How to Improve “Flat Out Speed” in 30 Days Mike Akerson

How to Improve “Flat Out Speed” in
30 Days
Mike Akerson
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Before I sprint into explaining this linear speed development
program, it’s important to know that I am fortunate to work in a facility
that provides nearly unlimited toys to keep our athletes entertained and
reaching peak performance. I believe that using speed development
equipment can assist a trainer by providing an entertainment value to
keep athletes from getting bored and also as a means of experimentation
to find the right mix of ingredients for goal achievement. The challenge is
figuring out the art of cooking those ingredients perfectly for the gourmet
meal; or in this case, the perfect performance.
Whether your Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos tight end, and you
swear by certain equipment or Terrell Davis, former NFL running back,
who trained with no equipment and ran sprints up hill growing up, there
are methods proven clinically by exercise physiologists and others
anecdotally by applicators like me in the field that continue to garner
positive results. Given the circumstances of this challenge; my company
on its last leg, a $500 budget and one athlete to make or break my
career; I initially thought – I would have to really screw up to get myself
in this situation! I better use the $500 for diapers and baby formula –
not to mention look for a new career! Getting back to reality, I realize
that this athlete would have to be incredibly desperate or confident that
I’m the guy to help him although I had lost almost everything. Whether
motivated by desperation or a relentless desire for greatness, at least we
had motivation to carry us to the next step – achieving a mutual trust
(the key ingredient any athlete/coach relationship) in order for
something magical to happen for the both of us.
Fantasy Storyline
For the purpose of measuring our goal of flat out speed, we’ll use
the 40-yard dash as our measuring stick in which our athlete, Mr. Po
Totential will shoot for his perfect performance. Let’s pretend that
achieving 4.3 seconds is what will make or break Po’s career and my
career as a performance coach. For the sake of this storyline, which
needs to meet the criteria of an athlete with average ability and running
mechanics, we’ll say he’s already within striking distance of achieving his
goal. His time, 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, is average ability by
other NFL receiver standards. He has the “Potential” to run a 4.3 second
40 yard dash considering his mechanics are defined as average by our
known facts. All I have to do is maximize his mechanics through perfect
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
motor programming, get the most out of every single muscle fiber in his
body and create a mental giant that believes he can outrun a cheetah –
no problem ☺
Our 26-year-old, 5-year veteran athlete, Po has lost a step and is
battling to save his job considering his team just signed a receiver in the
first round of this year’s draft. He’s been guaranteed to sign if he runs a
4.3 second 40-yard dash. To complicate matters, let’s also pretend that
we are unable to contact his former strength coach for any information
regarding past programs and measures.
Whether an elite athlete as in this case, a high school athlete
or a recreational athlete, I would use the same training principles
but modify intensity and exercise progression in this precompetition phase program. One may consider adding agility and
change of direction (COD) training to develop the complete athlete;
however, in this case we will focus on improving only linear speed.
Equipment Considerations
A tool I use for variable resistance that’s very low cost are resistance
bands. One product is Resist-a-bands from Perform Better. I’ll buy a 6yard box of light, medium, heavy for a total of $27.00. If things don’t
work out, I could use them to hang myself ☺
For heavy resistance training specific to maximum strength, I’ll
need dumbbells if nothing else. I could buy them at $.40 per pound. A
set of 10lb dumbbells and a set of 50lb dumbbells for about $50 + $25
shipping would be enough. Any variation needing more or less weight
while loading the athlete, I could assist or resist the load manually.
However, on total body power moves it’s highly dangerous to do that. To
get the dumbbells shipped and transport them in my car would take too
much time and effort.
Being resourceful and because it was not pointed out that we
couldn’t use our equipment budget for gym usage, I will join a gym with
my athlete and pay for one month. I’ll train with him and carry my own
liability insurance in case anything happens.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Resist-a-Bands = $27.00
1 month gym membership for two = $75
(Or if I lived in the woods with no gym around)
50lb and 10lb dumbbell sets = $75
Equipment Costs = $102.00
Remaining Balance = $398.00 (to be invested later in the athlete)
My Linear Speed Training Philosophy
High or heavy resistance training (HR) has been shown to improve
the initial acceleration phase of sprinting (Delecluse et al 1995) by
increasing fast twitch muscle fiber strength. This type of training
increases the maximum force of muscle contraction, one factor in
measuring power (force x velocity) (Sheppard 2003). Examples of
exercises would be heavy (3-5 reps x 85% or greater loads) 1 leg squats,
1 leg RDL’s, 1 leg snatches, lunges and step-ups. I train all athletes
unilaterally considering it’s a functional reality of human movement.
These types of unilateral pushing exercises with a natural rotation also
accentuate the Serape Effect (the way the right internal obliques, left
external obliques, left serratus anterior and left rhomboids all work
together and criss-cross with their counterparts on the other side of the
body) to recruit the external obliques and the serratus anterior (Holt
2002). Compound maximal strength exercises are essential to speed
development considering nearly all 600 muscles of the human body are
firing during sprinting. With only 30 days prior to testing, I do not
recommend any type of hypertrophy training through single joint
exercises; rather, get the most out of what the athlete already has.
Other methods and terms I use are defined as reactive
neuromuscular training (RNT), high velocity (HV) training and elastic
equivalent training (EET). Basically, these methods at some point during
their application require lighter loads moved at higher rates of velocity to
increase the rate of force production. I use linear RNT in the beginning
of every speed workout with bodyweight only, moving as quickly as
possible. RNT utilizes the stretch-shortening cycle to enhance
neuromuscular efficiency, rate of force production, and reduced
neuromuscular inhibition (Clark 2001.) It heightens the excitability of
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
the nervous system, which improves performance (Voight 1992). I prefer
bodyweight only to work on sprinting mechanics nearly every morning
session. It’s important to point out that the terms RNT, HV training,
plyometrics and power training can all mean the same thing. By
definition they all have the same goal – increase the rate of force
production; the single most important factor in speed development.
Elastic equivalent training combines a strength exercise with a
biomechanically comparable reactive exercise (Clark 2001). It specifically
enhances neuromuscular efficiency and power production. EET is a
National Academy of Sports Medicine term while the National Strength
and Conditioning Association calls it “complex training” (Chu 1996).
Whatever term you use to describe it, its how you apply it that’s key to
eliciting an improvement in speed. This type of training is highly
intensive and requires excellent mental focus. I employ EET methods
after one week of evaluating athletes so I can assure the athlete
possesses the correct biomechanics to perform a sprint specific type drill
immediately following a heavy resistance exercise without them. I’ve
heard some professionals in our field call the use of heavy resistance
bands for speed development as a gimmick to sell equipment. It is factual
that loading with resistance bands specifically increases ground contact
time during their application, if you compare to sprinting without this
type of loading (Bompa 2003). However, I believe that this method
emphasizes maximum strength of fast twitch muscle fibers specific to
starting or take off power.
Furthermore, I believe that if you classify heavy resisted sprints as
a strength exercise and follow that immediately with bodyweight RNT,
you are performing an example of EET! Furthermore, I agree with Mike
Clark, President of NASM, who suggests, “exposing individuals to
training programs that utilize the entire contraction velocity spectrum.
Applied exercise physiologists or performance coaches like myself are
seeing success with these methods in the field on a regular basis.
In my program, I use HV training by way of dumbbell-loaded
resistance, variable resistance bands or bodyweight loading. For HV,
we’ll do some of the same compound weightlifting exercises performed as
the HR exercise but use less weight, or resist-a-bands. I’ll also
implement exercises for repetitive force production with stability such as
bodyweight one leg squats as fast as possible immediately following the
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
same exercise with resistance. Some of these moves are what I call
“sprint specific”. The intent is to simulate specific joint angles related to
starting position and acceleration as rapidly as possible.
I classify field/stadium HV Drills into two categories: 40 Start Drills
and Acceleration/Top Speed Drills. Smaller angles of ankle flexion, knee
flexion and hip flexion emphasize starting or take off power with greater
strength demands are required to move upwards and forwards.
Movements with greater angles of ankle flexion, knee flexion and hip
flexion beginning in an upright, staggered stance should be used for
acceleration and top speed training. Training at a field with a stadium
allows me to use the stadium steps for RNT or variable HV training. Not
to mention, stair sprints forces dorsi flexion of the ankle repeatedly. An
element that is more difficult to teach on flat ground.
Rationale for Additional Expert Analysis
Now more than ever, there are experienced specialists that assist in
athletic performance and rehabilitation. I’d be a fool to disregard the
clinical and anecdotal analysis of the world’s leading experts. Whether
they are a physical therapist or a successful track coach or track athlete,
I’ve been fortunate to make some great contacts and use their experience
as resources when I want confirmation or additional information
regarding program design. Since this is what has made me successful in
my career, I feel it valuable to invest some of my equipment budget in
some local colleagues. This shows the athletes that I have their best
interest in mind and that I realize the importance of surrounding myself
with successful people. In the fantasy storyline with our athlete Po, we
learned that we were unable to contact his former strength coach for any
information. Therefore, we have to gather data related to Po’s current
status that will serve as our baseline.
With these facts, I can focus on any weaknesses in an attempt to do
some last minute tweaking. I’ve found many athletes to suffer from weak
supporting muscles because many programs are designed in one plane of
movement. Seeing this often, I suggest strengthening the
adductors/abductors through unilateral training to help the ankles,
knees and hips in the support phase of sprinting. Foam mats, balance
boards or other unstable surfaces are great for add/abd muscle
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
contractions. I’ve even found sand sprints to also fire those muscles up!
Tudor Bompa (renowned exercise physiologist) points out, instability
increases ground contact time which decreases maximum speed (Bompa
2003) I agree! However, I believe that by using unstable surfaces, the
stabilizer muscles contract more forcefully developing maximal strength,
which will in turn assist the primary movers when the surface is stable,
and help decrease ground contact time. Again, I encourage using
unstable and stable surfaces to combine neuromuscular efficiency as a
means of enhancing speed.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
30-Day Pre-Competition Mesocycle (5 Week Summated Microcyles)
Week 1 (Days 1-7)
Session
Mon 1
Tues 2
Wed 3
Thur 4
Fri 5
Sat 6
Sun 7
Morning
Speed
RNT + BW
Pool
RNT +
HV Lower
Pool
Off
(9:00am)
Testing
Acceleration Recovery Starting
Recovery
Drills
Drills
Afternoon HR Upper
HR Lower
Ice Bath HV Upper RNT + BW
Ice Bath Passive
(4:00pm)
Acceleration
Stretch
Drills
Week 2 (Days 8-14)
Session
Mon 8
Tues 9
Wed 10 Thur11
Fri 12
Sat 13 Sun 14
Morning
RNT +
RNT + BW
Pool
RNT +
RNT + BW
Pool
Off
(9:00am)
Starting
Acceleration Recovery Starting
Acceleration
Recovery
Drills
Drills
Drills
Drills
Afternoon HR Upper
HR Lower + Ice Bath HV Upper HV Lower
Ice
Passive
(4:00pm)
+ EET
EET
Bath
Stretch
Week 3 (Days 15-21)
Session
Mon 15
Tues 16
Wed 17 Thur1 Fri 19
Sat 20
Sun
8
21
Morning
Midway
RNT + BW
Pool
RNT +
RNT + BW
Pool
Off
(9:00am)
40 Goal
Acceleration
Recovery Start
Acceleration
Recovery
Assessment Drills
Drills
Drills
Afternoon HR Upper +
HV Lower
Ice Bath HV
HR Lower +
Ice Bath Passive
(4:00pm)
EET
Upper
EET
Stretch
Week 4 (Days 22-28)
Session
Mon 22
Tues23
Wed 24 Thur25
Fri 26
Sat 27
**Sun28
Morning
RNT +
RNT + BW
Pool
RNT + BW
RNT + BW Active
Dynamic
(9:00am)
Starting
Acceleration Recovery Acceleration
Only
Stretch Warm
Drills
Drills
Drills
Starting
Up Only
Drills
Afternoon HR Upper
*MR/HV +
Ice Bath HV Lower
Unload
Passive
Passive
(4:00pm)
+ EET
EET Lower
or Off
Stretch
Stretch
Week 5 (Days 29–30)
Session
Mon 29
Tues30
Morning
Dynamic
Test!
(9:00am)
Warm up
Only
Afternoon Passive
Sign Pro
(4:00pm)
Stretch
Contract!
Note: Each morning workout includes dynamic warm up and active isolated
stretching. Post workout recovery is passive stretching followed by ice, ice bath
or contrast bath.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
* MR/HV + EET Lower = Medium Resistance with High Velocity followed by
bodyweight elastic equivalent. This is the first example of tapering the resistance as
we progress to bodyweight only resistance by Thursday.
Exercise Selection
HR Upper Body (80-90% RM) = 4 sets x 3-5 reps alternating continuously
∗ Warm up with dynamic stretching for upper body and 50% 1RM 1
set x 10 reps. Increase ROM, increase circulation and lubricate
joints.
Neutral Grip (Palms In) DB Bench Press
Perform on bench or stability ball for extra core work. Alternate presses
continuously to simulate arm drive.
Bent Over, Neutral Grip, Staggered Stance DB Rows
Perform with legs in track start position. Load front leg with 70% of
bodyweight and rear leg with 30% of bodyweight. Keep core contracted
and spine in neutral position. Alternate DB rows to simulate arm drive.
Neutral Grip, Staggered Stance 1 Arm DB Power Cleans
Great exercise for explosive take off. Perform from the floor for total body
power.
Neutral Grip, Staggered Stance 1 Arm DB Snatches
Great exercise for explosive take off. Perform from the floor for total body
power.
Specific EET Example following HR Upper Exercise
Arm Drive Only Sprint in Staggered Stance
Complete heavy resistance upper body exercise and immediately perform
arm drive as fast as possible for 4.3 seconds (the time goal of the
athlete’s 40-yard dash.)
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Heavy Core Training Exercises
Staggered Stance DB Wood Chops
Transverse plane movement performed standing. Heavy loads are very
risky for trunk. Rotate and elevate DB from hip to opposite shoulder.
Keep feet in staggered stance.
Elevated Reverse Crunches with DB
Best performed from the Roman Chair. Hang with DB between feet.
Perform hip flexion and contract abdominals as you lift your legs.
Supine Bicycle Kicks with Heavy Variable Resistance Bands
Lie on back. As you perform bicycle kicks or press outs with your legs,
pull the heavy resistance bands with your hands or feet horizontally
twisting to increase the load to your core.
DB Loaded Reverse Hyperextensions
Fix upper body horizontally. Place DB right below your knees. Perform
reverse hyperextensions for low back and hip extension strength.
HV Upper Body (30-45% RM or variable resistance with light to medium
bands)
∗ Exercises will be timed for continuous repetitions until 4.3
seconds (our 40 yard dash goal). Perform as fast and controlled
as possible. Sprint specific relaxed neck and facial muscles.
Neutral Grip (Palms In) DB Bench Press
Perform on bench or stability ball for extra core work. Alternate presses
continuously to simulate arm drive.
∗ If you have access to adjustable cable column machine or Free
Motion Chest Press, perform staggered stance, alternating neutral
grip chest press. Keep elbow at 90-120’ of flexion. This would be a
more sprint specific posture for arm drive.
Resistance Band Arm Drive (Push Specific)
Load the athlete’s hands with light to medium resistance bands from
behind the athlete diagonally to the ground. Keep elbow at 90-120’ of
flexion and perform arm drive.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
∗ For take off or starting speed (first 10-15 yards), have athlete
perform this with an exaggerated forward lean.
Bent Over, Neutral Grip, Staggered Stance DB Rows
Perform with legs in track start position. Load front leg with 70% of
bodyweight and rear leg with 30% of bodyweight. Keep core contracted
and spine in neutral position. Alternate DB rows to simulate arm drive.
∗ May also use adjustable cable column machine or Free Motion
Adjustable Arm Machine for staggered stance, alternating neutral
grip rows.
∗ Free Motion Adjustable Arms also allow push/pull exercise to
combine chest press, deltoid front raise and upper back row.
Use neutral grip. Shorten ROM by keeping elbow at 90’-120’ flexion
to simulate sprinting arm drive.
Resistance Band Arm Drive (Pull Specific)
Load the athlete’s hands with light to medium resistance bands from in
front of the athlete diagonally upwards. Keep elbow at 90-120’ of flexion
and perform arm drive.
∗ For take off or drive phase (first 10-15 yards), have athlete perform
this with a forward lean.
Neutral Grip, Staggered Stance 1 Arm DB Power Cleans
Perform from the floor with greater forward lean for drive phase (first 1015 yards). Perform from the hang for acceleration and top speed
achievement greater than 15 yards
∗ Remember, elite athletes are still accelerating through 40 yards but
less experienced athletes may reach top speed earlier when
sprinting.
HV Core Training Exercises (4 sets x 4.3 seconds)
Staggered Stance Resistance Band Wood Chops
Transverse plane movement performed standing. Load beside and below
athlete’s hip for eccentric core contractions, followed by beside and above
shoulders for concentric core contractions.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Elevated, Alternating Leg Reverse Crunches with Variable
Resistance Bands
Best performed from the Roman Chair. Wrap individual band around
feet and load below athlete. Perform alternating hip flexion and contract
abdominals as fast as possible.
Supine Bicycle Kicks with Light Resistance Bands
Lie on back. As you perform bicycle kicks or press outs with your legs,
pull the light resistance bands with your hands horizontally twisting to
increase the load to your core. Next set, wrap resistance bands
individually around each foot for hip flexion and reverse crunch.
Light Variable Resistance Band Reverse Hyperextensions
Fix upper body horizontally. Place light resistance bands around each
foot. Perform alternating leg reverse hyperextensions for low back and
hip extension.
∗ Each one of these high velocity core exercises involves the rectus
femoris (hip flexor) and performs diagonal contraction of the
abdominals, obliques and chest/shoulder complex. My goal again
is to accentuate the Serape Effect through push/pull rotation.
HR Lower Body (80-90% RM) = 4 sets x 3-5 reps unilateral loading
DB 1 Leg 70’ Squats
Stand on 1 leg holding heavy DBs. Non-supported leg moves behind you
as support leg flexes at ankle, knee and hip. Return to full extension
before dipping again. Simulates flexion/extension of ankle, knee, hip at
both swing and support phase of sprinting.
DB 1 Leg RDLs
Stand on 1 leg holding heavy DBs. Non-supported leg moves behind you
as bend at the waist with slight flexion at the knee of supporting leg.
Simulates dynamic hamstring stretch, low back and hip extension in
swing phase of sprinting when returning to upright position.
DB Step Ups / 1 Leg RDL Combo
Step up on box that will elevate your knee to your hip (sprint specific
biomechanics). Drive non-support leg up with ankle, knee and hip
flexion. Immediately bend at the waist while lowering non-support leg
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
behind the body stretching support leg hamstrings. Use hip extension to
return upright and step off box.
DB Long Stride Lunges
Step forward and lower body assuring ankle, knee and hip flexion. The
long stride will stretch the glutes on the loaded leg and challenge the low
back erectors and hip extensors forcefully when returning to upright
position. It will also stretch the rectus femoris (hip flexor) of the nonloaded leg.
Specific EET Examples following HR Lower Exercise
Single Leg Squats With Anterior Reach
Keep arms specific to sprinting biomechanics as you perform single leg
squat as fast as possible for 4.3 seconds. Can be used following any of
the HR lower exercises.
Single Leg Bounds
Start from track stance and explode outward and upward on same leg.
Use sprint specific arm drive and perform for 4.3 seconds.
Split Squat Jumps
Start from staggered track stance and explode upward, moving forward
leg to back and vice versa with arm drive as fast as possible for 4.3
seconds.
HV Lower Body Weight Training (30-45% RM)
∗ Exercises will be timed for continuous repetitions until 4.3
seconds (our 40 yard dash goal). Perform as fast and controlled
as possible. Sprint specific relaxed neck and facial muscles.
DB 1 Leg 70’ Squats
Stand on 1 leg holding lighter DBs. Non-supported leg moves behind you
as support leg flexes at ankle, knee and hip. Return to full extension
before dipping again. Simulates flexion/extension of ankle, knee, hip at
both swing and support phase of sprinting. Perform as fast and
controlled as possible with anterior reach.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
DB 1 Leg RDLs
Stand on 1 leg holding lighter DBs. Non-supported leg moves behind you
as bend at the waist with slight flexion at the knee of supporting leg.
Simulates dynamic hamstring stretch, low back and hip extension in
swing phase of sprinting when returning to upright position. Perform as
fast and controlled as possible.
DB Step Ups / 1 Leg RDL Combo
Step up on box that will elevate your knee to your hip (sprint specific
biomechanics). Drive non-support leg up with ankle, knee and hip
flexion. Immediately bend at the waist while lowering non-support leg
behind the body stretching support leg hamstrings. Use hip extension to
return upright and step off box. Perform as fast and controlled as
possible.
DB Long Stride Lunges
Step forward and lower body assuring ankle, knee and hip flexion. The
long stride will stretch the glutes on the loaded leg and challenge the low
back erectors and hip extensors forcefully when returning to upright
position. It will also stretch the rectus femoris (hip flexor) of the nonloaded leg. Perform as fast and controlled as possible.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Field/Stadium Specific “Starting Drills” and “Acceleration Drills”
(Bodyweight or variable resistance bands - refer to microcyle)
∗ Exercises will be timed for continuous repetitions until 4.3
seconds (our 40 yard dash goal). Perform as fast and controlled
as possible. Sprint specific relaxed neck and facial muscles.
∗ Perform 4 sets. Set 1 with resistance for maximal force contraction,
1 without resistance for RNT and 2 sets EET (With resistance band
for 4.3 seconds and then immediately without x 4.3 seconds.)
Field / Stadium Starting Drills
Single Leg Bounds
Start isometrically loaded from track stance and explode outward and
upward on same leg. Use sprint specific arm drive.
Double or Triple Stadium Stair Sprints from Iso-Loaded Track
Stance
Start isometrically loaded from track stance and sprint up stadium steps
skipping either 1 or 2 steps per stride. Maintain dorsi flexion of ankle.
Bodyweight or resisted 10-15 yard sprints
Start from track stance and explode outward and upward. Use sprint
specific arm drive.
Vary starting position for fun such as: on butt, on belly or on back.
Repeat, repeat, repeat for acceleration.
Field / Stadium Acceleration Drills
Jog, Sprint 10 yard Repeats
Repeat 10-yard jog and 10-yard sprint for 4 cycles, 3 sets.
Armless Jog, Sprint 10 yard Repeats
Repeat 10-yard jog and 10-yard sprint for 4 cycles, 3 sets. Drill takes
away arm drive (hold arms overhead) and puts in back in for assistance.
Intent is to force legs to work harder.
15 yard Flying Start 10-yard sprint
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Works on Phase 2 of our 40-yard dash program. Emphasize proper
mechanics and mental focus during this drill. Perform 3 sets timed of 10yard sprint following 15-yard 75% effort flying start.
25 yard Flying Start 15-yard sprint
Works on Phase 3 of our 40-yard dash program. Emphasize continued
acceleration through finish. Perform 3 sets timed of 15-yard sprint
following 25-yard gradual acceleration flying start.
10 yard Flying Start 1 Leg Bounds
Jog for 1st time yards and begin bounding on 1 leg with 15-30’ knee/hip
flexion for 15 yards. Maintain sprint specific arm drive. Drill forces
explosive hip extension. Perform 3 sets.
Single Stair Sprints
Can be performed with our without arm drive to add intensity to legs. (4
sets x 4.3 seconds)
Acceleration Combos
∗ Vary the drills to increase intensity.
Example 1: Jog 10 yards, perform single leg bounds for 10 yards and
accelerate with 15-yard sprint finish.
Example 2: Sprint 10 yards from standing start, take away arm drive for
15 yards and add back arm drive for final 15 yards.
Recovery Training Methods
∗ Wednesday and Saturday are active recovery days.
∗ Sundays are complete rest with the athlete performing his own passive
stretching.
Pool Dynamic Warm Up
Using the water as light resistance, our goal is to increase circulation to
the muscles drawing nutrient rich blood in to enhance muscle repair.
The drills are the same as listed under Baseline Testing Section that
includes dynamic flexibility and linear RNT for speed mechanics
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
development. RNT is performed half speed for recovery at 50-65% of
maximum heart rate.
Active Stretching and Passive Stretching
Active stretching is defined as the process of using agonists and
synergists to dynamically move the joint into a range of motion (Clark
2001). Following our morning dynamic warm up, we have athlete
perform active isolated stretching under our guidance to compliment
motorneuron excitability. For example, after performing B Skip, we’ll
have the athlete performing a straight-leg raise stretch using the
quadriceps and hip flexors to stretch the hamstrings (Clark 2001).
Passive Stretching is defined as the ability to sustain a static stretch
with bodyweight, limb support, or external apparatuses such as a chair
or bar. This type of stretching is great post workout because it relaxes
athletes, as they don’t have to exert any effort in the stretch. Research
has demonstrated that this type of static stretching prior to activity
decreases motor unit recruitment and the rate of force production
(Nelson et al 1998 & Shilling, B., Stone, M. 2000). I do not use this
method during a workout only as a means of recovery post workout or on
recovery specific days.
Unloading Day
When an athlete is feeling tired, sore or not mentally focused, we
sometimes throw in basketball or another active game in the place of the
typical training schedule. With this 30-day program, it is imperative to
vary the intensity of the workouts so the athlete will not feel like they
need this unloading day often.
Ice, Cold Bath or Contrast Bath
Cold applied to muscle tissue following workouts reduces swelling,
muscle spasms and decreases the flow of waste products associated with
muscle and collagen breakdown. Making sure an athlete has no
contraindications to cryotherapy, we recommend 20 minutes of ice or 3
minutes of immersion in 50-60’F cold water. A contrast bath is another
modality used in physical therapy where a patient, or in this case
athlete, does 5 minutes heat, 3 minutes cold immersion, 5 minutes heat
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
and 3 minutes cold. Always finish on cold. Research is limited on
contrast baths and cold immersion. A general review of cryotherapy can
be found (Kerschan-Schindl et al 1998).
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Day 1 Detail - Building Trust
The single most important day of our program will begin with a
weigh in at a grocery store and breakfast meeting at 7:00 am so I can
thank my athlete, Po Tential, for taking a chance on me. Our meeting
goal is to define the master plan that will manage Po’s drive towards
speed. Manage is the key word. An effective coach manages much more
than the training an athlete performs for a couple hours twice a day.
There’s nutrition, recovery and work or family related stressors that also
impact an athlete’s performance each day. My interview process to
understand the complexities of Po’s typical day will seem like a workout
in itself. My goal is to develop a mutual trust and partnership in the
journey we take together. It’s a partnership that includes much sacrifice
but has even greater rewards if we both stay focused. Peter Coe, father
and trainer of Sebastian Coe (one of the greatest middle distance runners
of all time) finely wrote, “The best coach-athlete relationships are those in
which each can tune in to each other with the greatest success.” (Martin
& Coe 1991). A coach must know when to turn it up, ease back or give
an athlete a day off to prevent overtraining.
A sampling of my initial interview questions…
1) Why have you chosen me to help you reach your goals? Is there
anyone else to support US in this process? What obstacles do you
foresee?
2) What are your expectations for the next 30 days?
3) What have you done in the past that has got you this far?
4) What’s your favorite dinner food? (You get the point!) Remember
answer to #4 for Day 28 Dinner.
Breakfast bill = $18.50
Remaining balance = $363.50
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Baseline Testing Begins
Test
Weigh in at the local grocery store before our breakfast.
Purpose
Whether or not to decrease body mass for
our general nutrition strategy.
F = ma (Force = mass x acceleration)
force/mass)
a=F/m (acceleration =
• How Po accelerates will depend on the force he creates driving his
legs through the ground to propel him forward in relation to his
body weight. Excess bodyfat will only slow us down. Unless my
athlete is 5% bodyfat and doesn’t require losing anymore, I feel 4-6
lbs is reasonable to lose in 30 days. Having performed thousands
of body composition assessments, I can use my trained eye to gauge
whether Po needs to lose any extra weight. For this scenario, we’ll
say Po meets the requirement to lose 4-6lbs of bodyfat gradually
over the next 30 days. We’ll weigh in before and after each workout
twice per day. I’ll need to make sure Po stays well hydrated and
rehydrates after each intense workout that results in body water
loss. For every lb of body water lost during the workout, Po will
consume 16 ounces of 75% water diluted Gatorade to aid in
electrolyte replacement. He’ll pay for the Gatorade! I also
recommend that all athletes take a multi-vitamin.
• Po will keep a food journal that I will provide so I can calculate
calorie intake and projected expenditure. $1.69 for the journal.
The information – priceless. I’ll take Po (as I do with nearly all my
elite athletes) to the grocery store to teach him how to read food
labels and select low fat, low sugar foods. For the type of training
we’ll perform, I suggest 30% of calories come from protein sources,
50-60% from carbohydrates, and 10-20% come from fat. Total
calories and the percentages of nutrients may be adjusted
according to how Po feels, and whether we are increasing his power.
Having only 4-6lbs to lose of unwanted body weight in 30 days will
require great feedback from the athlete and coach to determine if it
is gradual and muscle sparing weight loss. It is highly unlikely an
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
athlete’s body can stay in an anabolic state during this type of
training. However, research has shown that taking BCAA’s following
a workout can reduce muscle damage and increase synthesis under
certain conditions. Furthermore, when a hypocaloric diet (for fat
loss) is added to the equation, there is additional support for
BCAA’s building muscle mass and enhancing recovery (Mourier et
al 1997) (Lemon & Mullin 1980). If the athlete has the money, they
should consider BCAA’s.
Food Journal Bill = $1.69
Remaining Balance = $360.81
Day 1 (Morning Session 9:00am)
Po and I are off to our local physical therapy clinic to confirm he is
healthy and to get another professional opinion by an expert in human
movement. Specifically, I’ll pay $200 for a 1-hour gait analysis and a
muscle balance test on the Cybex Linea. This data will measure strength
balance in the lower extremity muscles, identify ROM deficits and/or
joint instability. We need this information to determine exercise intensity
progression. This determines whether the athlete has proper
biomechanics for intense speed training methods such as EET.
• Muscle balance tests can be performed traditionally by using
adjustable cable column with ankle strap for hip flexion/extension,
leg extension, leg curl, low back extension and toe lift machine at
local gym.
Gait Analysis/Muscle Balance Test Bill = $200
Remaining Balance = $160.81
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Day 1 (Morning Session continued at local high school field with
stadium steps)
Athletic Ability Component(s) Identified
Dynamic Warm Up
Neuromuscular Flexibility, Running
Form, Stride Length and Frequency,
Conditioning, Coach Ability
Dynamic Flexibility Drills (2 sets x 10 yards each)
Lunge and Trunk Twist
- Looking for long stride, neutral spine and ankle/knee/hip stability.
(Quick and controlled as possible)
Lateral lunge
- Looking for adductor flexibility and abductor power and stability.
(Quick and controlled as possible)
Crossover Lunge
- Looking for IT Band/glute flexibility and power.
(One leg over the other, foot in neutral position and squat)
∗ Although we are training Po for linear speed, we must ensure the
surrounding synergist muscles and stabilizers are powerful enough
to assist the major movers involved in hip flexion and extension
through the swing and support phase of sprinting. Weak abductors
and adductors will decrease performance and could cause injury to
our athlete.
Step Back RDL’s
- Looking for hamstring and rectus femoris flexibility.
(Performed on single leg)
A – Skip
- Emphasize rapid (AKH) ankle, knee and hip flexion.
B – Skip
- Emphasize rapid AKH flexion followed by knee extension.
(Skipping with alt. knee extension)
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
∗ A and B Skip dynamically stretch the calves and Achilles tendon
and are more RNT type drills.
Linear RNT Drills for speed mechanics development (3-4 sets x 15 yards)
Walk 4, High Knees 4,6,8
- Emphasize rapid (AKH) ankle, knee, hip flexion with great arm drive.
(Walk 4 steps, high knees 4, 6 or 8 steps) (pocket to chin) (RNT principle)
Single Leg Cycles (R and L Leg)
- Emphasize rapid arm drive and AKH flexion
(Walk 4 steps, rapidly turnover 1 leg only) (RNT principle)
Single Leg Drag Cycles (R & L Leg)
- Emphasize arm drive and rapid AKH flexion and extension to propel
body horizontally.
(Keep one leg in knee and hip extension and dragging off metatarsals,
while other leg repeatedly cycles as fast as possible) (RNT principle)
Additional Baseline Testing
Broad Jump – Single Leg from start stance
- Take Off Power
(Measure both legs to check power balance. Perform 3 trials.)
Turnover 10 Dash - Double & Single Leg
- Neuromuscular Recruitment / Stride Rate
(One touch every yard mark on field. Alt leg touches on double leg test.
Simulate drag cycle on single leg test. Perform 3 trials.)
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Starting Stance Assessment
- Lower body static flexibility
∗ Ankle flexibility is crucial in creating great force application for take
off (Bompa 2003). Running stairs or hills increases ankle dorsi
flexion, which in turn increases force application (Vescovi & Brown
2003).
∗ Refer to my 40-yard dash analysis.
15-yard dash
- Take off Power
Middle 10 (15 yard flying start)
- Stride / Acceleration / Focus
Final 15 (25 yard flying start)
- Acceleration near Top Speed Finish
* Perform 3 trials of each test.
∗ By timing these three distances, my colleagues and I have found you
can help an athlete breakdown the fear of achieving a perfect 40. It
helps you quantify positive results to your athlete at three phases
instead of an all-or-none 40-yard dash result. Add up the three
segments to get a projected 40 and use the data to determine which
phase, you’ll need to focus on. That’s where you as the coach has to
modify the training emphasis to elicit specific adaptation for force
development or rate of force production.
40 yard dash
- The Measuring Stick of Speed
(Wait until Day 15 to test at max effort.)
∗ Just in case your athlete is incorrect in judging his 40 time in the
interview, why shoot him down the first day? I prefer not to give an
athlete a sense of failure within the first two weeks of beginning a new
program. Show them success! You will get an idea of the athlete’s 40
time by the sum of the three phases (15, middle 10 and final 15)
during the other baseline testing. Focus on those key areas until you
are either confident you can show the athlete success or the athlete
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
can handle the truth because he believes that he’s making progress
and believes in his coach.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
My 40-Yard Dash Analysis
Start Position and Take-Off Key Points
1. Index finger and thumb on starting line of right handed or left handed
athlete. Shoulder should be directly over hand. Upon start, fire arm
back as if pulling the grass out of the ground.
2. Front leg (generally left leg for right handed athletes and right leg for
left handed athletes) between 4-12 inches back from starting line.
This varies according to leg length and flexibility in trunk and legs
(generally taller athletes line up further back). Athlete should be able
to keep a neutral spine position (ready for attack) with scapula
retraction (shoulder blades back).
3. Athlete is low enough to create good force angles between ankle/shin,
knee and hip/trunk. We look for 120’ angle or better in knee flexion.
Too high will result in a less explosive start.
4. Opposite arm is at 120’ of flexion with hands loose just off the side of
your greater trochanter (end of your femur where it attaches to hip).
5. Back leg is generally between 12-18’ behind front leg and no wider
than hip width. Again – this may vary with taller, inflexible athletes.
6. In this position, athlete feels like they are about to fall forward with
little weight resting on front hand on starting line.
7. Take a deep breath, count 1-2 and take off on 3. Exhale and explode
with maximum force shooting out of a box (straight ahead and drive.)
Drive Phase (1st 10-15 yards)
1. We measure the first 15 as our drive phase.
2. Having a solid take-off with the correct angle of knee flexion upon the
start helps the athlete maintain a forward lean as he drives through
the ground.
3. This phase has the greatest dorsiflexion of the ankle/shin as it pushes
through the ground to create the force forward.
4. Maintaining neutral spine at this position will also have the athlete
still looking downward.
5. Arm drive should swing from pocket to chin with a 90-120’ of elbow
flexion. Loose hands too.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Acceleration Phase II (15-25 yards)
1. We measure the middle ten yards as a means of identifying an area
where athletes sometimes lose concentration or bear down too much.
2. We teach positive self-talk at this phase (“Drive my arms and relax –
no problem.”)
3. Watch for athlete with jaw clenched, neck straining, etc. Cue him or
her to loosen up by touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth.
Acceleration Phase III (25-40 yards)
1. We measure the final 15 yards as our third component in timing.
2. This is where we can identify issues with stride length or frequency in
regards to flexibility of legs and force production.
3. Teach athlete to accelerate through race as if they are running a 60.
4. Elite athletes will accelerate throughout. Others may reach top speed
earlier.
Most Common Issues
Short stride
Possible Causes:
Tight rectus femoris/ biceps femoris or low
force production.
Over-stride
Running with plantar flexion
Feet hit each other
while accelerating
Tight IT Bands causing ext rotation of hips
or weak adductors and abductors
Slow Turnover
Needs RNT (reactive neuromuscular training).
Coach arm drive.
Zig Zag Start
Pushing laterally off drive leg.
Jaw and neck clenched,
Stiff upper body
Over–exerting (Trying too hard)
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Day 2 – Day 14
Refer to weekly microcycles and follow exercise selection lists that give
detail on sets, reps and/or time-based training.
Day 15 Midway Goal Assessment
After dynamic warm up, have athlete perform 1 set of each of the
following drills:
1. 15 yard dash
2. Middle 10 (15 yard flying start)
4. Final 15 (25 yard flying start)
Test 40-yard dash twice. Give all positive feedback first. Give correctivecoaching feedback next. Record time results and evaluate trying
program success thus far. Determine if anything needs to change or if
athlete is on schedule for test day goal achievement. Remainder of
workout, focus on starting drills.
Day 16 – Day 22
Refer to weekly microcycles. Follow exercise selection list for HR or HV
exercises specific to morning or afternoon workout.
Day 23
Begin tapering intensity and resistance. Medium resistance (60-80%
1RM) x 3-5 reps in place of heavy resistance lower body exercises.
Decrease volume of sets to 2 per each resistance exercise but still follow
medium resistance with EET exercise.
Day 24
Recovery Day. Refer to microcycle.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Day 25
High velocity lower body weight lifting exercises in place of typical HV
upper body. Rationale is to allow ample time for upper body to rest prior
to test day and allow for additional activity demands to be specific to the
last loaded lower body day.
Day 26-29
Bodyweight only drills with improving the rate of force production
as entire training emphasis.
Two days prior to event (Day 28) surprise athlete with a recovery
massage from Sports Medicine Neuromuscular Massage Expert. Also,
take athlete out to dinner and enjoy a carbohydrate rich meal. Devise
plans for testing and encourage mental visualization for athlete’s perfect
performance. Encourage the athlete to get enough sleep (8 hours per
night) leading up to test day. Remind athlete not to overload stomach
with food or fluids on test day.
Day 28 Massage = $100
Day 28 Dinner = $60.81
Remaining Balance = $0.00
Day 30
Have athlete perform dynamic warm up (1 set per drill prior to testing). If
at all possible, be there to support your athlete!
The Proverbial Question – How did Po perform?
Po-fect!
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
REFERENCES
Bompa, Tudor. Gimmicks vs. Reality. NSCA National Convention,
Indianapolis, July 17, 2003.
Chu, D.A. Explosive Power and Strength. Champaign, IL Human
Kinetics, 1996.
Clark, M. Integrated Training for the New Millennium. National Academy
of Sports Medicine. 4, 15, 273, 274, 367, 374. 2001.
Delecluse, C. Influence of strength training on sprint performance.
Sports Med. 24(3): 148-156. 1997.
Delecluse, C., H. Van Copenolle, E. Willems, M. Van Leemputte, R. Diels,
and M. Goris. Influence of high-resistance and high-velocity training on
sprint performance. Med Sci. Sports Exerc. 1:1203-1209. 1995.
Holt, S. 3-4-5 Total Body Strength System. Retrieved 8/16/03 from
http://www.fitnessworld.com/info/info_pages/library/strength/function
0902.html
Kerschan-Schindl K, Uher EM, Zauner-Dungl A, Fialka-Moser V. Cold
and cryotherapy. A review of the literature on general principles and
practical applications. Acta Med Austriaca. 1998;25(3):73-8.
Lemon, PW, Mullin JP. Effect of Initial Muscle Glycogen Levels on Protein
Catabolism During Exercise. J Appl Phys. Apr. 48(4):624-629. 1980.
Martin, D., Coe, P. Training Distance Runners. Champaign, IL. Leisure
Press. xv-xvii. 1991.
Mourier A., Bigard, AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec
CY. Combined Effects of Caloric Restriction and Branched Chain Amino
Acid Supplementation on Body Composition and Exercise Performance in
Elite Wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. Jan. 18(1):47-55. 1997.
Nelson, A.G., J. D. Allen, A. Cornwell, J. Kokkonen: Inhibition of
Maximum Torque Production by Acute Stretching is Joint-Angle Specific.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
26th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Chapter of ACSM, Destin, FL
Jan 1998)
Shilling B.K., M.H. Stone: Stretching: Acute Effects on Strength and
Power Performance. J. NSCA. 22(1): 44-47. 2000.
Sheppard, J. Strength and conditioning execise selection in speed
development. NSCA J.. Volume 25(4): 26-30. 2003.
Vescovi, JD., Brown, TD. Actions of major muscle groups during
sprinting. NSCA National Convention, Indianapolis. July 17, 2003.
Voight, M. Static Shortening: An introduction to plyometrics. Orthop
Phys Ther Clin North Am 1-2: 243-252. WB Saunders, Philadelphia,
1992.
Weyland, P., Sternlight, D., Bellizzi, M., and Wright, S. Faster top
running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid
leg movements. J Appl Physiol. 89:1991-1999, 2000.
Young, W. Training for speed/strength: Heavy vs. light loads. NSCA J.
15(5):34-42. 1993.
Young, W., B. Benton, G. Duthie, and J. Pryor. Resistance training for
short sprints and maximum-speed sprints. NSCA J. 23(2):7-13. 2001.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
Mike Akerson, MS, CSCS* D, HFI
NSCA North Florida Director
Training Services Team Leader / Head Trainer, RDV Sportsplex
First a teenage bodybuilder and a member of the United States
Weightlifting Federation, Mike Akerson made a name for himself by being
a champion, scholar athlete in high school. Following his passion for
performance training, Mike went on to compete in numerous powerlifting
and bodybuilding competitions while at Florida State University earning
his bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Fitness.
Mike Akerson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant strength
and conditioning coach at Florida State University. While assisting with
the dynasty football program, Akerson worked with the most successful
defensive ends in FSU history. After finishing his Master’s Degree at FSU
and earning nationally recognized credentials as a strength and
conditioning specialist, Akerson began The Sport Specific Training
Program at RDV Sportsplex in October 1998 with a handful of athletes.
Equally as impressive as his client roster of NFL, MLB, NBA, and various
other athletes is Akerson’s dedication to the performance industry by
speaking at NSCA and ACSM clinics and conferences on training athletes
and the general population.
Mike is currently serving as North Florida Director for NSCA and Head
Trainer at RDV Sportsplex. Mike oversees 25 full-time trainers in this
365,000 square foot, world class training center. Mike’s favorite quote is
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” He
believes that you should always do your best to prepare yourself in all
your endeavors so that you can be the recipient of good fortune when
given the opportunity.
Mike is married to Shannon Akerson, an elementary school teacher, and
they have one daughter, Ellie. Mike spends all his time at RDV
Sportsplex (his version of Disneyland) and with his family in Orlando,
Florida.
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com
To learn more about Mike and RDV Sportsplex, check out
www.rdvsportsplex.com/sportspecifictraining
or email Mike at [email protected]
Copyright 2004 http://www.SpeedExperts.com
For more great programs, check out http://SportSpecific.com