4 Drills to Enhance Your Sprints

Now that the weather is finally more favorable, it's time to get outside and run around. Whether you're playing in a summer league for high school sports or you're an adult in the real-world and you join up with a grown-up league. Most field and court sports require quick bursts of speed to reach a ball or an opponent with the ball. Today I have some drills you can implement to work on that explosion and subsequent acceleration. 

All of the drills would be best performed for 5-8 yds each for 2-3 sets of 2-4 reps. You'll want to keep the volume low to minimize fatigue. Each rep should be explosive and quick and you can't do that if you're tired.

In each drill you want to focus on a few things:

1. Apply as much force as possible on the first few steps-- think about exploding out of your shoes.

2. Maintain a tight core-- this will minimize any lateral movement thus streamlining your body as much as possible. Plus, you can transfer force from the ground through your legs more effectively through a stiff core than you can through a loosey-goosey one. 

3. Maintain strong knee and elbow drive-- don't run like a limp noodle man

Without further ado... 

Falling Start

If you have a hard time with acceleration, this is a useful drill as it forces you to lean forward (the acceleration phase requires a forward lean of the torso). 

Side Start

Side starts are perfect for working on acceleration in the frontal plane, sideways, as most of the time in a game scenario, you won't start running in the saggital plane (straight forward).

PUPP to Start

It's also not guaranteed that you will always start sprinting after an opponent standing up. This drill teaches you how to drive forward from the ground and pop up quickly.

Barrel Roll to Sprint

Let's say you made a spectacular dive in a game, but you need to get back up on your feet. By practicing rolling, you will teach your vestibular (balance) system how to re-orient so you won't be caught unawares during the heat of the moment. At least two of my athletes reported rolling in a game and I personally witnessed another doing so during his game. I was so proud. 

There you have it! Try those out the next time you find yourself on a field!   

RunFAST - SAPT's Secret Program Development

I’ll be honest, I’ve got a secret... it’s about a new program SAPT is developing. We’ll actually be launching all the info about it next week, but I’ve got to let on about it at least a little! I’m simply way too pumped up and have had a little too much coffee to keep this under my hat any longer.

It’s so exciting and will introduce yet another innovative, high-octane training method to the area via our resident performance coaching geniuses at SAPT.

This is the type of program that is born from those really special places that foster high-levels of both creativity and respect. An incubator for ideas where art and science merge. The type of place that values quality, service, and creativity above all else. That’s where these kinds of innovations come from.

The program is called RunFAST... that’s all I’m going to mention, as I think the name tells enough.

And, I have to also tell you this new innovative approach we’ll launch next week is just the tip of the iceberg. I wish I could let on about all our projects. But, for the moment, I’ll simply leave you with SAPT’s Big 3: Purpose, Vision, and Mission. Read into them as you like...

Our Purpose: Strengthening bodies and minds to support excellence in life.

Our Vision: People of all ages, abilities, and resources will have access to, appreciation for, and engagement in regular physical fitness training that will lead to improvements in all aspects of daily life.

Our Mission: To develop, research, and share our comprehensive approach to physical fitness training that fosters long-term engagement, promotes excellence in life, nurtures human relationships and inspires the lifelong pursuit of health through exercise.

Please stay tuned to next week on the blog... we’ll be devoting the whole week to RunFAST details!

Linear Periodization (Yawn...?)

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable. I'm about to talk programming and, more specifically, my personal experiences with linear periodization: My go-to programming style is, and always will be, the conjugate sequence system. The reasons are many, but to simplify, I just plain consider it the most effective and safest way to improve strength, power, and athletic performance in most advanced athletes while ensuring that serious CNS fatigue stays at bay.

Plus, because the BULK of my programming experience has been for sports where the goal, from a S&C perspective, is to allow the athlete to perform close to their best for upwards of 2-months in many competitions that are all equally important. The constant cycling of compound lift variations and set/rep schemes lends itself quite well to these types of sport.

So, when I began working with track and field, who are only interested in peaking twice a year, the seeming simplicity was almost too much to bear. I found myself working with coaches who implemented their own linear periodization on the track and wanted the weight room sessions to mirror in terms of both volume and intensity.

This meant *gasp* that I would have to resort to programming bench pressing and squatting at repetitions that sometimes exceeded sets of 10. I know that sounds kind of silly, but for women who squat in the 300's and men who hover around 450, a 4x8 back squat session can get pretty out of control.

My first year with track and field I spent many painful hours trying to unravel the mysteries of linear periodization (mountain out of a mole-hill? I'd say so). I even went so far as to get a USATF Level 1 coaching certification in an effort to find some solid footing.

Well, fast forward a couple years, and we've won our conference the last three years and had numerous successes on the road to nationals each season.

Despite this success, I still had a problem. I couldn't accurately identify with the athletes as they trudged through what I believed to be an extremely intense training program.

I've always prided myself on personally experiencing virtually components of every program I've ever implemented. This is critically important because it helps me communicate and relate to the athletes better than if I have no experience with what they're going through.

Why had I never done this with the track program? I've actually got a couple good reasons: Baby #1 followed by Baby #2. But, no longer being in the pregnancy cycle, I figured I could probably manage my way through the sprinters and jumpers weight training program. That or I'd hurt myself trying.

In my next post I will dive into the details of this training plan and how I've been progressing.

Here are a couple teasers: 1. I haven't experienced this much muscle soreness in at least 5 years. 2. I'm amazed the team hasn't attempted a full blown mutiny given what they do on the track is followed immediately by my program. Remember, the programs mirror each other in volume and intensity. 3. My lift today really almost made me throw up. Happily, my iron stomach once again proved to have the upper hand. 4. I'm getting much stronger very quickly.

Until next time...