T Nation

Training for Speed & Power Sports?

Hi Dr Darden,

Am enjoying your new board.
What strength training recomendations do you have for sportspeople training for athletic sports. Sprinting, tennis, and so on, basically anything that requires some strength and power added to speed.
Typical models seem to focus on going heavy via deadlift, squat, bench. Or for more explosive olympic lifts. Have not seen much use of HIT.


Most sports require strength in all the major muscles. So I recommend an overall body workout, HIT style, twice a week.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to simulate with a strength-training exercise what happens in competition. Do not confuse demonstrating strength with building strength. Keep your strength training general and your sports practice specific.


I have always queried the going heavy approach with the traditional big lifts, intended to activate CNS and muscle fibre recruitment.
For example, given the debate of squat versus deadlift for lower body, how do you know which exercise best activates the muscle fibres for your event. CNS activation is best acheived by sports practise.
Olympic lifts are hard to master and avoid injury.

So thanks, your answer makes sense. Its interesting how many sprinting programmes I have seen go for heavy or olympic rather than general.


I’ve found improving my grip and “core” strength improved every aspect of my jiu jitsu, wrestling and striking. And sports are just easier when you’re strong(er)

There are some remarkable connections with having a strong grip and success in a bunch of sports.

I’m going to try this again . I was very good at sports that were heavy with leg involvement like cycling, running and rowing and to some extent basketball but was terrible at sports which relied heavily on hand involvement like baseball , gymnastics or golf possibly because I have weak grips. I could do hand stands across the gym fairly easy but on the rings forget it .

Any type of resistance training pales in comparison to sporting movements as regards speed.