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