vertical jump training

Overspeed Training

Written by Jack Woodrup for

Overspeed training is a great technique that can not only improve your sprinting speed, but also, your vertical jump. Here we will explain the key things you need to know about this clever training method.

What is Overspeed Training

Overspeed training is commonly viewed as the act of running downhill or using a sprint parachute to enable your body to moveat higher than normal speeds. Regular use of the two techniques mentioned will result in an athlete improving their cadence (leg and arm speed) faster than if they just trained unassisted.

How Does it Work

Using either the downhill method or a sprint parachute artifically teaches your brain to movefaster than it otherwise would. With regular application of this technique your body recruites extra muscle fibers and motor units to adapt even when running on a flat surface. The end result, fast feet and arms.

How Do I Use This Technique

As we mentioned earlier there are two common methods for achieving overspeed training. The first is down hill running. You don't want to steep a hill. A maximum of 30 degrees would be the upper limit with ideal being an approximately 15 degree incline.

Once you have found a suitable hill you do regular interval sprints. The effects of gravity as you go down hill allows you to moveyour legs and arms at faster speeds than possible on the flat. Your body soon grows accustomed to moving its limbs at this higher speed translating to faster running on flat surfaces.

The parachute method requires the use of a special sprinting parachute with a quick release device. With one of these devices you start running flat out. The parachute will create a small amount of drag resistance. Once you reach top speed you release the chute. As your body will have adapted to the resistance provided by the chute, removing it mid sprint has the effect of making you feel like you have been shot out of a cannon.

There are other variations of the parachute technique involving sleds, bands and other devices, but essentially the concept is the same - slight resistance until your body adapts, then when the resistance is removed, you run much faster than previously possible.

How Will it Help Your Vertical Jump

Muscular power as it relates to vertical jumping is the ability to apply your strength (force) very quickly (speed). Overspeed training with its ability to help you moveyour limbs faster helps teach your muscles to contract both faster and harder.

The most common method vertical jumpers use to improvethis athletic trait is plyometrics. The downside to plyometrics is that it can be very taxing on your joints. This type of training provides a similar result but with much less impact to your joints.

Ultimately this method is just one of several that helps to bridge the gap in your strength deficit (how strong you are versus how much force you can actually apply in a short time frame).


Overspeed training is a great way to train your CNS and muscles to improvetheir contractile times. From a vertical jump point of view it provides a similar speed related benefit to plyometrics, and what it lacks in specificity (it is running where as plyometrics is jumping), it makes up for in its lowered impact levels. It is a fun technique to occasionally add to your training for both its variety and its relatively less taxing impact to your body.

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