Resistance sprint machine

We have build a simple resistance machine for sprinting that operates with a spring that is pressing on a clutch attached to a flywheel . That means that you can set the resistance to be 10kp at the start and the resistance will then follow a linear reduction to 0kp at 60m. Other combinations or resistance and duration would also be possible. Since the line is running of the flywheel 50cm above the ground there’s no problems to do starts with resistance out of blocks.

My question to the forum is; has anyone seen anything similar and what do you like the concept?

All the best
Håkan Andersson

This sounds very interesting. Could you post a picture of that machine?

Thank you.


This was developed here more than 20 years ago by John Mumford (the boyfriend/coach of Angela Bailey (10.98 100m) called the Excellerator. I had several of them and we put one in Guadeloupe for training camps (they’re heavy) and I know LSU had/has at least one of them. A great device- the best one yet for exact resistance though extremely difficult to transport (unlike the Isorobic device). John went on to found a company called Exceltech, which makes Electronic therapy equipment for clinical setting and is doing big business!

A funny story i heard during the Piasenta seminar (i posted a report somewhere in th board) : he said that during a training camp in Guadeloupe he saw Ben Johnson using a strange machine (the one described here), which he forgot once on the track. Piasenta took pictures of it and built himself a copy of the machine (he’s a good mecanician), he made great use of it with Pérec, Arron, etc…

Yup, that was our machine, which should still be there to this day. There’s one in Toronto but it needs to be refurbished- and John doesn’t bother with such trivial matters these days!

I had the feeling that someone must have come up with the idea before, it’s not rocket science:-) I like the idea of applying more resistance when you are able to produce the most amount of horizontal force though, it just feels right. We are playing around with different combinations of resistance and duration of the applyed resistance, any thoughts?

This machine weighs about 5kg and isn’t bulky at all. I will try to take some photos or possibly a video clip next time we are using it.

All the best
Håkan Andersson
Sundsvall, Sweden

There are a number of threads on this in the archives. The machine we used was heavy to keep it from flexing and changing the resistance in any way. It also was anchored in place. The idea behind our work with it was to keep the resistance to provide no more than a 10% reduction in performance out to 30m, otherwise technique is affected.

Thanks for using your time replying, it’s much appreciated. Generally I agree with the 10%, as a rule of thumb. I should add that we are experimenting with two different machines at the moment. Machine 1 that I have described on this forum will slow you down 10% (approximately 0,4-0,5 at 30m) if you adjust the resistance to 10kp at the start and 5kp at 30m. Machine 2 (unfortunately a lot bulkier) that we have been using for years, has an adjustable brake but no reduction of resistance the longer you run. Machine 2 will increase your 30m time with 10% applying 6-7kp of permanent resistance. In my opinion two different stimuli’s even though the times at 30m are virtually the same.

All the best
Håkan Andersson
Sundsvall, Sweden

Though I’ve been familiar with the 10% rule for quite some time, I do have a few questions about it:

  1. What are it’s origins?

  2. What adjustments, if any, might be made to the 10% when dealing with a 10.00 athlete versus a 11.90 athlete?

1: That’s what I found worked best.
2: good point. I would imagine that you would find a bit more decrement acceptable with a beginner- but I wouldn’t push it too far. you might also adjust downwards from 30m t 20 m to reflect a lesser main accel distance.

I guess I’ve always wondered if 10% might be a bit too general.

Do you think periodizing the % would make any sense? Perhaps use 5-10% early on and then switch to 0-5% to reflect getting closer to the competitive model as we move through our annual plan?

Or perhaps keeping the resistance the same and “periodising” resisted and un-resisted runs; in the Forum Review, I think, Charlie gives examples of this strategy…

Agree. It would be very hard to regulate resistance levels below 10%, so the progression of the ratio of unrisisted to resisted is the best way.