T Nation

speed/acceleration

Hi.

I had just finished my freshman year playing football in highschool as a runningback and defensive end and after buying a power rack i found this site.

I’m currently doing the ‘fast and furious’ program and lifting 3 times a week as well as eating more and better. My strength has definately been increasing and I’ve been gaining weight.

The thing i am concerned about now is my speed. I do dynamic lifting 1 time a week. This is supposed to help me lift faster and i am pretty sure it has.

But what i want to know is how can i increase my running speed. Will the speed from dynamic lifting cross over into my running?

One thing i have noticed is that my feet hit the ground pretty hard when i run. It’s like i stomp. I am not sure but i think i remember reading somewhere that this is due to some muscle imbalance.

What articles do you guys recommend i check out or lifts do you recommend that i do?

thanks in advance.

-increase running speed? what distance? the obvious answer is practice how you want to perform, RUN!
as for gym work, studies on rugby league players show that 40m sprint time corelate well to 1 rm hang clean load in comparison to body weight. also check out other variations on Olympic lifts and some plyometric stuff. Basic posterior chain exercises should be the basis of your heavy leg training. GHR and reverse hypers are a good start. if you only have the power rack to use then Good mornings and Stiff Legged Deadlifts

-as for feet hitting ground hard, again at what speed. if it is sprinting and your HEELs are hitting the ground then you have weak calves (gastroc). think light feet and make sure your feet are coming in contact under your center of gravity when you are at full stride not in front of your body.

Your pounding the ground when you run because you’re not light on your feet. Start jumping a lot of rope and really work on being light on your feet when you jump. You should feel like you are almost stroking the ground with your feet.

hey whetu, you got any good advice for running drills to help acceleration in rugby union?? I have been doing quite a few of the drills from scrum.com, but it’d be nice to get some ideas from a knowledgeable man such as yourself.

Ehm… oops… ACTUALLY im doing the FREQUENT and furious program :slight_smile:

As for what distance, I’d say all of them :open_mouth: except maybe long long distances.

But what would help a lot is how fast i start out running. When i line up i am about 6-8 yards behind the lineman. Obviously the faster i can hit the whole the better. Any ideas on how i could increase my starting speed as well?

Thanks Whetu/speed for the advice.

From your last post it seems like you want to increase your starting speed which would be helped by using a lift that has no eccentric component to it such as the deadlift. Max acceleration is dependent a lot on the hamstrings, glutes, ect. so work the posterior chain. If you find that you are running really heavy/flat footed check you ablility to dorsiflex your foot (toes towards knee)without proper flexibliity your running mechanics will be altered. Also, for increasing speed make sure you sprint! All the work in the weight room won’t help that much if you don’t practice what you are training for, and make sure you have your running form correct.

wek
Use clean and snatches from the hang position (1" above knees) to increase starting strength, try off blocks and you can’t cheat. Also box squats are good because they break the eccentric to concentric effort, try chad waterburys explosive box squats. All the above are good for strength from a dead stop cause the have not stretch-shortening cycle.
Also practice your football starts/three point starts.

Also something i saw posted not so long ago would probably help (I think it was Lil Coach H). On the start of your play have your weakest leg foward, the opposite that you would normally step off on to blast out the blocks. Then take a small step onto your strong leg and then blast off. Apparently this is something alot of the top running backs and wide recievers do but i can’t remember why! I suppose it would allow you to adjust your direction quickly to react to play and make use of the stretch-shortening effect.

I’m gonna catch shit for this again, but I wouldn’t be doing any olys if I were you. The reason I say this is that it doesn’t sound like you have a strong enough posterior chain to do them properly anyway.

And to answer one of your original questions, olys and speed squats and such will NOT give you direct carryover to sprint speed. No matter how fast you try to accelerate the bar, you’re not going to simulate the power production of the hip at full sprint.

Look, what would you say if I asked if you can kill someone with a knife? The answer would undoubtably be yes. But would it be smart to bring a knife to a gun fight? No because the gun is more dangerous than the knife, and you’d probably lose.

The same is true in your case. No matter how fast or how quickly you move the bar, it’s not going to contribute to sprinting speed because your sprinting speed is still faster. Does that make sense?

Heavy posterior chain work in the gym with a good sprinting program will do wonders for you. I urge you to read up on proper sprinting form. That you said you hit the ground with a stomp is key. This needs to be rectified, and may relate to your hammies. I don’t know who said it, but to paraphrase, the difference between sprinting and running is that you run on the ground and you sprint over it. Keep that in mind.

Good sites to check out if you haven’t are charlie francis’ and Joe defranco’s.

I should note that I am not a strength coach, and I don’t know much about sprinting, really. I am a powerlifter, so don’t take my word for gospel by any means, and good luck.

Peace,
Ryan

i was a football played myself, and what i noticed worked for me in terms of explosiveness was clean and jerks and snatches. i started out with cleans and jerks and then i progressed to snatch. also deadlifts and squats, but u r probably doing those a lot. u have to have a beast hamstring/gluts if you want to run fast, and also u need that explosive power for DE. u r a freshman, you should do good.

Why would you not want to include Olympic lifts? If you have read his book “The Charlie Francis Training System”, Coach Francis (arguably the greatest sprint coach ever) used cleans with all of his Olympic level sprinters.

I understand that we aren’t trying to develop Olympic caliber sprinting speed here, but the key in the case of the athlete is to develop explosive starting and acceleration strength/power. This is the kind of functional power that can be used in the 5-10 yards that distinguishes good players from Pro-Bowlers. Posterior chain work is a must, but to leave off explosive lifts is a mistake.

Stay strong
Mike

I?m a former running back, ran the 100 yard dash (yes yard I?m an old bastard, so I never ran 100m in competition), and my dad was a member of the Polish OL Weightlifting team, so this topic is of interest to me.

My recommendations are:
Read everything you can on t-mag.
Start reading the Charlie Francis forum. A few of us post/lurk there as well.

As others already stated strengthen your posterior chain and build your core strength with basic movements (bench, squat, deadlift, row, pull-ups, etc). Once you attain a reasonable strength level (squat 2x bw, bench 1.5x bw), you can insert some OL hybrid movements such as snatch grip and clean grip high pulls. The reason I would use hybrids is that they are much easier to learn, and would avoid full/power OL moves unless there was a real OL coach available.

The most important thing you?ll have to do to get faster is to work on your sprints and as a running back I would concentrate 50% of my time on 10-20 yards, 25% on 20-40 yards, 15% on 40-60 yards and 10% on 60-100 yards (I pulled those numbers out of my ass, so don?t ask me to justify them).

Why those percentages rick?

OK,
I like Rick’s idea with the oly’s. One thing Louie simmons said that stuck in my head was that squats will help bring up your clean but cleans will not help your squat. Keep that in mind.

I’ve said this before. A RB I train broke his clean PR by 30+ lbs, now actually 50lbs, and we do no cleans.

His coach thinks it’s magic. The only time he cleans is when his coach tests him. I’ve watched him and his form is good. We are now gonna add Oly’s and work off the tier system and clarlies weekly tepmlate for speed (speed-tempo-speed-tempo-speed-tempo) lifting on speed days. I was gonna start with the tier sooner but his strength was going through the roof with a WSB split.

I would suggest to read the forums over at www.charliefrancis.com, Charlie Francis helped some of the fast sprinters in the world, and the people over there are helpful.

squattin600,
I pulled those percentages out of my ass, but I based them on the fact that a good running back averages around 5 yards per carry. Add to this the distance he lines up from the line of scrimmage and the distance to the hole and you?ll have somewhere between 10-20 yards. That?s why I?d concentrate 50% of effort on the 10-20 yard range. The 20-40 yard range satisfies the criteria that most coaches utilize for testing (the 40 may not be a realistic test, but crappy results will give most coaches a bad impression). The 40-60 yard range helps develop and increase peak velocity time (2-3 seconds according to Charlie Francis and 9 seconds according to DB Hammer; I?m inclined to agree with Charlie). I use the 60-100 yard range to build the strength stamina required for football.

To further break the running down I?d spend 50% of the time working on straight line sprints and the other 50% of the time performing change of direction drills over the prescribed distances.

Aight I’ll try to get you some little info in before I go eat. For more speed work your hamstrings, your glutes, and calfs. For starts the main thing is your first push of your foot and driving with your arms. Next thing would be for your running practice jogging like just 50 yards. And when you job land on the ball of your foot curl your toes up when you run and try it like that. Gotta eat hope that helps. Also work your groin your adductors like mad cause it sucks to ge them hurt I know

Wek,

Beyond focusing solely on strength, how is your flexibility, body comp, etc.? Strength is only one factor you can improve when trying to improve speed.

Speed development may be difficult at your age also because coordination is often impaired due to the growth spurts you are probably experiencing.

Give us some answers to the questions above, and remember that becoming faster takes more than just getting stronger (all though it will definitely help!).

Stay strong
Mike

Mike, I knew I’d piss some people off with that!

Before I state my position, I should reiterate that I am not a sprinter, and have never trained a person to sprint better, nor have I trained with an a accomplished sprinter; so I have to admit some ignorance. Also, I have not read Mr. Francis’ book, as like I said, I don’t concern myself all too deeply with sprinting. I’m sure it is a good read, but I’m in college and I don’t have enough money to justify buying a book that I don’t really need.

I should also say that I respect your work, and that if I were wek, I’d take your word over some internet dude named Mayo. So anything I say in this post is not intended to argue or tell you you’re wrong. God knows you have a lot more experience with this than I do.

HOWEVER, I stated my opinion, and I think it makes sense. So dammit, I’m stickin with it until someone shows me with good logic why I’m wrong, so here goes:

Like I said, it doesn’t sound to me like wek here has the posterior chain strength to do a proper power clean, or snatch or whatever. If there isn’t sufficient strength to do the movement properly, how can a person reap the benefits of the movement? I don’t really see how one can. So right there, olys should be ruled out until the trainee can do them properly.

Further, I don’t really see how explosive weight lifting can directly improve sprinting. I can see it improving the cns’ ability to fire a large amount of motor units immediately, and that will help, but I don’t see it like ‘You want to have explosive legs on the field- you’ve got to train them explosively in the gym.’ Like I said, you can’t bring a knife to a gun fight, and you’re never going to simulate the power production of the glutes and hamstrings at full stride doing cleans. You’re just never going to move the bar that fast, so it’s not going to challenge the motor quality, and it’s not going to provide adequate stimulus to improve. Am I wrong here?

Again, I totally respect your work, and I am not trying to tell you that you are wrong, but I don’t think I’m wrong either. Please inform me where I may be misinterpreting information.

BTW, your article on core training kicked ass. I found the information very useful, so thankyou!

Peace,
Ryan

Ryan,
The power output of OL moves is much higher then that of sprinting at maximum velocity. I’m currently out of town and don’t have the sources to back that up, but I’m sure someone else can supply them. I agree that adding OL moves prior to building base level strength is a waste, but once that level is attained their inclusion (or OL hybrids if an OL coach isn’t available)into a sprinter’s strength program is a must.

Flexibility? Hell, im probably one of the least flexible guys on my team (which is like 100 people). I’ve never really seen it as an issue. My attitude has always been “I can’t touch my toes. So what?”

What are the benefits of flexibility?? I do a little bit of stretching before and after workouts, but I dont really put much focus on it.

I know one of the benefits is reduced susceptibility to injuries, but i’ve never been injured playing football, so it’s never been a real concern.

Now that i think about it, when i squat and start to reach parallel and further, it half stretches half hurts the inner portion of my legs. Dont exactly know what the muscle is called… Groin? :smiley:

Mike Robertson-“Body comp”??? This isn’t a term i am familiar with.

Also, I think i have a good idea now about working my hamstrings and calves as they are pretty sore after a workout. But I never really feel it in my glutes. Lately i’ve been doing straight leg deadlifts and good mornings.

Thanks a lot everyone :slight_smile: Keep it comin!