Monday Strength Part 2: Anterior Chain and Acceleration Phase


Strength training has a positive influence on sprinting especially for field sports. The first part of sprinting is what we call the Acceleration phase. This is the phase in which the anterior chain plays an important role.

The acceleration phase should be coupled with a type of training that involves sprinting technique drills. This should be carried out on a regular basis to avoid any loss of power on the field. Obviously, poor mechanics do not help athletes move quickly and efficiently.

You can improve and develop the acceleration phase by training your anterior chain with knee-dominant movements such as the back squat. This can be done in the gym or any area where weights for weight training are available.

An interesting thing to note is that, the acceleration phase greatly involves the use, tension, and activation of the quads. It is usually in this phase that the athlete is physically arched low from the hips to the knee, maintaining a proper athletic stance.

The acceleration phase usually lasts about 10 mts during sprint practice. However, it is much shorter on the field provided that the athletes are already active moving before the acceleration phase even begins.

Moreover, increasing anterior chain strength will have a big impact on the change of direction and agility. When high activity or movement is needed within a small space (many field sports require that) it is more likely — and almost naturally — that an athlete will lower himself from the hips to the knees, which in turn puts a lot of stress and tension on the quads and hip flexors. This scenario once again highlights my argument above about how essential it is to train and improve strength in the quads, hips, and knees in order to perform more adequately.

As mentioned before, the back squat is the number one anterior-chain-dominant exercise. Although, other forms of exercises might also help athletes achieve the same result. These could be knee-dominant single leg exercises (one knee is bending forward, which may go a little over the toes), front squats, zercher squats, and safety bar squats.

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