Technique and weight loss

I always figured that any time you can drop bodyweight while preserving strength that you should obtain a definite improvement in speed. Well, recently I have dropped 15lbs in weight, mostly fat, while strength has stayed pretty much the same. But in that time there has been a steady worsening in my sprint times which are tested over 20yds (play football). Even though my VJ has gone up by 3 inches!

Anyone ever noticed the same thing? At first I thought it could be down to overtraining but even a reduction in volume and weights sessions hasn’t cured this problem. Should I just eat pizza all day to put the fat back on or is there some other solution?!?

First thing you should do is check your form. A drop in weight can draw your attention away. Seeing that you’re sprinting relatively short distances (football), i’d say that a change in form could throw your times all over the map. Were you more comfortable running before you lost the weight?

Check all the variables to find the culprit (i.e. shoes, comfort, weather, surface, new training?)

If none of these variables caused this decrease, then the answer is related to what you lost, and it probably wasn’t just fat… :frowning:


I would say I maybe felt a little more balanced at a heavier weight but seriously it isn’t like I am falling at the start so maybe slight form alteration is one thing. However, even after 10 yards or so I can feel my legs just aren’t moving as fast or powerfully as before by which time any balance related issues are long gone.

The funny thing is before I lost the weight I was running faster in what were often cold, windy, wet conditions on grass than I am now on a track, with trainers and/or spikes.

I wish I could blame a loss in strength but here are my lifts at the respective weights.

200lbs - Squat 405lbs, Power Snatch - 171 x 2
186lbs - Squat 385lbs, Power Snatch - 167 for 6 x 1

Any strength loss is marginal at best and I would have though more than compensated by an increase in rel.strength (as evidenced by VJ increase).

If all things are equal between these two periods in your body composition, I’m baffled.

The VJ could be attributed to better neural adaptations, skill, muscle fiber recruitment, etc…or even the loss of weight. (same force, less weight, greater leap).

You might have lost explosive muscle fibers. I bet you can’t nail it down to one thing either. It’s probably a combination of things.

How are your eating habits and are you taking supplements like multivit? If you’ve been losing weight through eating little and poorly it wouldn’t be surprising that you end up with a decrease in performance in the track. Another factor might have to do with creatine, if you cut off creatine supplementation to help lower your weight (to retain less water) you might be running out of gas sooner then you were before when performing repeated accels.

torpitamike - Baffled is right. The VJ I don’t actually test, just measure periodically, maybe once every couple of weeks or so so I wouldn’t expect improved skill etc from that. If the improvement is indeed down to loss of weight, then I would have thought this would definitely translate to sprints too :mad:

aln - My nutrition is actually tip-top. Take a multi-vit plus extra antioxidants. Still taking creatine. Nothing has really changed in the space of the diet (which is now finished btw). My diet ensured adequate protein (at least 1g per lb of bodyweight) and nutrition generally.

Here are my own theories but they seem outlandish even to me:

  1. Maybe part of it is a slight technique change, at least at the start. This doesn’t explain the slow pick up though.

  2. Recall reading an article which said that long term adaptations to training induced a shift in fiber type towards slower twitch fibers. So I can buy the argument for there being a loss in fast twitch fibers - even in the space of two months.

  1. Maybe it could be related to restoration and regeneration. Possibly the high intensity training is causing what Charlie in CFTS refers to legs feeling “like wood”. Have considered the need for massage etc. Maybe I need to bring the tone of my muscles down or something.

  2. Someone has put a hex on me.

The only explanation left is that your track program is sub-optimal. What are you doing on the track? How many high intensity days, how many rest/regeneration days?

Here is a quick look at how my track and weights program have developed over the last few months. Bear in mind that through this period I have slowed down. I can’t see any programming mistakes at all to be honest but maybe I am missing something…

March 11 - April 15


Mon (heavy day)

Power Snatches - 5 x 3, Inc. Bench - 5 x 5, Lats - 2 sets, Triceps - 2 sets, Glute Ham Raise - 2 -3 sets

Wed (light day)

Power Snatches - 5 x 3, Inc.Bench - 5 x 3, Calf work - 2 sets, Triceps - 2 sets

Fri (medium day)

As monday but no GHR work.

I would squat on Mondays after my power snatches and inc.bench and on thursdays after which I would perform 2-3 sets of 1 leg hyperextension work.

Squats were trained following the first program on this link. As you can see it calls for a lot of volume.


Sprints would take place on Tues and sometimes Saturday - so 1 to 2 x a week. Purely acceleration work for maybe 6-8 sets maximum of 20yds gradually building up in speed. This would make sense and is what Charlie describes in CFTS - when doing heavy leg work in winter you focus on acceleration and wait to unload from the weights before seeing some truly quick times. Times were failry good considering weather was foul most of the time and the heavy squat volume (lower body volume in general).

My BW for this period began at 193lbs, went to 201lbs and was 190lbs when I squatted a 1rm on April 15 of 405lbs. Power Snatched 171lb for a 2rm on April 11. My best times were set at a BW of 197lbs halfway through the heavy squat program while weights volume was high…

From April 19 to present


Lowered volume on snatches while increasing intensity (switched to 6x2) and reduced frequency to 2 sessions a week combined with squats in the same session at a reduced volume. Formerly there were in effect 4 lower body weights days (mon,wed,thurs,fri). Mon/tue were ME days and Thurs,fri dynamic days. For the last 3 weeks I have switched the dynamic LB day to a session devoted to depth jumps. Despite reduction in volume max strength has remained pretty good.


With the unloading of the weights period I switched to two sprint sessions a week. Kept the 20yd work and began to perform a couple of 40yd dashes at the end of the 20yd work. Introduced some low volume tempo runs, e.g 4 x 100m @70% once a week initially, looking to build upto twice a week. Was expecting in this period for acceleration to be maintained while I slowly built up the volume of high speed work and concentrated on correct technique through the tempo runs. Instead times have declined quite markedly during this period so that I have now scaled back the sprints for the time being to 1 x a week on Thurs (2 days after ME day for LB). Still, no improvement.

As I said at the start I can’t see any major errors in programming. Phase 1 was build strength and acceleration. Phase 2 was meant to be an unloading of weights to allow further speed improvement. This didn’t happen despite low bf%, higher rel.strength, higher VJ. Maybe the plyos will help after a bit of time. Although that still doesn’t explain why my fastest time was set a heavy BW halfway through a very high volume of weights work…

As I will be playing football on Sundays I won’t really be able to build much extra strength and speed now anyway. The odd thing was the opposition tackle said I was too fast for him to block me in yesterday’s game. Made me chuckle inwardly considering I am the slowest I have been… :smiley: