We have all been there, at team practice, and the coach breaks out the ladders. “Ok guys, let’s get some footwork in, and get faster!” If you were anything like me, your first thought was “I don’t think this does much, but I guess I’ll shut up and do it so I don’t get cut!”
Unfortunately, this is the reality of most athlete’s team training whether we like it or not. However, as strength coaches let’s take ladders and sand training out of our programs. Here are a few reasons why:
- There is no hip extension! You are not getting the same range of motion such as when you run or jump. Therefore, you are not getting faster.
- You are not producing enough ground force to become more explosive such as in performing a heavy squat or deadlift.
- For track and field athletes it can be a detriment to running mechanics. 4. When running or jumping in sand there’s deformation in the sand, so that every step takes longer to pick the foot back up. When sprinting or repetitive jumping we want to have as little ground contact time as possible, but when running or jumping in sand it takes much longer to get the feet back off the ground.
- When you run in sand the foot externally rotates and the ground gives away putting more strain on the hip and groin. This can lead to strains and pulls in the hamstrings.
In conclusion, if you are a strength coach trying to make your athletes faster, more explosive, and healthier, throw away the ladders and sand training! Focus on heavy squats, deadlifts and jumping of all varieties on flat ground.
Westside Barbell Strength and Conditioning Coach