In part #1, you were shown some of the foundational reasons why deceleration is so critical to both your short-term and long-term health and performance capacity, and now you will be provided with a short list of active training strategies to ensure you are maximizing your deceleration potential giving you peace of mind. Here is the list of methods we will explore in this article:
Primary Training Methods:
- Strength Training
- Specific Deceleration Strategies (Overspeed methods, Stutter Step, Lateral movement foundation, Speed and Strength Cutting practice, and Hip Turn and T-Break Ability)
The first category is going to be strength training, and rightfully so. A long-held notion that strength is the foundation for all other types of athletic skill can be strongly supported in both research settings as well as real-world results. If you aren’t strong, you will be limited in performance domains such as usable raw speed and power, and moreover, you won’t have the structural support and resiliency of adequate size and strength to keep your muscles, tendons, and ligaments healthy over the long term. With that being said, it’s only fitting that we start with strength training.
To keep things relatively simple, a sound total body push-pull-based program is universally accepted among sports culture at this point, or it definitely should be. Once you check this needs box, then it’s really just an issue of pinpointing the best deceleration-based strength exercises, implementing proper tempos and movement speeds, and mastering technique. Here is a brief list of coaching and athlete favorites that you can add to your training arsenal if you haven’t already:
Lower Body & Upper Body:
- Rack-Supported Lunges Handled or Deficit Pushups
- Reverse Lunges Slow chin-ups/pullups
- Single Leg Squats Slow DB rows
- Supported Skater Squats Slow Military Press
- Supported SLDL
- Deficit Split Squat
- Bulgarian Split Squats
I’m sure most are familiar, but ensuring that you incorporate proper lifting tempos through the entire movement or muscle contraction spectrum (eccentric-isometric-concentric) is absolutely key to improving deceleration skills and building better coordination. Not only is time under tension and slow to moderate tempos favorable to better mind-muscle connections, but it can potentially promote better tension levels in the muscle and growth, as well leading to more efficient strength gains.
Plyometrics would be next on the list. Here is a non-extensive list of upper body and lower body plyometrics any level of an athlete should start with or revisit and de-load with at some point in their training program, depending on the time of year, skill level, strength levels, injury history, and more. Real quick, plyometrics are going to be the sport-specific means of using and expressing strength built in the weight room and will serve as the true test of deceleration.
Lower Body & Upper Body:
- Double Leg Hop Med Ball Slams
- Box Jumps Med Ball Chest Pass
- MVP shuttle Rope or Tire Battles
- TRX supported Jumps Pushup progressions
- Multi-directions Box Jumps Switch-Ups
The list of plyometric progressions depending on the muscle group or movement pattern is quite endless when you really break it down. However, the drills listed above are great primers for progressive reactive plyometrics and also a great maintenance group of drills to resort back to if you have been engaged in continuous high-intensity plyometric training for a few training cycles (8-16 weeks).
The last group of drills is more specialized and advanced deceleration strategies that get even more specific to movements witnessed in sports, and they really challenge your entire body’s movement systems, coordination levels, awareness, and understanding of how to move accurately and efficiently. You’ll want to master these exercises at the right time of your development if you really want a leg up on the competition.
“Overspeed” methods have been around for quite some time now and encourage the rest of higher processing speeds in your central nervous system so that you can experience greater speed in movement. Examples include Band Pogo Jumps, Band Supported Pushups, banded bench presses, squatting and deadlifting variations, dumbell or kettlebell swings, and more!