Article(electronic)July 21, 2018

Gradual vs. Maximal Acceleration: Their Influence on the Prescription of Maximal Speed Sprinting in Team Sport Athletes

In: Snow active: das Schweizer Schneesportmagazin, Volume 6, Issue 3, p. 66

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The primary purpose of this study was to determine if a difference existed between peak speed attained when performing a sprint with maximal acceleration versus from a gradual build-up. Additionally, this investigation sought to compare the actual peak speed achieved when instructed to reach 75% and 90% of maximum speed. Field sport athletes (n = 21) performed sprints over 60 m under the experimental conditions, and the peak speed was assessed with a radar gun. The gradual build-up to maximum speed (8.30 ± 0.40 m∙s−1) produced the greater peak speed (effect size = 0.3, small) than the maximum acceleration run (8.18 ± 0.40 m∙s−1), and the majority of participants (62%) followed this pattern. For the sub-maximum runs, the actual mean percentage of maximum speed reached was 78 ± 6% for the 75% prescribed run and 89 ± 5% for the 90% prescription. The errors in attaining the prescribed peak speeds were large (~15%) for certain individuals, especially for the 75% trial. Sprint training for maximum speed should be performed with a gradual build-up of speed rather than a maximum acceleration. For sub-maximum interval training, the ability to attain the prescribed target peak speed can be challenging for field sport athletes, and therefore where possible, feedback on peak speeds reached should be provided after each repetition.