April 01, 2006
In our article on speed development in last month's CrossFit Journal we described terminology that is commonly used in discussions of the acquisition and development of sprinting skill in all athletes. One of those was acceleration, a term that has come into vogue within the last ten years in the field of high-performance personal training. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, and it is most often associated with the beginning of a running movement from a still position. This article discusses the notion of acceleration, steps to improve acceleration, and ways to incorporate acceleration work into your daily workout design. When we look at the acceleration of an athlete, functionality has to be the key.
Most athletes are not training to run a 100-meter dash in under ten seconds, nor should we ever think of their running goals as such. The training and movement of specialist sprinters are based on nonfunctional acceleration patterns and do not transfer well to the needs of other athletes, soldiers, or first responders, or other trainees. However, the ability to purposefully get our bodies to a maximal velocity in an efficient manner can mean success or failure for all these people in a variety of physical arenas. Power and mass are relevant here. For example, consider the differences between a pit bull and a greyhound.