For the last few years we have put athletes on the Arc Trainer during phases where our program is attempting to reduce some of the impact forces. This is sometimes due to mild injuries (ankle sprains, knee pain, low back pain, etc.). Not only do these athletes typically come back feeling much more explosive, but we also have noticed that they seem to have developed a much more powerful stride, especially in the longer sprints or repeated sprints where recovery is limited.
Here is the first part of a two part interview we had with one of the top players in our program. She is a college bound soccer player, who holds our speed record for females in the 20 and 40 yd dash. She is also one of our strongest players and regularly scores in the top 5 in strength, power and agility tests.
AthleteFIT (AF): Thanks for doing this interview, and congrats on committing to play in college! We want to take a few minutes of your time to discuss how you prepared over two month off-season for your pre-season showcase tournaments.
Due to the cold and snowy Kansas winters, many of our athletes are limited to treadmill based conditioning programs in the off-season. Why did you want to stop running on the treadmill?
Soccer Player (SP): I felt like running on the treadmill was starting to give me knee pain, and I was looking for a lower impact alternative… and to be honest, I just love training on the Arc Trainer! When I run on the treadmill I only feel like I have increased my endurance, when I run on the Arc Trainer I feel stronger, faster, sturdier, and much more powerful, with no pain afterwards. I also like the motion the arc moves in, and I think it strengthens my running form.
AF: How did you feel about your speed at the beginning of the off-season program? You are the fastest person in our program (over 3000 athletes), but how did you feel about your progress over the last year, 3 months? Were you increasing, decreasing, or hitting a plateau?
SP: I felt very fast at the beginning of the winter, but I feel even faster now. I was a little frustrated because my speed seemed to be peaked out and I think I a plateau. Now I am faster than ever. It ‘s a different type of speed than I felt before. I feel much stronger when I run. It’s now harder for me to get knocked over on the field. I am also more confident that my speed won’t decrease from the beginning of the game to the end…I don’t feel the need to hold back or pace myself. I know I will be able to run at top speed the entire game.
AF: Did you increase or decrease your “lifting” volume during the period of the offseason? For example did you go from squatting heavy to squatting dumbbells, or did you start lifting at school as well as in your training here at the SoccerFIT Academy?
SP: I do not lift at school, my high school team doesn’t really do much pre-season training, we only scrimmage once a week, and we sometimes run some sprints at the end. I didn’t lift much during the winter due to my rib injury. I basically just worked on technique with lighter weights and squatted about every other week. This decreased from the lifting I did in the fall, where I was lifting about once a week. But, even without much lifting, I did feel that I got much stronger and more explosive. For example when I run, I feel more powerful when I drive my foot into the ground, and when people tried to take me down while I was running, they bounced right off me!
AF: So basically, you are saying that you got stronger without lifting? How do you know? Did you measure this? Did you do any speed tests to validate this perceived increase in speed and power?
SP: My max velocity increased from 16.8 to a 17.2, and my average vertical jump in a plyometric 4 jump test improved from 42 cm to 49 cm with an average ground contact time below 180 milliseconds. My squat max improved from 155 lbs to 180 lbs and my clean max improved from 89 lbs to 111 lbs.
Watch for part 2 of this interview where our soccer player talks about how the Arc Trainer program helped increase her sprinting speed and cardiovascular endurance.