Just Sprints/Just Weights.

I know we had an old thread on this but i asked David W where it is and he said it dissappeared so if nobody minds id like to see what you all have to say about this. i think it went a little something like this…

You have 2 athletes with the same talent/ability…they are training for the 60.

One Athlete only lifts.The other athlete only does 60 meter sprints. Lets say this goes on for a three month period.

Who wins?

Col, you’ll be quicker to about 15m. After that, if you have done no sprinting you will be slower than you were when you were sprinting.

how’s the guy who’s lifting weights training? like a power lifter? olympic lifter? bodybuilder?

unless he’s doing olympic lifts it wont be a contest.

that being said if he is doing O lifts…it should be close!

Originally posted by xlr8
There is more than one way to develop strength. The weight room may be the most convenient and effective, but many sprinters from the not-so-distant past did little or no weight work. Carl Lewis is a great example. You can develop strength through sprinting itself and through various plyometric drills. I understand that the East Germans did a lot of resisted sprinting to develop strength.

So the person who does sprint training is developing strength, RFD, speed intramuscular and intermuscular coordination specific to sprinting while the person who does only weights is developing just strength, RFD and intramuscular coordination as a more general capacity. It’s a no-brainer, the sprinter wins. However, the weight-lifter may have developed the motor capacities to sprint faster if he then incorporated sprint training into his program.


Hard to argue with that :clap:

He lifted during the '96 season and won gold in the LJ at Atlanta. Not a complete disaster, surely?!?

There are many successful sprinters who don’t lift weights. There are NO successful sprinters who don’t sprint.

LOL Charlie!!
How true!

This is why i started this thread… everyone is making valid points… and im glad we have some peole playing the devils advocate… but i have one word…


You are right, there was a discussion on this before, but I can’t find it either. I think if he/she trained properly the person who did more quality speed work would be the better sprinter.

IMO The guy who does weights would! The longer the time spent, the bigger the gap.
Just sprinting alone will help initially, but the strength and power levels you can build with weights would far outstrip the intial adaption you get by sprinting itself.

You can get stronger with weights and train for speed. You can only train sprinting while sprinting, and then soon after the body begins to adapt.

Just my opinion - not fact :slight_smile:

The guinea pig, I mean person sprinting would. But the person who choose the best methods (i.e. weights and sprinting) would beat them both.

The sprinter of course

Come off it Col! Over 60m, the guy who lifts weights only, would have no hope against the guy who sprints only (all else being equal). Up to about 20-30m, it may be a different story, but not for a distance as far as 60m.

The guy who finally decided to train in both would get my vote to win. :slight_smile:

The guy who sprints would win easily.

Power = Force x Velocity

However improvements in power result mainly from an increase in force not speed. Of course RATE of force development (RFD) is important which is why Olympic lift variations have such positive cross over to sprinting.


F = m.a
therefore, a = F/m

since m (BW) ~ constant, acceleration is dependent on maximum force therefore over short distances there can be only one winner!

The answers in extreme cases are opposite.

If both athletes had very low strength levels to begin with (the proverbial 90lb weaklings) then the one who trained weights would win.

Similarly, if both were naturally strong to begin with (say, both 600lb squatters) then the one who trained sprints would win. Dimas would run the 60m faster by putting in some training time on the track, as opposed to putting another 10kg on his clean and jerk.

I will make the following observations:

  • weight training seems to train acceleration better than top-end speed

  • there are good odds that the weightlifter will beat the sprinter over 10m - 20m, but low odds over 60m.

  • most sprinters will beat most throwers over 60m any day. Throwers lift more, sprinters run more.

  • I have seen athletes lock themselves in the gym all winter and only pull on spikes in the spring, and generally no good comes of this. These guys usually wind up becoming throwers out of frustration.

  • that said, I would place my money on a sprinter who weight trains over a sprinter who does no weight training any day.

It is definitely a good one.
Completely Hypothetical though.

The answer is based on how much cross-training each will do.
If we take it that the sprinter does no weight lifting and the lifter does no sprinting…

The Weight lifter would be devoid of technique and the mechanics of running, meaning that much more of the power at his/her disposal would be spent keeping them in line etc. The worse the technique - the more power wasted.

The likelyhood of the lifter getting an injury is greater - even over 60m - but very much over 100m. - since this is the fatest that they might have moved in 3 months…

I do agree with DavidW’s basic point the complete force generated would be far greater for the lifter - but the sprinting test doesn’t fit that easily into an equation.

Here is one other way of putting the same question - If you had 3 months and could only train in one way - which would you choose ?


Over a period of 3 months constant heavy lifting with no overspeed or even max speed training the athlete will not improve their speed -even though their power will improve.

By sprinting for a period of 3 months, technique can improve, starting etc. so that the power availble to the sprinter can be maximised.

Again ---- this is all hypothetical anyway — just like the question of who is really the fastest if you ignore wind, ignore reaction times etc.?


Originally posted by David W
YoU’rE aLl wRoNg I tEll YoU. WroNg. WEiTghlliFtiNg Is tHe ONLY wAy aghhhhhhhh :baddevil::


<smile> David, you really must remember to take your medication :slight_smile: