Lets get faster! PART 1
There was a study in 2001 by the sports scientist Peter Weyand. This study illustrates that the key factors in getting faster are, gravity, and force application through the ground by your feet.
Its actually been around for centuries as Newtons Laws of Motion. Many try to train athletes by what they see, wrongly asserting for example that high knees drills develop high knees whilst running. Another myth is training the athlete to re connect with the ground earlier. Actually this sits with Newtons 3 rd law “To every action there is an equal and opposite re-action”. Basically when you apply greater force through the ground-driving off the rear leg- then high knee lift results. In Europe this is called power to weight Ratio (PWR) . In the US its called Mass Specific Force (MSF).
A common fault with conditioning programmes is that some believe that the athlete requires greater muscle mass in order to gain speed and acceleration capacity. NASA scientists and Formula 1 engineers would all agree that weight has no place in boosting speed whether its a car a rocket. I have worked with International RUGBY PLAYERS. The biggest (and strongest) are the forwards, all of whom can squat and bench press much greater weight than the wingers and centres. Yet year after year, test after test, the backs and centres prove they possess greater capacity to accelerate and top speed. The extra weight obtained acts as a greater gravitational pull meaning that they become slower. If you were to sit in on a pre season meeting of the F1 engineers, at no point in the conversation will anyone suggest a solution which has the possibility of placing extra weight on a car.Any extra weight creates a greater downward gravitational pull-this means the number one enemy for the development of speed and acceleration is gravity-not your opponents!
In Rugby, Football, Hockey etc you are required to have great acceleration capacity-so this is how you develop this.Top speed over longer distances than 20m are also required to a lesser degree but if you have great speed you are holding all the aces.
The world’s fastest sprinter, the cheetah, fits the bill, its lean and powerful. The cheetah has never been to the gym and has never done the A-Skip, B skip stuff. High knees are a bi product of force application through the ground.
Lets get faster! PART 2
Tired people do not run fast
REST RELAXATION RATIO
Once the principles from part one have been established we then look at training methodology-how to structure a speed development session.
The design of the training session is key to the effect you require, due to the fact that the human body is an adaptive organism. It will react specifically to how you stimulate it.If a player in any sport requires greater speed as defined by moving faster from point A to point B, then a great deal of patience is required. Why? Well most athletes (and coaches) are too busy.They cannot wait until the next rep. They also feel pressured to keep everyone busy and occupied. I have had people question my methods and indeed even lost an athlete to another stable because the coach made the athletes “work harder”, and Kept them busy”.
I am not here to keep your kids occupied or busy, I am here to be effective. Its also tied up with a “value for money” mentality where it is thought that the more the athlete packs into a session the more value you derive and the better the athlete will become, no so!. Well the science does not back this up. The energy system utilized in 95% plus maximum efforts of no longer than 8 seconds requires greater amounts of time to recover to enable the athlete to then perform another quality effort.
Our young stable of sprinters and hurdlers in Lake Macquarie usually manage 2 - 3 reps of 50 or 60 m runs. All the athletes are with in one tenth of a second of each other at the finish line due to our handicapping system.
So all the athletes run maximally for 8 seconds. The time required to obtain full recovery is 60- 90 seconds per 1 second of maximal effort. So this means then that full recovery will be between 8 and 12 mins recovery.
When you see a sprinter bending over, lying in the foetal position or vomiting they are not developing maximum speed-they are developing something else.
Next time I’ll elaborate on actual sessions.