Minimizing Injuries in Conditioning Sprints

Posted: July 1, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s unlikely that ‘sprint work’ will be eradicated from team sports training programs any time in the near future. There’s little doubt about the benefits of performing sprints for conditioning purposes (NOTE: this is different than sprints performed in speed training where the volume of work SHOULD be considerably less).

With little argument, winning programs and elite athletes have proven ‘running sprints’ (i.e. 110’s, 40’s, gassers, etc) “works” time and again. With that being known, however, it must be acknowledged that there are some liabilities to this particular application when done with little regard to the specific demands, and stresses, placed on the athlete’s specific muscles and soft tissues.

At McConnell Athletics (MA), we spend a significant amount of time on mobility and activation drills prior to each workout. However, even with such diligence to preparing joints and soft tissues, the specific wear on an athlete’s body from a given workload must be taken into account.

With the higher rate of occurrence of ‘overuse’ injuries (i.e. sports hernias) in high school and collegiate athletes due in large part to high-volume linear sprints, adding a slight variation can go long way in eliminating these issues.

We, at MA, implement a variety of drills in addition to ‘sprinting’ to create the necessary demand on an athlete’s energy systems to achieve the desired training effect for optimal performance in athletic competition. However, I also understand that when looking at a team environment with up to 100 athletes working in the same session it’s not always practical to include other drills that may require equipment, and not to mention set up time.

I’ve found a simple alteration with sprint training that serves our needs extremely well on both ends by keeping the sprint training intact while giving just enough variation to minimize the “negatives” of repetitive work in the saggital plane. By performing sprints on a slight incline, itself,can lead to less specific tissue stress in the hip flexor area while placing more demand of the posterior chain. And, by also implementing a ‘downhill’ lateral shuffle as an “active recovery” we are working in the frontal plane which, to the soft tissues, is a healthier manner of dealing with the stress of rep after rep of high exertion linear sprinting.

This is a brief clip of this particular variation in action (NOTE: stay low on the lateral shuffle deceleration and avoid crossing feet, keeping hips and shoulders squared to front):

In Health, Strength, & Performance–

VM

McConnell Athletics
http://www.mcconnelltraining.com

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