kettle bell competitors - yet flat hamstrings

Kettlebell swings are a sorry excuse for an overhead back throw. Throw the implement for real power

" Is lots of fast running the only way to appropriately strengthen hamstrings for running? " ( Goose232).


Lots of fast running is the only appropriate way to strengthen the hamstrings for running fast or your fastest. Lifting might be useful if done in the proper way in combination with speed work but most people get carried away in the weight room. If you are looking to be fast you must understand the realationship between speed work and weights.
All of my heavy lifting came after my best speed work when I was the fastest in my career.

Running fast is one thing. Running fast consistently season after season and improving in digestable amounts over time… This is what displays the knowledge behind post 1988 results of the Charlie Francis Methods of training.

Do female sprinters might get more benefit from weights compared with men generally speaking or there is no such trend?

Remember, a kettlebell is just a tool.
it can have it’s place if used at the right time and method.

Agree. Kettlebells are not a new tool, they have a place.

Can either of you give us a good example? I’m curious.

I have never used them for sprinters. I used them when I was throwing hammers. I might use them inplace of shot drills (if someone has a shoulder problem), or as a tool in gym in place of barbell or dumbbells on a exercise such as goblet squats.

Too be honest I can probably think of less expensive tools.

Most precious words,Ange, never enough said. Thank you.
And Happy new Year!

I like to use them during circuit training. Just as a general conditioning tool, like a med ball. Eg, During tempo runs, one stops for a break between runs and performs say sit ups or push ups ect I also add in a few kettlebell exercises. The way we do em, they are no harder than general push ups or Burpees or such. Adds simple variety.
I don’t use em in a strength fashion or cross growth fashion. Just conditioning. It’s very simple to teach and portable for doing things outdoors.

I like my kids to do a year or so of kettlebell work in a circuit fashion once bodyweight circuits have become easy and before they start lifting barbells.

Is there any reason in particular for this? What’s your logic? I don’t remember Charlie mentioning a 2 yr lattice. If I remember correctly he did employ a one year build up using med balls. Just interested to know what you think.

It’s a simple progression. The logic is that a barbell is heavier than a kettlebell, which is heavier than a med. ball, which is heavier than no additional load at all.
It’s not a rigid 2 year lattice written in stone. Some kids take longer, some less and there’s value for the stronger athletes to incorporate the lighter stuff as well. Really nothing earth shattering happening here. I just wanted to say that kettlebells are a nice introduction to weights. It avoids lifting too heavily too early. Especially boys are tempted to outlift each other. And they provide variety, which the girls in my group in particular appreciate.

The following is from :

New Studies in Athletics. 10:1; 29-49, 1995
Relative activity of hip and knee extensors in sprinting - Implications for training
Klaus Wiemann and Günter Tidow

It contains many interesting hints to further discussion:

[i]Relaxation Training

Even the fastest land animals are very rarely injured. The primary cause of this is certainly selective pressure and the fact that quadrupeds have much BETTER BALANCE than bipeds even on rough terrain.

However, there are two additional factors to be considered:

1 .Firstly, animals presumably are not aware of the execution of fluent and exact cyclic sprint movements and, secondly, they do not perform any strength
training. Therefore, there is a decisive contrast to most human sprinters.
As already mentioned, even human beings should not become too aware of movement details when sprinting.

  1. However, frequent overtension of muscles, together with co- activations of muscles not actually participating in forward propulsion, is typical of all- out sprinting, With the following results:
    Firstly, a muscle which is activated at the wrong time reduces the contraction velocity of its antagonist and thereby increases its energy consumption.
    By contracting continuously, the agonist prevents its own micro-regeneration, which is urgently needed, for two reasons:

a. the intramuscular compression remains so high that the blood flow is stopped. Therefore, there is neither a sufficient supply of nutrients nor a removal of waste products.
b. the α-motor neurons, which activate the motor units of the agonist, are permanently stressed. However, the type II motor neurons, which are responsible for fast contractions, very soon tire (GRIMBY & HANNERZ 1981). Normally, these motor neurons discharge only for a few milliseconds, with intermittent short bursts. A permanent activation causes them to fatigue very quickly, so that they are no longer able to produce the high- frequency discharges necessary to cause the muscle fibres to contract. This results in a considerable reduction of the total impulse of the relevant prime movers. This is all the more true, if the muscle concerned is predominately composed of fast-twitch fibres.

Presumably, these considerations led WYSOTSCHIN (1976) to speak of “the art of
muscle relaxation during the sprint” and to develop a corresponding training
programme. Considering that sprint races generally require the highest degree of
concentration and tension, it is indeed an “art” to activate only those muscles which
are needed for locomotion and then, after an optimal contraction, to relax them as
quickly as possible. This fast alternation of tension and relaxation determines the
athlete’s stride rate, which, together with stride length, determines the athlete’s
running velocity.
The ability to relax one’s muscles can be trained. For example, V. Borsov (URSS/
Ukraine) used appropriate training for this facility. However, unlike the optimization of intermuscular co-ordination, the capacity for intramuscular relaxation is linked very closely to the existing fibre distribution. Intramuscular relaxation ability, therefore, is mainly a genetically determined indicator of talent.
So,ultimately, the dynamics of the reabsorption of calcium ions into the sarcoplasmatic reticulum determines the relaxation time of a previously contracted muscle fibre. This re-uptake capacity is at its highest in type Ilb fibres (ALWAY 1992).

However, strength training leads to a change in the proportional distribution in a fast or a mixed muscle, in such a way that both cross-section methods (CSM) and neuronal activation methods (NAM) lead to a left transformation (see Figure 13). This means that certain strength training methods unintentionally reduce the relaxation ability of the loaded muscle groups.

Consequently, incorrect strength training or full-speed sprinting after or during (macro)cycles of a corresponding training emphasis (especially if cross-section methods are applied) can lead to injuries, which occur most frequently at the back of the thigh. There are two interconnected reasons for this:

1.Firstly, the faulty selection of strength training exercises can result in a muscular
imbalance. It is almost a tradition with many coaches and athletes to place the
emphasis on strengthening the knee extensors. This leads to a further increase of the natural asymmetry of the contractile force of the thigh muscles, to the detriment of the ischiocrural muscles.

2.Secondly, there is a CONTRACTILITY DECREMENT in the strength- trained muscles. This does not only lead to an increase of contraction time but, more importantly, also to an increase of relaxation time. If the KNEE EXTENSORS need a longer period of relaxation, the possible result will be a brief overloading of the fast but weaker ischiocrural muscles, during the fast alternation between tension and relaxation at the front or, reciprocally, at the back of the thigh.

Of course, this is not to say that faster sprint times cannot be attained through
increased strength. The aim is rather to train the sprint-relevant muscles as
specifically as possible. Following the findings presented in this article, it is essential to shift the emphasis to the training of the ischiocrural muscles and the muscles which are responsible for lifting the knees.

Furthermore, it appears to be especially important to consider carefully the specific effect of strength training methods in the overall training plan. In this regard, the effect on the fibre spectrum is also relevant and will be discussed in more detail in the last chapter of this article.
Finally it should be mentioned that so many injuries occur in supramaximal sprint
training using ‘towing systems’ (VIITASALO et al. 1982; MERO et al. 1982; BOSCO & VITTORI 1986; MERO & KOMI 1990) because, in such training, the relaxation ability of the sprint- relevant muscles is strained to the limit.


How would one train relaxation?

also the ischiocrural muscles are just the muscles of the hamstring correct?

Where is this quote in the recent research proclaiming overspeed’s use for speed development?

Not referring necessarily to towing methods,as I recently pointed out in another thread,from what we read in the quote above we also need to consider that overspeed as holds the highest (limit) potential for relaxation training,as all muscles are put in a situation where they can only fire in the right order and at the right time.

One has to wonder about authors tha talk about animals in the wild sprinting and being injury free.
1 - who says injury free? An injury leads to a slower animal who gets eatin by another??
2 - compared to humans? In that sence, you need to compare the animal not to Trained athletes but to xbox champs who sprint to the letter box for their latest pizza delivery
3 - race horses and greyhounds are the sprinters animal sprinting cousin. The trainers I have encountered for these animals still use massage and Vets and also run into training issues just like humans.

not sure where you are heading to with these.

If the article starts off this way, then the assumptions during the course of the article will typically reflect this.

Just because an animal is faster than a human, do we therefore need to worry about How, Why, When or anything about that animal?

Just because an animal can run lets say 30km/hr faster than a human naturally - who cares. It’s mute.
One needs to consider how much one can improve upon their natural ability - and looking at Untrained subjects that are faster than humans does not help.
What helps is looking at how Such and such animal or Human got 1 or 2 or 3 seconds quicker from base over say 100m
If a scientist can make a cheater run 2-3sec quicker over 100m than the same cheater ran 1-2years ago, then that’s something.

Also - if one trains Specifically using weights for specific Action of their event - what does one do when the Life Cycle of Adaption ends? eg, roughly 12-16wks depending on strength or special endurance method adopted. You cannot replace it with anything else as anything else is no longer specific, so you end up just training Specific patterns year round - and performance suffers or stalls.