Contrast training (Would these methods work, lower risk of injury?)

I’ve read about contrast training on here and elitetrack, so im wondering how these types of ideas would work:

  1. Resisted (sled/tire) sprints up to 20m? (or best distance) x1-2 reps then switch to flying 20s for 1-2 reps and repeat 3 total sets? or switch back and forth 4-5 times? Basically not doing any overspeed work, and just resisted to flys.

  2. Weighted vest rebound jumps (2-3x4-5) then doing a flying 20-30.

EDIT: Ideal weight for a weighted vest for this?

  1. Weighted high intensity plyos (maybe holding a med ball?) for 2x4-5 and then a flying sprint.


Most plyos and resisted sprints have a greater impact on acceleration rather than top speed. The GCT are much shorter when sprinting at top speed than when performing plyos or resisted sprints. So, I’m not sure about the exercise pairing here.

I’ve found that pairing something like med ball throws or sleds with short acceleration work (~30m) works pretty well.

So how about the weighted rebound jumps + accels? Wanna try them tomorrow :smiley:

Keeping sleds out since im very well in-season

Hmmm. I usually find that I get enough out of UN-weighted rebound jumps with the accels. If you use extra weight, keep it very light. However, it is not my favorite drill combo, since the angle of force application is very different. On the other hand, if you are in season, maybe that’s a good thing since it won’t mess with your motor patterns. On the other, other hand (do I have any left?) if you are in-season, why are you adding new drills?

hm good point, so you think better idea to not do this at all? for now. im trying really hard to run a 11.1 and break 11 this season, got till end of july. Already peaked once for high school championships

The resisted sprints are just the setup, analogous to Verkhoshansky using weights with few reps to set up his stimulus system.

The real overload is the flying sprints the follow, which is extreme if you actually do the overspeed here (be very careful, because the effect is far greater because of the contrast).

Here’s one explanation that I’ve posted elsewhere from Brent MacFarlane:

November 2008
Contrast Training
by Brent McFarlane
Contrast Training provides a uniquely structured way to focus on and develop Acceleration and Maximum Velocity. It involves a single workout with three distinct running components:

“The Real Thing” or Speed

Resistance runs are done over 20-30 meters. Any resistance that provides a resistance greater than 10% will result in loss of intensity. Alternatively, resistance exercises can also be skill exercises performed with some additional resistance.

Immediately following the Resistance section, there is an Assistance component. This involves 2-3 runs from 20-40 meters.

Finally, using distances of 40-60 meters sprints are done at “Real Speed”.

The theory behind Contrast Training is that the Resistance component “tricks” the brain into reacting to the added load by firing more neural motor units. When the resistance is removed, this additional firing is incorporated into the desired “overspeed” during the assistance component. The final “real speed” sprint is intended to blend the additional motor units into the desired action in the way it will need to be performed under race or competition conditions.

You may get a contrast effect by following resisted runs with flys in the flat (if possible with wind assistance, as Charlie said). I don’t know if the effect is as strong that way, but the injury risk may be less.

What I’ve learned for experience here is the injury risk isn’t the workout itself (including the overspeed); It’s what follows in the next few days after a MAJOR CNS and muscle load. I have been injured from this training in the past, but NEVER DURING THE OVERSPEED. About 4 days of pretty light load (weights as well as track) like they seem to do at LSU seems to mitigate the injury risk…But you can’t use it in the middle of Charlie’s SPP that way, either.

The point I’m trying to make here is exchanging straight flys for overspeed might not reduce the injury risk if you do not give enough attention to rest and recovery after what would still be a very intense stimulus.

How about using the strong stimulus of this training 10 days before a meet and doing the 10 day taper from that? and possibly lowering the intensity of the speed work that follows in the taper in the next 4-5 days after?