Do you have to be strong to run fast?


Simple answer. Yes. Relative to your bodyweight anyway.

I have this strong belief that strength affects your top speed by a good margin. Not just acceleration

This is fastly dependent on what your measure of strength is. Rapid delivery of force relative to bodyweight needs to be high in order to run ‘fast’.

What do you mean by “strong”?

NO! my example Carl Lewis you do not have to be excessivly strong.strenght vs technique is the balance

Thats what I figured.

Kim Collins doesn’t look very strong but he’s fast as hell, if you have good technique, and a strong plyometric workout you still can be fast.

The short answer is yes.

But, I believe that "strength” can be expressed in different ways.

For example, strength does not have to be manifested by lifting heavy weights. Carl Lewis did not lift very heavy or often, however, he did plyometrics. And, plyometrics require a tremendous amount of strength. There is no question that Carl had a great strength to weight ratio!

PS. Kim Collins not looking strong is deceptive. You have to look at his relative strength to weight ratio.

sprinters are generally strong but not all.KK is a more technically clean,lighter sprinter than compared to crawford/williams.these guys seem to use more effort/strenght whereas KK seems to float along.

build a foundation=technique then increase strenght.the foundation is essential(look at a house) and strength(bricks and mortar).

carls strength to weight ratio hmmmm you’d be suprised.plyrometrically carl was explosive but actually strength wise in the weights room=come out girls!

Yep, that’s why I mentioned strength not being manifested by lifting heavy weights… Plyometrics develop power (speed-strength), whereas weights generally develop absolute strength. Additionally, weights also require neuromuscular efficiency. Having said that I don’t have any doubts that Carl’s weightlifting numbers would skyrocket had he weight trained seriously over an extended period.

Don’t forget about strength at speed as oppose to just absolute strength….

I believe Charlie made note that although the hamstring usually shows less or equal strength in weight lifting numbers than the quads, it is much stronger than the quads at high speed.


There is not a fast sprinter that is not strong. It all depends on what standards or tools you use to measure strength. Charlie pointed out that you(Carl Lewis) have to very strong to propell your body 30 feet.
The amount of weight you can lift in the weight room is just an/one expression of total organism strength. In 1996 when Carl started lifting again he was able to get close to 300lb in the clean and bench in a relatively short period of time. Imho, this shows the strength was always there.

300lb clean absolute BS! i agree with what charlie said but he didn’t achieve this strength through weightlifting,plyrometrically yes he did.

Agree with you there… I think even Donovan Bailey would have trouble doing a 300lb clean much less Carl.

i know for a fact that colin jackson and edwards could handle such weights and was great for such slight athletes

Oh… no question… there are track athletes that can handle a 300lb clean… More of the exception than the rule…

Why do you suggest Carl’s 300lb clean is BS?

… Christian Olsson (the man with the bird legs) comes close to that. 330+ is where the extraordinary starts!

lorien because i know.i don’t talk BS and i never have.all my posts’ are genuine and with sound back up i have alot of contacts as we all have but i have alot of contact with certain coaches

Makes sense! But I think its also important to understand that interpretation of information can be skewed. For example, when you stated “No” to the question on “do you have to be strong to be fast.” You used Carl Lewis lack of weight training numbers as an example of lack of strength. Not taking into consideration Carl’s superior speed-strength.

In this case, one does not have to lift heavy weights to be strong! But one must be strong to run fast!

do you have to be strong to be fast??

what do we define as strong.