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The Run Rocket showed up on my doorstep in a big cardboard, non-descript box. There were no holes and few scratches.
There are many ways to add resistance to sprinting and agility movements: sleds, parachutes, weighted vests, bands, etc. All of these manage to do their intended purpose in adding resistance, but end up being clunky, inconsistent, hard to use, or even dangerous in the end.
Enter the Run Rocket.
The Run Rocket is a tool that allows for smooth, consistent resistance and natural movement during speed and agility training better than anything else I’ve used. I’m not the only one who believes this either; the Run Rocket is being used by professional athletes in nearly any sport from football to hockey and even Crossfit. It is utilized by many of the best trainers in the world and for good reason.
The Run Rocket is not only built for performance, but it is also built to last. The frame is built entirely of steel and is covered in a weather-resistant powder coating to allow for outdoor use. The coating can come in either black or silver. The overall dimensions are 37” long, 28” wide, 40” tall, and 165 lbs. They have a lifetime warranty on the frame, so you can have peace of mind about it holding up.
Most of the moving parts are made of a durable plastic. This includes the outside of the bearings, wheels, and the strap guide wheel. It then has a 40 yard long, ¾ inch wide strap which offers plenty of room for sprints. These parts and the monitor have a 2-year warranty.
The nylon belt that comes with it is also extremely durable. It is 3 inches wide and about ¼ inch thick. It then has a thinner strap around it that looks much like a seatbelt and actually clamps with a seatbelt buckle. It has 4 different rings for the strap to be attached to allow for movement in any direction. Unfortunately, the belt was too big for a few of our smaller athletes, so another belt had to be used for them. Otherwise, it works very well.
While the durability of the Run Rocket is great, that isn’t what sets it apart. The fantastic performance comes from a combination of a flywheel, bearings, and friction resistance to give smooth, consistent resistance.
The flywheel is similar to that of a spin bike. It is quite large, weighing in at 44 pounds. This flywheel is going to allow for constant resistance so the strap won’t bunch up from the momentum of a strong pull.
Friction resistance is added to the flywheel via a brake pad on either side that can be tightened with a screw-in knob. The resistance level is displayed on a monitor as a number from 0 to 30. Though the resistance can be as high as you want, the monitor will not go above 30 and the company says that going over that may cause damage to the machine. This is one area that I think could be improved because higher resistance would allow for more versatility. For sprint speed work it is high enough for most people, but higher resistance could be used for strength and heavy load training.
The strap is run through two bearings with plastic around them that keep the strap from twisting or moving excessively while still allowing smooth pulling. These keep the strap from ever getting tangled up.
There are also two pulley's available. One at the base, and one higher up that are said to be good for agility belts and taller athletes. We found both easy and good to use.
One feature that I find especially useful is the way the strap retracts. It retracts on its own but is not related to the resistance of the pull. No matter how high the resistance gets, the strap will always retract at the same tension and pace. It retracts quickly enough to allow for an athlete to back up and start sprinting again without any slack, but not hard enough to put them in danger. This is a huge benefit over the bungee or band systems that are often used for sprints because they can often pull back so hard that they make the athlete off-balance and can even pull them over. It also prevents the slack and jerkiness that comes with pulling a sled.
Resistance sprinting is used to develop maximal running speed, power, and acceleration. By increasing the force needed to move, it increases lower body explosiveness which in turn improves both speed and agility. This is vital for nearly any athletic endeavor and I believe the Run Rocket achieves this stimulus better and more smoothly than any other piece of equipment.
Since we put the Run Rocket in our gym, we have used it for nearly every workout we do with our athletes. Lower body power is vital in nearly any sport so it is useful for any athlete. We use it for the obvious resisted sprinting, but that is just the beginning of its usefulness. We also use it for lateral explosiveness, change in direction, and even jumping. We still use the Torque Fitness Tank for the heavy pushing, but besides that, the Run Rocket has taken over all other resistance movements.
The Run Rocket isn’t just for athletes. It allows for resistance during functional movement for people of any fitness level. Doing resisted walks, whether it be forward, sideways, or backward, are very low-impact but useful exercises for older individuals and those recovering from injuries. Doing sprint work for healthy individuals is also very helpful in power development and fat loss. Anyone can use the versatility fo the Run Rocket to their benefit.
There are tons of ways to create resistance while running, but there are really no direct competitors with the Run Rocket. No other method is even close in my opinion. Pushing a sled means you can’t use your arms, which is a huge part of a sprint. Pulling a sled is jerky and inconsistent. Parachutes are for sprinting only. Bands and bungees have short ranges, pull back much too hard, and often require another person to hold. Weighted vests are uncomfortable and change body dynamics too much. Only the Run Rocket can solve these problems and allow for truly natural movement while being under enough resistance to stimulate improvement.
The one big problem with the Run Rocket is the price. The other options, while far inferior, are much cheaper. At 2 grand, the Run Rocket is not reasonable for most people simply because weighted sprinting and agility is not a priority. I would like to see the price come down some so that it can reach more hands, but at the same time, I understand the price. You get what you pay for.
With that said, if sports performance, power output, or straight-line speed are a priority, this thing is a must-have. The performance advantage it offers in these areas is well worth the price. Our athletes love using it and many of them have seen significant improvements in speed and acceleration because of it. If you’ve been looking for a way to take you or your athletes to the next level in their training, the Run Rocket could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Although we're big fans of the run rocket, there are a few things we'd like to see improved.
The first improvement would be to add the ability for the pulleys to swivel. Currently, both the top and bottom pulleys are fixed straight on, if they were on a swivel you could do more side to side work without worry of it getting pinched.
Lastly is the monitor. We think they're underutilizing the abilities of the monitor. We'd like to see things like speed, time, and other metrics than just the tension.
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