Last spring, Seattle Seahawks catcher DK Metcalf, 23, decided to test his speed against world-class sprinters in an international track and field competition. But while he’s one of football’s best deep threats, his 100-meter results weren’t impressive: he finished ninth in his streak (10.37 seconds). Playing speed doesn’t translate into a sprint competition, says Metcalf coach Nic Hill. Metcalf does not focus on straight line speed in their daily work. Receivers need to operate quickly and change direction quickly as well. He therefore trains for speed but must also refine his ability to slow down. “It has to be not only fast, but also able to stop in the blink of an eye, change direction and re-accelerate at a high speed,” says Hill.
Master these exercises and you will do both too.
ACCELERATE YOUR BODY!
1. Deadlift trap bar
Stand inside a loaded trap bar. Squeeze your abs, push your butt back, lower your torso, and grab the bar handles. Stand explosively, squeezing your glutes. Do 3 sets of 3 repetitions. Don’t focus on heavy lifting, says Hill. Instead, work to lift the weight quickly every time.
2. Fast jumps
Metcalf trains his ability to land and then explode quickly with hedge jumps, spacing four 36-inch-high hurdles about 2 feet apart. He’ll jump over each one, land, then clear the next obstacle as quickly as possible. No obstacles? Use the 4 obstacles you have. Do 3 sets.
. . . AND THEN SLOW IT DOWN!
1. Fractional fall
Start standing with your feet together. Jump a few inches off the ground. Land with your left foot forward and your right foot back, quickly lowering yourself into a reverse lunge. Stop your back knee before it hits the ground. Pause, then press to return to standing. Do 3 sets of 5 reps per side.
2. The sleight of hand
Mark a distance of 5 meters and a distance of 10 meters. Sprint 5 meters as hard as you can, then slow down quickly. (It may take you a few steps when you do this for the first time.) Go back to the start, then sprint for 10 meters. Slow down quickly again. Go back to the beginning. Do 4 sets.
This story appears in the September 2021 edition of Men’s health.
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