Sparta’s Hardest Exercise


We do not have a lot of fancy equipment at Sparta. When you walk through the door you will see a lot of open track and turf space as well as some platforms, racks, and weights. However, we do have a few unique pieces that make the Sparta experience one of a kind. In addition to the force plate and timing system that allow us to objectively measure everything that we do, we also use a machine called the Versapulley.

The Importance of Eccentric

The Versapulley is unique because it provides eccentric resistance to dynamic movements through the process of inertia. So, the more force you apply to the cable, the more force you must control on the eccentric portion of the movement. This type of resistance makes the movements that we do on the Versapulley very athletic in nature because athletes must control their body against a variable external load.

Our Versapulley movements fit into two different categories; power and work. Power exercises have a goal of maximal force production for lower rep ranges. We do sets of five trying to max out the IPU’s (Inertial Power Units). Work exercises have a goal of maintaining consistent force production (average power) for higher rep ranges. The result of the Versapulley resistance and the work loading scheme is the hardest exercises that we do at Sparta.

How to Versapulley Backpedal

The Backpedal is focused on the muscles of the “anterior chain” for athletes who need LOAD. The smooth alternation between eccentric and concentric work forces athletes to improve their ability to transfer forces efficiently. This exercise can be crushing for the individual who tries to muscle every rep instead of using the elasticity of their bodies. As an athlete’s Sparta signature becomes more balanced, their movements become more efficient and they are able to use less energy to complete each set.

Coaching Cues

  • Keep hips and shoulders square while building

  • Sink deep into the load before pushing backward with the quads and calves

  • Maintain good body position in and out of the backpedal

The big takeaway is the importance of incorporating different types of resistance in your training program. Training with a variety of tempos, loading schemes and types of resistance improves athletes’ efficiency and athleticism. We see this through the powerful impact that Versapulley movements have on athletes’ Sparta signatures.