Adaptation – Speed and Strength

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My previous post on adaptation as about getting the technical moving parts going in the right directions.  Now we have to consider the nervous system for speed and the muscular system for strength.

Einstein is quoted as saying “Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

I have a friend who trolls the ‘net’ for advanced techniques and wants to know how to train for a ‘new’ energy system.  I had years of that at Uni on glycolitic pathways and Crebb’s cycles and such, but when you get on the track without the full laboratory of testing equipment it doesn’t mean a thing. Let’s hear it for common sense.

Muscles are for strength.  The nervous system is for speed.  Do not mix them up.

By that I mean don’t try to improve your speed with weights and don’t try to improve your strength with speed.

strength in the gym, speed on the track.  How else can I say it????

Strength – absolutely.  Thirty minutes in the gym three days a week.  Warm up on the rower, 3 to 4 mins.

Dead lift, Bench Press, Oblique pulleys, Chins.  Find your 3 rep max for the first two (DL & BP) and when that gets easy add 10kg and go back to 2 or 3 reps.  For the other two build up to 10 reps then add weight (not reps).

This type of ‘lifting ‘ will strengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments in proportion and prevent injuries.

Speed – absolutely.  I am a short to long fan.  When you can run 10m flat out increase to 20m etc.  Have a long recovery between reps so you have a fresh nervous system each run.  Do a lot of agility drills as well to keep joints, ligaments and tendons up to the challenge.

Finally on adaptation;  don’t tell the academics this, but periodisation is crap.  Building your systems (flexibility, strength, speed and endurance) on a daily and weekly basis is a natural way for the body to improve proportionally.

If you train at 80% continually and ramp up three weeks before a major event you will be in a high state of fitness without ‘burning out’ or having overload injuries.

Remembering Wolffe’s Law, “The body will adapt to any reasonable challenge.” (my translation).

Adaptation and Biomechanics

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“But Da, kids know how to run.”  A quote from my 7 yr old grandson when I told him my ‘occupation’.

Unfortunately kids don’t know how to run and my job is to correct that.  And so to bio mechanics, or what are all the body bits and pieces supposed to do.

Basically, during a sprint, we have to apply a force to the ground to get an equal and opposite force reaction.  Simple physics.  Disregarding wind resistance the only opposing force is gravity.  If we apply our force straight down we go up and down.  If we lean forward and push we are using gravity to help us move forward.  Imagine balancing a long stick in the palm of your hand.  If you keep it upright and balanced it wont move, but as soon as it tilts forward you have to start moving with it. (force application).  If you move fast enough you can maintain that angle so you have force + gravity =speed.

We need to harness this equation with our body angle when we run.  Different body angle at different speeds.  We have to develop power to control the most acute angle (starting) and technique to control our power output through the race.

Let’s look at our body as three parts of a whole, torso (hips to shoulder), limbs (arms and legs) and balance (head and neck).

Our torso needs to be strong, core strength, to counter the cyclic forces of the limbs.  The feet are going to travel through a rotation coming off the ground, folding heel to butt, swinging through above the opposite knee and extending straight until coming in contact with the ground again.

With the arms locked at 90 degrees at the elbow the hands do a quarter circle from the hips to eye level in the same time it takes for the foot to do it’s complete rotation.  The hand is at the hip, starting upwards as the foot drives off the ground.  Get this right in ‘tempo’ runs (50/80%) and your technique is 3/4 done.  The most common mistakes are; not allowing the hands to reach eye level and not having the feet recover higher than the opposite knee.  And of course a balanced head.

And that’s why we DO DRILLS