Why flywheel training is popular in team sports
Many team athletes such as soccer-, basketball-, hockey-, rugby-, handball- and volleyball players switch to flywheel training.
Team sports are often decided by fast explosive movements. Think of a jump, acceleration, sprint or rapid change of direction. For example, a sprint towards the goal can make all the difference in soccer, like a jump to block the opponent’s ball can in basketball or volleyball. These movements can make the difference in team sport.
Power – a combination of strength and speed – is crucial in these kind of movements. If you want to improve your power, you need to train your strength and speed. When training strength, it appears that it is important to not only train the concentric movement, where you lift a weight. The eccentric movement, in which you lower or deaccelerate a weight, proves to be even more important. During an eccentric movement you deliver strength, while your muscle lengthens.
With eccentric training it is important that you are challenged when lowering or slowing down a weight. Due to gravity this is often not the case: gravity helps you to bring the weight back to the ground. With flywheel training you experience a challenge to slow the flywheel down when it is spinning. [read here what flywheel training is]
That is why sports science shows [link to study] that flywheel training is perfect to improve your jump, sprint and change of (running) direction. Three important aspects during team sport.
It improves your jump and sprint because flywheel training improves muscle strength concentrically and eccentrically. Because in flywheel training, you overcome the resistance as quickly as possible during the exercises, you also train the second component of power: speed. Scientific research shows that experienced team athletes improve their jump by 10% within a few months if they train with flywheel training.
Flywheel training improves your change of direction because you constantly change direction during flywheel training. One moment you pull the flywheel (concentric), shortly afterwards you change the direction and slow the flywheel down (eccentric). Because of this constant change, your tendons and muscles get used to changes in direction. A fast action on the field where you have to slow down and accelerate again is therefore nothing new for you!
Finally, but not unimportant: flywheel training reduces the risk of injuries. Although this topic is not the sexiest, any team athlete will agree that an injury is the number 1 cause of a relapse in fitness. Fewer injuries mean better performance in the long term. Scientific research among soccer players showed that flywheel training reduced the number of injury days by almost 70%. Less frustration, better performance!