The Optimal Downhill Slope for Acute Overspeed Running

William P. Ebben
2008 International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance  
This study evaluated a variety of downhill slopes in an effort to determine the optimal slope for overspeed running. Methods: Thirteen NCAA Division III college athletes who participated in soccer, track, and football ran 40-yd (36.6m) sprints, on downhill slopes of 2.1°, 3.3°, 4.7°, 5.8°, and 6.9° in random order. All sprints were timed using the Brower Timing System Speedtrap II. Data were analyzed with SSPS 15.0. A 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed significant main
more » ... for the test slopes (P = .000). Bonferroni-adjusted pairwise comparisons determined that there were a number of differences between the hill slopes. Results: Analysis reveals that 40-yd sprints performed on hill slopes of approximately 5.8° were optimal compared with flatland running and the other slopes assessed (P < .05). Sprinting on a 5.8° slope increased the subjects' maximal speed by an average of 0.35 s, resulting in a 6.5% ± 4.0% decrease in 40-yd sprint time compared with flatland running. Compared with the 4.7° slope, the 5.8° slope yielded a 0.10-s faster 40-yd sprint time, resulting in a 1.9% increase in speed. Conclusions: Those who train athletes for speed should use or develop overspeed hills with slopes of approximately 5.8° to maximize acute sprinting speed. The results of this study bring into question previous recommendations to use hills of 3° downhill slope for this form of overspeed training.
doi:10.1123/ijspp.3.1.88 fatcat:d7kldkskeraqndgzwixj4h2pcy