Bob Kersee & His Training Philosophy?

I agree with the frequency aspect, especially in regards to stride rate between the hurdles. Brent Mcfarlane was well known for training athletes with staggered strides between hurdles IE: 3 , 3, 5, 3, 7, steps between…helped alot with fast touch downs between hurdles

Perhaps the info from this website i just found may be of interest?

Robert Forster and Bob Kersee Notes
Thursday Dec 15 2005

Tonight I went to Phase IV Physical Therapy in Santa Monica to listen to a presentation put on by Robert Forster, the owner of Phase IV, and Bob Kersee on running mechanics and injury prevention. The crowd was predominantly a track and field group and there were some younger looking college coaches in attendance. I recognized a handful of triathletes in the audience.

Strength training is the key to Bob’s success as a track and field coach and he credits Robert Forster with implementing a strength training plan which allows his athletes to succeed. This was a training philosophy smackdown for me since I had told my dad earlier in the day that I didn’t have time or energy to strength train. (I’m considering adding some simple core excercises to my weekly routine. I’ll continue to stay away from anything even remotely heavy since it leaves me fried for a couple of days.)

Robert and Bob have been working together for about 25 years. Their relationship started in the late 1970s when Bob Kersee, then a young track coach, came to Robert, a young physical therapist, and said that he wanted to find a way to strengthen his athletes in order to help them win Olympic and WTF medals. To say that they’ve been extraordinarily successful with this approach would be an understatement. Between them they have 21 Olympic gold medals.

Running Form

A neat comment on speed which leads into proper running form…

“The longer you’re on the ground, the slower you’re going to go. The longer you’re in the air, the slower you’re going to go.”

How do we minimize ground contact and time in the air?

Two keys:

* The foot should be coming backwards when it hits the ground, thereby generating forward propulsion. I liked the analogy that your foot is “pawing back and pulling” you through. Having your foot coming back towards you as it hits results in a continuation of forward momentum. You are best able to do this with a high and powerful knee raise. In fact, it is important to bring your knee into flex (figure 4 position) as quickly as possible following completion of running stroke.
* High cadence and a short (but natural) stride gait, with contact being made below your center of gravity. Cadence should be 180 steps per minute (or a more easily calculated 30 steps per 10 secs). This style of running should result in a midfoot strike and the higher cadence frequency can also mollify pronation and supination issues. (I wouldn’t have believed this last claim but I saw video evidence of it!) Overstriding, running with a lower cadence, and the resulting heel strike results in a loss of energy through breaks in forward momentum. Also rolling on your feet results in a transfer of momentum upward as opposed to forward, which is energetically less efficient.

Core strength and hip flexor strength are key requirements for this running technique because at its root is a powerful forward knee thrust. There is a marked return of investment on energy with this running style. Also hamstring, butt, and calf muscles are important for this running form.

Role of upper body: Arm carriage - Use your arms as a pendulum to counteract the retarding forces of your legs moving forward and backward. Arms should form a 90 degree angle and don’t pull across the body. Endurance runners should be more relaxed in the shoulders than sprinters but should still derive significant gains from arms.

Marathon Specific training

Vary intensity – don’t run hard or slow all the time

Speedwork –

  • get technique down before speedwork (2 months of 40-50 mile/week)
  • on the day prior don’t run – stretch and rest
  • cross train on the day following

A couple of notes on running injuries…

This is a generalization but it seemed to make some sense to me. If you have leg pain below your knee its most likely the result of a pronation/supination issue. This includes foot pain. Your ankle is rolling too far one way or the other and causing undue stress on the tendons and muscles.

If your leg pain is in the knee or above your issue is most likely a leg length discrepancy. This is especially true if your pain is asymmetrical, i.e. you have pain in your right knee but your left knee is fine. Leg length discrepancies are not always skeletal discrepancies. Most often they are the result of one hip rotating inward in order to compensate for some other muscular imbalance in the body. Core strengthening is a solution to this problem.

The lecture concluded with a sales pitch for some of Phase IV’s services such as video run gait analysis, body composition and blood lactate testing, and muscle strengthening programs. These services ain’t cheap but these guys are probably pretty good since they work with Olympians and I figure that it was worth listening to the 10 minute spiel for all of the knowledge I picked up.

I talked with Bob after the lecture about strength training progression throughout a season. He likes his athletes to spend two 6-8 week cycles focusing on core strength prior to any Olympic lifting. He also peaks his athletes lifting at the same time as he peaks their running. This is contradictory to a lot of the triathlon literature out there. He is a super nice guy. He is running the LA Marathon this spring and is currently putting in 40-50 mile weeks. He plans on maxing out at 65 mile/week with the goal of running sub 3:30. This will be his first marathon. I wished him good luck and didn’t trouble him by asking for a photo.

The next lecture I’m going to attend will be on January 11th when Robert Forster and Chris Plourde give a lecture entitled “Scientific Training for the First & Second Year Triathlete.” If you live on the Westside of LA you should definitely check out these things. They are well worth the time.

I went to his clinic and he talked about himself for 45 minutes of the 60 minutes and his information was rather weak. I felt that he is a good coach but talent goes to him because of his reputation. I think he just uses Wilbur’s methods and drills and being at UCLA you are going to get good athletes. He knows how to cook chicken by following Colonel’s recipe and getting great chicken breasts. I found John Smith’s presentation on training to be more usefull.

I understand that these are the notes/comments by an attendee (is this a word?), but I am not impressed…

sounds not as a problem to me/
Me love rice :smiley:

too bad here the cooked potato is main course

Be careful of Infomercial information. I don’t know this Forster guy, but in the late 1970s Bobby worked for Chuck Debus at Cal State Northridge, so weights started there, and, no doubt Bobby developed further after he went to UCLA.
Also, I know a number of Bobby’s athletes got therapy from Joe Horrigan at the Soft Tissue Center in LA, at least till 1988, so Forster could not have had an exclusive relationship with him.
Of note, another Infomercial implied that JJK did her strength work on that gravity gym that Chuck Norris sells. Give me a break!!!

Another comment of interest in the article about quick frequency. 30 strides in 10 sec. That’s 3 strides a second- which is excellent- if you’re 90 years old!!

[b]“The longer you’re on the ground, the slower you’re going to go. The longer you’re in the air, the slower you’re going to go.”

How do we minimize ground contact and time in the air?

Two keys:

  • The foot should be coming backwards when it hits the ground, thereby generating forward propulsion. I liked the analogy that your foot is “pawing back and pulling” you through. H[/b]

Are you kidding me? If I tap dance I meet this requirement??

But if you can only tap 3 times a second, you won’t get a job.