Get Faster by Slowing Down? | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Get Faster by Slowing Down?

April 9, 2013 | Joe Amberlock

Must See Speed Videos

Power, speed and strength are over-glorified skills in the world of sports. These skills are highly valued and athletes strive to improve them, but they are not the only pieces of the puzzle. (Learn about the principles of agility training.)

Deceleration is often ignored. When do you ever hear someone comment about an athlete's ability to decelerate? Likely never.

Training to slow down may sound counterintuitive to your goal to be fast, but this skill is just as important as the three mentioned above. To be effective at your sport, you need the ability to quickly decelerate before changing pace or direction.

On-Field Speed

Straight-away speed gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so. Millions of dollars are up for grabs depending on how fast an athlete can sprint 40 yards. However, there are very few times when you can actually use top-end speed during live-game action. (See How to Improve Quickness.)

For example, say athlete A is substantially faster than athlete B in a straight sprint. People marvel at athlete A's speed; however, athlete B appears quicker and faster than athlete A on the field. This is due to B's ability to decelerate, change pace and change direction.

Wes Welker is a prime example. He may not be lightning fast in a straight line, but he certainly appears fast on the field.

Preventing Injury

Injuries often occur during stop-and-go athletic movements. Athletes move at high speed, and as speed increases so does momentum. As momentum builds up, it becomes more difficult to decelerate. (Learn how to prevent hamstring injuries.) Joints and tendons absorb this momentum. If momentum is too great, they can tear or buckle under the pressure. Deceleration training conditions your body to absorb these forces to help prevent an injury.

Correct Imbalances

Imbalances often occur from repetitive movements. Specific muscles become stronger and more powerful during tasks such as jumping and sprinting. Over time, they begin to produce far more power than surrounding muscles can support or absorb. You might be able to jump 40 inches, but can you absorb and decelerate the force of a 40-inch jump when landing? Probably not—if you ignore your deceleration imbalance.

You might not recognize these imbalances; however, your central nervous system (CNS) does. Your CNS wants to keep you safe at all costs. So it will compensate by shifting movements to stronger muscles, causing you to further neglect weaker muscles.

Training deceleration allows you to redress imbalances instead of continuing to reinforce them. You work the muscles that are opposed to jumping up or accelerating, which are commonly engaged during any athletic event.

Deceleration Exercises

Tempo Sprints

Sprint for 10-30 yards, then quickly decelerate to a slow jog or walk. Accelerate to full speed and repeat 3-5 times.

Incorporate a reactive aspect to this drill by having a partner tell you when to accelerate and decelerate.

Eccentrics

It's important to work the lowering phase of a movement. A great way to do this is with the Squat. Rather than lower to the bottom of a squat at a normal pace, lower the weight over a 4-6-second count. This will train your muscles and tendons to absorb the forces experienced when sprinting and jumping. Do 4-5x3-4.

Forward Lunges

As your front foot lunges forward and makes contact with the ground, the weight of your body (and any additional weight) creates forward momentum. You leg muscles must absorb this forward momentum and transfer it through the ground to push off and back to the starting position. Do 3-4x6-8 each leg.

Must See
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 2,833,772
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 34,482,194
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 25,400,077

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Lorenzo Mauldin Views: 7,052
Real Workouts: Paul Rabil Views: 212,868
Brandin Cooks Oregon State Football Tour Views: 953,059
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 25,400,077
Dwyane Wade Jumps Onto a 42" Box
Views: 10,738,587
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,727
Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,166
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,035,621

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Foam rolling has made it mainstream. There is no question that the benefits of the technique have resonated with athletes of all ages and skill levels....

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed