Sprinting (and HIT)

Hi all,

I’ve trained using HIT for around 3 years, but decided I want to spend even less time in the gym (ha), and as such have recently taken up sprinting. My main goal now is just getting as fast as I possibly can over 100 metres.

I currently go to the track twice a week, and my sprint workout at the moment is simply:

  • Extensive warmup and stretching.
  • 2x 10 metres.
  • 2x 30 metres.
  • 4x 100 metres.
  • Cool down.

This takes a hell of a lot out of me, and while I obviously don’t plan on giving up weight training completely (hence making this thread), I’m looking for some thoughts/ideas around training plans, as 3 intense sessions a week plus adding 2 track sessions simply makes me feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.

If there’s anyone else who does sprinting and HIT, or has done similar in the past, I’d be really interested in how they structure their weight training to complement their track goals.

Many thanks!


You might go to YouTube and look up Dr. Mercola HIT and Sprinting. He trains this way and has a few videos about it.

Look at the Feed the Cats videos by Tony Holler. Structured around a short to long approach to sprinting ( which is very HIT in its outlook…and low volume).
Try this Atomic Workout as a quick and low volume approach.
I would say that at the moment your sprinting program has way too much volume. No development of speed should go beyond 5 seconds. After that it starts to develop into speed endurance. No top sprinter trains for the 100 metres by actually running 100 metres in training. Charlie Francis stated that beginner sprinters (which we can assume that you are) should focus on going no further than 30 metres. Holler outlines 40 yards as the ideal distance, so not much difference there.
In the end it really also depends on where you are putting your focus. Sprint coaches like Holler and legendary Charlie Francis would state that weight training should complement sprinting, but never be put before it, either in focus or literally. Sprinting should always be done when feeling fresh, as fatigue promotes bad mechanics and improper practice.

Similar to sgg.

Speed sessions should be based around efforts of 10m to 40m.
Limit total volume to 200-300m.
Do this twice per week.

As you get closer to an intended peak replace 1 speed session with a speed endurance day.
Efforts of 40-70m.

Lift weights after a speed session. OR something like
Day 1 Speed
Day 2 Wts
Day 3 Rest
Repeat the 3 day cycle. If you feel tired sometimes take 2 rest days in the above cycle.

HIT. Few (if any ?) sprinters document using HIT neither does it occur in typical coaching approaches. It is considered a bodybuilding approach. Note it does not seem to appear in Cristian Thib pgms on this site nor other sports orientated coaches.
More typically they use more explosive olympic lifts. Or a general strength pgm.

Barry Ross

Underground Secrets to Faster Running

@atp_4_me can you summarise the point you wish to make about Barry Ross training from this book.

Most material I have seen about BR training for strength is the focus on deadlifts + BP, certainly not HIT. Combined with short distance sprints as I mention above.

There is some suspicion about his references to coaching of Alyson Felix for a short period only in her teenage years as proof of anything.

There was actually an article on this very idea in, I believe, ‘Ironman’ way back when. With the addition of wind sprints, the suggestion was to basically cut Ham and Calf training in 1/2, by reducing the frequency. Quad training may be scaled back to a lesser degree.
If you currently train these leg parts once/week, you simply 1) go to weight training them every other week or 2) divide your leg workout n 1/2, doing one 1/2 one week and the other 1/2 on even weeks.

Mr. df,

Out of respect for Mr. Ross , now deceased, I would prefer not to do a condensed version of his writings. However, mass specific force, strength, gravity, and weight can be measured and not argued. Barry Ross was an expert in these areas.

His book most likely can be read online. His book was written a few years ago. His protocol was based on research and many clients. Dr Peter Weyand’s mass specific force research was completed years ago.

@H1ghIntensity You asked the question, what are your thoughts on the feedback you are getting ?

@simon_hecubus. I would not attach too much weight to an article in Ironman on strength training for sprinting - unless written by a coach/participant in athletics.
Wind sprints are not a term used by sprint coaches. Its likely derivation is Arthur Lyddiard in his peaking phase for endurance runners.
Nothing wrong with the magazine I am sure, its just not their gig.
Never heard an athlete who trained according to a programme defined by body parts as you describe.

@atp_4_me Simplistically, a sprint programme can be fundamentally identified as short to long or L-S. Using extensive tempo and/or intensive tempo, or not. And the typical volumes.
Along with whether the strength training is HIT or not. And if not what approach it does recommend.
Whether plyos are an important part of training.
The author`s views on the technical aspects of sprint technique.
Other supplementary methods such as hills and sleds.

Barry Ross is best summarised in his own words in this short article. Its pretty obvious where he sits on the spectrum of the above options.
The Holy Grail in Speed Training: A Fitness article from Dragon Door Publications | Dragon Door.
Even though he is dead I would still summarise him as S-L, do all strength work in the gym without getting too heavy (ie beware hypertrophy work and diet). No supplementary strength methods such as hills. In the gym focus on DL, BP, 1xoly lift, abs. Plyos.
No endurance work such as tempo.

It was by a conditioning coach, if I remember. The main takeaway I had was: IF you’re a weight trainer and you decide to take up Sprints*, then your Leg Weight Training MUST decrease in volume. It never pretended to be a How To for speed-instilling sprint training. It was simply using Wind Sprints as an adjunct to your weight training and conditioning. You criticisms are based on a faulty premise.
*The sprints were supplemental for weight training. Weight Trainers have their programs defined by bodyparts or Lifts (where the bodyparts are implied, at the very least); if you did not know that, then perhaps this is “not your gig” and you’re in the wrong place!

Many years ago when running faster was important to me, I stumbled on this technique for building speed.

Run downhill, making sure to make foot-to-ground contact as much as possible. No gliding.

My theory is it teaches the body to move faster, using gravity to push the limits.

Incorporate this as much or as little as you feel beneficial. I suggest two or three downhill sprints added to a workout once every two weeks. Be careful as it’s easy to lose control.

Good luck with your training!

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@perrymk1 Overspeed running, such as downhill, is a known approach in sprinting, and your explanation is valid. Some consider it has drawbacks since it can encourage a less natural sprinting technique/mechanics. IMO for an early stage sprinter time is better spent on the basics of short distance normal sprints (aka Holler, Francis and Ross), good technique and relevant strength training.

Simon, whats your background in athletics and sprinting ??

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You seem to have your answer(s) as regards Barry Ross. Certainly he was a fine coach, and he was extremely nice online. I miss his input on sprinting.

@atp_4_me Thanks for the steer towards Barry Ross. Very relevant as a possibility for the original poster (where is he ?..) and interesting for me. Have seen him mentioned a few times on athletics sites but only via snips of his training approach. Feedback from posters usually positive.
The Dragon Door article above is a good overall summary.
I would say that Tony Holler`s running/plyos approach is very similar but without the BR weights programme - which looks suitably simple and to the point.

Are you a (Masters ?) sprinter yourself ?



Btw, Mr. Holler is another nice guy.
He is into speed. I informed him of ideal no-huddle football offense schematics. Perhaps one day coaches of football will have enough intelligence to engage all elements of the human physiological limits. This would require intelligence on the behalf of participants also. Maybe some day!