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Assisted and Resisted Sprint Training for Speed and Acceleration

Daniel Brady | March 6, 2013 in Sport

Assisted and Resisted Sprint Training are both methods reported to increase sprint speed and acceleration. This article will get down to the facts. It starts with a little explanation and examples, then gets to the research, the numbers behind both training methods. Read on to learn more.

Assisted and resisted sprint training can be understood basically by looking at the following pictures.

As you can see in the pictures, both resistance and assistance is applied at the waist, your center of gravity. Resistance (such as the parachute) holds you back, forcing your muscles to exert more power than they are used to, creating stronger and more powerful muscles. Assistance (such as the elastic band) increase your maximum running speed, making your muscles and brain work faster than they are used to, leading to a faster moving and more capable body.

Examples of Resisted and Assisted Sprint Training

Resisted Sprint Training

  • Sled Pulling
  • Parachute Running
  • 2-Person Elastic Band Running

Assisted Sprint Training

  • High Speed Treadmill Running
  • Downhill Running
  • 2-Person Elastic Band Running

Assisted, Resisted, and Regular Sprint Training Compared

This study compared assisted, resisted and regular sprint training over 12 training sessions in 4 weeks.[1] The results were that assisted and resisted training both improved maximum speed, while regular training did not. In addition, assisted sprint training was found most effective for sprints under 13.7m, and resisted sprint training was found more effective for sprints between 13.7m and 36.6m. This is probably because assisted sprint training gets the legs moving very fast very quickly, while resisted sprint training makes the legs more powerful.

Resistance Training / Weight Training

We already saw that both resisted and assisted sprint training are effective for improving speed and acceleration, and in fact both combined are more effective than either done separately.[2] That is to be expected when they improve your body in different ways. However, be sure not to forget resistance training / weight training. As was found in our previous article, Strength and Sprint Times, we found that the runner’s Hang Clean weight is highly correlated with their sprint time, so a workout program made up of similar compound exercises and power exercises is very useful for improving sprint times. The following program is one such example.
Sprinting Speed Resistance Training Program


This is the difference between a good runner and a great one: doing some of the effective training methods, or doing all of them. If you’re not doing either assisted, resisted, or weight training, then start next week.

  1. The effect of assisted and resisted sprint training on acceleration and velocity in Division IA female soccer athletes. Upton DE []
  2. A Comparison of the Various Methods Used To Enhance Sprint Speed. Matthew J. Behrens, and Shawn R. Simonson []

Daniel has a strong interest in evidence supported fitness training, preparation and supplementation. His goal is to provide clear information that simply works. He's currently 16 kg of muscle above his starting weight (7kg in the past 12 months), and targeting a continued growth rate of 5kg+ per year.
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