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Analyse This! (Sprinting)


Analyse this! (Sprinting)

Today I tried out sprinting with my younger brother, am 23 and he?s 19. We ran about 6 sprints against each other (+/- 100m, just estimated visually, have no clue could be a lot less) and I lost everyone- it sucks! The first race he just overtook me towards the end, but the gap became bigger and bigger with each race. But in each race I would start off much stronger with some considerable gap, especially in the first 1/3 to ?, about half way were about the same, then I would just loose gas and he?d steam right pass me. I would literally loose gas, at certain point all of a sudden, its like switching from a gear 5 on a mountain bike to gear 1; at first I can feel am pushing the earth beneath me, but cant later on, its like am peddling against no resistance. I kind of remember running the same when I was in school, I used to come a bout 3rd in 100m in my year, my brother used to come 1st in his year (its crappy inner city school, its not like they were high pedigree).

My Q for any knowledgeable people out there, what does all of this info say about me? My brother was telling me that he feels he beat me with his upper when he overtakes me (by swinging his arms), I know that upper body does come into play by stabilising your body towards the end of the race. We started to lift weights about a year ago, were about the same height but I am about ~ 15 kg heavier, and considering all of that my lifts are only slightly better than his in upper body movements (he can out do me in bw pull up no?s for example) but am much better in lower body (unlike him that?s also where I carry most of my weight).

I?d like to incorporate sprinting into my training. Any tips on the benefits of sprinting? And any good sprint routines to incorporate into my training.

Thanks in advance


Could be a lot of things. From a quick glance, you're stronger than him and tend to muscle things, but he's more reactively trained and better metabolically conditioned.


bet he took more steps to do 100m than you did too.


Sprinting is very anabolic, and it will lead to an increase in muscle mass and a loss in fat mass unlike long distance running. When I was playing baseball in college, we used to run 10 60 yard sprints five days a week, and I lost 20 pounds in one month. It suprised me; because, I didn't really have 20 pounds to lose. I am actually incorporating sprints into my workouts this week. I'm running 20 60 yard sprints on wednesdays and saturdays. I'll run ten with a 1 minute rest, take a ten minute break, and run the other ten with the same one minute rest in between. I believe I read about this sprinting routine here at T-Nation. I hope that was helpful...


He likely has better anaerobic capacity and/or lactate tolerance than you. This is supported by the part about you losing more ground in the later sprints - he also recovered better than you. Or perhaps he just has better leg speed. You say you both lift nearly the same weights, but what other athletic activity do you two do?


Well it's good to see that you're not elitist or ignorant in any way. Guess you got lucky.

As for sprinting, I'm a recreational sprinter and there's no better site on that topic than charlie francis' site. He's the guy who coached Ben Johnson, world record breaker and caught red handed using roids twice.

It sounds like you can generate more power than him but then you lack the endurance to keep that pace up. I remember reading a post on charlie francis' site that talked about the fact that some elite olympic lifters could keep up with the elite sprinters through the first 30 meters of a race but then sputtered off. They both had the ability to generate massive power but only the sprinters had the ability to sustain it.

See above.

You stated earlier that your brother is 19 and that you're 23... meaning that you're more removed from your track days than he is. I'm pretty sure that this plays a part.

As for the upper body swinging... it is important especially during acceleration and creating momentum. Again, I'm only a recreational sprinter but I believe charlie francis' site can confirm these statements.

Being heavier means that it takes more work for you to go the same amount of speed as it does your lighter brother. It also sounds like your brother has a higher relative strength ratio and sprinters are known for having same amazing strength in their circa 160-170 lb body. Eric Cressey would be proud.

In a competition like sprinting, absolute strength takes a backseat to relative strength and the ability to convert that into power. remember that power = force x velocity. he beats you because he is able to achieve more power.

once again, charlie francis' site. As you read the plethora of information on this site... remember that sprinting is cns intensive and as such, should be done every other day. If you want to get better at sprinting, use maximal weights with low reps... I recommend reading some of Chad Waterbury's works (especially his 8x3 article). Hope this helps.


p.s. If anybody feels like critiquing my advice or just simply ripping it to shreds, feel free. I love witty banter!


As to athletic activity, I should on paper be fitter than him, I play soccer and basketball a couple of times a week, nothing intensive though its just for leisure, while he might only do so once a week. Also I used to jog but that?s a while back. I have to admit that although recently I?ve been playing a lot of basketball and soccer, I haven?t been running that much in these games as I used to, so my fitness may not have been benefiting that much. Could he just be naturally fitter than me even though he seems to do less?
I found the Olympic lifters example interesting! I was looking for an answer like that. What does say my muscle composition, or how my body releases energy??
Eric could you elaborate on what you mean by ?more reactively trained and better metabolically conditioned??

I remember studying something about the body using mainly cratine in the 1st few seconds of the race, then switching to the glycogen stores?! Oh bullshit can?t remember!

Thanks for all the feedback


if your problem isn't "speed endurance" then im a fruitcup. i dont think speed endurance has anything to do with maintaining top speed, but what happens after top speed is reached. optimal speed endurance means that you're gonna slow down much less after you reach top speed. very, very important in 100 meters, and why you got burned.


your strength would be used more efficiently, and you would last longer if you could fire your legs faster. if you and your brother ran in place for 10 seconds he would hit the ground more times than you. increase the number of times you can hit the ground in a given time-cadence-and you will increase your speed and your speed endurance. its a nerves and efficiency thing. that's my best guess.