Acceleration & Horizontal Power Development Workout For Athletes
While basic sprinting or lifting workouts are useful and effective, athletes can experiment with different combinations of exercises as a way to create variation in their training without straying from their primary goals. Today we’ll go over an acceleration oriented workout that also includes some horizontal power production exercises that you can implement into your program right away.
After a basic warmup such as some jogging or skipping, light mobility work, and possibly some sprint drills, the workout begins with medicine ball throws for distance. You can do 2 to 3 sets of 5 throws each depending on the weight of your medicine ball. A soft med ball is optimal so it doesn’t roll much farther than where it lands, that way you don’t risk taking someone out or having to chase the ball vary far.
You can pick between underhand forward throws, underhand backward throws, or even include some rotational throws. The starting position can be dynamic or static, but I like to include a combination of both.
After the initial sets of throws, and given that you feel your body is capable of sprinting, you can move on to a throw and sprint contrast. Here you will perform one med ball throw for maximum distance, then walk back to the starting line and perform a sprint.
Early in the workout I would start with 10 meter sprints, but you can lengthen the acceleration out to as far as 30 meters depending on where you are in your progressions and what sport you play. Football players can probably limit their sprints to 10 or 20 meters for this workout, whereas track sprinters should start there but progress to 30 meters over time.
Overall volumes will need to be adjusted based on your current training level. If you’re new to sprinting, 6 sets of contrasts is likely enough to start to tire you out, whereas a well trained sprinter might be able to perform 12 sets without their times dropping off significantly.
We do not want to leave the workout feeling totally destroyed with fatigue, so make sure that you stop your sprint-throw contrasts before getting to that point. Remember that we go to war to win the battle, not die on the battlefield, and the same goes for training. Make sure your training volumes allow you to walk away healthy and capable of training again within 24 to 48 hours.
To finish the workout off, you can perform a broad jump, also called a standing long jump, preferably performing these from both double and single leg stances. Broad jumps are a good way to gauge your horizontal force and power production, but be aware that they can place a lot of strain on your adductors and groin. If after the sprints you feel your inner thighs or groin are stressed out, skip the jumps and save them for another day.
If you do feel good though, you can perform 3 to 6 jumps from 2 feet, or 4 to 6 jumps per leg in a single leg standing long jump. The single leg variations are probably a better training tool for athletes as they can be used to reduce force production asymmetries between legs, whereas the 2 leg broad jump can let some athletes bias their stronger leg and not use their weaker leg as much.
Also, because you are not jumping as far, your impact velocities should be lower and lead to less adductor strain upon landing. Typically on single leg broad jumps I will jump off of one leg, but land on two, spreading out the impact forces over both legs.
Following this workout you could perform a low volume, high intensity lift, but whether you do this would depend on what other workouts you have planned for the week, your current training load, and your ability to recover. Some athletes would be better off waiting until the next day to lift, whereas highly trained individuals would be able to perform a lifting workout 2 to 4 hours after the sprint and throw session.
If you do plan to lift after a workout like this, you’ll have to adjust the volumes accordingly and do less sprints, throws and jumps in order to allow for a lift to be performed without digging yourself into a hole too deep to climb out of.
Lifts that would pair well with this workout, either the day of or the day after, could include olympic lift variations like a hang clean or power snatch, back squats or box squats, box jumps or jump squats, and some biceps femoris hamstring training.
If you’ve done a workout like this before or you decide to give this workout a shot, let us know in the comments how you liked it! If you like this sort of content, consider subscribing, leaving a thumbs up, or checkout out my website for programs.