Fast Eccentric Deceleration training for athletes


By Greg Almond

A few weeks ago I gave a ACL injury prevention workshop to a group of 15 year old female soccer players and their parents. Did you know that a female is 6 x more likely to tear their ACL then a male of the same age and activity level (1)? Did you know that more then 70% of these injuries are non contact (2)? Did you know that ACL injuries are associated with various consequences, including chronic knee problems, knee instability, meniscus tears, cartilage injuries, and development of osteoarthritis, all of which can be debilitating (3)? Did you know that out of an average team of twenty girls, over 4 years, 1 will tear her ACL each year (4)? What if we could provide our girls a solution that would not only decrease the chances of having a devastating knee injury but also make them faster and more explosive at the same time?

There is a solution. It is called Fast Eccentric Deceleration Training (FEDT).

But first we should ask, why do girls tear their ACL at a higher rate then boys? Joint laxity is one reason (5). This is due to hormonal differences between boys and girls. This hormonal difference (think estrogen) allows girls to have a higher degree of flexibility on average. While increased flexibility can be advantageous in certain circumstances we must understand that there is a trade off between flexibility and stability (5). Girls also have wider hips which creates forces around the knee that are higher then that of boys (5). Lastly girls have a tendency to run more upright then boys which means when changing direction they must flex the knees to a deeper angle. Often for younger girls this is difficult as they naturally lack the strength of their male counterparts (4). While there is nothing we can do about the hip width, hormonal differences, and joint laxity of female athletes we can improve our athletes strength levels. Strength training with emphasis around the hip, torso and knee will lead to greater stability when decelerating and changing directions. However, it is not enough to simply train for strength. Once athletes have developed a certain amount of strength around those key areas they need to learn totrain at the speed of their sport. The vast majority of ACL injuries occur during deceleration and the injury occurs in under 60 ms (6). This means that slow strength training is not the full answer to our problem. Enter Eccentric training.

Eccentric training has been around for decades. Popularized in the West due to translated Soviet era text (7). An eccentric contraction is the motion of an active muscle while it is lengthening under load. Eccentric emphasized training can be thought of as the deceleration portion of running. We must decelerate before changing directions. It is at this critical time frame (60 ms) that most ACL injuries occur (5). Considering that the majority of ACL injuries occur while decelerating from running it makes sense to load the athletes utilizing horizontal forces. We have found that banded resistance is the ideal method for loading. Enter Fast Eccentric Deceleration Training FEDT. Note. If you or your athlete does not have the prerequisite strength and coordination to perform this exercise do not do it!

Typically workouts for FEDT with the bands are 4-6x6-8 (sets x reps) and are done while the athletes are in a fresh state. Email me if you have any questions!


  1. Prodromos, (2008). The Anterior Cruciate Ligament: Reconstruction and Basic Science
  2. US National Library of Medicine.
  3. US National Library of Medicine.
  4. New York Times.
  5. Jordan, (2014). Identifying risk factors and programming for injury prevention
  6. Bere et al. The American journal of sports medicine 41.5 (2013): 1067-1073.
  7. Wikipedia.
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