Increase running speed…by doing chin ups and pull ups? How can an upper body drill benefit sprinting?
In many ways, actually.
Chin Ups Make you Faster
Football is a lower body sport, so some might question why you would do any upper body training at all. I mean how can chin ups and pull ups make you faster?
In the picture below, Hannes Halldorsson, Icelandic National Goal Keeper, performs neutral fat grip chin ups.
But first, a short story from our gym at KR. You know it’s my job to make athletes stronger…but not TOO strong!
Skari is a powerful guy, who has trained with me for many years. Then, some 3-4 years ago, he did a close grip chin up with 50kg around his waist. Body weight plus 50kg, that’s pretty strong!!
I said: “Whoa Skari, take it easy man! I mean, plus 50, that’s what I do! So now what? Now I gotta do 55, 60! I mean give me a break, I’m not 20 any more, you know?!”
I was only joking, semi at least…
So but how can this exercise help your football game?
Well, sprinting and jumping, as well as kicking, is really a whole-body-thing.
Sure, it’s mainly in the legs, but the upper body has to kind of balance out the lower.
If your upper body is too weak in relation to the legs, you simply cannot display your full power: the body won’t allow it.
Or, technically speaking, “The right upper body has to be able to counter the torque of the left leg, and vice versa.”
Because of this, we do lots of upper body workouts at KR as well as lower body, and we focus on chin ups and pull ups especially: nearly every phase includes some form of this exercise.
To the lament of the players: when you hear a lot of bitching and complaining about how hard the training is, you know you’re on the right track!
Or like I said to Pétur Péturs and Rúni Kristinns: “If you wouldn’t hear that bitching and moaning, something would be wrong with the program!”
How about pull downs, on the machine? Isn’t that the same? Not quite. Generally, chins and pull ups are for athletes, while the machine is for the fitness gym.
It’s really like that: the most effective exercises usually are the hardest to do. There’s quite a big difference between real chin ups and a lat pulldown machine, and the benefits of the real thing are great, so it’s worth the effort!
You can try and do some 5-7 sets of Pull Ups at the start of your off season upper body workout, and see if this doesn’t benefit your sprinting, jumping and kicking, as well as stability on the ball come in season!
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