Smirniotou, A., Martinopoulou, K., Argeitaki, P., Paradisis, G., & Katsikas, C. (2009). The effects of resisted training using a parachute on sprint performance. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of parachute-resisted and unresisted sprint training programs on acceleration and maximum speed performance. Sprint athletes (M = 12; F = 4) were divided into two groups that completed a resisted (N = 8) and an unresisted (N = 8) sprint training program. The resisted group towed a large size parachute and the unresisted group followed a similar sprint training program without resistance. The training program consisted of 4 x 30 m and 4 x 50 m maximal runs and was performed three times a week for four weeks. All Ss performed a 50 m run and the running velocities of the 0-10 m, 10-20 m, 20-40 m, and 40-50 m sectors were measured. In addition, stride length, stride rate, contact time, and flight time were evaluated across 1-7 m during the acceleration phase and between 40-47 m during the maximum speed phase.

The resisted sprint training group improved running velocity in all sections of the acceleration phase (0-10 m, 10-20 m, and 0-20m), while the unresisted training group improved across 0-20 m. Running velocity was significantly higher during 0-20 m in the resisted group compared to the unresisted group. For the maximum speed phase, the resisted sprint training program improved running velocity in the 40-50 m sector and maximum running velocity between 40-47 m. The unresisted sprint training had no effect in any sector of the maximum speed phase. Stride length increased after resisted and unresisted sprint training in the acceleration phase, while stride rate increased only after resisted sprint training in the maximum speed phase.

Implication. Four weeks of parachute resisted sprint training with a large size chute significantly improves running velocity during the acceleration phase by increasing stride length and during maximum speed phase by increasing stride rate in sprint athletes. [This is an example of a non-specific form of training enhancing performance.]

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