Acute Potentiation (term taken loosely from James Smith)

I’m sure that at some point this has been discussed, although I’ve been unable to find anything on it thus far. What is the general opinion on using resisted starts to potentiate subsequent unresisted runs? From my personal experience I can say that doing resisted starts using an elastic band or harness with a partner will immediately yield a temporary performance increase. The improvements that I have seen range from .05-.08 average decrease in a 20 yard sprint. I find that the 2nd or 3rd sprint tend to be the fastest, as you almost fall on your face on the first. While I do not personally question its use over short distances (20-40 yards), I am not sure of this method’s efficacy over longer runs. I am inclined to think that one may burn to much energy at the start of a race, possibly yielding a faster splits initially but a slower race overall. The fact that apparently no top sprinters use this method seems to confirm this. Perhaps they achieve the same level of potentiation through the competition warm-up? In any case, I can confirm that this method is valid over short distances. I would, however, like to here the opinions of more distinguished members on the topic.

Charlie has written about this in the CFTS and on the forum (under isorobic exerciser). I rarely use them for lack of time but maybe there is an effect.

I read what was written by Charlie and he touched on the effect over a period of weeks, not minutes as I am proposing. It really shouldn’t be an issue of time as it only takes a few resisted runs to get the desired outcome.

I use these types of runs at least once a week in most of my athletes, both standing and in 3 point for 40-yard dash work.

I use 4 resisted runs followed by 1-2 un resisted. for 1-3 sets.

Not sure why, but I feel the “falling” feeling initially is due to a motor control issue where the athlete feels they should land but don’t, similar to when you miss the last step of stairs in your house.

I believe the time for enhancement is anywhere from 5-20 minutes. The research on strength (squat) followed by veritcal jumps tends to show these ranges.

As for using this as warm up, I think its too much work to determine “optimal” timing, as well as practicality in races at various locations. I work mainly with multisport athletes, so this isnt a concern of mine. Also, in multiple heats, do the prelims give an equal effect as the few bouts of short resisted sprints?

Not sure if this is a desired effect, but you could avoid it by progressively reducing the resistance. Times can still drop, when you move to the unresisted runs.

Well all it takes for me is one 10 yard sprint to get that out of my system and then I’m ready to roll. I suppose I will have to try this with longer sprints to gauge it’s effectiveness.