Thriving Blog & Magazine

Build the Brakes, Not the Engine: The Importance of Deceleration Training

Matt Campbell
Program Director Restorative Fitness

Whether it be a level change where we have to quickly find orientation and grounding, explosive ladder drills, or a dynamic depth-drop off of a plyo box, the body has to learn how to manage force, slow movement and control position in a very short amount of time. 

Often in exercise we focus on the result of an exercise: how far, how much, how fast. Don’t get me wrong, measuring quantifiables is a tenet of a progressive and goals-based resistance-training program. 

However, we seldom spend enough time, if any, training the body how to decelerate, control and land as a component of performance. 

After all, athletes don’t usually get injured from jumping too high; they get hurt coming down “wrong.”  They land awkwardly or with too much impact and without the ability to properly reduce the speed of their momentum. 

This is important for all of us— not just athletes. It’s often the unexpected loss of balance that could be the difference between a stumble in which you catch yourself and a fall that could have serious consequences. 

How to Thrive: Build Your Body's Brakes for Deceleration

You have to be able to master the landing before the jump.

Master the landing is about controlling the load and declaration. When we learn how to “load to explode” we are learning how to more effectively transform energy into movement. No matter how powerful the motor, if you don’t have control over where you are going, it’s irrelevant. It’s not hard to move, it’s harder to have control over movement. 

In understanding how the body develops strength, power, and performance there is value in training to “build the brakes, not the engine.”

Thriving Magazine October 2022 Issue 16

Thriving Magazine • Issue 16

Our October issue looks how we can make positive changes in our mindset and behaviors over the last 90 days of the year so we're starting 2023 with a head start (and skipping the resolutions!). Enjoy!

Articles are written by our experts in physical therapy, fitness training, chiropractic care. nutrition, massage, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and energy healing.