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.
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.
Here is part of an email exchange between Jason Hartman and I. The guys and girls who trained with him in Lake Placid are among the most complete power-speed athletes I’ve ever come across.
Off-season training for most of the bobsled athletes consists of 3 lifts
and 3 running workouts per week preferably running and lifting on the
same day. That usually ends up being a Monday/Wednesday/Friday split
with the running workouts generally coming early in the day and the lift
happening later in the afternoon. I like running and lifting on the same
day to allow for more rest days throughout the week. Neural fatigue is
the latest craze in strength & conditioning and track world and theory
would suggest that high intensity activities like sprinting and lifting
should be separated by 48 hours to allow the nervous system to recover.
There are some athletes who prefer to have an activity everyday and lift
mon/wed/fri and run tues/thurs/sat. Honestly I have not observed any
better or worse performances using either split. Weightlifters train the
Olympic lifts and squat at very high intensities without ill effect for
days on end so I’m not entirely sold on the neural fatigue issues so
prevalent in the track and field community. The reason that I double up
on the lifting and running workouts and give days off in between is more
for joint health and allowing the spine to unload, and to also have a
psychological break from having to perform at a very high level day in
and day out.
I believe to get faster you have to run fast and to run fast you have to
be fresh, which is why the running workouts usually occur first in the
day. I also believe that fatigue from lifting and running accumulates
throughout the week and you’ll be as fresh as you are going to be and
have your best training early in the week. With that being said we
almost always plan our speed development day on Monday. This is plain
and simple and usually consists of 30-60m sprints. The 2nd day of
running usually has an emphasis on acceleration and we usually do light
sled tow work, hill sprints, or in and outs (sometimes referred to as
sprint-float-sprint. The 3rd day of running is usually another
acceleration day or an event specific day (in our case the athletes push
a bobsled on a railed track. There is not much of any conditioning
component to bobsled which is why we do not do any speed endurance or
conditioning work. I also believe in bobsled and even football your
ability to accelerate is more valuable to success and can also be
improved to a greater degree than your top speed which is why we often
have two acceleration workouts per week and not two speed development
For lifting we usually do a push pull split where Day 1 and Day 3 are
push days and Day 2 is a pull day. On Day 1 we squat, do a big pressing
movement, a single-leg exercise, and a pressing assistance exercise. Day
2 we clean or snatch, do some low-back and hamstring assistance work,
and do upper back assistance work. Later in the off-season we also
usually include some ballistic resistance exercises like squats jumps
and maybe an unweighted jumping exercise (plyo). On Day 3 in the early
off-season when strength takes priority over power we usually follow a
similar template as Day 1 but insert less intense exercise variations
(ex. Front squat instead of back squat, overhead press instead of bench
press etc…). Later in the off-season Day 3 takes on a power emphasis
and consists of ballistic resistance exercises like weighted jump
squats, med ball throws, and some bodyweight plyometric exercises.
I will list some generalities about the structure of the lifting.
Throughout the week lifting goes from a strength emphasis on Day 1 to a
power emphasis with a moderate movement velocity on Day 2 to a power
emphasis with fast movement velocities on Day 3. Being more powerful is
the ultimate goal of training, so the organization of lifting may be
seem counter intuitive based on my rationale of being fresher earlier in
the week and your best training performances coming earlier in the week.
If the ultimate goal is to be more powerful than the lifting earlier in
the week should be where the power emphasis workouts should be placed.
It is not arranged in this fashion for a couple of reasons. Competitions
usually occur on the weekends and strength exercises that we perform on
Day 1 are more likely to cause muscle soreness than the power work that
we perform on the other days. By doing the strength work early in the
week it reduces the likelihood that our athletes will have any soreness
going into a competition, and the less fatiguing power work later in the
week may help to potentiate optimal performances in the weekend
competitions. Secondly, strength is often the most underdeveloped
ability that we see in our talent identification. To be on the Bobsled
National Team you have to be naturally gifted with speed and power. So
in the equation for power (Power= Force X Velocity) they already have
the velocity component. They have the adequate nervous system to move
fast and in reality that velocity component is not very trainable. The
force component (strength) however is usually very underdeveloped and is
very trainable. That is why we emphasize strength development early in
the week and the Back Squat is the cornerstone of our lifting program.
I am not a fan of doing a lot of volume. I believe that you should run
as little as you need to and lift as little as you need to get the
desired results. You need to stay as fresh as possible to perform
powerfully and run fast. Volume makes you feel run down and pollutes
your body with fatigue that will often mask power output. But when you
do train the intensity should be very high for as much of the offseason
as possible outside of built in recovery weeks. I don’t like lifting
light or running slow. On rest days our athletes do perform a light
dynamic warmup as activity recovery, but I do not have them do Tempo
runs as many track coach’s advocate. I believe the day of rest is more
beneficial than the low intensity track work. Because our athletes
training volume remains relatively low throughout the entire year, we do
not do anything exciting in regards to peaking. We may make some
adjustments to the amount training done prior to a big competition but
we do not drop any of the power work. To truly peak you need to have
been in a state of overreaching to then back off on the training and
catch the supercompensation at the right time. Since our training volume
is always so low and never get into that state of overreaching our
athletes are never more than a couple days of rest away from being at
their best. Often psychological stress of a big competition alone is
enough to kill the supercompensation curve which is why I don’t
experiment with getting our athletes into a state of overreaching and
then hope the supercompensation does occur. I subscribe more to the
Fitness-Fatigue model of training theory than the supercompensation or
single-factor model of training theory.
Slightly off topic but similar in some ways since football is similar to bobsled. I like the low volume speed session but our volume for the skill guys in the Alactic Power Block is higher then most would think.
10x20+10x30 hills TV 500yds
2x5x50 hills TV 500yds
what is your athlete’s 30m time? Is he a push athlete or pilot?
Push for development, he has run 3.77s @ 220lbs
Question - If I was going to perform an 8 week General Prep Block would it be ok to perform 8-10reps throughout? For example:
Week 1-3: 3x10, Week 4: 2x10 unload+field testing
Week 5-7: 3x8, Week 8: 2x8 unload+field testing
Follow by a 12 week Specific Prep Block. For example:
Week 1-3: 5x5, Week 4 3x5 unload+field testing
Week 5-7: 3x3, Week 8 3x2 unload+field testing
Week 9-12: Power block, strength movements on maintenance, increase volume of sprints-throws-jumps-ol’s.
The outline looks ok, speed volume would be key!!!
For the most part speed volume will stay between 180-340ish per session, tempo 1000-1500ish. What’s everyone thoughts on focusing on one speed component per session vs accel+max v?
Mon: Max Velocity
Fri: Accel Sled
Mon: Accel+Max Velocity 3x30+3x60
Fri: Accel+Max Velocity 2x(40-50-60)
I personally prefer to split them up. One reason being it is easier to focus on a few technical components per session then. A lot of folks on here do not split them up much though.
How’s your speed volume? Any thoughts on the strength training layout?