A note from
The following pertains specifically to running. I feel it can relate
to throwing, pitching, anything that requires quickness. However, I am
personally against adolescents lifting weights! This includes
throwing or pitching weighted balls (click on the link to read a discussion about weighted balls)!
ARE YOU BEING COACHED CORRECTLY
�FOOD FOR THOUGHT�
"You say if we sprint fast we will
recruit more muscles, this is true (the most recent theory is that this
causes the body to build more neural pathways telling the muscles to
fire)...DUH!!! And that if we train with more intensity we will race with
more intensity (this is not revolutionary)...and that if you train
aerobically you will be a better aerobic runner (We all know that)....THE
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE COMES FROM AND KNOWING IN REALITY, HOW MUCH AND HOW
LONG, WHEN and WHO (I'm sorry to tell you there are differences from person
Herbert Johnson Track & Field Academy
2304 Sunnyside Ave.
Charleston, S.C. 29403
By Brett Kirksey, MS
It's not fair. Some
people are just born fast. After years of studying exercise science, I had
to come to grips with the harsh reality that sports performance as well as
physique development is primarily determined by your DNA. Just thank mom and
dad for your great gift of fast twitch (strength/power/size) fibers or your
lack thereof. Does that mean that anyone with genetically unsuitable parents
has to give up hope? Not really. Even though genetics is the primary factor
for speed development, there are still several other factors which can be
altered in order to maximize your speed potential. Technique, reaction time,
rate of force development, acceleration, strength, and power are all
variables that add up to maximum speed.
Regardless of the
sport, being fast is of utmost importance. Obviously, a sprinter like
Michael Johnson has to run fast to win. But Michael Jordan also has to run
fast to win. Let's not forget Terrell Davis either. Pick the sport, and I'll
bet speed plays a major role. How do these people train different than the
standard bodybuilding" routines you will find in most mainstream
publications? Think specificity. Specifically, think about using movements
in training that most closely resemble running, and performing those
movements in a way that places high demands on the appropriate energy system
for your sport. Now target your fast twitch muscle fibers, and leave your
slow twitch fibers alone!
This is the recipe
for speed specificity.
Hitting the stair
machine or stationary bike may be a great crosstraining activity, but it
will do little or nothing for improving your running speed. If you want to
run fast, then run fast. Use the movement that most closely resembles
the activity you are trying to enhance. Other activities, like
cycling, do not have as great a transfer of training effect to running speed
as running itself. In the weightroom, this means getting off the bench and
getting into the squat rack. Running is primarily hip extension. Squatting
is primarily hip extension. To get even more specific, you can try
one-legged squats. The best way to do these is to get a pair of dumbells and
perform them like a step-up on a bench. Lunging could also be used as a
running specific weight training movement, but tends to be less explosive.
To mimic the explosive hip extension of sprinting, try clean pulls from the
floor. Throw in some stiff-leg deadlifts for hamstrings and your choice of
abdominal work for trunk strength and stability. This is what mechanical
specificity is all about.
specificity is the next issue we must tackle in order to maximize our speed
development workouts. Your body has three energy production systems: the
ATP-PC system; the fast glycolytic system; and the oxidative system. The
ATP-PC system provides energy rapidly and predominates activities that last
less than 10 seconds. The fast glycolytic system begins to provide
substantial energy in the 15-sec. to 3-min. range, and the oxidative system
begins to provide substantial energy after three minutes of activity. Why
should an athlete wishing to develop speed for a sport that contains running
bursts lasting less than three minutes (like football, baseball, or
basketball) perform traditional "aerobic" training like running three miles?
They shouldn't! This goes against metabolic specificity. Train the energy
systems which will predominate the activity. If you make the longest play in
football, you can only run 100 yards. That should take less than 15 seconds.
When building speed endurance, use distances or times in your workout no
more than 2-3 times the actual distance or time of your event. When working
on maximum speed or acceleration, use distances or times less than or equal
to the actual distance or time of your event.
A third way of
maximizing your speed potential is to target your fast twitch muscle fibers.
These fibers are most affected by high-intensity, short bursts of activity.
High-intensity weight training movements as well as repeated short sprints
will properly stimulate fast twitch fibers. Equally as important as
stimulating the proper fibers is not stimulating slow twitch fibers. These
fibers provide no benefit for speed/strength/power athletes. They are
primarily activated by low-intensity, long-duration movements like
high-repetition weight training and distance running. By performing high
repetitions (15 or more) or running for distance, there is the danger of
converting fast twitch fibers to slow twitch fibers. And if, by the grace of
your parents, you don't have the fast twitch fibers to spare, this a
definite way to decrease your speed.