Over the last few months I have watched the Bear Droppings thread grow to 11,000 views, great sign that people are investigating the importance of maximum strength training and the influence of speed and power athletes, specifically sprinters. Since I came up with the original post I will state my purpose is not to undermine the importance of strength training, but to share the reality of what is working and what people think works based on concrete evidence. ELITETRACK member, Mortac, a great resource due to his cynical beliefs, is a beacon of the truth. With all of the training articles, custom university power points, and of course message board posts, the truth is usually a young guy uploading the real workouts and most importantly video of a weight session. How heavy, how deep, and when and who did what will often kill the thread. The real question is how heavy must you train in order to run faster? With everything being specific what is the reality?
The solution is simple. Who are the best at each level and what do they do. No exotic rep schemes translated from underground cults, no DB Hammer CNS rest weeks with of course overweight wannabes, no magical deadlift ratios, no special single leg exercises with airex pads….just historical evidence. The truth is great results are coming from athletes that are sprinting and lifting with great speeds and moderate loads. While doing singles may work for advanced athletes, conventional training will have few max strength blocks and developmental athletes are unlikely skilled to perform such protocols. My favorite story was at a USATF school and seeing this uber complex periodization scheme for a freshman sprinter. My comments were how do you know the athlete is able to clean 84% of a one rep max in week 4? What if they haven’t lifted before? Reality. My point is that progressive overload can be achieved without doing singles as the sprinting has some very unique adaptations to muscle fiber and the morphology of the nervous system, something flat weights like squats can’t provide. One can post what some training hall in Bulgaria is doing, or show a westside video on youtube and I will say where are the sprinters? With training tapping in to the same resources acutely and chronically, I often see the lifts as secondary. A great lifting program may be implemented but at what expense?
In summary lifting is important but sprinting and other modes do have an influence in contractile dynamics as well, and one has to see what the training interactions are with two similar but different stimuli.