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One of the training methods used to improve speed in sports is known as sprint-assisted training. The idea behind sprint-assisted training is to increase your stride rate by forcing your body to perform at a higher level than would be possible without assistance. Sprint-assisted training produces this effect by getting the nervous and muscular systems used to higher contraction rates. After several weeks, the nervous system allows you to continue these higher rates without any help. Research shows that your number of steps taken per second and the length of your stride can improve after 4-8 weeks of sprint-assisted training.
Four commonly used methods of sprint-assisted training are downhill sprinting, high-speed cycling, towing (pulling) against the resistance of surgical tubing, and high-speed treadmill sprint training. The research behind these techniques has been well documented and the methods have been described in the book Sports Speed, 3rd Edition, by George Dintiman and Bob Ward.
Dintiman and Ward devote an entire chapter to sprint-assisted training, and they begin their discussion with the following guidelines:
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Abbott Nutrition strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program and perform exercises under the supervision of a certified fitness trainer or conditioning coach. The effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition should be determined by your health care professional. The suggestions here are in no way intended to substitute for medical advice.