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How Running Parachutes Work


Running Parachute Design
U.S. Marine Sgt. Angel Barcenas, who lost both his legs as a result of and IED blast in Iraq, runs with a parachute during a demonstration at Walter Reed Army Medical Center June 1, 2007 in Washington, DC.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Angel Barcenas, who lost both his legs as a result of and IED blast in Iraq, runs with a parachute during a demonstration at Walter Reed Army Medical Center June 1, 2007 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

The name running parachute bears a striking resemblance to the product. Running parachutes attach to a harness around your chest or wrap around your waist. In the same way that conventional parachutes create wind resistance when you jump out of a plane slowing your fall, running parachutes create a drag behind you while running.

The harness attaches with Velcro that easily detaches either at the end of a sprint or mid-stride. When runners detach the chute from their bodies they suddenly feel an explosive burst of energy, as if they're a bullet shot out of a gun. This explosive speed training is ideal for baseball, basketball, football and soccer players.

The chutes are available in a variety of sizes -- the larger the chute the more resistance it creates. Chute size depends on your training level and body build. For example, a small workout parachute creates around 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) of resistance and it fits an individual less than 170 pounds (77.1 kilograms.) It's best for beginner or intermediate runners. A medium-speed chute creates about 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of resistance and it fits an individual between 170 (77.1 kilograms.) and 210 pounds (95.2 kilograms.) It's best for intermediate and advanced runners. A large chute creates about 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) of resistance, and it fits an individual weighing more than 210 pounds (95.2 kilograms.) It's best for intermediate and advanced runners [source: Competitive Edge Products]. Runners can also attach more than one chute at a time for additional resistance.

The small and compact design of the speed chute means that you can fold it up and take it wherever you go. The parachutes weigh about 1 pound (0.4 kilograms) each. Simply add it to your gym bag and you can vary your training any day of the week.

At between $30 and $75, the chutes are rather inexpensive and financially viable for many athletes. The cost depends on the size and the brand of the chute that you choose.

Read on and learn what muscles you should train if you want to pick up speed.


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