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-   -   Strength Training for Sprinting (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=106)

Greg Everett 10-20-2006 04:27 PM

Strength Training for Sprinting
Article on strength training for improved sprinting performance:


I like the general thrust of the article, but I do find it curious that it focuses on strength development rather than power development. Pavel's Power to The People approach uses intentionally slow strength movements--definitely a great approach for strength development, but arguably problematic for power athletes such as sprinters. The idea is that the stronger the athlete, the faster the stride rate will be because the shorter the ground contact time is--but this is really a product of power, not strength. These athletes clearly saw power increases from their added strength training, but it seems to me those results could have been even further improved by focusing on power work directly, e.g. power cleans, power snatchs, push press/jerk, jumping squats, etc. Thoughts?

Russell Greene 10-21-2006 02:39 PM

I sometimes wonder about the wisdom or necessity of olympic lifts for sprinters. Sprinting itself is so fast and powerful, and hard on the joints in excess, that olympic lifts seem almost superfluous. It seems that the one quality they need the weight room the most to develop is strength. This is not to say that olympic lifts won't improve someone's sprinting, just that for someone already handling a full load of sprinting training, perhaps slow strength training is more appropriate.

Robb Wolf 10-22-2006 02:04 PM

I have not found much information on this. I guess hanging out on the Charlie Francis forum or Parissi Speed forum would be educational. The links below are interesting and (if accurate) offer some insight into this issue.

This is an intriguing topic and it seems to hover around the point that people need to be stronger to move faster...but moving things faster (Olifts, Plyo's) offer great benefit.

As to the additional joint loading...not sure about that. The power variants of the OL's seem a good option here. Interesting stuff and on a personal level I really like the training involved with being a sprinter. I enjoy that speed, power and feeling of acceleration.


Steve Shafley 10-29-2006 07:42 PM

Ben Johnson did squats, benches, pulldowns, maybe deadlifts.

I don't even think he did plyometrics, but I'd have to go back and read "Speed Trap" and "The Charlie Francis Training System" again to see for sure.

Both are very interesting reads.

Ben would also hide when it came to do distance work. Apparently he was either lazy, or intuitively knew it was going to hurt his event in the long run.

Coach Rutherford 10-30-2006 09:19 AM

I hate to say it but the majority of the FASTEST guys I have been around in high school and college campuses did not have great work ethics. They have great gifts but did not demonstrate the best numbers on the platform or the power rack.

The next tier of kid usually had the best combination of explosive power, nice squat numbers (1.5-2.5 x bw squat) respectable power cleans..... I believe there is a point of diminishing returns in terms of what a weight room will give you on the track or field. The starting 22 at the University of Nebraska back in the 90's were not the strongest guys in the weight room BUT they did have nice strength and wonderful v.j., 20 yard dash and 5-10-5 composite scores.

I think it's a blend of DNA, good relative strength, and technique coaching.

Scott Kustes 10-30-2006 12:33 PM

If you're talking elite sprinter such as Ben Johnson, adding 50lbs to his squat or deadlift may not make as much of a difference as adding 50lbs to that of a high school sprinter. Strength is an obvious benefit, but power if of foremost importance (after good sprint mechanics of course). In the less experienced sprinter, plyometrics are probably necessary (more so than in the elite) to condition the tendons for the stress that sprinting puts on the body.

Lots of good information on the Charlie Francis board. Charlie's "Train for Speed" is an excellent (albeit long and sometimes boring) read. I'm planning to run in the 100, 200, and possibly 400m in next July's Bluegrass State Games and am using some of Charlie's stuff to setup my SPP training. Hopefully I can bring home the gold (I think there are only about 4 entries in the 25-29 division).

Robb Wolf 10-30-2006 01:09 PM

I think Johnson was up around a set of 5 @600lbs. That is pretty damn strong.

Steve- Thanks for the reminder on Speed Trap. I need to read that.

Scott-What type of set-up are the Blue-grass games? Is this just an open track meet? I don't know anything about T&F...I need something to compliment the Olifts to shoot for.

Scott Kustes 10-30-2006 02:47 PM

I'm not real sure of the setup as this will be my first games. BGSG features alot of different events, not just T&F (Complete list), such as basketball, flag football, martial arts, sailing, etc. Unfortunately, Bluegrass Games are only for Kentucky residents (they don't want you folks that wear shoes coming down here and winning), but a quick google search turned up the Cal State Games (http://www.calstategames.org/).

Last year's results were 11.4 100m, 55.5 400m, and 22.93 200m.

Robb Wolf 10-31-2006 12:30 PM

Right on Scott! Thanks!

Jason C. Brown 11-15-2006 06:57 AM

I have Parisi's "Srength Training for Speed" DVDs and they're very strength oriented but the do have a fair share of power drills like power step-ups and cool lunge varitaions.

I'll watch it again this week and give a more detailed breakdown of their theory.

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