The new speed formula prioritizes ground contact force and ground contact time. In a previous post I discussed how to decrease ground contact time. In this post I'll discuss how to increase ground contact force.
The new speed formula states:
Speed = Ground contact force / Ground contact time
Simply increasing ground contact forces without regard to the direction of the force will result in less than ideal results. Fast speeds require forces in the right direction. When the foot strike is in front to the center of mass, breaking forces are introduced. See my this post on running form. In this situation ground contact forces are high, but in the wrong direction. So we want to eliminate the breaking forces and maximize the vertical and horizontal propulsive forces. During acceleration, the direction of the ground contact force will be more horizontal and transition to a more vertical direction as the sprinters gets into a maximum velocity phase.
Here are 4 ways to develop more ground contact force in the right direction.
In the previous post I argued that speed is Newtonian. In fact, I proposed a new speed formula:
Speed = Ground Contact Force/Ground Contact Time.
The variables of this formula deal with force vectors and very small time differentials. In this context it seems then to maximize force and minimize time strength and quickness are necessary.
This article by Boo Schexnayder on the mechanics of the jump approach has influenced how I think about developing quickness in my athletes. As I outline below, developing quickness isn't as easy as you think.
Speed is Newtonian. That is, it follows Newton's third law of motion; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Speed is the result of of ground contact force (GCF) and ground contact time (GCT). How these two forces work together is the new formula for speed.
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body. -Newton's Third Law of Motion
The purpose of a warm up is to prepare the body for what is to come. Therefore, it should reflect the type of training session it precedes. On a high intensity training sessions should begin with a warm up whose instinsity builds. I like to include agility ladders towards the end of a warm us session before higher intensity training days.
Agility ladders have usually been the domain of court and field sports. Given the change of directions and numerous accelerations involved in these sports, agility ladders will help develop these qualities. So, why should a track and field athlete utilize agility ladders?
We've been running since we were young children. Parents are constantly scrambling after their running toddlers. Running is something bipedal human beings do. It is a natural activity. So, why is it that as I see so many with terrible running mechanics?
At some point during our development, some of us forget how to run. Just like any skill, if you don't use it, you loose it. This is not a position paper on why we loose the skill of running. Instead, I'd like to exam what constitutes good running form...
Improvement comes from small gains over time. Putting in the work day after day, week after week, and year after year improves performance. The key is consistency.
Spurts of activity (the season) followed by periods of inactivity (summer break, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, spring break) do not help you improve. This turns into a sinusoidal (wave) of strength and conditioning that doesn't improve over the long term, it simply oscillates throughout the year.
Athleticism can be constantly improved. Their might be highs and lows of intensity and volume to your training, but over the long term you can see linear improvement with consistent attention to strength and conditioning.
Milo of Croton is the oldest example of this type of development that I know. According to myth, he lifted a newborn calf everyday until it grew to full size (then he apparently ate it). Talk about simple training and progressive overload! It seemed to have worked because Milo subsequently won six Olympic medals.
It's not sexy, it doesn't show up on YouTube, and it is hard, put putting in the work day after day, week after week, and year after year improves performance. So, rise and grind.
Training the correct energy system can have a dramatic impact on athletic performance. The three basic energy systems are the anaerobic ATP-PC system, the anaerobic system, and the aerobic system. To get the most of out of your training this summer, concentrate on the particular energy system associated with your sport and position.
The anaerobic ATP-PC system is the most powerful system, but it's energy source is used up quickly. The energy used is adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and your muscles can only store enough for about 4-8 seconds of activity. Resting 45- 120s will replenish this system so it can start again.
The anaerobic system produces less power but lasts longer than the anaerobic ATP-CP system. In fact, the anaerobic system sustain activity lasting almost 2 min. To get the energy to drive this system, the body breaks down carbohydrates to resynthesize ATP.
The aerobic system produces the least amount of power of all the systems, but it can provide energy for a long time. The aerobic system uses carbohydrates and fats to resynthesize ATP.
Which System to Train
To determine which system is associated with you sport and position, ask the following questions.
For example, a pole vault competition may last more than an hour, but one vault takes less than 10 seconds. Thus, what appears to be an aerobic event is really a collection of anaerobic ATP-PC bursts.
How to Train Each System
Training the anaerobic ATP-PC system in the weight room means your goal is high power output and strength. Therefore, both sets and reps should be in the 1-5 range. On the field or track, you'll want to do sprints or drills that demand shorter bursts of power, anywhere from 0-10 seconds, therefore the sets should be in the 3-5 range with 3-6 reps.
The result of training the anaerobic system in the weight room is more strength endurance. Therefore, sets should be in the 1-5 range with 6-12 reps. This translates to the field or track in the form of 3-5 reps of runs or drills lasting 10 seconds to 2 minutes and using 3-5 sets.
The aerobic system is trained in the weight room using 1-5 sets of 15-25 rep. On the field or track, focus on 3-5 runs and drills with nonstop movements longer than 2 minutes.
Training a specific energy system will improve your ability to produce energy and athletic performance.