# Help!

First, I just want to say what a blessing this site is. The richness and sheer volume of the information contained here is staggering.

After reading through the archives on several occasions, I haven’t been able to find quite the information I’m seeking, so I’m going to have to resort to making my first post.

My son - currently a 16 yo 11th grader - aspires to compete in track and/or football at the collegiate level. In order to make that dream a reality however, he must improve his speed and explosiveness.

It seems that he may have unrealized potential for explosiveness based on a couple of facts:

At a bodyweight of 165 lb., he performed 10r @ 230 lb. on hang cleans two months ago and more recently 5r @ 245 lb. - which he said he could’ve done 10 times. He also performed 5r of parallel squats at 305 lb. two months ago but hasn’t maxed since then. His HC has improved by 165 lb. and his squat by 150-175 lb. in the last two yrs.

The other piece of relevant information is that in performing the “strength deficit test” for VJ, his counter movement vertical jump is only about 5% different from his static vertical jump.

His testing numbers for each of the past three autumns:

9th grade ht. 65"wt. 128____VJ - 23.5"40 yd. (hh on grass)- 5.25
26" ____5.07
4.80

His standing long jump in March of 9th gr. was 7’ 11", competition long jump - 18’ 10". March of 10 gr. - SLJ - 8’ 9", competition LJ - 21 ft.

He’s tried plyometrics and jump squats for 8-12 week cycles in order to improve his explosiveness but so far hasn’t seen much in the way of results.

With a theoretical max of 1.82-1.94 x BW in the HC, shouldn’t his vertical be much better?

Could this be a function of physical maturity? (while many of his classmates are shaving, he’s still a few years away)

Is his squat (theoretical max of 2.12 x BW ) the limiting factor?

He will be grateful for and open to any suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Yes his vj should be higher. I am like 167 and can fullsquat 265 with a 27in vj. I am the same age. I don’t do any plyos or practice jumping much. I can’t even hang clean 200. Maybe it is the fact that he is taller than me. Just keep doing plyos and practicing jumping. And tell him to do full squats instead of parallel.

Feet and inches!

His limiting factor appears to be RFD. Typically RFD is best developed on the track. What are his current track workouts? High intensity, low volume?

…to develop RFD in the weightroom replace cleans with hang snatches.

Agree with DW… At least 70% of a sprinter workout should be track related -i.e. sprinting, tempo, drills, etc.

Thank you (all of you) for responding.

Whoa! So am I understanding correctly when you say “on the track” - that sprinting will improve his vertical? Or are you also referring to bounding and plyometric-type activities? As they say, little did I know how little I knew.

It is currently football season, so in addition to football drills and lifting, his “speed work” consists of 6-10 reps of 100 yd. sprints with 20-30 seconds rest. I realize this is conditioning rather than speed work, but this is part of football practice.

Should he be doing sprint and/or plyometric work on his own at this time? And if so what? The demands of football seem to be about all his body can handle for now. His lifts have been stagnant since the season started and he says his legs feel tired almost all the time, which I realize is symptomatic of overtraining, but he pretty much has to do what the coaches tell him.

He doesn’t participate in a winter sport, so he will have control of his workouts from around Nov. 1 to March 1.

From what he’s hearing, he will be competing in the 100m in addition to jumping this track season (March to mid-May). So far, his competitive sprinting has been limited to the 4 x 100. So maybe it would be wise not to worry about the VJ for now and just do what he needs to do to improve his speed?

Sorry about the inconvenience of using ft. & in., I will convert if it’s important.

Sprinting (which is technically plyometric) and Plyo will improve VJ by improving RFD.

His current 100yd training is conditioning in the form extensive or intensive tempo -depending on intensity.

Being that he is in football season. Additional plyo and sprinting might be too much.

After football season, the priority should be to improve 30m acceleration times/speed.

Agree with Scarface - example is not a speed session. Rests should be >4 minutes, intensity >95%.

Understood. Sorry I wasn’t clearer. Please comment on the following:

Shouldn’t his vertical be better than 70cm with a 111k 10rm on HC at a BW of 75k?

Doesn’t a (theoretical) HC 1rm of 1.94 x BW require a decent RFD?

It seems to me that with the HC widely recommended as one of the top lifts to improve RFD that his level of proficiency would be having more of an impact on his athletic performance.

I closely follow high school football recruiting as well as NFL combine results, and the players with HC’s over 1.3-1.4 x BW almost always have VJ’s around 89cm or higher. :eek:

He’s excited about your recommendations, and eager to get started as soon as football season is over. He did the type of workout you suggest from late May through late July and his speed improved slightly but his vertical stayed the same. I realize this is a short period of time in which to make much progress.

Would any of CF’s books include specific workouts for improving RFD?

If so, how do we adapt them for a 16 yo athlete with limited training time? He will be able to do his own workout from around Nov. 1 to mid-Dec. At that time, he will begin conditioning with the coaches, which consists of some sprinting, bounding and box drills. I can get the specifics (sets, reps, rest periods) if necessary. He would be more than willing to do additional work if you think it would be beneficial, but he is pretty much required to participate in their program.

Thanks again for all your help.

The clean actually lies towards the left of the F:V curve and is therefore typically used by sprinters to improve maximum force. Angular velocities in the clean, particularly for unskilled lifters, do not compare to sprinting or jumping. The RFD component is therefore developed through sprinting/jumping itself. Explosive overhead medicine ball throws are a good choice if an additional (low stress) training modality is desired to improve RFD.

Additionally the hang derivative often leads to the weight being ‘muscled’ up with the upper body - this is to be avoided…

Could someone please direct me to a resource (book, etc.) that will contain specific workouts enabling a young jumper/sprinter to improve his RFD?

thanks again

It sounds like you and your son are very motivated! congrats!

There are several other things you can try as well.

You have to keep the rest periods fairly high (usually an average of around 1 minute per 10 meters sprint is a good guideline)

So if he sprints 50 meters at 95% intensity have him rest 5 minutes between reps minimum.

Keep the total volume of speed work at or under 300 meters per session. Concentrate on quality not quantity. You will be lucky to get 2-3 good speed sessions in a week. (2 might be more realistic where he is involved in other activities) Be sure to have adequate rest between sessions and to watch out for CNS fatique. (ie: Dont have him running like a madman at football practice the day after or the day immediately before speed)

Where you are trying to improve RFD I would consider keeping reps around 30-50 meter range at first using a lying start or falling start. (No need to complicate things with block work yet)

I would also have him learn the powerclean as well. It is a great exercise and I personally find it much more beneficial than the hang clean.

The Power snatch is also great but I find it can aggravate my shoulders.

For VJ testing arm action is VERY important so there maybe a technique error somewhere. His strength numbers seem great for his age so you need to target RFD.

Best of Luck!
Chris

Thank you for your help, Chris. This will definitely help him get going in the right direction.

Yes, he is very motivated to improve. He’s been involved in competitive track since he was 9 years old and even at that age we had to literally drag him away when it was time to leave because he wanted to keep working. For my part, seeing his enthusiasm motivates me to do whatever I can to see that he has the information/resources he needs to do his thing.