In and of itself, nothing to criticize regarding the study. What is important to point out, however, is that the findings demonstrate what was already known and therefore didn’t require the study- which is to state that increased force production, specific to the horizontal ground reaction force vector, will more positively transfer to the slower velocity phase (early acceleration). Hence, all of the age old statements about the competitive short acceleration abilities of throwers and weightlifters. This is also why the summary discusses the efficacy at ~5m and relevance for team sport athletes and their short acceleration requirements.

While higher force values specific to the horizontal ground reaction force vector are intrinsic traits of the elite male 100m athletes, the difference, is that they achieve them at max V and in around .08 of a second; which is something that no amount of VHS is likely to solve in any sort of elite population.

Links to testing

Morin was part of group that published a study posted by the IAAF in 2012 that included Christophe Lemaitre. "New Insights Into Sprint
Biomechanics and Determinants of Elite 100m Performance"

What are the ‘insights’?

I encourage you to read the article Angela. You may view it on iaaf.org or european-athletics.org

Hey James, I been out of the country the past 8 weeks good to be back home. My friend recently ended his CFL football season and took 4 weeks of passive rest, I recommended Buddy 6 week gpp program he did back with the Cleveland browns. Did he perform any ext tempo on the non-lifting and aerobic days or was the aerobic work after the lifting the only fitness work done? Thanks

I just had to look at it. All work on the program was organized to every other day (Mon/Wed/Fri), however, they listed aerobic conditioning as something to do after/at the end of the main Mon/Wed/Fri sessions.

So nothing on the Tue/Thu/Sat

Keep in mind, this was no doubt rooted in the thinking that if they asked the guys for only 3 days a week of unsupervised work they’d have a better chance of them doing it.

So be sure to think accordingly relative to how disciplined your guy is.

James, do you believe that VHS work is ineffective in developing the ability to generate greater force - compared to say lighter sleds or other methods ? Or is there something particular about elite athletes that makes in unsuitable for them ?

Hello Oldbloke, important to understand the underlying foundations of physics as they relate to this problem:

Force, specifically net applied force, is a proportional to mass multiplied by acceleration. In this way, we see the greatest ground reaction forces occurring at maximum velocity, not during initial acceleration. Somewhat curiously, however, we also know that the sprinter’s locomotive acceleration nears and equals zero at maximal velocity. Thus, it is the acceleration of the recovery leg (negative foot speed/horizontal ground reaction force vector) that is greatest as max V, not during initial acceleration which is not to be confused with the sprinter’s locomotive/horizontal acceleration.

Thus, the absolute highest human generated forces will typically be associated with a moderate to high velocity component.

The elite sprinters tend to have the genetic ability, when coupled with smart preparation, that results in them generating greater horizontal ground reaction force vector throughout the sprint.

As the very heavy sled work correlated most closely with very short accelerations, as I stated in another post, this is intuitive relative to what has long since been known regarding the very short acceleration ability of throwers and weightlifters resultant of their high level power to weight ratios that allows them high potential to overcome their inertia (the key to explosive starts and initial acceleration). Therefore, if it is a contest of who can accelerate the fastest over, say, 5m then the conditions have changed dramatically in terms of what preparation will consist of.

I certainly would not categorically remove very heavy sled work from an elite sprinter’s preparation, however, in my judgement, the conditions under which I would deem it a wise option for an already elite sprinter would seemingly be few and far between (because it is a a rare case in which a world class 100m sprinter’s greatest room for improvement is in the first 5m. Just the opposite, in fact, it will almost always be max V or the region in between max V and the finish line).

(not related to the Morin study) I think it is very important to point out the damage the S&C community has done to sport in general, for many different reasons. In so far as it relates to sprint preparation, it must be recognized that the vast preponderance of force claims as they relate to improved acceleration, often pertain to low level athletes (team sport or otherwise), most of whom could never have dreamed of competing in the sprints, at a high level, in the first place.

I also remember in one of my earliest UKA coaching courses someone saying I bet my shot putter could beat your sprinters over 10m !

Would it be too simplistic to say that lower level athletes benefit from a higher proportion of heavy sleds, heavy weights and steep hills ie increasing their ability to push.
Elite athletes benefit from a higher proportion of relatively lighter work and strength endurance related modalities, increasing their ability to push for longer. By lighter/heavier I mean relative to their 1RM max rather than absolute values.

I wouldn’t categorically rule in or rule out training options based solely on lower vs elite as it is always an individual consideration. My thinking on the matter is that one is well served to determine the minimum effective stimulus necessary to contribute to steady/incremental progress; regardless of where the athlete is in their career.

Regarding “push for longer” in the context of speed/special endurance, I would not be quick to look to off the track means of enhancing these qualities prior to exhausting all on the track means.

Good points and thanks for the overall observations.

Sure thing

Over doing heavy sled work is an excellent way of developing proximal hamstring tendinopathy!

Be sure to deliver the same cautionary note, with associated structural prognosis, to every moderate to high intensity means of neuromuscular/structural impact.

From what I’ve observed, heavy sled pushing/dragging loads the proximal hamstring area more than other exercises most sprinters do and, if not used sparingly, can often lead to proximal hamstring tendinopathy.

Undoubtedly so, however, see if you can think of moderate to high intensity preparatory motion that does not yield a structural pathology when over volumized.

My observations reveal there is no such magical exercise.

The issue with non-running work (sleds, weights …) performed at high intensity is there is less understanding of what is a high/excessive volume. Compared to sprinting itself where there is a substantial body of knowledge about distances/volumes, s-l or l-s models etc.

I’d argue that, in sport, understanding across the board, regardless of where the motion occurs, is underwhelming. The most that we have are history lessons which are where we not only have concepts of sprint volumes per session with or without speed or special endurance or middle/long distance running loads (Daniels), but also: throws per session (Bondarchuk), jumps, vaults, weights (Prilepin, Roman, Medvedyev…), and so on.

I believe companies such as Omegawave, Athletigen, and others are on track to providing sports people with the technology that will render objective/quantitative information. This, will ultimately result in the deeper understanding of load impact that, up till now, as I stated, is largely, while very useful, anecdotal.