Especially in the team sports setting, success is usually defined by the speed of the game. Athletes who are faster, and in better condition will have the advantage.
How coaches, athletes and parents view speed development can vary greatly. However, the most difficult concept is accepting that something so simple can be effective, and can be used to improve performance in almost every sport.
Let me explain.
There is a misunderstanding between the strength and mass connection, which has created a vicious and sometimes deadly cycle of using performance enhancing drugs to gain mass and strength. An athlete may be determined to make a team, get a new contract, or justify a hefty salary etc.
One of the most groundbreaking studies on speed was Peter Weyand’s study, Faster Top Running Speed Are Achieved With Greater Ground Forces Not More Rapid Leg Movement.
A common question we receive from parents and coaches is this “My kid runs funny, can you do something with his stride…?” or “Is speed (sprinting) an acquired skill or just gifted ability?”
Here’s the honest answer from Peter Weyland’s research, who is widely recognized as the worlds leading scholar on the scientific basis of speed and human performance:
- Sprinting is a complex skill set that is directly related to musculoskeletal biology of an athlete
- Sprinting down the field or track requires the ability to apply a ground force 4-5x’s their body’s weight…in less then one-10th of a second…without losing their balance and overcoming the vertical forces to emphasize horizontal velocity with each step.
- Proper training can improve speed through the following:
Regular high speed running
Improved motor control (technique)
To simplify the information above, the 2 components of faster running are:
1. How often you contact the ground; how much muscular force you can deliver during ground contact; how much ground contact time is available to deliver that force. The predominant factor in running faster is the ability to generate and transmit muscular force to the ground.
2. How much force you can put into the ground. Lifting weights with the hopes to creating more mass, relates in more of a gravitational pull, so therefore extra mass is working against you! So what matters is the amount of force in relation to body weight, or mass specific force (MSF). There are specific ways to lift weights where you can become incredibly strong without gaining mass.
In the next post we will look at what is the relative importance of stride frequency vs. stride length for top end running speed.
If you need help getting faster, let us show you how to gain a distinct advantage over your competition this summer. >>>> CSF Summer Strength & Speed Program
“I was absolutely floored watching her sprint the other night at practice with a completely different stride! AwesomeNess!!! – Megan Burrows, mom of 11yr old soccer player, Belchertown, MA