Athletic success is mainly determined by the ability of an athlete to produce powerful movements (Haff et al., 2001). Explosive movements and power are important on all competitive levels, but is especially evident in the National Football League (NFL). Players being drafted to professional football leagues have shown how important it is to be bigger, faster, and stronger. These players are not only selected based on their physical stature, but also on their physical abilities, and are tested on such during the NFL combine (DeBeliso, Kinesiol & Roberts , 2018).
How do most coaches train their athletes for power? Ask them and they will say “Olympic lifts”. Olympic style lifts, power cleans, hang cleans, push presses and so on are actually throwing motions. The athlete is explosively throwing the weighted bar, and usually their body weight, vertically. Below you’ll see why these lifts are effective, and also where they are limiting.
Catching vs Finishing Through:
The first limitation is the athlete must catch the weight. This places a cloud of reservation on the lifter to “hold back” from maximal effort. Competitive lifters train for years to develop the skill and confidence to perform these lifts at their full potential. That can take years to achieve. Do you as a coach have that kind of time? In addition, the catch is usually where the injuries are most likely to happen. If you can eliminate the catch, the likelihood of injury decreases.
The FlipSled doesn’t force the athlete to catch the weight. With the FlipSled the athlete explodes through the top of the move, finishing it completely. Benefiting from the equivalent movement, but eliminating the ceiling and high risk of injury. This is going to allow the athlete to become more powerful faster than his or her peers.
Segmented vs Fluent Motion:
The second limitation relates to fluid motion. An Olympic lift is taught in segments or phases. The athletes are taught to repeat one segment of the lift over and over and when proficient, then that segment is added to another segment. This trains the athlete to move in phases.
A ground to push position on the FlipSled, similar to a power clean with a bar, can be learned in a few minutes. This coordinated movement neurologically trains the athlete to work as a synchronous system. A coach in Nevada told us he witnessed, among other things, that after training with the FlipSled consistently in the pre-season, his high school athlete’s bodies seemed to work more as a “system” and not a “series of parts” on the field during that season.
Vertical vs Vertical and Horizontal:
Finally, what sport requires only vertical movements? Power-lifting and Olympic lifting are the only two that come to mind. Ironically, for most sports, these are used as training tools for performance on the field, court, or mat, each of which for success must focus primarily on horizontal force. You want your athletes to move down the field, not up and over the field.