Answer my Question - "Do Speed ladders work?"

Answer my question is a weekly blog post where I attempt to answer questions presented by OC members in goal setting sessions or emailed to me. Have a question? Send me an email: Sean@oregoncrossfit.com - subject line “Answer my Question”

The question for today is “Do Speed Ladders work?

Answer: It depends on what your definition of work is. If your definition of work is to make someone tired, or have them attempt to move their feet fast, then yes, speed ladders work. If a person is utilizing the speed ladder in attempts to improve foot speed, or quickness, or 40 yard dash times or anything similar - then I would say it doesn’t increase a person’s already existing level of foot speed, quickness, etc. Your time is actually better spent elsewhere.

Here are a few links to check out that explain why it doesn’t work:

https://deansomerset.com/speed-ladder-fallacy/

https://ericcressey.com/truth-about-quick-feet-agi...

If a person wants to get faster then we should focus our time on getting them stronger - https://oregoncrossfit.com/blog/how-to-develop-spe... - The time spent in a strength and conditioning facility is short - so as coaches we should maximize that time by working on the most improtant things first.

For children - there are two categories - “Pre-puberty” speed is mostly influenced by step frequency. “Post Puberty” speed is mainly a byproduct of the amount of force put into the ground. The stride frequencies of non-elite and elite sprinters are nearly identical but elite level sprinters are much more powerful into the ground than non-elite level sprinters.

In my opinion - the speed ladder is mostly a gimmick if it is being sold and promoted by coaches as a way to get kids “faster”. It looks good to parents and the videos on Instagram look “impressive” but in reality - it is wasting the kids time and the parent’s money.

With all that being said we do have one speed ladder in the gym - and we have used it about once every 6 months or so for adult classes - as it is a great warm up tool and brings variance to our warm-ups. In the high school and college aged groups we train, I don’t ever remember using it.

If you have follow up questions - or would like me to dive deeper - let me know. Sean@oregoncrossfit.com - Subject Line “Answer my Question”


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