When you want to increase your sprinting speed, you have to put the priority on speed training.
If you do not put a priority on what you want to accomplish, then you will end up spinning your wheels like the vast majority of the dreamers.
When your main priority is to get bigger and more muscular, you would put the focus on gaining muscle mass.
You would focus on lifting moderately heavy weights for low to moderate reps (3-10 reps) 3 to 5 days per week.
You would also be eating in a slight caloric surplus of balanced macronutrients. You would essentially be training like a natural bodybuilder.
What you would not do is put your focus on playing basketball every night after you lift because that is incompatible with your primary goal.
When your main priority is to get stronger, you would put the focus on moving heavy weights.
You would focus on lifting heavy weights for lower reps (1-5 reps) 3 or 4 days per week and eating in a slight caloric surplus or maintenance.
What you would not do is put your focus on performing bodyweight conditioning workouts after each lifting session.
When you want to get faster, should your primary focus be lifting weights? Absolutely not!
Speed Needs Speed
Far too many training programs put the majority of the emphasis on lifting weights.
I want my sprinters to be strong, and I am a major advocate of sprinters lifting weights. But I do not want lifting weights to become the priority at the expense of high quality sprinting.
Before lifting became more common in the track game, there were men who were blazing fast.
Bob Hayes ran 10.06 in the 100m during the 1964 Olympics. Jim Hines ran 9.95 in the 100m at the 1968 Games.
Now elite speed definitely has a genetic component to it. But these times in the 1960s prove that your speed workouts for track have to be the priority when you are looking to sprint faster.
While lifting will lead athletes to build great strength, more power, and muscle mass, without proper speed training you will not maximize your speed.
Strong And Slow
I was out of the track game from 2005-2015.
My focus during that time was figuring out what my life’s purpose was. I’m living that purpose today by teaching and training people all over the world about the fit life.
Personally, I also lifted a lot of weights. I competed in natural bodybuilding and powerlifting so I built some good strength along the journey.
So when I first got back into the track game in 2015, I could perform the barbell hip thrust with 669.5 lbs for 1 rep.
I could also deadlift 470lbs for 1 rep. I was easily the strongest man on the track at that meet, but I got smoked in my race and finished with an 11.91 in the 100m.
The 2016 summer track season had an even worse start. I still had one foot in the natural bodybuilding door, and it showed in the first meet when I opened the season with a horrendous 12.64 in the 100m and a 25.03 in the 200m.
I had a Madden speed rating of SPD 62. It was at this point I decided to stop (temporarily) competing and training for natural bodybuilding.
I had to commit the vast majority of my efforts to my speed workouts. No one can serve two masters.
Change Is Gonna Come
I spent the rest of that season and the next one putting more of a priority on trying to increase my sprinting speed and less of a priority on lifting weights.
I improved greatly in the 100m/200m and was able to run 11.74/24.18 in late July 2016.
In 2017, I went under 12 seconds four times. I recorded times of 11.77, 11.68, 11.65, and ultimately 11.57 in the 100m.
In the 200m, I went under 24 seconds three times recording times of 23.78, 23.85, and 23.90. All of this occurred at the age of 33.
The focus on speed training allowed me to earn a spot on the official rankings list. I ranked 30th out of 96 in the country in the 100m and 28th out of 66 in the country in the 200m for the 2017 outdoor season.
Not too bad for a guy who was out of the track game for 10 years.
Lifting is important to the development of the sprinter, but lifting is not the primary way to increase the speed of a sprinter.
If you truly want to increase your sprinting speed, it all starts on the track.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,