Parachutes: How to incorporate them into Sprint Training

Parachutes can be a great tool to enhance aspects of your sprinting stride when used correctly. The idea of the parachute is simply to add outside resistance in opposition to your forward inertia that will force you to recruit a greater number of muscle fibers in your hips to initiate your stride. They are just one type of resistance training with sport specificity to sprinting. There are other ways to do resisted runs, such as having a partner holding straps or bungee cords that wrap around your waist, or pulling weight sleds. Parachutes allow you to do resisted runs on your own, and have the ability to be released during your sprint so you can then accelerate.

IMG_2274It is important that you have trained your stride to be efficient before you add the resistance of a parachute. Any imbalance in your hips that affects your stride will be intensified by adding the parachute to your run. Remember Law 3, that the body is designed to respond to stimulus according to the natural strength progression. Well, parachute runs are higher in the strength progression than simply running, so it requires a more efficient muscular system to do correctly and there will be greater potential for muscular compensations. That being said, there are ways to incorporate it into your training as long as you know how to neutralize the negative effects it may have on your body. In our sprint training programs, we will provide the proper exercises that will ensure a high level of muscular efficiency by neutralizing these negatives.

One important factor that you need to consider when doing parachute runs is wind. You do not want to do parachute runs on a windy day, because of the unwanted lateral demand it can have on your stride as you run. Many times the parachute will be pulling your body all over the lane from side to side if it is windy. This will affect your ability to train your stride, as your body will have to try to balance itself out and compensate for the lateral stress of the parachute. Use parachutes on days with little to no wind.

Here is a link to some good parachutes if you are looking to buy one and begin to incorporate it into your sprinting.

Loren Sheets

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