Light Squats for Elite Sprinter?

This is off Tyson Gay’s “Ask Tyson” section of his website:


Yes, strength is a big part of a sprinters success. I’ve always had to be careful in the weight room though due to some injuries. I squat 225 pounds.


Even being careful for previous injuries, this seems surprisingly light to me. Am I just used to hearing about unusually strong sprinters and my perception of normal is off?

Sprinters are a rare breed. There are success stories that are all over the place. Some guys squat 500-600+. Some guys don’t lift weights. Some focus training on 30m sprints. Some focus on 300m sprints. You’d like to think “ok if I can squat 400 and jump 30” then I can run 10.60" but it just really doesn’t work like that.

I’d be interested to see Gay’s total training program…to see what other stimuli are provided given that he’s not a big weight room guy at all. That’s interesting considering his glutes/hammies looked huge in Osaka…maybe it was the TV distorting things…

on the boldon forum some people were getting mad because they thought he was lieing about 225 squat cause they said t.gays leg build type told them he must squat more than that.

Sheesh. I guess that’s always a possibility also. Maybe he squats 225x45reps to simulate each stride of the 100m:)

haha, lol. I was thinking that as well. Instead of moving up in weight he just moves up in reps.

And then during the week leading up to a race he cuts the reps down to 23 to freshen up:D

maybe he squats 225lbs but he also does 1000lbs deadlifts and leg press… :wink:

A clever use of mis direction…

But does he do the 600lb squat just before the finals? That’s the question we’re asking ourselves!

Just ask Dick…he was there…spotting Gay.

I agree. In a way 225 lbs is a perfect answer.
If he says 350, he will hear about all the guys doing 400-500. If he says 600, then he will face more suspicion than running 9.8 already creates…

But yes there is a clear indication of the weight increase (squats and other primary lifts) from the blantant developement of his quads,glutes and total upper body this year compared to a very skinny Gay in 2005/2006.

He’d certainly have a higher capacity whether he challenged it or not.

Admittedly, the 225 mentioned would simply be a warmup set for many here (myself included), but this is a post a bit further down in the same thread on Tyson’s site:

would just like to ask what have you changed in your training or preparation to achieve what you have done this year compared to the last olympics?

Your new fan


Hello Jules

First, thanks for writing to me and expressing the kind words above. Second, I haven’t changed a lot. What I did change in preparation for Osaka was my eating/diet and my time/effort in the weight room. Both helped me be more explosive out the blocks. Thanks again.

Permalink 09/04/07 @ 06:54

The fact that Tyson was being coached by Jon Drummond (remember, an old HSI guy) the more time in the weight room mentioned by Tyson, and the sizeable increase in muscle mass observed by many, all would be consistent with Drummond bringing John Smith’s weight program with him. If those 225 squats were actually 3X10 @ 55-65% 1RM with short rest, it would make more sense.

Tyson may indeed be able to lift considerably more weight than claimed, but there are many paths to Rome.

He probably just doesnt squat much due to knee problems. I’m sure he has other means of getting the gains he’s reached.

but wasn’t john drummond only an observer of training and a
technical teacher of blocks and acceleration?
I belive that all plan was directed by his previous coach.
the kind of squat you speak about (3x10@55%), is a sort of speed-squat?
now what role has john drummond in his preparation?

That would be my question as well, besides dropping coins and making Tyson catch them right before the race- and missing them, leading to nerves and confusion.

Is that one of the reaction drills Tyson spoke of? I was curious about that.

Is it ok to drop all squats during the season?


Strength is the fastest quality to gain and also the fastest to lose so you can’t drop lifts for more than a very brief period without consequence.