Usain bolt percentages

I have been looking for the youtube video but can no longer locate it…anyways
I watched a video about 6 mos ago where Bolt’s coach was speaking about his percentages in terms of lifting. You may not need to see the video in order to respond but I am curious if it was strength in relation to potential lifts or body weight. In addition, how is this best determined for athletes? Is it the same for HS as it would be for adults?

Thanks in advance
-Da Boom

THIS is what I would pay attention to:

Strength is one of the hallmarks in
sprinting and therefore it must be developed.
However, I believe that there are two types of
strength: the static and the dynamic strength.
I think athletes tend to depend too much on
the static strength and that dynamic strength
is one of the greatest areas of deficiency in
most runners. They are all bulked up and big
and powerful from the weight room, but they
neglect the dynamic strength, that is the
strength developed in resistance training, plyometrics
and so on. We find with our sprinters
that we get far better result when we
almost have a fifty - fifty split between static
and dynamic strength training.

–Glen Mills, IAAF New Studies in Athletics 24:1; 29-34, 2009

My sense is that way too many people on sprint message boards place far too much emphasis on sets of 3 in the gym, and not nearly enough on 300s on the track, which I believe EVERY high level sprinter (I mean Bolt, Powell, Gay, Dix, VCB, Jet, Felix, you name it…) IS doing.

I think I’ve gotten far better stimulus from doing 30" box jumps (and listening to Charlie in the early part of Edmonton about not pushing too far in terms of risk/reward) than I ever got from squats or DL of any kind.

Thanks for the response and perspective. I would like to first get a response or insight to my initial question however. If you have addressed it then please provide clarity relative to my concerns

which makes the video in interesting as Merrit says they lift pre track so he trains fatigued and when he races he feels fresh.

Given that the question is about Bolt, I don’t see Merritt as relevant. Here is more about Bolt in the gym that is not exactly a secret:

Bolt himself has said that the weight routine pays advantages as strength endurance.

:rolleyes: deleted.

Following many runners from 100 up through 400H, many athletes lift first before track sessions.

Is there any advantage to this?

Charlie would say NO, and said so repeatedly. Also, I don’t think Mills lifts before track, and I know that Franno and Bob Kersee do not. John Smith does.

The amount of emphasis placed on weights is a different issue from when to lift.

So in the original youtube video, Mills says that the percentages (strength to body-weight I presume) are good and goes on to say how once that improves you will see faster times.
As you can tell I am still wrestling with the percentages issue…

Interesting observation re 300’s. Any idea how the top dogs run their 300’s? At max speed, submaximal or a combination of both?

Gay has responded on Twitter saying the most beneficial workout for him has been 300+100, being the 100 is a full out rep and the 300 sub max.

As I recall in that interview last year, he said the 300+100 was his best workout for 400. He was also asked what the best workout was for MaxV and he said 300s.

There are some old forum discussions around on 300s with particular emphasis on Asafa. Charlie mentioned Asafa doing 300s in 37. I think Doc mentioned 3X300 in 38, same thing for Dix. John Smith has had people getting down to 35-36. PJ has mentioned Bolt doing 350s and 450s, but I haven’t seen mention of pace. This is all mostly intensive tempo of course, with accels (or hills or sleds) along with it (not on the same day of course).

I’ve had better luck with 3X2X150 (becomes 4X2X150 later in GPP) with 60 sec between the 150s, but run at special endurance pace.

Would you say that there is an optimal strength to body weight % that an athlete or coach could refer to as a guide? Similar to the same notion of a person benching their own weight.

From “Charlie On Sprinting” in the archives:


You’re strong enough at the start when your drive leg (under load) can extend at the same time as the knee comes forward (no load). If the knee is well forward before the rear leg has much extension, you’re too weak. Triple extension is just a way of describing a position where the body is extended through the hip, knee, and ankle. If you have enough strength for the start, you have enough strength for triple extension, as long as you are relaxed and flexible enough If you concentrate on the arms at the start and forget the legs, the legs will take care of themselves.
1: A mechanically efficient start can be defined by speed through the acceleration period.
2: the efficiency/economy of the start will be reflected, in part, by the athletes ability to finish the race.
Most start problems are correctable, regardless of strength levels, by adjusting the start position to reflect current strength levels rather than to establish one final position and wait for strength to catch up. This is not only possible, but necessary, as the start affects the smooth execution of the whole race. When strength is lacking the COM should be raised as much as possible in the set position by insuring that the arms drop straight down from the shoulders to the line (in both planes), that the hips are as high as possible while still maintaining enough bend at the back leg to ensure force on the back block, and a position close enough to the line that the athlete will automatically raise his COM as fast as is necessary. The start can be re-adjusted in lock-step with strength improvements (the needed changes, while effective, won’t be huge).

Thank-you for digging this up.