T Nation

Pulley Overspeed Sprint Training


sup, i been posting this on a few forums figured i'd post it on this one..

some of you may do overspeed training with bands/bungees, this is a different variation that allows a more consistent pull.. i think it's far better than the bungees..

i'm pretty much looking to see people's opinions on overspeed training.. so far most people hate it.. but so far no one really has used the pulley method, they use bungees, which i think are completely different..

btw, i didn't make that up or nothing.

positive,negative,any comments/opinions are welcome on overspeed or on that method of overspeed.. you can also comment about my really cool socks but i know their cool so.

here's the data that's in the video about DAMO, using overspeed in THAT session:



10-20 & 20-30 SPLITS:

10-20: 1.18
20-30: 1.07

10-20: 1.09 #2: 1.10
20-30: 0.95 #2: 0.88

10-20: 1.15 #2: 1.17
20-30: 1.00 (PR) #2: 1.04



Looks like fun, but I don’t really understand what benefit overspeed training provides.

I am not aware of any elite level sprinters who use it and I believe Charlie Francis has stated he is against it.

I believe that Joe Defranco said that he doesn’t use it, but feels that it can be useful if implemented properly.

What do you feel is the advantage of incorporating overspeed sprints rather than just regular sprints? I understand the logic behind resisted sprints, but I don’t know what the reasoning is behind incorporating overspeed work.

BTW nice socks.


Thanks for the comment, and ya my socks are pimpin thankz.

i’m not really advocating overspeed, because i do not know for sure the absolute effects of it.

i do know one thing though:

  • i have seen short term effects from it when used in the same session as unassisted sprints… perhaps, if nothing else at all, when using the pulley, the overspeed sprint can facilitate a better subsequent speed workout when the athlete runs unassisted…

i use sparq lasers and with a variety of good athletes, the result has always been the same: better runs after the overspeed… a few people have hit some PR’s right off the bat after using it too…

in regards to resisted sprints; i do not like lightly resisted sprints very much… very heavy weighted sled sprints i do like…

when comparing lightly resisted sprints to heavily resisted sprints, the athlete’s most often run very crappy after the lightly resisted sled sprints from what i’ve seen using the lasers…

back to overspeed… i think it is like any other form of overload… if you can overload your body very slightly with overspeed, there may be some positive adaptations for the long term.

some people will say all overspeed does is increase stride length… i don’t think that is the case entirely… only if you’re pulling with bungees or pulling extremely hard on the pulley, you would see form breakdown, overstriding, etc…

i think with light pulls on the pulley, you would see faster GCT’s, faster arm swing, and faster turn over if you are running WITH the pulley properly… all of that could cause some future adaptations…

i’m not saying do overspeed as opposed to regular sprinting, i’m saying, if you do actually try this stuff, to complex the overspeed with regular sprints…

with any weird device i always think you should do regular sprints afterwards just to reset all of your motor patterns…



Oh ya, I have a jump mat, I just need to get the hand held thing reprogrammed so i can get GCT’s, then i can actually confirm the GCT stuff probably…



I am not into the whole sprinting “scene” or what have you… so take what I say with a huge grain of salt.

I think overspeed helps pull an athlete out of a plateau by assisting the runner, thus making the run easier for him. But when he goes back to resistance training and what have you, his body must adapt harder then ever before the overspeed work, thus pushing him to new limits.


Overspeed training will increase your stride frequency which is one of the two concepts, the other being length to increase speed.

I believe your body can eventually adapt to the rate of stride frequency, but again I believe overspeed training would have to be incorporated alot more than once a week. Most trainers would probably include it once a week in their sessions with athletes, which is not enough.

I use a parachute right now for training and also push my car for 60 yards anywhere between 6 - 8 reps. For those who think pushing a car is not as beneficial as the prowler, I challenge you to do 6 x 60 yard sprints with a 2:30 rest in between…

You will not feel your legs afterwards. I don’t care what you have to say about wheels and momentum, if you give it your all, the favor will be returned.

Adarqui…Do you train athletes privately down in Florida? PM me about what you do and who you work with. I plan on graduating this fall and opening a facility somewhere in the US. I’d like to know how you go about running your business?


Interesting stuff. Thanks for the detailed response.

So is your main reasoning for doing overspeed and resisted sprints based on the fact that you are getting a potentiation effect on your regular sprints?

How heavy do you go on the resisted sprints (both in terms of weight and reduction in speed if possible)?


ya… if you are getting closer to your combine test/meet/whatever, it would make more sense to step up the overspeed training to 2x/week… just like anything, overspeed provides an overload stimulus that the body can adapt to, so ya stride frequency adaptations sound inevitable…

since parameters do not really exist for overspeed, i would say that overspeed accelerations from 20-30 yards could be used almost any time throughout the program…

but, overspeed training for 40+ yards would be extremely intense and “shock like” and would have to be progressed into properly and used only during fully recovered sessions.

i don’t train athletes “privately”, the facility is open to pretty much anyone that wants to train… i don’t own the facility, i just operate the strength and conditioning program… i will hit you up with a PM.

ya… i feel that it provides some sort of potentiation/facilitation of the CNS… this seems to have an immediate training effect (minutes after overspeed), and “possibly” a long term training effect… i don’t really know how to measure the long term effects of the overspeed itself, so i can’t say for sure how it would effect the athlete over time… you know?

very heavy, say you run a 10 yard from 3 point in 1.7… we stack the weight on so that you get 2.4-3seconds… i use them only for 10-15 strides with real athletes…

off memory, a defensive back i train is usually 1.75-1.80 from 3point through ten right now… so, with sled sprints, 135 lb. sled sprints will get him around 2.4’s and 185 will get him 3.x’s

in my experience, i’ve found that lightly loaded sled sprints actually make you slower when you then run unassisted… i’ve measured it with tons of h.s. kids, i’m not sure if other people have seen the same results but i would assume they should…



i think it’s important to note (may already have been) when doing overspeed form is very important. if an athlete is doing this modality and they are more or less being dragged and running heel-toe the whole distance then in my opinion this is useless and possibly detrimental to the goal of improved overall speed. To me it’s important to maintain good mechanics while being assisted if this method is to be effective


ya of course… heel->toe would be horrible…

with the pulley you can pull just enough to not affect the mechanics… so this is good :slight_smile:



Do you ever have your athletes do resisted sprints that are released after a few meters? I have seen videos on youtube of FB players doing that with light resistance, but I have never seen it done with a heavy weight.

I would be interested to know what the effect would be of doing a very heavily resisted sprint (eg over 200 lb) and then being released into an unresisted sprint after a few steps.


charlie francis did indeed like overspeed sprints via a tailwind


ya, the typical aparatus for that is a bullet belt… i don’t really use it too often unless someone sucks at learning how to lean and drive back…

i think initially, once released, your body would be so haywire that you might actually fall down… but if you manage to get yours wits about you it would be interesting…

ya, though he doesn’t like this pulley or band or any kind of towing variation thats for sure.