Stephen Francis - interview/training

I think it’s a matter of interpretation. Clearly the vol of short hill work and sled work (previously described as up to 960m of 40s plus the short sled vol) exceeds the volume of long hills (either 450 or 400m), and the increasing intensity/rest is common to all approaches. Likewise, wouldn’t slow speed end be tempo by another name?
As for the weights, again, this is a matter of interpretation. I don’t call split squats or step ups single leg exercises, and, obviously, cleans aren’t either. As they do bench press, it is a general lifting program.
It appears that the sled work is tough and would lower the program requirement for lower body lifts.

How about the extended peak period (April to September). During this period heavy lifting seems to be going on rather than strictly maintenance. I recall the commentator on Eurosport in 2005 when Asafa broke the 100m world record (9.77) stating that he was surprised as Powell had done a heavy, and quite intense, weights session two days before. Does this mean that MVP are mixing max strength lifting during the early part of the season for the relatively low key early meets? Or is it maintenance from April and it is the step-up in intensity of the track work off-setting the effect that the losses in max strength may have on speed?

His program look very similar to the Jamaican couple that workout at the track I train at. They do tons of sled pulls, runs in the 150-300m for example 6x300 in the fall, general weight program, stj, slj, bounds etc. They put a huge emphasis on over distance training.

If your max strength phase went high enough, your maintenance lifts would look petty tough to an outsider.

What’s your thoughts on the over distance work on Tue/Sat. It look more like basic ext tempo work I can’t remember you going out to 300-400m range with your crew

Fair enough

Would Stephen’s approach be considered concurrent? It seems to me that it resembles Dan Pfaff’s set up, with 2 accel, 2 special endurance/ week all year long.

Its odd how he says he avoids doing anything over 40m because thats when people tend to pull up with injury. Isn’t this a little counter intuitive?

You are what you train, how do these guys get so fast by avoiding true speed work?

Yes it is concurrent, this has been covered once before. Where are the two special endurance days, I see two ext tempo days?

They are fast because:

1: Genetics

2: They are fit, which helps your overall top speed and your ability to finish races.

3: Yams+Yohimbine.

nothing to think about really. It works for them and we don’t know the extent of the challenge

I am a believer also, my gpp will look very similar to there setup. I am debating if I should have long hills on wed or a controlled speed session. Tue will be tempo 300-400’s and Thur tempo 200’s.

I guess I was thinking that those ext tempo days could have been special endurance if they’re running them fast enough. I thought form runs and slow endurance would have been considered the tempo.

I thought those 300’s were done in 38-43sec = ext tempo for those guys.

How valid is the " it’s okay to train at a high intensity on consecutive days( 30 accel / SE )because we’re training different energy systems?" Might be emphasizing different energy system but it’s with the same CNS and hamstrings.

I understand the risk/reward about max testing with weights but wouldn’t watching the athlete just train give you an idea? Or even do a 3rm? We all know the role max strength plays in rep tests, but is it fair to use it as a predictor?

I a bit confounded that you do not view split squats or step-ups as single leg work :confused:

Split squats use both legs. The hip extensors of the front leg and the hip flexors of the rear leg.

Step ups also involve propulsion from both legs, and aren’t limited by balance due to their dynamic nature.

Neither is really a true unilateral lift.

Ive read his answer to that question before. I believe he has said he doesn’t consider those single leg movements because both feet are supporting the weights. He views One legged squats, single leg dead lifts and such as single leg movements because only one leg is supporting the weight. Correct me if I mistaken.

Split squats I can see, but step-ups, probably not as the majority of the lift is single support. I do not like single leg squats and have never found value in them. I wouldn’t even consider a single leg deadlift.

Without wishing to be overly provocative, what is sprinting other than a series of alternative single-leg impulses, so you can see why some coaches think derivative squats such as single-leg movements are appropriate.

Personally I think single-leg unloaded squats are probably related more to core-strength and stability than actual leg strength.

I coached a young woman who could do 10x single-leg deep squats off each leg (with the other leg triple extended in front but not touching the ground) but she was hopeless doing double-foot squat with a barbell.

On the other hand, I had the chance to work briefly with a footballer who squatted 246kg but could not do one rep unloaded single-leg squat. He could go down, but could not stand back up.


I coached a young woman who could do 10x single-leg deep squats off each leg (with the other leg triple extended in front but not touching the ground) but she was hopeless doing double-foot squat with a barbell.

I share the same opinion. We do the Borzov squats twice a week, 6-10reps of 2-4 sets.

Not provocative at all. I like split squats, lunges and step ups. Mennea did tons of split squats, albeit with relatively light weights.

I agree to an extent regarding the core strength relationship of single leg squats. All squatting movements require an element of core strength though and this needs to be accounted for in the planning of training. How should the ab work change as the squat max increases? An athlete squatting big weights should have incredible core strength, at least in theory. I’m sure that for that football player it was an issue of joint mobility or an inability to activate the appropriate muscle groups either individually or in sequence.