Reactive Training for Sprinters?

Is there any benefit of including reactive strength work for sprinters? Are there any possible drawbacks? I played around with them yesterday and they’re a lot of fun, and I think they might be one of my weak points, along with limit strength. I will definitely will be increasing my limit strength, but I would like to include some reactive work, also. One other thing: Can reactive strength work increase limit strength on its own?

You should get enough work in from practicing starts. Meaning, there is no need for intense plyo’s for a sprinter, as sprinting has the fastest/shortest coupling phase around.

This depends on what volume of track work you are doing.

Increasing reactive strength, in the absence of limit strength training, will not increase limit strength. However, increasing reactive strength, while concurrently developing limit strength, will facilititate increases in limit strength, specifically in regards to lifts with a reactive component.

What do you define as reactive strength?
Depends on what exercises you are talking about.

Plyometric exercise that have a contact time shorter than 120-130 ms are deemed reactive strength exercises.
Hurdle hops and low box depth jumps train reactive strength (they also have a larger verticle component).
Plyo with contact times longer than 130 ms are deemed explosive contractile strength because they use a slower stretch shortening cycle, speed bounds, alternate bounds, counter movement jumps and squat jumps are examples of explosive contractile strength. These exercises typically have contact times of 180-300ms.

You can be reactively strong and not explosively strong and vice versa or BOTH. Here is the interesting thing, once you are able to lift around 2-3 body weight in the squat you start to also affect reactive strength significantly. This is because maximal eccentric strength would have improved by a large amount. This means you do not have to do as much plyo as you become this strong. The sprinting then takes care of the fast application of eccentric strength for you.

You can train your reactive strength via verticle type plyo BUT as your max strength becomes useful (2-3x bw) you will also see gains in reactive strength because the principle component of reactive strength is the eccentric or lengthening part. Maximal ECCENTRIC strength ( the amount you can lower say in a squat under control) has to increase in order for you to concentrically squat heavier, and as slow eccentric max strength increases it has an effect on fast eccentrics as well.

Very strong men and women have the POTENTIAL for high levels of explosive and reactive strength.

As you become stronger reactive strength also increases because max strength can only increase if you are capable of lowering under control the weight you want to lift. (You can lower 30-50% more than you can lift, if you can’t lower that weight under control you won’t be able to lift).

Maximal eccentric strength controls fast eccentric strength (reactive strength).

You can train reactive strength via verticle plyometrics

Reactive strength is the principle strength component from 15m to 100m mark in the short sprint.

An athlete maybe very well developed in reactive strength but not explosive strength.

A balanced athlete will have a fast 15-30m ( high explosive strength) and high top speed (high explosive reactive strength).

Reactive strength is the same as elastic strength?
How does RFD and starting strength all fit in with the above? (for sprinters)

Sorry, I didn’t word that well enough. The reactive kind of training that I was referring to was the kind where in a regular lift you drop the weight(or release all the tension) and then after it falls some you reverse the motion as fast as you can, and bring it back up.

Also, can isometric squats be just as good or better than regular squats for a sprinter, for increasing strength? Also to improve vertical jump. I think that it might because of the deceleration at the end of a regular squat. Maybe it would have more on an impact on vertical jump than sprinting?

Yes for the sprinter elastic strength IS reactive strength.

If you draw a graph the RFD is the gradient the steeper, the better.

Starting strength is the ability to turn on as much muscles as possible in the first 30ms of an explosive action. Training for a steep rise in strength in both reactive and explosive reactive strength will improve this.

Most effective type of squat apart from the regular squat is the eccentric squat.

If eccentric forces increases as speed increases, and sprinting is the fastest exercise we can do, I would question the value of eccentric squats.

Eccentric squats are just another way of developing max strength, check out Tudor Bompa’s “Strength Training for sports” for expert explanation. When I get the chance to, will post a reference for you on eccentric squats researched and backed up by Norwegian sports scientists and its application.
After reading the research then make up your mind about “questioning the value” and the rationale.

Most people can eventually run faster BECAUSE OF THEIR ABILITY TO APPLY GREATER FORCE IN THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME not the other way round. Most people have contact times CLOSE TO OR = 70-100ms when sprinting but can not apply LARGE forces like an elite sprinter in that time range. So just sprinting will not address this. Otherwise plyometrics and strength training would not be needed!

Eccentric squats are general not specific.

In regards to eccentric muscle action, what must be noted is that although forces are greater during eccentric contraction, greater CNS fatigue is a result as well as the greater possiblity of DOMS.

Lastly, overeseas research has recently shown that the use of supra-max eccentrics may INCREASE reaction time.

The above was summated from a post by Myslinksi on EFS.

Thus, these factors must be taken into consideration when implementing eccentric only lifts into the training program.

i think when combined with other modes, it would be very effective. As CT does, he has an eccentric strength focus day, a concentric strength focus day and an explosive strength focus day.