A bungee speed training workout is a form of resistance training that runners use to gain performance improvement. Obviously, in running, speed is a good thing. You can define speed as the ability to quickly move a limb, or quickly move the body from one point to another [source: Faccioni].
We'll talk about why resistance speed training works in the next section. But first, we'll explain how a bungee speed training regimen works.
A typical bungee training kit comes with a braided rubber bungee (the braids keep the cord more durable), a belt or harness and a handle. The bungee is usually around 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Usually a coach or partner will hold onto one end of the bungee. If you're training solo, some gyms or training facilities will have an apparatus where you can attach one end of the bungee securely to a wall.
The runner will attach the belt around his or her waist and stand in front of his or her partner. As the runner takes off in a short sprint, the partner runs behind him or her, providing resistance by pulling on the bungee cord. The bungee shouldn't be pulled so tight as to negatively impact the runner's form, however. A bungee can provide up to 200 pounds (91 kilograms) of resistance, and the partner can control the amount of resistance by pulling the bungee tighter or letting it go more slack. Pro football player Darren Sharper recommends using about 20 percent resistance when running sprints with a bungee cord. "You don't want to feel like you're pulling a truck," he says. Sharper uses bungee training to improve his speed and agility on the field, skills which can also benefit competitive runners. He also stresses that athletes should rest in between sets of bungee resistance training to let the muscles recover. A typical bungee resistance training workout might look a little like this:
The runner performs two sets of sprints -- one with the bungee cord and one without. He or she should rest about two minutes in between sets. The sprint distance is 20 yards (18.2 meters). The runner attaches the cord to his or her waist, and the partner holds the bungee from behind with the appropriate resistance. The runner sprints at full force, leaning forward slightly. The partner follows, maintaining cord length and resistance for the duration of the sprint.
Running partners can even purchase a dual resistance harness -- a bungee with a belt at both ends. With this, the partners can take turns sprinting and providing resistance to each other. It's a great way to do interval training, which involves bursts of high-intensity activity followed by a short rest.
So now we know how runners practice bungee speed resistance training. Let's find out why they do it. How does it help improve performance?