Resisted sprint training is a method of using a sleds (sled towing), bands, wind parachutes, etc to improve speed and power. But how do you integrate it properly to ensure you don't increase injury risk, and still get the associated benefits?
In this article, we will look at a few studies, and try and draw a conclusion that will help Gaelic footballers and coaches integrate it into their training programs.
A Sports Medicine meta-analysis of sled towing concluded that sled training is most beneficial in improving your 10 meter speed — but over further distances, the results are similar to just doing regular sprint training. The study concluded that " Moreover, the intensity (load) is not a determinant of sprint performance improvement, but the recommended volume is > 160 m per session, and approximately 2680 m per total training program, with a training frequency of two to three times per week, for at least 6 weeks." We all know how important 10M Speed is in Gaelic Football.
Essentials of Personal Training suggests that loads that decrease regular sprint performance by more than 10% are too heavy (known as the “10% rule”). An acceptable way to gauge load is to start with 15% of the person’s body weight. This is very useful to know, especially when most teams will do collective training, and you need to cater for different players.
So what about using heavier loads than 15%
In a Journal of Strength and Conditioning (JSCR) study, study subjects did sled sprint training for eight weeks using a load that decreased regular sprint performance by 30% (heavy) versus a control group using a load that produced the standard 10% decrease. Not surprisingly, the heavy load improved regular sprinting time in a 5-meter sprint more than the lighter load.
So what do you do if there are 30 players on the pitch, and time is of the essence?
Set up 6 Sleds - 2x10kg, 2x12.5kg, 2x15kg
Place players in each group according to their mass/power
Each Player Performs 8 x 20M Sled Tow with 1:4 Work:Recovery ( 3 facing 2) xxx---20m----xx
This work should happen straight after the warm-up