Body type & sprinting

Charlie, in an earlier post you mentioned that Carl Lewis’s program was great for him and worked well for others with a similar body type. The two things that stand out the most in his program were the lack of weight training (with more of a dependence on plyos) and long SE runs that were taken deep into the season. Were you refering to any of these two factors, and could you explain.
Also, would you say that sprinters with more of a mesomorphic built respond better to higher volumes of shorter speed runs and those with a ectomorphic build may take more to the longer SE runs? I know most of this stuff is individualistic, but can you share what you have observed as a general rule of thumb.

Great question, would like to know the answer myself. Cuz I am 5’6" and my strides have always been shorts, thats why I have always been a better indoor sprinter vs outdoor.

i’m no charlie francis but to be successful you need to be in the range from 5’8-6’3.the 5’8 guys who are or were successful were-andrea cason,dennis mitchell,ato bolden.the guys around 6’+ were carl lewis,leroy burrell,linford christie,donovan bailey and so on.

if you are not within such heights do not let it put you off.first of all when ato bolden first appeared everyone said he was too small to even attempt sub 10,what did he do? numerous times under 10flat and guys have got to do the best with what you’ve got

That’s true, you shouldn’t worry about it from a trying to succeed stand point. However that wasn’t the question. The question was should they train differently based on height types. Charlie has said in the past the you should train to your strengths, and taller people tend to struggle at the start and come on strong later. So I would say probably yes, however I would like to get Charlie’s answer.

X-Man: What about Ben? He may have been shorter than Ato, and he ran numerous sub-10’s half a dozen years before Ato came on the scene.

Ben was (and I guess still is) around 5’10" and three quaters. This sport isnt like the NBA where there is a 10’ ring above our heads. If you are smaller you will naturally have faster leg turnover but shorter strides. If you are tall you will naturally have slower leg turnover (compared to a smaller man) but longer strides. It’s the sprinters who can maximise what they other (at the same height) are lacking who will have an advantage.

Boldon may be 5’8" but his leg stride is massive for someone of his yet and since he is smaller his turnover is still quick. Carl had almost a 3meter extension at full stride but this was not unrealistic at his height, but he also had quick turnover for a man of his height. Ben is right in the middle, turnover like Ato’s with leg extension maybe the same or slightly longer than Ato’s.

The end result is that height shouldnt matter, but rather how you can maximise the weaker components in relation to your height. Of course this is just my opinion though :slight_smile:

I thought Andrea Cason was 5’6", no?

Carl lewis had a good programme which worked excellently for him throughout the years.although carl was over 6’ and rather lean and slim didn’t make the sessions great for his body type alone.there were numerous world class sprinters training with the SMTC and UH throughout the years with different heights,weights,abilities,training thresholds etc but all focused around the same areas as Tom Tellez’ training programmes.what carl or leory did was universal for the team.

the programmes worked for carl as i stated but don’t forget about kirk baptist,floyd heard,mark witherspoon,mike marsh,leroy burrell,sam jefferson,joe de loach and others.all of the above sprinters had different heights,weights etc but the programme was universal.

if the athlete had a major problem with a certain part of the race then that issue would be addressed but other than that everyone did the same workouts!

personally i think its unnecessary to seperate training programmes for body type athlete can only do as much as much he/she can tolerate whether tall/small-heavy/slight.

Not to be rude, but the original question has nothing to do with height and how it can affect performance. The question has more to do with selection of speed work base on body type.
For example, Ben did not want to go pass 200m (se) in practice and had great success. Donovan did most of his SE at 150 and down. Both were more of a muscular built. On the other side Carl and those with a similar built in his camp had good success going out longer with there SE runs. Oba is a next athlete with a similar built that had success with long SE runs.
These observations and Charlie’s comment that Carl’s program was great for him and those with a similar built, made me wonder if certain body types respond differently to different types of speed work(distance)

Theone no offense taken!

as i said the SMTC had athletes such as carl,leroy,mike who were all different builds but did the exact same SE runs.the builds wre totally different but a big guy like leroy could match carl and a smaller guy like mike marsh could match both athletes.i don’t think its got to do with build type but rather than fibre/genetics to with-stand longer/shorter distances

Some good points, but not all true. At first Leroy did what Carl did, but if you talk to him he would tell you that after a while he realized he was a lot more powerful than Carl and did some things different. For example the repeat 200 smtc did was cut down to repeat 150 for him. Also Leroy did alot of wokr with Mike Takaha apart from the group. Most of the guys you mentioned; Mike Marsh, Witherspoon, Joe de Loach are all on the “lite” side. None of them are of a muscular built. As for Floyd Heard he was kicking ass since his freshman year at Texam A&M (ncaa champ) and ran 19.xx since back then. His years at A&M involved a lot of lifting and hills, then his program change when he decided to leave school a run with Smtc and you know what happen from there on out.(He became a great relay man, and thats all)
So I still think there is something to Charlie’s statement.

His years at A&M involved a lot of lifting and hills…[/QUOTE]

I’m doing alot of hill work and weights this off-season. I’m using the weights to build strength more than anything. I hope to gain about 10 lbs of muscle to my body.

I’m 5’10 and I weigh around 154. I will never be a bulky runner, no matter how hard I try