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Old 01-21-2009, 11:55 PM   #21
Donald Lee
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Mr. Ross,

I have purchased your book and am nearly half way through reading it. Some of my misgivings on your method have been cleared up. I will finish the book before I comment further. Thank you for the good read.
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:52 AM   #22
Joe Birch
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Would be interested to see what actual sprint work was done along side the minimalistic strength work, I'm guessing if the sprint training is along the same lines then not hundreds of isolated technique drills but more focus on just sprinting?
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:26 PM   #23
Barry Ross
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Sprint work consists entirely of our algorithm-based runs. The runs range from a low of 10m (with a 20-25 m fly-in) to a maximum of ~60m (plus the fly-in) for 400m runners and down.
Each one is given a specific time for the distance chosen, based on parameters set by initial trial runs of 10m and 300m. We reduce the run time to 95% of the max suggested by the algorithm. Since the algorithm is >97% accurate in predicting times, we know that the runner will be running between ~92% to ~98% of top speed.
This is where the rate of force delivery is enhanced, as well as intramuscular coordination and the rapid storage and release of elastic energy (elastic recoil).
It is also where running "form" develops.

We do no "form" drills at all--ever.

If the runner completes 10 training runs, we stop for that day and re-test the trial runs (they should be faster). If the runner cannot make the goal time in the first 2 runs, we stop them. This could happen because of bad timing of the original trial runs, fatigue, illness, laziness, or they just don't have it that day.
Over the course of the season they will average about 5 runs per day, 2-3 days per week.

That's all they do for 400m and down. No intervals, no long runs, no threshold runs, no speed endurance work (which is ludicrous anyway ), no off season mileage.
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:48 AM   #24
Donald Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Ross View Post
Sprint work consists entirely of our algorithm-based runs. The runs range from a low of 10m (with a 20-25 m fly-in) to a maximum of ~60m (plus the fly-in) for 400m runners and down.
Each one is given a specific time for the distance chosen, based on parameters set by initial trial runs of 10m and 300m. We reduce the run time to 95% of the max suggested by the algorithm. Since the algorithm is >97% accurate in predicting times, we know that the runner will be running between ~92% to ~98% of top speed.
This is where the rate of force delivery is enhanced, as well as intramuscular coordination and the rapid storage and release of elastic energy (elastic recoil).
It is also where running "form" develops.

We do no "form" drills at all--ever.

If the runner completes 10 training runs, we stop for that day and re-test the trial runs (they should be faster). If the runner cannot make the goal time in the first 2 runs, we stop them. This could happen because of bad timing of the original trial runs, fatigue, illness, laziness, or they just don't have it that day.
Over the course of the season they will average about 5 runs per day, 2-3 days per week.

That's all they do for 400m and down. No intervals, no long runs, no threshold runs, no speed endurance work (which is ludicrous anyway ), no off season mileage.
That sounds incredibly short. Do they average about 5 runs/day because they cannot complete all 10 runs in the alloted goal time? Also, you keep the 400 m runners to a maximum of 60 m sprints? I'm guessing you allow for maximal recovery between sprints because you don't do intervals.

I have quite a few questions pertaining to your book.

1. You stated that the horizontal force forward and the braking force generally even out, and that what propells the runner forward is the vertical force against gravity. Obviously the vertical force is not the only force in play, or else the runner wouldn't go anywhere. How does angeled force play into this?

2. Also, POSE running attempts to use gravitational force to its advantage by leaning forward. It minimizes the use of the quads and high knees. Instead, it goes more for the butt kick motion and utilizes the hamstrings. According to your thoughts on running technique ala your book and blog, it would seem that POSE would be only beneficial for correcting overstriding. Michael Johnson seems to naturally run in this manner. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this if you are familiar with POSE running, because you put so much important on MSF and fighting against gravity.

3. I am also wondering about your disdain for training past 10 seconds in order to train mostly the ATP-PC energy system. Even in a 100 m race, there are significant glycolitic and aerobic components. And you claim that inability to sustain maximum speed is due to insufficient strength. You training, both in the gym and on the track, seems EXTREMELY strength biased. To put it in rudimentary terms, you seem to want to out-muscle through everything. While this might be optimal for a distance as short as 40 m, I don't see how it could be optimal for events that have significant components beyond the ATP-PC energy system.

4. Is there a point in which you feel that increasing the deadlift no longer increases the speed of the runner, while maintaing the same mass of course? I ask this because Olympic lifters, after building up sufficient strength, focus primarily on the lifts themselves. There comes a point when moving up the squat or the deadlift doesn't help them in the C&J and Snatch.

5. I don't understand what you were saying about supercompensation in the plyometrics section of your book. I understand that immediately following maximal contraction or isometric contraction, plyometrics can have a supercompensatory effect. But, it caught me by surprise that you stated that. You seem to focus on keeping exercises within 10 sec to avoid lactic acid buildup, yet you say to superset the deadlift with the plyometric exercise. Is the lactic acid buildup not a concern in this case?

These are a lot of questions, so I understand if you pick and choose which to answer. Thank you.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:46 AM   #25
Joe Birch
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Thankyou for the quick reply Mr Ross. Just out of interest do ever train any team sports athlete's? (soccer, hockey etc). I'd imagine if significant gains can be seen with such short track time (compared to other sprint programs) it would appeal massively to these kind of athlete's.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:35 AM   #26
Barry Ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
That sounds incredibly short. Do they average about 5 runs/day because they cannot complete all 10 runs in the alloted goal time? Also, you keep the 400 m runners to a maximum of 60 m sprints? I'm guessing you allow for maximal recovery between sprints because you don't do intervals.
The majority of the reason for averaging 5 is because they reach 10, but there are times they cannot make the first 2 runs within the goal time.
Recovery time between runs is 4 minutes.

Quote:
1. You stated that the horizontal force forward and the braking force generally even out, and that what propells the runner forward is the vertical force against gravity. Obviously the vertical force is not the only force in play, or else the runner wouldn't go anywhere. How does angeled force play into this?

Out of the blocks, step one's horizontal impulse is equal to 60% OF vertical impulse. By step 3, horizontal impulse is 32% OF vertical impulse. Horizontal impulse eventually drops to ~10% of vertical impulse.
From the above, as the runner increases speed, the force vector changes. There is also the factor of inertia that keeps the runner moving horizontally. The braking action at ground contact causes the center of mass to continue in a forward direction--because of inertia (this is why those who want to minimise braking force at landing are being silly--not a nice way to put it but that's what it is ).

From "Running Springs: Speed and animal size"Farley, et. al.
JEB 1993:

"Running, hopping, trotting and galloping animals bounce along the ground using
springs to store and return elastic energy (Cavagna et al. 1964, 1977; Heglund et al.1982b). These springs include muscles, tendons and ligaments which alternately stretch and recoil, storing and releasing elastic energy, while the feet are on the ground (Alexander, 1988).

Cavangna's study, I believe, was the first to recognize the fact that humans bounce along the ground. Bouncing as in a bouncing ball. The amount we bounce is based upon muscle stiffness and hip, knee and ankle joint angles at ground contact. Too much joint angle change creates longer ground contact time. Too little angle causes reduction of the "spring."Muscle stiffness dictates spring actions as well as the amount of elastic energy created.
Quote:

2. Also, POSE running attempts to use gravitational force to its advantage by leaning forward. It minimizes the use of the quads and high knees. Instead, it goes more for the butt kick motion and utilizes the hamstrings. According to your thoughts on running technique ala your book and blog, it would seem that POSE would be only beneficial for correcting overstriding. Michael Johnson seems to naturally run in this manner. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this if you are familiar with POSE running, because you put so much important on MSF and fighting against gravity.
Leaning forward is most often a function of existant weather condition and/or increase in drag force created by the runners speed. Without any wind at all, an elite runner at top speed will exceed 11m/s at top speed ~around 24 mph. If we simply walked into that headwind speed we would automatically lean forward into it to effectively "reduce" the drag by creating a smaller surface.
I'll bet no one told you to do that as a kid...you just did it!

High knees, are the result of the elastic energy stored during ground contact time. As the COM passes over the grounded foot, there is a powerful eccentric contraction along the posterior muscles and tendons. At toe off, the elastic recoil drives the leg up and in front of the runner, just like a stretched rubber band when one side is released. More recoil=higher knees.

The Pose method is guilty of the same thing that the majority of speed coaches do. They ignore research, they ignore gravity, and they ignore the fact that form follows function.
I know that's harsh but what the heck, you asked!

Quote:
3. I am also wondering about your disdain for training past 10 seconds in order to train mostly the ATP-PC energy system. Even in a 100 m race, there are significant glycolitic and aerobic components. And you claim that inability to sustain maximum speed is due to insufficient strength. You training, both in the gym and on the track, seems EXTREMELY strength biased. To put it in rudimentary terms, you seem to want to out-muscle through everything. While this might be optimal for a distance as short as 40 m, I don't see how it could be optimal for events that have significant components beyond the ATP-PC energy system.
I can see your point that there seems to be more work necessary than just looking at the strength component.
However, Weyand, et al's research paper on hypoxic (reduced oxygin intake) verses normoxic running states, "decreasing their rates of oxygen uptake during sprinting, we found they could run just as fast for sprints of up to 60 s and nearly as fast for sprints of up to 120 s."

Clearly, 60s sprints would cover up to 400m for a decent runner, yet with a reduction of nearly 35% they ran the same. They also ran nearly as fast for what would be equvalent to a mediocre high school female 800m runner.
What type of run training would be required if the oxygen-fueled muscles don't need more oxygen (let alone they were severly deprived)?

The same study mentioned above also provided the ground work for the algorithm we use. Several more research papers were published, culminating with "A metabolic basis for impaired muscle force production and neuromuscular compensation during sprint cycling" Matthew W. Bundle, et al

Their conclusion:
"We conclude that impaired muscular force production and compensatory neuromuscular activity during sprint locomotion are triggered by a reliance on anaerobic metabolism for force production."

What this means is that there is a significant anaerobic fuel reserve. So much so that fast twitch fiber will simply stop creating the necessary tension to continue.
All fiber types create tension with in the muslces: Aerobic fibers run out of fuel supply to "feed" the fibers, causing the runner to slow down or even stop; anaerobic fibers have an over abundance fuel, which causes the motor units to stop firing. It's like having a lot of fuel in the tank but the spark plugs won't fire.

So what can we do?
Increase the number of faster firing motor units...through heavy strength training.
One cannot maximally increase these units by doing "explosive" type workouts because those workous are, at best, 70% 1rm.

How do we know that runners improvement are based on the strength training?
  • We only do heavy strength training and speed work.
  • We can see the aerobic/anaerobic/anaerobic reserve changes relative to each other through the algorithm.


Quote:
4. Is there a point in which you feel that increasing the deadlift no longer increases the speed of the runner, while maintaing the same mass of course? I ask this because Olympic lifters, after building up sufficient strength, focus primarily on the lifts themselves. There comes a point when moving up the squat or the deadlift doesn't help them in the C&J and Snatch.
I'm sure that at some point the DL will not increase the runners speed, but I've not seen it yet. That being said, your following statement about Oly lifter's focus on the lift itself is what we are doing with the runs.

Quote:
5. I don't understand what you were saying about supercompensation in the plyometrics section of your book. I understand that immediately following maximal contraction or isometric contraction, plyometrics can have a supercompensatory effect. But, it caught me by surprise that you stated that. You seem to focus on keeping exercises within 10 sec to avoid lactic acid buildup, yet you say to superset the deadlift with the plyometric exercise. Is the lactic acid buildup not a concern in this case?
Few of our lifters would ever hold a lift for anywhere near 10 seconds, so the lactic issue is moot for us. However, not reaching that threshold also allows us to do up to 5 workouts per week with minimal fatigue. It was more of a warning to NOT attempt to redo missed lifts.
The duration of plyo's, as far as loading is concerned, is minimal.
Since writing the book, I'm convinced that supercompensation does NOT occur by adding plyos.
I addressed this issue with Dr. Weyand who advised that the plyos were still of value in training the force "delivery" system (at landing) and intramuscular coordination under duress.
So, I'm in the process of writing book 2 to address that issue and new research.

Thanks for those great questions!
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:47 AM   #27
Barry Ross
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Originally Posted by Joe Birch View Post
Thankyou for the quick reply Mr Ross. Just out of interest do ever train any team sports athlete's? (soccer, hockey etc). I'd imagine if significant gains can be seen with such short track time (compared to other sprint programs) it would appeal massively to these kind of athlete's.
Yes, I've personally trained athletes in volleyball, soccer, tennis, basketball, baseball, football, rugby, sprints, throws, jumpers and distance runners.
Others have used the system in speed skating (the Chinese female speed skating team went from no gold medals to winning 10 gold and 10 silver/bronze medals and one World record--in one season--using our DL protocol).
It is also being used by short track bike racers.
I've had discussions with an NHL team regarding the implementation of the protocol.

Implementing the protocol in professional sports is problematical because of the minimalism of the program

I'm currently providing the strength training for an athlete at a major D1 school with permission of the coaching staff there.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:38 AM   #28
Garrett Smith
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Nice work, Mr. Ross.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:47 AM   #29
Donald Lee
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Thank you for spending the time replying to my questions, Mr. Ross.

I am not sure if I am fully understanding this portion of your comments:

Quote:
What this means is that there is a significant anaerobic fuel reserve. So much so that fast twitch fiber will simply stop creating the necessary tension to continue.
All fiber types create tension with in the muslces: Aerobic fibers run out of fuel supply to "feed" the fibers, causing the runner to slow down or even stop; anaerobic fibers have an over abundance fuel, which causes the motor units to stop firing. It's like having a lot of fuel in the tank but the spark plugs won't fire.
The abstract from this study states:

Quote:
Thus, the present results show that the degree of hypoxia affects the magnitude of the hypoxia-induced increase in anaerobic energy release in the late phase of the WT and suggest that certain degrees of hypoxia induce significant increases in the amount of anaerobic energy released, compared to normoxia.
Am I correct in assuming that your training is designed to minimize the body's reliance on the aerobic system?

Also, what are your thoughts on lactic acid buildup during the 400 m? Do you not have to be trained to efficiently utilize and shuttle out lactic acid?

Thanks again. I am looking forward to your next book. Is there any expected release date?
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:48 PM   #30
Barry Ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Lee View Post
Thank you for spending the time replying to my questions, Mr. Ross.

I am not sure if I am fully understanding this portion of your comments:



The abstract from this study states:



Am I correct in assuming that your training is designed to minimize the body's reliance on the aerobic system?

Also, what are your thoughts on lactic acid buildup during the 400 m? Do you not have to be trained to efficiently utilize and shuttle out lactic acid?

Thanks again. I am looking forward to your next book. Is there any expected release date?
Our training is not designed to minimize the body's reliance on the aerobic system. In fact, we believe, based upon the algorithm, that the runner needs a baseline of aerobic capacity. That baseline equates to ~4.5 m/s.

The following is from the algorithm for a female runner:
9.804 7.895 4.802 5.069 9.871

The first number is the m/s of a 10m fly-in trial
The second is the m/s of a 300m fly-in trial
The third is m/s aerobic capacity
The fourth is the m/s anaerobic speed reserve
The last number is the combination of the of third and fourth numbers.

From these numbers and the repeat run distance we can see the rate of speed decrement. That decrement represents the rate at which anaerobic fibers fatigue (reduction of active motor units).
As the runner increases strength, in the form of maximising motor unit recruitment, the 10m fly-in m/s drops. What we've found is that drops in the short trial run will cause drops in the long trial without any other work. In other words, the short dictates the long in an anaerobic based sport.
This is also the reason to run shorter repeats than what others suggest.
It also gives us a solid base to build workouts from because we have a greater sense of how each aspect relates to the others.

More importantly, it gives the athlete very specific goals rather than the guessing so many coaches use. Rather than saying "Run 10 repeats at 80% of max speed" (how does a runner know when they are running at 80%?), we give them very accurate and attainable goals.
We do the same in strength training--specific loads from simple lifts to increase motor unit recruitment.
As their strength increases, 10m times drop and so do speed decrements.

We don't do anything regarding lactic acid.
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