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Question 9/3 - September 3rd 2021

Todays question- “When in your training do you combine leg work with speed training”

The rules of speed improvement are pretty straight -forward; you need to perform each sprint with 100 percent effort, rest at least 6-seconds for every yard you sprint and you need at least a day or two of rest between sprint workouts. We can use these simple rules to govern how we set up a training schedule that will help develop speed, strength and power at the same time.
If we look at the first rule, sprinting with 100 percent effort, we know we can’t perform an effective sprint workout after a lower body workout. If we try to sprint immediately following a lower body lift, the fatigue from the lift will prevent you from sprinting with 100 percent effort. If you try to perform a speed session the day after a heavy lower body workout, the muscular soreness and the fatigue to the CNS will prevent you from sprinting with 100 percent effort. So, training on a leg day before you lift is a good way to make sure you are physically able to put in 100 percent effort on your speed work. We train legs twice per week and we sprint twice per week on those same days.

If you were looking for a simple explanation, stop here. I am going to go into a little bit more detail below.

100 percent effort will impact each athlete differently. The length of a sprint will impact each athlete differently.

Think of the movie Captain America during the scene where Steve Rogers is going through his experiment; he is locked in a chamber getting blasted by a vita-ray gun, the gun is powered through electricity, as the gun reaches 100 percent output there is a massive electrical failure due to the demands of the gun outweighing the capabilities of the electricity. Your central nervous system (CNS) is the vita-ray gun and the more efficient your CNS is, the closer you can get to 100 percent output. The closer you get to 100 percent output, the more stress you are applying to your body, the more time you need to recover.

The total length of the sprint is also important. A 10-yard sprint is not nearly as demanding as a 30 or a 40-yard sprint. A sprint workout consisting of 5 10-yard sprints will take less out of you than one consisting of 4 20-yard sprints.

Why does this matter? A college kid or a professional athlete will come closer than a high school kid to hitting 100 percent output due to CNS efficiency. As a result, each sprint will take more out of the high level athlete than the developing athlete, even if the total distance sprinted is the same. This is an important factor in planning out sprint workouts and strength workouts on the same day. You need to consider your output abilities and the priorities of the workout. If I am training a college kid who needs to get stronger, I don’t want to have her sprint workout take away from her strength workout by performing 5 40-yard sprints.

There are not too many scenarios where I would have my athletes sprint and train legs on opposite days. Make sure you sprint before touching the weights, prioritize recovery in between reps, keep in mind your output abilities and prioritize the goal of the workout.

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