A Surprising Secret About Speed

Speed parachutes work like weighted vests, with trapped air producing resistance that intensifies your run.

Running Parachute

Dustin Pedroia uses speed parachute

Parachutes—they're not just for jumping out of airplanes.

Inexpensive, portable speed parachutes, which fit conveniently in small tote bags, can be purchased online or at sporting goods stores. The 'chutes work like weighted vests, with trapped air producing resistance that intensifies your run, giving you the feeling of running uphill even on flat terrain.

Attach one of these small, lightweight parachutes to your waist and feel how much more intense even short sprints become. The extra resistance makes you train harder, building more power in your hips and legs.

The following three speed drills can be performed with a parachute at a track, football field or a park. Add them to your off-season arsenal and you'll be flying past opponents when game day comes.

Speed Parachute Guidelines

  • Find a parachute that fits you securely
  • Attach the waistband above your waist and just below your chest
  • Perform a dynamic warm-up, then begin the drills
  • Throughout the workout, rest 30-45 seconds between sets to hydrate

Drill One: Sprint/Push-up/Jog Combo

  • Sprint 30 yards
  • Do one Push-Up
  • Jog 10 yards
  • Do 3 Push-Ups
  • Sprint 20 yards
  • Do 2 Push-Ups
  • Jog 10 yards

This sprint/push-up sequence is a great option for athletes who need to quickly rise from the turf and sprint downfield after a ball or opponent.

Drill Two: Inchworm/Sprint/Jog Combo

  • 3 Inchworms
  • Sprint 40 yards
  • 2 Inchworms
  • Sprint 10 yards
  • 1 Inchworm
  • Jog 20 yards

Inchworms enhance upper and lower body flexibility—a key athletic component.

Drill Three: Multi-Direction Sprint/Jog Combo

  • Sprint diagonally 20 yards
  • Jog forward 20 yards
  • Sprint laterally 20 yards
  • Jog backwards (backpedal) 20 yards

Athletes who play sports like football, soccer and lacrosse need to spontaneously change direction during a play or sequence, and these multi-directional sprints simulate those demands.

Check out more speed parachute drills.

Photo: athleticspeedequipment.com

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock