Casey Combest Wasted Talent

Rapid!!! I thought he was some 10k runner doing a bit of ‘speed work’!!

That video has changed the game for me a little bit.

in what way?

That I need to be lighter for one. Growing up around some pretty fast guys, in general I realised the guys with the best starts/acceleration were on the whole, the lighter.

Having seen the video I now realise the importance of developing the need for even GREATER spring than I already have. Like speedcoach said “that jump was ridiculous”. There certainly was a whole load of spring in that 6.59.

So my goals. Lighter, springier (Achilles/ankle/calve strengthening), specifically aim to increase the “stiffness” in my muscles/tendons & let all the leg speed come from the core, arms & shoulders, so major emphasis there.

Seeing Casey, I realise some of the stuff I’m doing right now is useless (even though its quite the norm), genetics/talent aside.

The Jamaican’s seem to consider lifting weights (and bulking up to some degree) primarily as a means of injury prevention. Note that Casey’s comeback in 2008 ended fairly quickly due to a series of muscle strains.

What exercises do you plan on doing to achieve this?

I think one needs to dissect what qualities make them the type of athlete they are. I have some athletes that jump 36"+ verts with barely a knee bend, and yet I have others who are “power jumpers”. They achieve the same result in a different fashion. Ben was an example of a power sprinter. He was bull strong and also not very heavy at around 175 lbs. Charlie built his ability to hold speed over time which helped him to dethrone King Carl. Had he tried to do it like Carl trained, he likely would have failed. I say find your strength as a sprinter and go with it. When I played football, my best 40 yd was 4.57. I was pretty sick over 30 yds, but my speed was leveled out. My coach used to bitch that I would hit the second level like I was shot out of a cannon, but I got ran down a lot on anything over 60 yds. I doubt if I worked on my speed, it would have made much difference. Instead, I focused even more on being explosive as possible. I do think there can be an over emphasis on building too much muscle. I worked with Tanko Braimah, olympic sprinter from Ghana and he was built like a truck a 6’1 and weighed 210 lbs ripped. He had built too much hypertrophy for his own good. I tried to help him reduce his mass because it hurt his performance. He would have been great at 190lbs, but I think it would have been really tough for him to lose 20 lbs of pure muscle. Race, just find what works best for your talent. I do agree that too much can be put on weight training.

i’m curious about this. i know ive been having hip height and top speed problems in generally (for the second half of my 55m races) and i am definitely a power jumper (i am 5’6" but can grab a basketball rim from a standing vertical, probably a mid-30" vertical at least because my reach is ~7ft) but as opposed to those who jump with barely a bend, my butt almost touches my ankles otherwise i jump much lower)

am i right to assume that “power jumpers” as you call them are more likely good starters and should work on having a very dominant start while those who jump with little knee bend are more likely like carl lewis?

and if so, combest looks like a small knee bend jumper yet he was a rocket at the start. i know not everything is applicable in every case, but it seems to me that usually the bulky muscle sprinters are the good starters, not the skinny, light kids (from observation of pro races and from my own high school races)


read through this list of articles. I guarantee you theres some info in here that has some answers to what you need help with.

Yes, Kelly has some very good in for in there. I guess that my thought is that some people just kind of pulse (Kobe Bryant) and get great height, where others kind of pound the floor(LeBron James). I think like Kelly explain, your lever lengths, attachments, fiber type, RFD, all play a big role.


ill read through all the ones i think look relevant.

but all those factors you listed, i get how that can change what the best strategy is for jumping, but after reading the weaknesses vs. strengths article, waht do you guys think about strengths seeming to change? i seem to be built like a “faster than they are strong” yet my numbers look like a “stronger than they are fast”. In soph year i ran 6.98 (55m) and my best part of the race was top speed, now i ran (senior yr) 6.89 and top speed was my worst part, maybe getting huger strength numbers was the wrong thing to train, and now its deceptive because ive trained strength so much?

so id be thinking if my strength is top speed, that shouldve been what i was concentrating on during the last two years, and im still actually a “faster than strong”? what do you guys think?

Just based on your numbers, I would think you could have gone a little faster over 2 years than .09 improvement, mostly just based on getting older by two years. Maybe you are close to your ceiling development wise. More likely, it could be that your training is off. Usually your strength(speed) remains your strength. You may pick up quickness, but not at the expense of losing top speed. It could be your perception or it could be real. I would have to see 10m splits to say. Maybe post a typical workout that you did both strength and running wise. That would be a good place to start.

Email Kelly … he’s good at getting back to ppl

I bet he’d enjoy trying to help

i could definitely try that. ill try to send one out before spring season starts

after talking to a friend he pointed out i should add a couple points about my training:
-im not sure if my ability to run at a high top speed is gone (when i do flys it still feels very fast and looks good from video) but in races i never seem to be able to get to that position (hip height much lower, anterior tilt in hips, low knee lift, too much backside mechanics etc.). i do think that the large amount of squatting i did tightened up my hips and makes a good top speed position more difficult for me to hit so in a racing mindset it could be resulting in me not getting there. i also only grew 1 in taller (i stand at about 5’7" now) but gained about 15-20 lbs of muscle (i went from 134 to a leaner 150+), though the muscles that most noticibly got larger on me were my core muscles. im also not sure about me being already near my ceiling because the only training i had done at that point was int tempo running, and i wasnt nearly physically mature as even two years later im still behind many of my peers in the having a mature body spectrum (i matured on the late side)
-i ran many races this year around that 6.90 mark, but as a sophomore i ran only one, maybe two, races the whole year sub 7, and i had even run a 7.4x earlier that year, but i also was recovering from a partial pcl tear, so idk how much recovery from that injury played a role in my time dropping. and as a sophomore i was a terrible starter, and now thats the only part of my race where i compete well
-im pretty confident i overtrained much of the summer and fall and some of the winter preceeding my indoor season because i had many of the symptoms (accumulating many small injuries, grumpiness, lower hip height, lower juming numbers, plateus, etc.) so im also not sure how much this affected my racing. rb34 did comment early on on my journal for my summer workouts that he thought my volume was quite high
-a typical fall workout for me included:
warm up (jogging, stretching, build ups)
~500m speed (something like 250m worth of 50s and then a longer run with 5’ rest between 50s)
100-300 HI plyos
weights (5 sets of cleaning and squatting, 3 sets of calfs and rev hypers or rdls)
core work

on my non speed days i did from 1500m-4000m of tempo, core work and upper body weights (5 sets bench, and hypertrophy stuff)

i took sundays off and did 3 speed days and 3 tempo days alternating

I think you are over analyzing, seems like you just need to learn to relax when you race to let your maxv mechanics take place

I agree that this is way too much volume for anyone who is not a full-time athlete with many years of training under their belt. I would limit speed days to < 400m, tempo days to no more than 1500m and cut out at least one training day per week. I.e. two HI days plus 2 or 3 LI days or the other way round. Also, your plyos could be reduced to 20-30 contacts once or twice a week. During SPP and comp phase, you should, moreover, gradually reduce the volume and intensity of your lifting. I would do a maximum of three lifting sessions per week.

Have you considered that you might be trying too hard in the races, and this tightens you up, shortens your drive phase, and keeps you from ever getting into a good top speed position?

i do tend to overanalyze, though its funny how i could lose the pretty decent maxv mechanics i had a sophomore when i didnt even know what good maxv mechanics were back then