Sprint assisted training is an advanced program designed for athletes who have established correct sprinting techniques. Sprint assisted training, also referred to as neuromuscular training or over speed training, provides slight assistance during a short sprint (anywhere from 10-30 yards). Sprint assisted training is designed to increase stride rate and decrease ground contact time. This assistance, which should be no greater than 10 % of your actual speed, will train your nervous system to work quicker than it is normally capable of performing. Over time with proper repetitions and proper work to rest ratios, you will increase your nervous system’s ability to fire nerve impulses faster when running without assistance. Sprint assisted training has been shown to improve both stride rate and stride length as well as overall times in the 40 yard dash.
Sprint Assisted Training Guidelines:
Some forms of sprint assisted training include: towing, downhill sprints at a grade of 1-3%, and high speed treadmill sprinting.
Sprint assisted training should be performed early in your training session following a general warm up. Remember the concept of “speed before fatigue”. Rest periods should remain in the 4-6 minute range before performing another sprint. The key to speed training is to make sure you fully recover before completing the next assisted sprint.
Towing – use a 20-25 foot long surgical tubing attached to a waist belt. The opposite end can be attached to another athlete or a stationary object such as a tree or goal post. If you are training alone, attach the end to a tree or goal post and back up 25 yards. Do 4-5 repetitions at three-quarter speed before performing 4-5 maximum effort sprints with proper rest. Complete the two person drill by attaching one end of the tubing to your waist and the other to a partner's back. Have the partner sprint 25-30 yards against the resistance, then stop. You now sprint toward your partner in a sprint assisted training run. Sprint no faster than 10% of your actual speed. It takes a slight pull to produce a training effect. Do not stretch the tubing more than 40 yards.
Downhill Running- best done on turf or grass. Select a grade no greater than 3%. Sprint downhill for 20-30 yards. An ideal area will allow a 15 yard sprint downhill into a 15 yard flat ground sprint. Try and maintain the high speed for another 10 yards on flat ground.
High Speed Treadmill Sprints - set a treadmill at 15+ mph and run for 5 seconds. Use the same work to rest ratio before performing another sprint.
Expect to experience muscle soreness 24-48 hours after your first training session. Also, expect some soreness even if you have been completing regular sprint training routines because of the increase of motor unit recruitment.
Athletes need to build a solid conditioning base of speed endurance and speed strength before beginning a sprint assisted program.
Inspect the belts, tubing and knots before each training run.
Dintiman, G., & Ward, R. (2009). Encyclopedia of sports speed: Improving playing speed for sports competition. Kill Devil Hills, NC: National Association of Speed and Explosion ;.
More About Joey Greany MS, CSCS