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The latest news and views from AQ Strong

【Knowledge】Sand Training: Challenging Body Flexibility?

Updated: May 6

Published in Biji HK on 2024/04/19

Sand training has always been a topic of discussion. There are many training methods that utilize sand to improve athlete speed or explosive power. Apart from various sand sports like beach volleyball or soccer, can sand training really help athletes further enhance speed and explosive power? Is it more effective than weight training in the gym or speed training on the track? AQ Strong fitness coach Coach Stanly explains the differences between sand and hard surface training, emphasizing that with proper utilization, sand training can also improve running form, cadence, or stride length.

Image / Freepik

Assistance of Sand Training

Coach Stanly suggests that to effectively use sand, one must first understand the differences between sand and hard surfaces. When running on hard surfaces, the foot absorbs pressure from the ground's rebound to propel the body forward. In contrast, when running on sand, the surface changes due to varying pressure. The foot experiences uneven pressure, resulting in longer ground contact time compared to hard surfaces, which in turn reduces the impact or pressure load on tendons. Therefore, athletes can utilize the uneven characteristics of sand to improve running form and incorporate it as part of foot mobility training without risking excessive pressure on tendons.

For sprinters, sand training is a supplementary method to train the nervous system and body coordination. Stanly explains, "Due to the longer ground contact time compared to hard surfaces, athletes can improve running form, cadence, or stride length through proper sand training, avoiding common issues like heel striking or overstriding, providing another method for athletes to improve sprinting or long-distance running techniques."

Image / Freepik

Similarly, for athletes on the field, the uneven and unstable surface of sand helps reduce the impact force during directional training on hard surfaces, thereby reducing the risk of joint or muscle injuries.

Points to Note

Due to the uneven characteristics of sand, although the load on foot tendons may be lower, research indicates an increase in muscle load in other areas during sand training. Moreover, due to the limited ability of the body to absorb sufficient rebound force to continue propelling forward compared to hard surfaces, sand training is not a method to improve elasticity. However, sand running training is considered one of the gradual methods to improve running technique by alleviating body pain.

Full article 

Stanly is a track and field coach who has been coaching children, high school athletes, and elite athletes for many years. He enjoys learning and interacting with athletes to bring fun and educationally meaningful course experiences to students. He is also a track and field athlete, mainly participating in the triple jump event.

Master of Science in Sports Science and Physical Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Level 1 Track and Field Coach, Hong Kong Athletics Association EXOS Performance Specialist Certified Coach Retired triple jump athlete, Hong Kong


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