Last Updated on April 25, 2014 by Amir Rehman
Many Thanks to Puma for providing this training video of Usain Bolt, shot prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics in his hometown of Jamaica.
In the video, I love the casualness of Usain Bolt wearing Basketball pants over his training tights.
After the Olympics, his coach tells everyone his secret to success was a hard work ethic in his training regimen. Plus McDonalds’ Chicken McNuggets. I’ll bet a lot of parents were cringing with that remark!
They also spotted elements in his training that caused him to be injury prone. So they work at them by training very hard in the off-season and all year ’round.
The still shots generated from the video shows a good example of his start. After all, you have to copy your training from the practice field to live competition. It has to be second nature as well as a hind-brain activity. Somehow it’s hard to copy the pre-race jitters or adrenaline that comes with competition. Only experience can duplicate that, which is why you have to have several races leading up to the Championship meet. I recommend 5-7 100 meter races leading up to the big race, and 3-5 400 meter races.
I discussed the stretch reflex in the article Track and Field Starting Blocks Evolution, explaining how “low” starting blocks with your heel exposed is a GOOD thing.
In the video below, watch the rear foot and calf at take-off, and how the stretch reflex is utilized on these “short height blocks”:
From these still shots, take a close look at his first 3 steps out of the blocks, and compare them to a similar article: Valeri Borzov – A Clinic on Sprinting from Starting Blocks – First 3 Steps.
[Tweet “How Bolt Prepares : Watch It!”]
Optimal theoretical starting “set” position. Illustration by Derek Hansen of Running Mechanics.
“On Your Marks” position
“Set” Position – Hips are high
Gun goes off. His left hand moves slightly ahead of the right hand. Note the angle of his back foot and how the stretch reflex is utilized on these “short height blocks” compared to the previous frame. The Puma strip on his spikes is a good indication on how much the foot goes back.
Good Extension – straight line from head to heel, a sign of maximum power. Trajectory angle is approx. 45 degrees. Thus both horizontal and vertical force vectors are used.
Body position at 45 degrees. Note back arm bent at near 90 degrees. “Piston-like short arms” creates quicker turn-over, but sacrificing power.
Body position still at 45 degrees. Note back arm is starting to be bent over 90 degrees. “Longer arms” means a longer stroke cycle, which favours more power over quickness.
Can you spot some of the other flaws in his start (if any)?
How about NLAAF knows how to make it even better.
Better angles on the first and second step along with better block clearance.
This is of a video of an average sprint athlete.
back leg set at 130 degrees., front leg set at 109 degrees
Shin angle of front leg at 32 degrees, shin angle at hip launch 27 degrees.
Body angle first step 25 degrees, body angle second step 29 degrees.
He would beat Usain easily for 5 to 6 meters.
To Learn more about teh Cheetah Sprint start contact NLAAF.
Usain angles looks to be 30 degrees and 35 degrees first and second step.
the above video link does not work.
Here is the replacement video link.
Using the above start in the video, a sprinter could take from 1 to 2 less steps in the first 10m of a race. Worth almost .2 to .3 tenths of second over the whole race.
That mean someone like Usain Bolt, Tyson gay would run in the 9.50 range for 100m easily. And the indoor 60m record would drop to about 6.20.
…throw out all the numbers and let face it, we have to recreate for the taller sprinter, ala…Steve Williams
Watching this video usain looks like a cheetah in the burst.interesting to see the dynamics and body mechanics behind his success.
You have to stand up and take notice what he did at the olympics obliterated all previous sprinters. The sheer power and technique was so far ahead of his competitors ina sport that is counted in thousandths of a second is breathaking. I have never seen dominance like that before
anthony matthews says
Usian Bolt is extremely tall for a sprinter, as we all know.His problem is his second and third stride.If a video is watched of him coming off the blocks,it can be seen that his second stride goes off to the left a tad,the third stride goes off to the right also,to re adjust his balance. The initial problem is in coming off the blocks.He has too mush shoulders over the line.He needs to adjust the blocks 6 inches backwards,to compensate for the length od his legs,thus creating a smoother transition from blocks to the first stride,thus creating a more rolling motion and a smoother transition from ”set” to when the gun goes off.No science is required to solve this!
lean yone says
Bolt was very victorious in the olympics this year. His training did pay off.