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GAINcast Episode 165: Minimalist training (with Tony Holler)

We all know less can be more, but doing less is hard. We all hate to be out worked. Coach Tony Holler came to track and field coaching as an outsider and stumbled upon the benefits of minimalist training. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to talk about how his training program came about, how it is put together, and additional thoughts on training speed. Read more

Sprinting: the ultimate strength training exercise

One of the key principles of training is overload. The overload principle states that body system adaptation fails to occur without an overloading stimulus. In other words, we have to give the body a challenge beyond what we are accustomed to in order to adapt to a higher level of performance. Somewhere along the way coaches started to think that we can only find overload in the weight room. In reality, for some qualities that is the last place we want to look. Maximum speed sprinting, for example, can provide overload in many areas that no other exercises can match. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 201: Sprinting and jumping (with Randy Huntington)

We often talking about sprinting and jumping as separate components of training, but when you look at the training of the world’s best sprinters and jumpers, there is more in common than different. Randy Huntington has worked with athletes ranging from world long jump record holder Mike Powell to Chinese 100-meter record holder Su Bingtian. He joins the podcast this week to discuss how he conceptualizes the two events and what his experience has been working in a new culture.
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For sprinters, losing fat may be better than gaining muscle

When it comes to sprint training, two critical factors are the amount of force that can be developed and the speed at which a certain threshold of force can be reached. In training, focus often gravitates to the first point through methods like plyometrics and weight-based resistance training. While weight training, if adequately programmed, has the ability to increase strength, and hence the amount of force an athlete can produce, there is also the potential (although this is currently somewhat contentious) that these increases in strength come along with increases in muscle size, commonly termed muscle hypertrophy. Because additional muscle adds additional mass, the athlete is therefore heavier, which, in turn, may slow the athlete down. As such, resistance training for sprinters is often a balancing act between improving strength and force, whilst minimizing unnecessary muscle hypertrophy. As a general rule, we want to get stronger, not bigger. Read more

GAINcast Episode 164: Team speed

Speed is speed, right? Well, not exactly. The speed demands in team sports have some critical differences compared to track and field sprinting. Those had big ramifications in how speed should be trained for team sports. On this episode of the GAINcast, we take a look at training team speed. Read more

Team speed

When I the so-called experts talking about team speed and all they emphasize is acceleration, I just scratch my head. Are you watching the same game I am? Read more

Predicting sprint performance through data modeling

One of the “Holy Grails” in sport is the ability to predict, with accuracy, whether someone has the potential to become an elite athlete or not. I’ve covered this in previous articles and papers in terms of genetics, discussing whether we can test for it or not and how we might think of talent in terms of the ability to respond to training. However, at present, predicting future performance remains very difficult. But we keep trying and a recent paper in Biology of Sport took a novel approach to trying to predict sprint performance. The researchers recruited 104 Croatian sprinters and collected a wide variety of data points relating to anthropometric, genetic, and psychological traits to create a rich data set for analysis. Read more

The lost art of bounding and speed bounding

Plyometric training is a popular modality used to develop power for a range of power-dominant sports or skills requiring power, such as sprinting and jumping. Although plyometric methods can be applied to a wide range of sports, I believe they are especially relevant to skills requiring reactive strength. I discussed the importance of reactive strength to jumping performance in my last article on training vertical jump performance. The purpose of this article is to discuss the application of two specific plyometric exercises which are often overlooked: bounding and speed-bounding. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – December 2018

Lots of new topics in the December edition of Sports Science Monthly. Our first study looks at the role of genetics in endurance programming. We also look at research on whether athletes eat enough, monitoring acute:chronic training loads, biomarkers, acceleration performance, and some interesting new research on tactical periodization. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 183: Value of staying put (with Zack Nielsen)

Take a look at a typical NCAA weight room and you’ll see first hand the coaching carousal. The phenomenon isn’t unique to universities; you often see young coaches across the world changing job every few years in an attempt to fast track career development. Zack Nielsen might be young, but he’s learned the value of a different path: the value of staying put. As head strength coach for Olympic sports at Eastern Washington University, he joins to the podcast to talk about the value of staying put in career (and life) development. Read more