Sprint season is coming up

February 3, 2014

Sprinter Christophe Lemaitre in action

A big component of TLA’s programming is sprinting. As soon as the weather warms up (usually the end of February) we start the sprinting process. When initiating a speed training program a tempting mistake is starting too aggressively. However, this temptation must be resisted as down the road aggressive programming often leads to either poor technique or muscle pulls. After all, many TLA clients come from a day of sitting. Combine this with hours of lying down on a bed and you have a system that is not exactly primed to move fast. Instead the system needs an adjustment period. For most, this adjustment will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks. A month and a half of prep might seem a lot but when you consider the benefits a good sprinting program provides the introductory prep is worth it. Clients will say they feel great- there muscles feel strong and powerful-they feel leaner. With benefits like this you want to make you start right.

The most crucial period of this introductory phase is staying loose. There is nothing uglier than a tight sprinter. From a coaching perspective it just looks wrong. At TLA we advocate micro stretching. In 13 years of business we have still to find a better preparation tool than the 4 or 5 micro stretches advocated by Nicos Apostolopoulos. When these 24 0r 30 mins of light stretches are implemented in the evening before a sleep the benefits are massive. The effect far surpass the effort. This includes a more relaxed nervous system, looser muscles and more importantly a body that is prepped for higher intensive sport movements. As a result when the client is moving they will feel great.

When the client comes in for the actual workout it’s all about dynamic prep. At TLA we have three phases.

Phase 1: Easy. This includes just moving easily. We like to see clients go for light jogs. Just enough to raise the body temperature. About 5 mins.

Phase 2: Dynamic. At TLA we do 10 minutes of dynamic stretching exercises to reduce muscle stiffness. Dynamic (ballistic) stretches through a wide range of motion work best because they are closer to the athlete’s actual movements in the sprint. We like to include heel kicks, A skips, funny walk kicks, achilles, lateral lunges, hip swings, and fast calf movements. We will also include a set # of plyometric jumps, finishing off with starts & acceleration runs.

Phase 3:Sprinting. We will initially start with low percentage sprints of 60-70% for about three weeks, before moving to the higher intensity sprints of 70%, 80%, & toward the last week 90%. During this introductory if required we will video clients with coaches eye for instant feedback and introduce other technique tools such as tire pulls, sled drags, & on the spot mirroring for movement awareness.

All in all it will take half an hour to forty minutes. When it’s complete the client is ready for an intensive 30 minute lifting routine before heading home.

Easy peasy!

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