Deceleration is the enemy of all sports. You need to be able to produce as much force as possible for as long as possible. Bar deceleration in the sport of powerlifting means a missed attempt. Deceleration as a sprinter means you get overtaken. The deceleration in the pole vault means you don’t reach your max height. If you lose speed across the throwing circle you are going to miss out on cm or even meters on your throws.
The implications of deceleration in sports are widespread. Your ability to produce force and maintain that level of force long enough to complete whatever you need to do in your sport is directly connected to your performance levels.
Your ability to produce force in another article for another time. I want to take the time to examine some ways to increase our ability to stave off deceleration as a whole. There are a few things we can add to our training to help increase our ability to maintain force production over a given duration.
Weight Sled Walking
A weighted sled is a great tool. I would venture to say it is a necessity for all athletes. It is great of GPP (general physical preparedness) as well as SPP (specific physical preparedness) Putting in the work on a sled will help develop a variety of aspects of your athleticism but since we are talking about decreasing your deceleration lets get more specific with this tool.
The weight sled, when attached to the waist with a weight belt, can be used in what I can power walking. You want to take long strides focusing on striking with your heel first and pulling through with your leg. This will force the sled to jerk on each step. This is going to train all of the muscles in the posterior chain from your glutes, hamstrings and calves.
The reason why this is the most effective way to decrease deceleration is simple. If you can use a set distance for training and cover that distance with increased loads quicker you’re training to move over that distance with more external stimulus faster. The deceleration is virtually non-existent at that point.
Adding Accommodating Resistance
Your classic lifts are going to happen greatly enhanced by the use of resistance bands. As the bands stretch they add greatly load. If you do not move the bar as fast as you can you will get stapled by the weight. They also force you down on your eccentric phase. This will increase your ability to turn over and increase your force production on the concentric portion of the movement. This is what we want when looking to eliminate deceleration. You can accomplish the same effect using other things like chains and weight releasers as well.
Box squats break up the eccentric-concentric chain. It is a collision between you and the box. It forces you to get off the box as hard as you can. A box squat done properly is also an extremely great way to train your posterior chain. The straight shin position forces you to use your hamstrings to get yourself back into position to get off the box.
Box squat height is also important. If you’re a competitive powerlifter then having your hip joint lower than your knee joint is going to be of great importance. However, if you are an athlete that competes with a higher hip to knee relationship. I recommend you stay within an appropriate range. Especially when we are talking about eliminating deceleration. When you are competing in your sport, having the ability to remove the notion of slowing down is only going to serve to increase your performance and decrease your chances of getting injured!