The 6 Best Speed Chutes
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. What are you thinking? Isn't running hard enough on its own? Fair enough. If you really want to kick your training up a notch, try one of these speed chutes. We've included models that offer a modest resistance for beginners through to a whopping 40 pounds for serious athletes in training. There is something here to fit every need and skill level. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best speed chute on Amazon.
Benefits Of A Speed Chute
That allows your muscles to build up gradually, and reduces the risk that you'll overload them at any time.
If you've been around an athletic training facility in recent years, you may have seen people running around with open parachutes trailing behind them.
No, these are (probably) not failed skydivers — they're simply training with speed chutes.
Speed chutes are parachutes that you strap to your body before you start your sprint training. When you run, the chute fills up with air, creating drag. This challenges your muscles to work harder.
Training with a chute specifically builds fast-twitch muscle fibers, which is why you're more likely to see sprinters using them than marathon runners. This makes them a smart choice for other sports where quick bursts of speed are beneficial, like football, basketball, and soccer.
Not only that, but they build those fibers using sport-specific motions. That's a fancy way of saying that you're building the muscles that you'll actually use in the sport you play, rather than trying to mimic proper motion on a machine in the gym. This makes it more likely to be beneficial to your performance, rather than just helping you to look good in your underwear.
Chutes add progressive resistance, as well. The faster you run, the more drag you'll create, so the system inherently tailors the difficulty to your performance level. That allows your muscles to build up gradually, and reduces the risk that you'll overload them at any time.
Beyond that, it just feels good to exercise outside. You can get a lot of work done at the squat rack, but that gets old and repetitive awful quickly. Being outside will keep things fresh, and make you more likely to stick with your training.
A well-rounded workout involves more than just running with a speed chute, of course, but adding one to your routine can take your training to the next level, and you'll undoubtedly see the results when you get out on the field.
Even better, if you catch a nice draft, you might even get to fly above the stadium for a while.
Other Ways To Increase Your Speed
Some people think that speed is something you're born with, that you either have it or you don't. While that may be true at the extremes, there are certainly ways for you to take your zip to the next level.
The most important thing to remember is that the only way to run faster is by running faster. Got it? Good.
This trains your muscles to have explosive power, rather than incrementally powering through the motion.
What we mean is, if you want to increase your sprinting speed, running a marathon isn't going to help. Distance running largely targets a completely different set of muscle fibers, and requires different running skills. The only reason to add distance running to a speed-building regimen is if you also want to build endurance, or if you have a few extra pounds that you think are slowing you down.
Instead, work in short bursts, using HIIT principles. Quick eruptions of speed are essential in just about any sport, and working out in short bursts will train your body to be turbo-charged whenever you need it to be.
Focus on your technique, as well. Keep your upper body stretched out but not rigid, keep your feet under your hips, and land on the mid-points of your feet. Remember to breathe, and pump your arms at 90-degree angles.
Keep speed in mind while lifting weights, as well. Explode through the positive portion of the lift, while going slowly on the way down. This trains your muscles to have explosive power, rather than incrementally powering through the motion.
Don't forget that it's a whole lot easier to be fast if you're not carrying a lot of extra weight. Anyone can get faster, regardless of body composition, but if you want to be fast, you'll need to have a lean body with decent muscle mass.
While there's a good chance no one will ever mistake you for Usain Bolt, that doesn't mean that you can't significantly improve your 40-yard dash time. All it takes is proper form, a quality training regimen, and a good friend running the stopwatch.
How Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers Work
It seems like fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers are something the scientists just came up with. After all, didn't there used to just be the one kind of muscle? Lousy millennials and their new muscles.
It turns out that there are actually three types of muscle fiber: slow-twitch, fast-twitch type IIa, and fast-twitch type IIb.
Think of them like those bottles of whiskey you keep in your desk at work: something you only need in an emergency, but when you need them, you really need them.
Slow-twitch fibers are darker, because they have more myoglobin in them. Myoglobin is a protein that stores oxygen in cells, which is why slow-twitch fibers are better suited for endurance applications. However, they're not ideal for generating maximum force.
While there are two different types of fast-twitch fibers, they're basically identical except for their fuel source. These fibers come in a variety of sizes, with larger fibers being recruited by your body only when necessary — but these are the ones that can truly generate power.
The amount of force they generate depends on how many fibers are recruited. The more you work them — meaning, the more training you do — the larger they become, and they larger they are, the more might they can create.
However, while they can muster more power than slow-twitch fibers, the fast-twitch variety can't sustain that energy for long. As a result, your body only calls on them when absolutely necessary.
This is why working your fast-twitch fibers in short bursts is essential, and why trying to train them for extended periods of time is a fool's errand. Think of them like those bottles of whiskey you keep in your desk at work: something you only need in an emergency, but when you need them, you really need them.
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