If you are having troubles improving acceleration in your game, look no further. The now popular prowler can be used to improve just that.
The great thing about using the prowler is that it very easy to use and does not require much skill to use. All you need is a prowler, some plates (if desired), and some space to run up and down, preferably indoors or an area where there isn't too much traffic.
1. Acceleration is one of the most important aspects in the sprints and jumps.
2. Not very many exercises can imitate the position you need for an acceleration in the sprints, and even fewer can help you add resistance and speed. The prowler can do both.
3. Great for improving the triple extension and can be used as a conditioning tool.
There are three key phases in a sprint. During the phases, the body goes from a leaning forward position (explosive start and acceleration phases) to an upright position (stride phase).
First you have the very explosive start. A quick reaction is key. Propelling your body forward and staying low to the ground allows for maximum build up of power in each stride. The first step should be a very powerful jolt with your arms wildly swinging.
Second, the drive phase or acceleration phase. Here you will see the sprinters with their heads down, bodies leaning forward staying low which allows for the build up of speed, pushing off the track forcefully, pumping their arms back and forth. Basically using all of your upper body muscles to generate force - this phase is all about acceleration. In the acceleration phase, hip dominates flexion, knee flexion is delayed and shin angle is similar to torso angle (both torso and shin leaning forward). If both are found to be in the same angle, you will have efficiency of movement and can push straight away propelling you forward.
The stride phase is where you would be approaching top velocity. Sprinters would have an upright posture, relaxed shoulders/arms, have a high knee lift, and the recovery of each stride becomes more important as the stride length is now extended. In the stride phase, the ipsilateral hips and knees are in a cycle flexing simultaneously (triple flexion when you include the ankle) to a triple extension.
All these phases have in common is the famous triple extension. Where the hips, knees and ankles showing extension simultaneously produce explosive power. The major muscles that are responsible for triple extension are found in the posterior chain and are bi-articular. The not so famous triple flexion, where the opposite leg has flexion at the hips, knees and ankles getting ready to generate explosive power.
Power cleans and snatches are great in helping athletes improve power in their triple extension, but that requires a great deal of technique and practice. If you would like an alternative, or maybe your gym doesn't allow for Olympic lifts. No worries.
In comes the PROWLER.
Just grab and go. Simple, yet very effective. It will already have you in the position you need to improve you sprint in the first 20-30 meters, or your 40 yard dash.
Try going for 15 to 20 yards at full speed, get full recovery i.e. 2-3 minutes if you are going for speed.
You can also add the prowler to end of a workout as a metabolic conditioner, just go easy on the weight.
Don't have a prowler? Try doing hill sprints or plate pushes, you can even try pushing cars, you can still get the same effects.
Carr, G. (1999). Fundamentals of track and field (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.