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Part 1 started with Plyometrics, Ground Contact Time, and Sprinting which showed the faster the movement, the shorter the ground contact time. Part 2 of this series was covered in How to Weight Train without Weights and it focused on speed strength. So this is Part 3.
I want to review strength and resistance training again, instead on focusing on specific track workouts.
Why? Because I believe when it comes down to 2 athletes with the same height and leg length, with the same Stride Rate and Stride Frequency, improvement all comes down to STRENGTH and who is “stronger” at the right times in the kinetic chain. (Technique and injuries aside)
I’ll break down the term “strength” into 5 areas:
- Absolute strength, or Maximal strength
- Power, or speed-strength
- Explosive strength (Plyometrics is a good example)
- Reactive strength, or elastic strength
- *Strength endurance (added for fun and pain, not really part of this discussion)
These areas have been discussed in detail throughout this blog (I use the category weight training for this purpose), but I want to dig deeper (no pun intended) into the 4th category, reactive strength or elastic strength.
Coaches and Exercise Physiologists know that a rapid switching of concentric contractions proceeded by eccentric contractions produces high amounts of force during the eccentric phase. Thus, reactive strength (or elastic strength) is based on the body’s ability to quickly and efficiently change from eccentric to concentric contractions. Your body needs the corresponding eccentric-concentric strength.
Even isometrics has its place in training!
So how do you train eccentric-concentric strength? Easy, by adding “weights” or resistance. There are a handful of ways to add resistance training while sprinting:
You can use a strong headwind, a weight vest, uphill training, towing a sled, and isorobic ropes. (Here’s an article on how not to do sled training). The converse (or corollary, to be exact) of resistance training is overspeed training using ropes, or a slight downhill.
Let’s look at an example of using these ropes.
Driving Resistance Band Training
In the video below, we have Baseball’s Marlon Byrd training with the Driving Resistance Band under the watchful eye of Remi Korchemny.
Yes, there is a SNAC connection to this video as Remi Korchemny was part of the BALCO incident that was made famous in September 2003. Moreover, Marlon Byrd is one of the few athletes who publically stated he used SNAC products religiously, and the ONLY MLB player who uses it (well, at least publically). Remember, Maurice Greene “bought” steroids for friends with his own money?
Even after the 2003 raid, I wrote an article on why I loved Proglycosyn that was printed in the 2005 Summer edition of GeezerJock magazine. (You can read the article here) Even today, I still recommend ZMA (both regular and the latest ZMA-5), which was created by SNAC but now their original formulation is sold through a variety of supplement companies.
In the YouTube video below, Remi trains athletes with the Driving Resistance Band to specifically help reduce the lapsed time between eccentric and concentric muscle contractions. He believes that improving reactive strength or elastic strength is one of the major factors in speed development.
One has to be careful as too much load will severely increase the ground contact time of the runs, as every exercise you choose has its place in the Force-Velocity curve. Just ask anybody doing plyometrics and depth jumps. You can increase the load by adding a weight vest, or you can raise the height of the box.
At a certain point, you lose the efficacy (and logic?) of the workout and you are entering another area of muscle and tendon specificity. (i.e. muscular strength only vs the elasticity of muscle and tendon) Maybe high hurdles hops are a better exercise for you?
Like all my workouts, ask questions first. Why are you doing this? What you intend to train should be the specific quality you are training. And not a simple cut and paste from another superhero training log.
NOTE: The Driving Resistance Band is custom made and not commercially available. More on this later.
For further reading, see:
- More on Drive Phase and Acceleration
- How to Improve Acceleration (Part 1)
- How to Improve Acceleration (Part 2)
- How to Improve Acceleration (Part 3)
- How to Improve Acceleration (Part 4)