I am currently interning at the USOTC in Lake Placid. What we’re doing right now is utilizing vertical integration block periodization incorporating basic jumps (no landings currently as we are in our first training block), Olympic weightlifting and the derivatives thereof (squats, pressing variations, pulls to the knee, mid-thigh pulls, etc.), sprints (currently hill sprints; again, first block), extensive core-tempo sessions, and med. ball throws. The new Head of Sport Physiology for Winter Sport studied under both Charlie Francis and Dr. Mike Stone and is currently in the process of incorporating what could be a called a hybrid of both systems; that is, an athlete development system that incorporates extensive long-term monitoring of the athletes, a holistic approach to speed and strength training, and a strong emphasis on full recovery. What we have seen thus far is that the athletes are buying into the system after they have been informed of the science behind the approach. Currently, my responsibility as an intern has been to do static jump testing (at varying loads; 0, 10, 20, 40, and 60kg) of all the athletes, write up a data return paper template that is to be returned to that athletes after the testing data has been analyzed and interpreted, and to do an extensive literature review on all three gliding sports (bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge) so that we may modify our testing procedure in the future so as to better reflect sport specificity. Obviously, the goal of this science-centric approach to athlete development is to better understand what makes a good bobsleigher (luger, skeleton athlete) and take that knowledge and use it to create high-level Olympians.

What is the physiologist’s name?

Thanks for the details, I assume you are referring to Brad DeWeese?

What does the current microcycle look like? I’ve heard that there is the occasional 3-a-day!

Brad DeWeese hosted a conference that Charlie and I put on at UNC Asheville while he was the track coach at UNCA. It was a two-day seminar back in 2002. Brad may have employed Charlie’s approach, but it would be a stretch to say that he “studied under” Charlie. Don’t get me wrong – Brad’s a good guy and a dedicated coach. It was a hell of a seminar attended by great coaches such as “Pioneer” and “Flash” on this site. Are you sure Brad is the guy now at USOTC Lake Placid?

Yes, he’s at Lake Placid. Jason Hartman left to train special forces for the Army, DeWeese is his replacement.

It seems as though they made a good hire and I’m excited to see what the results are like.

EHart7, what male athletes are you working with? I know a few World Cup guys are in Colorado with Carlock but are Langton, Olsen and Laszlo still training in Lake Placid?

Good for Brad. I know he’s a quality coach and dedicated to his athletes. Pass on our best wishes to him.

EHart7 - try to get Brad to post on the forum once again. I believe his name on the forum was “Dlive11” or something like that.

Yes, I’m sure Brad DeWeese is at Lake Placid. I studied under him at UNC Asheville so I know what the guy looks like.

The male bobsleigh athlete training here at the moment is Jarred Clugston and John Napier; Tomasevicz is in Colorado but Brad is writing his program. Most of the bobsleighers up here right now are the women and Brad is doing all of their programming as well.

Good luck to you and Brad, sounds like you are doing some interesting research.

I know Clugston from Push Championships but Napier was in Afghanstan at that time. After football season is over, I’m looking to make it back up to New York and get on the ice, perhaps I’ll run into you then.


Who is training Langton and Olsen now?

Still Hartman?

I’m not sure…I don’t think it’s Hartman still but I could be wrong…those guys are supposed to come up here late July or August so I’ll find out then I’m sure.

I wouldn’t call it a three-a-day…it’s just weights-sprint work-weights…split the weights session up for max. power output throughout the session. As far as the micro-cycle goes it’s pretty basic three (or four depending on the sport) high days interspersed with low-int. extensive core tempo…Sundays off. It’s similar to what Mr. Francis talks about in his “Best Of” forum reviews.

Makes sense, I do work like that quite often. The dynamic portion prior to the sprints which are followed by static work.

What sort of sprint volumes are you projecting to hit on a given acceleration day? I know from my conversations with Jason that they used to be 180-240y, shutting down the session as soon as performance dropped off.

It depends on where the athlete is in the mesocycle but for a strength-endurance phase it’s usually less than 180-240 yds (they have to be able to produce speed and power during their lifting session after all). On page 39 of Mr. Francis’ Key Concepts book he has a sample program that looks like this (I omitted the sample med.ball throws and weights as they aren’t relevant):

Speed: 2x3x20-30m accelerations (at least 4 min rest between reps).

Obviously we’re not training 100m sprinters so the distances have been adjusted to reflect the 40m acceleration distance for bobsledders where the initial impulse is the most important part of the race. However, the volume is fairly close.

In this block are you guys training 6 days a week? Are all high intensity days accel in nature on the track?

Yes, we’re training 6 days a week in the basic sense of the word but the core/tempo sessions are meant for recovery. We only have 3 truly “high” days this block; Saturday is more of a technique day. None of our acceleration work is on the track. We use a hill for a few reasons: 1) the hill, if at the proper incline, puts the athlete in a better sprinting position, especially if the athlete has had no formal sprint technique training before, 2) the hill does not allow an athlete to hit top speeds (thereby reducing risk for injury) but still allows the athlete to give a 95%+ effort, and 3) because the hill is “forgiving” (i.e., it’s not made of concrete, asphalt, or track compound), it reduces wear and tear on the athletes body which is important in a strength-endurance phase (or any phase of training really).

I understand some coaches believe you can run the risk of over-training/CNS burnout when working accel three days a week, I would assume in your case the volume is extremely low and this is not an issue. How’s the tempo volume?

Yes, the volume is fairly low…we’re training bobsledders, not 100m sprinters. We hit around 300m/session (accel work) but the distance of the actual sprints is quite short, at least compared to what Mr. Francis would suggest for a sprinter. As far as tempo goes, we’re hitting around 1,300-1,800m/week depending on the sport and the athlete.

I think the lower sprint volumes allows for the higher strength numbers.

Hey guys,

Sorry I’m chiming in late on this thread, just thought I would share some experience with bobseld and training for bobsled. I currently train one of the national bobseld team members and we do the following (and its basically in line with what you guys have been discussing).

We follow a Charlie setup, 3 hi days per week, and depending on the phase 2 low days. I use Charlie’s vertical integration setup for periodization, we cycle hypertrophy (sparingly), Max Strength and Speed cycles, yet all these elements are always included. Power is also always included but never the focus due to the CNS demands of speed and strength and the general transfer of those stimuli to power.

Hypertrophy was the initial phase because as a bobsledder the national coaches want you to be big, 220lbs is their ideal number. The bigger, the stronger, the faster is their goal. I have had tremendous success with my current athlete getting him to 220lbs, from 205lbs, all the while his 30m time stayed constant. To me thats a massive improvement.

Included in the program is always a form of acceleration (normal or sled) for a minimum of 2x/week, a strength lift (squat or dead) and olympic lifts (pretty much just cleans).

The hypertrophy phase was a 2x/week high stimulus in the form of sled sprints, jumps, olympic lifts and throws, and 5 days per week of bodybuilding lifts for all bodyparts in the area of 6-10 reps.

The max strength phase keeps 2x/week sleds sprints or regular accels, but cuts jumps and throws and keeps hypertrophy work to maintenance levels. A 3RM day for a major leg day, and upper body day is done oh hi days. Track volume is lowered slightly.

The speed phase bumps up the sprints to 3x/week, 2 sled days, 1 light, 1 heavy and 1 max V day (40-50m). All supplemental work is kept fairly low, 3x5 squats, 3x5 bench, some sled walks and thats it.

Overall, using the 3 phases (I should really say 2), we have made tremendous progress in a short period of time. His main weakness has been strength, so we have been spending some time trying to get those numbers up.

In 12 weeks we have done:
+15lbs lean mass
clean from 110kg to 120kg
deadlift from 350 to 425x3
30m sprint kept the same despite an additional 15lbs of body weight
Bench Press from 205lbs to 275lbs

Our next 12 week goals are to maintain current body weight, improve 30m time, and get his squat up over 500lbs currently at 415lbs, but we havent touched in 12 weeks since his deadlift was so weak.