You want to gain an edge this summer?
As schools begin to let kids/athletes out for summer we are entering one of the best times of the year. Summer! With summer comes little to no schoolwork, summer jobs, vacation, and training. This time of year is pivotal for athletes returning from college, high schoolers entering recruiting years or anyone looking to become a more well-rounded athlete. When it comes to summer programming there are a lot of things we are seeing. Coaches sending their athletes home with packet, personal trainers, gurus etc. In the same sentence there are competing factors: summer tournaments, 7 on 7, summer leagues, travel teams, vacations you name it.
What does your summer look like? Now is a great time to evaluate.
As we enter this time of year, I use the KISS method. Keep It Stupid Simple.
What if I told you there is one exercise that could help you elevate your game?
What if I told you that this exercise does not require a gym membership or weight room?
Want to take a guess what this exercise is?
I bet you didn’t see this coming, but let’s not just settle with me telling you, let's discuss why?
- Speed kills and yes you can teach speed!
If you want to follow along some of my favorites, please do:
- There is no weight room on athletic fields
Now I know what you are thinking, my coaches keep telling me I need to get stronger. What if I countered and said that sprinting will increase your numbers in the weight room?
Sprinting recruits the most motor units. Nothing in the weight room can compare to the speed of movement of sprinting. Every sport consists of some sort of speed and power-based movement or sprinting.
Do you need more convincing? Athletes at the NFL combine who run the fastest 40 times usually get drafted the highest and sign the biggest contracts.
I understand not all of us have visions of going to the NFL but sprinting also increase the neuromuscular facilitation and kinesthetic awareness of your body.
Okay so we agree you should be sprinting, but how far? How often? Sets? Reps?
Speaking from education you should be sprinting 1-2 times a week. If I were to break this into two separate days, I would have a day where I am focusing on acceleration and the other on max velocity sprinting.
Acceleration - anywhere from 0 - 20 yards
Reps 1 - 10
Rest: 1:00 - 2:00 between reps
Max Velocity - anywhere from 15 - 30 yards
Rest 1:30 - 3:00 between reps
Why 15 yards? Because less trained athletes may reach max velocity at a shorter yardage then a more developed athlete. Why only 30 yards? I would only go 30 yards because I like to air on the side of safety. There are not too many times when athletes are MAX sprinting 30 yards in competition.
Why am I prescribing 2 days and not 3 or 1?
Two days allows me to hit both acceleration and max velocity. The effects of sprinting (speed /power) only last 5 days +/- 3 days based off your training age. Therefore, we need to train them often. Sprinting is also highly stressful to the body’s CNS (central nervous system). With two days of sprinting this allows us to recover on our non-sprinting days. Ideally, I would map it out like so:
Day 1: Low CNS
Day2: High CNS - Acceleration ($ Day)
Day 3: Low CNS
Day 4: High CNS - Max Effort Sprinting ($ Day)
Looking back to the section above giving the volume of sprinting (reps/rest) lets discuss a little further. In order to get the full effects from sprinting you need to sprint MAX EFFORT. With longer rest times to allow for ATP stores to regenerate before your next rep. When starting out with sprinting always air on the side of safety (if you feel any tightness of the hamstring/groin shut it down for the day). I personally use a short to long approach. Short to long means starting with shorter sprints: Acceleration (0-5yards or 0-10 yards). Max effort sprinting it would be a similar approach. (10 yard build up with a 5-yard max sprint) or a (10 yard build up with a 10-yard max effort sprint).
Now that I have given you a brief background on my #1 exercise you should be performing this summer, what are you waiting for? Get outside and sprint!
If you have any further questions do not hesitate to reach out @CM1_Performance
Assistant Sports Performance Coach - Villanova University.