T Nation

Track And Field Lifting


I was thinking of getting back into Track this year, and I was wondering if there were/are any programs that might benifit me in my endeavors. Only previous sports related lifting was football, but honestly, that was just benching, squating, trap bar squats, and tricep pulldowns.


Depending on what you're doing you will want to do a couple different things.

If you're running long distance, then you should have joined up with your cross country team earlier this year.

If you're going to do sprints or throw I would suggest starting WS4SB.

I recommend this to everyone who is in athletics because it was designed with the athlete in mind.

The 2nd version of WS4SB is more sport specific and has more running and sprint work for athletes nearing their sport.

I would give either one a try for 4-6 weeks, while eating 5-8 meals a day. You could easily put on some mass.

If I were you I would also incorporate powercleans, and variations of the snatch as well as front squats into my training arsenal.


I'm sorry to contradict you, but WS4SB is not all it's cracked up to be for track athletes. Team athletes can do great on it, but not sprinters. There's not enough emphasis put on sprinting and too much put on gaining mass.

To the OP, I assume you're a sprinter since you're coming from a football background. My advice to you would be to worry about track work before you even think of the weightroom. Finish up your sprints and then go lift weights. You can do it right after your sprints if you want, but I'd recommend you wait 4-6 hours.

In the weightroom, just stick to the basics. I like split squats, lunges, GHRs, reverse hypers, 1-legged hypers, and heavy weighted abs. You can power clean or snatch if you want too, but they're not necessary.

As for sets and reps, you may need nothing more than something like this:

Lunge or split squat, 2-3 x 6-10 per leg
Hip extension, 2-3 x 6-10
Abs, 2-3 x 6-10

Stay far away from failure and progress gradually.

Again, the weightroom is important, but not anywhere near as important as having your track work in line.


First of all the event you are preparing for would be a good start if you want help. The events and their physiological demands play a large role in the program you would need. Obviously you would need some type of periodized program giving you a good base then gradually moving towards your goal (power).

The track is number one, as RJ24 said, but the weightroom can make you that much better, if it is planned right, and you stay away from injuries.

For track there are times of the year when you feel beat up and sore all the time, and then you recover for the big meets and peak your training to get optimal results at the right meets.


I'm a sprinter it worked for me. I needed to get fast, I needed more muscle. I ate, and I trained hard.

The running takes care of it self, thats what track practice is for. Spending 30-60 minutes getting in shape and running sprints does go a long way, but you need power and strength to go places fast.

I dropped 4 tenths of a second off my 100m time as well as 5 tenths of a second of my 200m time.

Gaining mass really isn't that hard to do or not do, just eat an excess of calories, if the OP dosn't wan't to put on any extra weight, then he should eat the required amount of calories for him to stay at the weight he is at weight.

I guess the countless number of baseball players, hockey players, wrestlers and football players on the eastside just got big and slow while on this program.


xb, what are your times? How about your height, weight, and numbers in the weight room? I ask because when people are really skinny or weak then the weightroom is the way to go, but if you're already strong then you won't get a ton from lifting. Trust me, I know this from experience.

I'm naturally very strong, so I did what I was best at and stayed in the weightroom to the point where I flat out neglected sprinting. It lead to me being able to run out to 30M as fast as a 10.9 sprinter and able to jump out of the gym, but I can barely break 12 in a full race as my endurance is horrible.

Also, you defend this program as if you have some stake in it. Why is that? As I said, it'll work great for a team sport, or at least some team sports, but people need to understand that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all template.

Weights need to be tailored to the individual and their sport and just picking and choosing from a generic template is not the way to go. Do you really think that baseball players, wrestlers, football players, and sprinters should all do the same thing in the weightroom?


Not exactly the same, but doing the basics; squats, deadlifts, and bench will yield great results.

The reason I encourage people to use this program, is alot of first time athletes are just getting to the weight room and could benefit from squating. They do not have a good sense of direction when it comes to set/rep schemes, and ws4sb has everything layed out.

If you read through the article Joe states that the program is very versatile and that you can add, or change exercises to tailor your needs, on the track, on the gridiron, or on the court.

My best times were 11.2 FAT and 23.5 FAT in the 100m and 200m respectively.

My best lifts are as follows.
Bench 205
Squat 255
Dead 300 x4
Powerclean 185 x 2
Front Squat 175

I'm 6'3 and weigh 165 lbs.


hey guys i thought i'd chime in for a lil.

I use to be a LJ/TJ but before that I ran the 400m.

What i think is that WS4SB can be beneficial for off-season training, especially if the sprinter is new.

Also, as RJ24 stated, workouts on the track should be prioritize over the weights. Sprinting, technique, drills, etc. should all be done before the weightroom workout. In the weightroom, you should emphasize on heavy compound and explosive movement such as squats, deads, and power cleans. Reverse hypers and GHR can be great addition too if you have those available.

By lifting in the gym, you are mostly likely going to gain a better start and acceleration off the block.

Sorry if my post is a lil unorganize and out of place, i'm currently having a hard time ingesting this huge bowl of oat!


xb, you are right, the basics usually go a long way. Also, WS4SB can be used in the off season by a weaker sprinter, but it would not be compatible with full track practice. And as for exercise selection, I feel that there are better things for sprinters than squats and DLs. Personally, I would recommend lunges over squats and GHRs or reverse hypers over DLs.

Not only are they less taxing but they allow for a higher load on the targeted musculature.

And after looking at your stats it's obvious why you made great gains off of a Westside template. You badly needed strength before and WS4SB provided that.

To the OP, if you are relatively weak then WS4SB might be the way to go for a couple of months, but after that you'll need to cut the volume of weights and get back to real sprint training.


I wouldnt go that far my friend, lunges and gh are great lifts but I wouldnt pick them over back squats. Maybe something like this:

back squat
bench press
glut ham

db incline
rev hypers

Snatch dl or back squats
glut ham


I don't know, UT. I like lunges (or split squats) better than back squats. Oftentimes, one will fail in the back squat due to the spinal erectors failing. During lunges or split squats, one will always fail due to the legs tiring out. Because of this, it's obvious lunges hit the muscles of the legs harder.

Then again, lunges don't provide nearly as much CNS stimulation as back squats. But really, if you have enough high intensity elements in place, the back squat isn't necessary for that purpose. Plyos and sprinting will provide more than adequate CNS stimulation.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the back squat (it's a great lift), but I just like lunges better.


I think you should qualify this statement by saying that an individual program is better if it is designed by someone who knows what they are doing. I think it is much better for someone with little experience to use a template than to try and design something themselves.

WS4SB, particularly the second one, is meant to supplement other training and speed work. It probably can/should be modified for a track runner, but I find in hard to believe that one leg day a week would be too much leg work. In fact, the program is pretty much what you recommend with lots of single leg squat/lunge variations and posterior chain work.


Don't forget that an exercise such as back squat can help develop maximal strength that will be useful in acc dev. IMHO, exercises such as back squat and deadlifts are great for developing maximal strength. Whereas GHR, reverse hypers, and lunges are great accessory lifts that can supplement to what an athlete is already doing.


As an athlete/coach you want the biggest bang for the buck and I think back,front squats,snatch dl are better, dont get me wrong I think single leg lifts are very important and have performed my best when during lunges with 315+ for reps.


I'm sorry if I came off like an arrogant ass.

But I just took the basic structure of ws4sb and made it more open ended to suit what I needed. Which was stronger hamstrings, so I did GM's and snatch grip DL's ect.

After being around the iron game for 4 years, I developed a decent sense on what worked for me and what didn't. I utilized what I knew and used it to my advantage. The problem with new trainee's is they are uneducated and don't have enough gym time in to know what works and dosn't work.

I agree that if the athlete already has a decent level of strength that track work would be the #1 priority for in season, and that the weight room would be secondary. But as soon as his last meet was over, I would encourage him to get back in the weight room 3-4 days a week and pound it out good.


No problem man, it's easy to get mixed up on the internet.

Now, there's nothing wrong with Defranco's stuff, but people should know that all of the athletes he trains are freakishly speed dominant, so just doing what they do will not get them the same results. For the stronger guy who's not athletic, they have to do things a lot different than Joe recommends. I'm not sure about how the OP's body works, and just in case he was strength dominant, I didn't want to make the problem worse. A sprinter can almost never go wrong with track work.

to Oboile, yes, someone has to know what they're doing to design a program. I assume anyone who's serious enough will take the time to learn what they're doing.

As for the WS4SB template, again, it's good for the off season, but not in season. Even one day, done heavy or to failure, can screw with a sprinter's schedule. CNS fatigue accumulates pretty damn quickly when you mix max squats with top speed track work.

to Doh, you don't need to do back squats to gain MaxS. Just doing intermediate hypertrophy work with lunges, GHRs, etc. in conjunction with accels and top speed sprints will build all the strength an athlete will need, while being easier on the CNS. Will it get you powerlifter strong? No, but sprinters don't need to be.



I'm a 110 meter hurdler in high school. I am wondering what I should do to leave all the others in the dust. I am currently weight lifting right now. I've been weight lifting since the gym opened which was around 8/20. I am kind of following the Designer Athletes program by Mike Robertson.

I'm starting to incorporate some hip mobility drills into my workout after reading EC's article about uses for the smith machine. [I've only been lifting for 4 weeks, but have gotten lots of progress.] Should I continue lifting or, should I start hurdling with a couple hurdling track buddies. I'd like to say, I'm pretty damn weak, short [5'4"], skinny fat[129].

My focus is not on Indoor Track during the winter. I want to peak towards the end of Outdoor Track during the spring. So, to sum it all up, should I lift until winter track starts, then start getting my hurdle reps/practice in, or should I stop lifting and just focus on hurdling. Or...lift mostly upper body but hurdle on the off days, and just 1 leg day a week, probably Saturday.


Wangster, its only september now. Cutting out lifting now is a terrible idea, you still have ~8 months til the big meets. You want to peak for outdoor track, then you have to have a plan, building a base peaking towards that. Speed/strength AND technical development.


Strength increases are only relevant if they lead to power increases - so your current level of strength is an indicator of your direction of training. Even power increases must be evident in sport specific motor patterns - ie stretch shortening cycle - not simply in a concentric or eccentric movement pattern.

If you want my advice read some of the articles on Verkoshansky's web site or better still purchase his book Special Strength Training a Coach's Guide (I believe that is the title) - The gains that I have seen from athletes following his advice are very, very impressive


Wow, I really do have 8 months towards the big meets. Thanks, I didn't even realize that. I'll definately keep lifting and start incorporating flexibility stuff in my workouts.
I'm 15, so far in 3.5 weeks of training, I've increased my back squat from 105x5 all teh way to 125x6.My single leg squat went up from 22 pound dumbells in each hand to 30 pound dumbbells in each hand. Bench increased from 90-105.

This are probably just some beginner gains..but I'm having fun. Oh, and my chinups increased from 1 to 6. I'll probably test my 1RM for all the exercises next week.
I will probably get my general hurdle form down in winter's indoor track and will try to perfect it in the spring.