New Research Reveals Benefits of Heavy Resisted Sprinting

Hesitant to load up that sled? Hesitate no more, the benefits are proven.

Research shows that sprinting while pulling a heavy sled is actually superior to lighter loads in improving athlete speed. So guess what we’re going to be doing more of on our acceleration days? You guessed it… heavy sled runs, up to 80% or more of your bodyweight.

Resisted Sprinting and Improved Acceleration

The study used 80% of body weight to demonstrate the benefits.  The theory behind the outcome of this research is that a heavy sled run should not affect an unresisted sprint performed later. It should, however, teach the athlete how to produce force in the right horizontal direction—compared to vertically—in order to move their body forward more efficiently. Thanks to Chris Beardsley for putting together this infographic and breaking down the research articles.

Most of us understand that acceleration is king for any sport. If you can accelerate to the ball or past your opponent, you’re more than likely to gain a competitive edge.

The Research Supports Our Existing Training Programs

We’ve been doing resisted sprints at South Chandler FAST since I started here over nine years ago.  We’ve worked with hundreds of athletes that have improved their speed and acceleration over that time period.

I was fortunate to first learn the technique during my internship at Athletes Performance (now known as EXOS) back in 2007.  If you’ve ever been to our South Chandler FAST gym, you’ve seen us dedicate a lot of time working on acceleration mechanics with our athletes, in addition to some form of resisted sprinting (sleds or resistance bands).

Horizontal Beats Vertical

This new research has also shown that heavy horizontal resistance in the form of sleds or bands is superior to vertical resistance in the form of vests worn by the athlete. Since sprinting is done horizontally it makes sense that learning how to apply force into the ground in a horizontal fashion would be superior.

If you want to get faster and train with coaches who stay up-to-date with the current research, schedule a session today (first one is on the house!).  You won’t be disappointed.

Travis Cummings

CSCS | South Chandler

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).