Have Strength - but Speed isn't improving ....?

My squating, deadlifting and cleans are all well up over the past few months, but I’m not seeing a great if any transfer into my sprinting times …

I missed 5 weeks with only limited running with an injury, but I was lifting heavy all through those weeks and my strength increased very well…

… but my speed is not improving, I’m just staying put.

How do I improve my speed?

I think I might have concentrated too much on my strength and am now suffering

MY weight has gone up by 3 lbs in the past month also, but no real bodyfat% increase.

Do I need to concetrate more on RFD such as plyos and more cleans etc to transfer the strength ???

Should I consider trying to drop some weight?

Any ideas welcome …


You said you missed 5 weeks of running due to injury. How long have you been back doing sprint workouts? What are you doing for your sprint workouts? Strength increase or not, you need time to regain what you have lost due to injury and time off.

What is your body weight? Bodyfat %? And were you doing cardio or tempo (including abs and core work), while you were injured?

Again, what are you doing for your workouts? This will help the forum to understand why you are not seeing a strength to speed “transfer.”

I’ve been back full sprinting only 2 weeks.
I’ve been able to do no running (i.e. tempo) at all either.
yes - I’ve been doing plenty of abs stuff - but like I said no real cardio only a little on the rower - though I hated it.
I tried some scrimmaging but had to limit it due to the injury.
Body Fat - probably 14% at this stage.

What running (sprinting) workouts are you doing currently?

You’ve probably answered your own question. You’ve been off all running period for 5 weeks and have only been sprinting again for two. I’d be happy not to lose any speed after a 5 week layoff! Just have some patience man, you will begin to see the benefits of your enhanced strength down the line, you’re just not able to apply it yet as your body is still readapting to the stress, motor patterns etc. of sprinting. It may take afew months even after such a long layoff, but 2 weeks is not near enough time to regain form after a five week layoff.

My Last session (2 days ago) was -
2 x 10m, 3 x 30m, 3 X 60m, 2 x 30m

I also did some two legged bounding and hurdle hops in the hope of developing the explosive transfer.


I would not go into bounding or hurdle hops just yet. Move back into things slowly. Med ball throws would be fine at this point. The workout looks fine. How much rest are you taking in between sets and reps?

Keep the workouts 60m or under for the time being. Keep up your flexibility. Make sure you recover from one session to the next.

Do at least 2 Tempo workouts per week, and this should help with the excess weight. In other words, just get back into training, and the weight will come off on its own.

OK Herb I’ll go with that
I’m probably just too keen to get my speed back up.
I’ll drop the hurdles - I just thought it would help trasnfer a bit - but might be a little too intense just now.
I’ll let you know how it goes in the meantime.
Thnks for the help.

What was your injury?

If you were doing a ton of heavy lifting you are not going to get the transfer to the track right away after a layoff.

Also you may want to cut your weights slightly and introduce the sprint work to try and minimize the new shock to the CNS

Thats a good point too Chris my CNS has been well fried most of this week.

I don’t want to lose my strength now I have gained quite a bit - 2 sessions - 1 Upper and 1 Lower body enough?

Injury ?? - Calf injury - Not entirely sure - originally thought it was a calf tear -
Anytime I tried to run I could only jog 100m before I started to cramp and feel pain similar to a tear - although I don’t remeber ‘tearing’ it.
Obviously I couldn’t sprint or anyting and walking was painful too.

Anyway two sessions of ART with a good therapist, some serious stretching and some hot and cold therapy and some EMS cleared it up in a week flat after suffreing from it for 4 weeks before that!!!

One ‘expert’ told me it was an acidic build up related to a high protein diet!
I wasn’t convinced - but I don’t want to knock the guy either.
Perhaps it was - I balanced more carbs in my diet over the last 3 weeks of rehabbing and perhaps that helped also.

Perhaps others would have a view …
High protein diets in athletes and acidic build up ?

Anywya thankfully I’m back - my need is now speed !!

Thanks again!

If your diet is high in protein and low in carbs your body will start breaking down fat to produce ketone bodies that can be used as fuel instead of the carbs. Ketone bodies are acidic and therefore lead to acidosis.

This is how the famous Atkins diet works, by the way.


I certainly wasn’t on the Atkins diet :slight_smile:

But I wasn’t aware higher protein diets could develop acidic buildups that might cause such painful problems…

Also the ketone production can only be a result of ketosis and this is on extremely low carb diets - I certainly wasn’t on THAT low a diet and I don’t think I was ever NEAR ketosis!!!

Sure - I figured I may suffer some of the problems that might go with low fibre intake - but I sure didn’t expect acidic build ups …

Off topic (sort of) but how much did your strength levels improve? Was there any RFD work done and was there any flexilibity losses?

“Also the ketone production can only be a result of ketosis”

It’s the other way round: Ketosis is the name for the condition when you have lots of ketones in your body. Ketosis is thus the result of ketone production.

You are, however, correct in your assertion that ketosis only occurs if your diet is very low in carbs, so that the body does not have anough fuel anymore and thus needs to produce ketones as an alternative energy source.

Nevertheless, the amount of reduction in carbohydrate intake required to cause ketosis might be significantly lower for an athlete who burns a lot of calories in his daily workouts than for a non-athlete. That means, a diet that wouldn’t be low enough in carbs to cause ketosis in the average person might do so in an athlete. Another factor could be that the ability of the blood to neutralise access acids might be reduced in an athlete who trains in the lactic range.

I’m not saying that this is definitely what happened to you, of course.


High protein diets and acidic buildup

That may have something to do with it, but overtraining is associated with a shift toward an acidic state in the body which may have had something to do with your problem.

Thanks guys -

I guess it just goes to show how a high protein diet while moving from a more weight lifting oriented program can affect the body when sprinting is introduced … and there’s me doubting my therapist!!!

Thanks Robin - I had my understnding of ketosis the wrong way around !!

Kellyb - you could be right also - as the more sprinting I introduced - perhaps even small acidic build-ups may have contributed to it - though strcitly overtraining I wouldn’t be so sure of.

I agree with Herb and Chris, phase things in, don’t jump right into to everything. 5 weeks layoff is a lot, it will take more then 2 weeks to readapt and more to get back to the same performance level, in particular in speed. Coming from a old style “traditional” program I know it takes very long to build speed back up after phasing it out, on the other hand training ala CFTS one is always working speed and in essence always fast, so you don’t notice or remember how much is lost during periods with no speed work. Be patient, be smart and follow your plan and the results will come.

What I have always believed… weight training with heavy weights will slow people down who don’t have the god given genetics to sprint. There are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of athletes lifting weights, squatting 500lbs+ etc, but there still slow. I think leg frequency is god given, and is what sets fast athletes from the not so quite.

I know one thing which I have found out for myself and heard from a Russian sprinting guru, lifting weights does increase stride length to some extent, but does f**K all for Leg frequency, infact it only hinders it. Go out and see for yourself.

Before I started to lift heavy weights, I had a good leg frequency (by training with differnet means), after that I noticed that I had that “jumping” feeling but that feeling of having great acceleration from having a good leg frequency had gone completely.

I don’t know many people, who when on their backs cannot cycle their feet 5 times per second. Frequency is NOT completely God given. Much of the muscle fibre is trained during pubery to go either one way or the other (theoretically anyways).

Lifting weights is not meant to increase stride frequency. Running fast will increase your stride frequency. Lifting weights will help with strength and injury prevention.

Strength will affect frequency by raising the CG at foot contact, reducing the contact patch and, therefore, the time available for decelerating.