Damn, I think it was even colder out this weekend than last. I’m a trooper, though – notice the fixie in the background of the picture 🙂 I must say, though, that this workout was rather abbreviated. I began with some ballistics, dynamic stretching, sprint starts and approximately 50 shoulder dislocates to get in the groove. Then:
- 8 x “flying” 100s. Approximately 2 minutes between sprints. “Flying” = a 10 to 15 yrd. “run in” or “bounding” start – as opposed to a dead or block start. For me, this is a cold weather/muscle pull precaution.
I then went into a sled drag/muscle-up/prime-time combo. I didn’t keep track of reps and such in this combo. I alternated drags and prime-times with muscle-ups in groups of 3s & 5s until I missed, then when back to the drags and prime-times. About 3 rounds or so of that.
For me to explain why I performed the sled drags the way I did – in an upright, straight-legged, marching motion – we need to first consider the sub-components comprising any sprint over, say, 10 meters or so. Now entire careers can be (and, in fact have been) built upon analyzing the sprint, and what I’m going here is simply throwing out the rudimentary core components. Those basic components are:
- Reaction Time
- Block Clearance
- Drive Phase
- Maximum Velocity
- Negative Acceleration
Now, most folks would assume that sled drags should be done with a hard lean-in, approximating the position of the first few steps out of the blocks (a “prowler” type motion could be substituted here as well) – and, properly prescribed, this can certainly be a good idea. However, the bulk of most sprinting is done in the post-transition phase, i.e., in an upright position, and the inability of an athlete to maintain power production in this position is what ultimately limits the athlete’s sprint time. In fact, I believe this is the most overlooked aspect of bettering sprint performance with athletes not directly involved in track & field. Most strength and conditioning programs fixate on the initial few steps of the sprint – which is no doubt important – however, to fixate on this aspect is to leave lots of potential speed as just that – unrealized potential, left on the table.
I know that some S&C coaches prefer to perform this motion like this, however, I prefer to employ more of an exaggerated, fascist goosestep motion. In other words, I reach out with a nearly locked knee, pulling through and as far back as possible with the heel, toeing-off only at the last possible moment. And I concentrate on one leg at a time – for instance, 10 reps left, followed by 10 reps right. Again, I apologize for not having video of this…someday, I promise! “Prime-times” are the ballistic, bodyweight version of this motion, done for speed and per-step distance, with the only technique difference being that I remain on the balls of the foot throughout, with no heel strike.
For a little more on the topic, see this EliteTrack post.