Originally Posted by Greg Everett
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?
Thanks for letting me update what we've done since my article was posted on dragondoor.com
Pavels PTP book led to the article.
In fact, he strongly suggested I write the article as a test of the viability of writing a book. I had asked him if he would co-author and he said no. The reason for the negative was because he did not feel he had sufficient knowledge in strength training for sprinting. He was, however, intrigued by the concept of mass-specific force as the determinant of speed.
His advice was to write the article and see how much feedback I received before writing a book.
It worked-I wrote a book- people in 85 countries have purchased it.
Dr. Peter Weyand and his associates have provided a significant body of work regarding high speed running. One particular paper puplished in 2000, "Faster top running speed are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movement," caught my attention while I was training Felix.
The paper revealed several interesting concepts, but the most noteworthy was the dominance of mass-specific support
force as the major factor in running.
"Support force" is the force applied to the running surface to oppose gravity. It is not "push-off" force. In fact, there is no force applied to the running surface by the runner after the first half of the stance phase. While most coaches are bothered by this fact, no locomotion researcher would claim otherwise.
The amount of support force applied by elite sprinters can exceed 4x bodyweight.
In your reponse to my article you asked for thoughts about why we did not suggest more "power" lifts. Prior to publishing my book, I removed all power lifts. In fact, we now do only DL's and bench ( or just push-ups for pure sprinters). No other exercises at all.
Ok, before you give me the stink-eye, hear me out!
An elite male sprinter at, 150 lbs bodyweight, will apply 600 lbs of support force prior to the end of the first half of the stance phase. That's on one leg and in approximately 0.05 seconds. What power exercise would come remotely close to that? The SAID princple ain't going to work here!
The majority of the 600lbs of force is delivered isometrically, which is the only way that much force could be delivered that fast but this doesn't mean that doing only iso work would be of benefit (most likely it would not).
Other posters to this thread mentioned the high initial speed of power and Oly lifters. While this is true, it is only true for the early acceleration phase where muscle mechanical work is done. After that they fade out because they do not have sufficient m-sf. They are to heavy! The result of the added mass causes them to have longer ground contact time to offset ground reaction force effectively. The nature of their sport relys on longer ground contact times.
So what kind of a workout would help those who need to run faster in their sport? That would depend on each individual athlete's rate of speed decrement.
What causes speed decrement? The over-abundance
of the anaerobic fuel supply. This also nullifies the need for explosive lifts.
Keep in mind that everything I've mentioned is from research. Most of the info floating around the net has no research basis at all. It's based primarily on kinematics, which, by definition, ignores the effects of gravity.
I'll leave it at that for the moment because this is the point where people start throwing rocks or other stuff at me.
Thanks again Greg!