she must sacrifice on the intensity of the set (weight on the bar). This has a knock on effect of potentially reducing the strength training effect. Heavier weights will be required to optimally develop maximal strength, and particularly so to develop relative strength, therefore lower prescriptions for total time under tension must be applied.