Frans Bosch

What’s up fellas, anyone familiar with Bosch drills?

On the track or in the gym?
His DVD shows numerous drills on the track. I like the ones for improving reactivity but not the ones which are explicitly geared toward restricting hip extension. I understand his philosophy behind this but he’s taking it to the other extreme and the end result are shorter strides which an increase in frequency (due to shortened contacttimes and increased reactivity) cannot compensate for.
His gym exercises are not documented on the DVD. Highly innovative, but also highly ‘specific’ on purpose (reactive or explosive). Like Charlie explained many times over, a sprinter would be better off with a more conservative general program.

Any place on the web where I can learn more about his drills?

There’s nothing really online. Another Dutch coach who was influenced by Bosch put a few drills up on his website , but the execution is less than perfect, and the notes are in dutch, so it would be a poor substitute. The DVD is really worth the money. It offers a fresh perspective on running and the variety of drills is amazing.

Do you think any of these drills would/could be useful for American football?

When I was in Holland Frans Bosch introduced the concept of Positive Running to me. I thought it was thought provoking and should be put on the table for discussion. Frans was kind enough to translate some of his remarks on his idea into English.

Positive Running - Maintaining top speed in running - Basic ideas

By Frans Bosch

In top speed running there are limiting factors. One could be the amount of power muscles can generate. There is good reason to assume this not a very important factor. An important factor is the ability to maintain elastic energy in the system by converting it to kinetic energy and back to elastic energy again. This means a lot of elastic energy is transported from one leg to the other each step. In sprinting this occurs 4-5 times per second.

How is elastic energy transported from one leg to the other?

In top speed running hamstrings play a crucial role. In the swing phase, at the moment of the fast knee extension, the hamstring is stretched elastic by the pendulum motion of the lower leg. To load the hamstrings elastic pelvic rotation backward has to be avoided, since backward rotation unloads the hamstrings. Therefore it is necessary to have the pelvic not in a forward tilted position immediately before the hamstring-loading phase. This means that at the end of the stance phase forward pelvic rotation has to be avoided. Abdominal muscles play a crucial role in this.

When there is no or limited forward tilt at the moment of toe-off. m. iliopsoas activity of the behind leg can help with loading the hamstring together with the knee extension. (See BK book)

Around the moment of toe off (in the leg that was the stance leg) there is an important transition in muscle activity from one set of muscles (hamstring gluteus erector spinae) to an other set of muscles (abd. Iliopsoas rectus). This big change in muscle activity means transferring elastic energy from one group of muscles to the next is under pressure. It becomes even more difficult when there is forward tilt of the pelvis, because abdominals only have a narrow range in witch they can generate big forces.

Is avoiding of forward rotation of the pelvis difficult and is it a limiting factor in high speed running?

Avoiding too much forward tilt of the pelvis together with keeping the pelvis in a forward position (like M Johnson etc. >> making it possible to load the abd, iliops rectus -set with lots of elastic energy) facilitates the energy transfer from one leg to the other. Losing control of the hip position under fatigue can be observed in many runners (being unable to bring the swing leg forward fast enough).

How is this stabilizing of the pelvis done?

In positive running a large retroflecive motion of the stance leg is avoided, because that will always result in pelvis tilt forward. The knee of the stance leg does not travel far behind the hip. In Asafa Powell’s technique this is done to an extreme, the knee hardly travels until behind the hip. Many sprinters that are excellent in the last stage of a 100m show this pattern and they show it even more in their best races (Carl Lewis in his world record race).

Why is it called positive Running?

Take the moment of toe off and draw lines trough the upper legs (yellow dotted line). Divide the angle in two equal parts (a) and draw a new line (blue). In sprinters with the mentioned speed maintaining technique this blue line points forward (positive) in runners with less suited technique the blue line points more downward (more in a negative direction). This positive resultant is seen in the whole running cycle, also for instance at the when the stance leg is vertical, the swing leg has passed it already a lot in positive running.

Maintaining elastic energy in the system by keeping the pelvis in the right position is difficult at high speed and could be the limiting factor in running. This can be improved with;

Technique training
Conditioning the muscles in the front of the body to a much higher level than done before. (from my experience this easily can be achieved) Muscles in the front are often neglected.

The majority of his drills are aimed at improving elastic strength, when the legs are nearly extended, the muscles function quasi-isometrically and the tendons generate huge forces. In other words what happens after 30-40m when the body is in the upright position.
So for a football player, who mainly needs to accelerate for a short distance, which requires a more explosive concentric type muscle action, they would not be that useful. Furthermore, these drills require quite some practice before you’re able to do them correctly, and may not be an efficient use of your limited time.

Ill add my 2 cents. Check the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre

Frans did a free audio podcast interview with Derek and Brian for the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre. In the podcast he discusses some of his general training philosophy, but no “real” discussion on drills, per se.

He also has 6 or 7 streaming videos on the site as well each are ~ $20. Check there media page. You will need to sign up to get access.

the anatomy of running streaming videos are in lecture format, and have a fair amount of info and a few drills that are also found in the “running” DVD.

As Martijn commented, some of the drills outlined in the DVD may involve a learning curve with their execution, and therefore, may not be “economical” with team sport athletes.
Personally, I think if you want more info about the drills you probably would have to purchase the DVD.

I was expecting to see something new, the only thing new is the name. You would have seen them for the last 15 yrs at any little athletic club.

yeah, they are good, mid level Tradesman power tools :slight_smile:

They do, but not anywhere near as much as ensuring the hip flexors and thighs are NOT knotted up and have proper full range of motion and the Hip flexors are Strong also.

Once that is in place, then yes, look to the Abs.

For an awesome view of this, look no further than Usain

Do you guys know of the power clean variation Frans was speaking about to develop reflex etc?

I’ve seen different ones. I don’t like any of them. Specificity is not what you should be looking for in the gym as Charlie explained on numerous occasions. The high incidence of injuries in Bosch’ group also illustrates it perfectly. If you want to get a rough idea of his gym work have a look here on the website that I cited earlier in this thread. I’m not saying that it’s all useless work or dangerous but I question the need for it and the risk/benefit ratio. The exercise you’re looking for is not shown on that website BTW.

Do not know about the injury claim. All anecdotical and so no proof. I know coaches who did those variation and never had any problem with it.
Interesting idea that being specific should not count in the gym. Why are the most important mechanisms of adaptation not valid in the gym? Does not make any sense to me.

Well his athletes (e.g. de Leeuw, Pennings) said they were injured and did not compete. What more proof do you need? An X-ray of their damaged achilles tendons?

If Charlie’s view on specificity of gym work does not make sense to you you should download his strength DVDs. I presume you joined this board to learn from his methods.

Indeed I need more proof. If you know athletics a bit, you would know that many athletes always get injured because they just are not robust enough and other can handle anything. So I need more proof, that a certain training method even brakes robust athletes. Anecdotes are just not good enough.(Gary Winckler reports good experiences with this approach to training; an other anecdote that is not good enough to be scientific proof?).
Charlie’s on the point of being specific does not make sense to me. Maybe you can explain.

a pull or power clean in kneeling positizion is one of the worst thing you can do in practice!

The only training specific to the event is the event itself! All other activities in training are general in nature.

Searching for specificity in the weight room is a very bad idea as the movement velocities and power output will be negligible in relation to what occurs out on the track. Not to mention the competing CNS resources - the closer the nature of the activities become to the primary goal (in this case speed) the greater the risk of fatigue and injury.

Hope that helps!

Searching for specificity in the weight room is a very bad idea as the movement velocities and power output will be negligible in relation to what occurs out on the track.

That would mean, you better do no weight training at all. Because it is completely non specific there can be no transfer, so no benefit. I think, though your remark is very valuable, maybe there is more to it.
Other option; Speed and power output are only minor aspects of specificity. There are other aspects, that make sense in the weight room (very much the take of the functional training idea (Gambetta etc.). Why are these people wrong??

Listen to Bosch for a greater understanding of sprint mechanics but leave how to change those mechanics to other people - e.g. CF, for many of the reasons given above.