What makes Bolt the fastest man on the planet?

I have found this article in the Supertraining list of Mel Siff:


Possibly the most useless, mundane, “miss the boat by a thousand miles”, irrelevent peice of information I have read this year on sprinting. I wasn’t expecting anything else really, I’m suprised I even bothered to look.

All these “experts” that live in gyms next to their calculators, and they tell us that all we have to do is strike the ground with a lot of pressure, and they tell us the only way to do that is hit the weights room.
No doubt it is the same sort of person that would tell you to get in a gym and do lots of heavy barbell squats and powercleans because “they build explosiveness” or something. They haven’t got a darn clue.

How hard you strike the ground is more to do with forward leg swing speed (of other leg), and a foot that can handle the impact force. It has not got a lot to do with sprint technique drills or weight training.

And how fast the forward swing leg swings forward has a lot to do with spinal posture at that moment and a number of different things including power from hip flexors and adductors.

I hate it when all those website gurus jump on the latest super star name in sport (e.g: Usain Bolt), and then they go and preach something from a book that is 30 years old as if it is the gospel of reality. They say it is the reason “superstar” is so good. But they don’t point out any of the intricasies. Thye don’t talk about Usain Bolts narrow pelvis. They don’t talk about his broad shoulders and narrow hips helping him to controll hip stability better than others.

Niether do they mention that Usain doesn’t really care much about weight training, and he just goes through the motions in the weights room.

I remember reading a mixed martial arts magazine the other day, and some self proclaimed fitness guru, said he looked at Usain Bolts strength program and he declared: “it was the most naive program I have ever seen.”

It was the martial arts strength coach (who has nothing to do with Usain) who is naive.

He probably was expecting Usain to be doing “drop - cluster - pyramid - matrix - super set - with bands - westside - flying spaghetti squats with chains” or something.

Sorry guys, I got the hump cause I’m moving home, but even so, I thought I’d give my two pennies worth on that link to the supposed “super” training site.

Found on http://twitter.com/usainbolt

[i]# 5am training for the entire week for me. So much for not being a morning person. 4:55 AM Mar 24th via web

I made it through the 5am training for the week. about 7 hours ago via web[/i]

What did motivated this change in Bolt’s usual schedule?

Its hard to stay up late partying when you have to be up for 5am training…

what is bolt so busy with that he has to get up at 5 am? Is he working a part time job to make ends meet?

They run early before it gets too hot.

Is the sun coming up several hours earlier than usual for Bolt?


I actually remember going to the 1992 New Hampshire State NSCA Clinic and Mr. Plisk proceeded to explain how Ben Johnson wouldn’t get a look see from an NFL team based on his 40 split( 4.62??? ) from Seoul. I think he actually thought it was 40 yards and I just looked at my friend and said “What the #$*# is this guy talking about?” True story!!!

And where did the speed of the swing leg come from? The air?

You really think that Bolt is faster, or one reason he is faster than other, and previous world class sprinters, is because he has better spinal posture while running??

And power is an expression of strength.

You just described 99% of world class sprinters. Once again, you seriously think that Bolt’s technique is THAT much better than EVERY OTHER PERSON WHO HAS EVER SPRINTED??

Whether Bolt has a serious attitude or not in the weight room is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he is a large, muscular sprinter.

Usain Bolt, 20 second plus 200 meter:

Usain Bolt world record holder in multiple events:

Naive is believing the only difference between those two sprinters is their technique.

I distinctly remember saying that it has not got a lot to do with sprint technique drills.

Usain Bolt has the most lumber lordosis of any world class sprinter. This creates a very fast hip hyper-extension when you run. And with the length of his legs, he’s going to push off with a very fast velocity.

It is a combination of many things, and the above is just one of those things.

The width of his shoulders compared to the width of his hips is only matched by Asafa Powell. There are some other sprinters who’s hips are as narrow as Usains, but their skeletal shoulder width is not as great as his. There-for the ratio in Usain, is quite striking. Also, in ratio to his hieght, he has the narrowest hips of any sprinter. Andre Cason had narrower hips, but Andre Cason was not 6 foot 5 inches tall.

He has the best skeletal proportions in terms of the ratio. Now, if a 5 foot 7 inch sprinterhad similar ratio’s as Usain, they wouldn’t be far behind in their speed (assuming all other elements were in place - such as a great training method.)

Yes, he has muscular deltoid muscles, and does not show much cross-sectional mass in other places. This might suggest that the deltoid muscles may be the most important upper body muscles on a sprinter.

Whatever core strength he displays in the gym, is probably quite high, when you take in to account that it is more difficult for a tall person to give high scores in core strength tests in the gym.

Also, I bet he has larger psoas muscles than allmost any sprinter in the world. If not, all of them.

His arm swing helps to increase vertical forces because his arms are long, and has the shoulder muscularity to deal with it.

Usain Bolt!

Seriously… Limb length, Being 6’5 inches tall coupled with explosive hip flexors & his “core” strength is probably off the rocks, are his secrets.

I think that Usain Bolt’s technique is just as responsible for his extra long stride length if not more so than his height.

PJ showed that his stride length to height ratio is almost identical to all top sprinters, not more, not less.

He more efficient than the opposition.

First of all, would this make my hypothesis false? Secondly, does a negative correlation exist between height and stride frequency?

I understand the SL/BH ratio for guys in the 9.86 or faster range. A few questions:

  1. Has anyone looked at SL/BH ratios for various segments of the 100m ( 0-30, 30-60, 60-100)?

  2. Has anyone looked at women in this regard?

  3. Has anyone looked at average sprinters at the various levels of the sport in this regard?

Where did PJ post this? Is the dataset publically available?

Yes. Usain Bolt is 1.96 and his stride length was 2.71 in the 40-80m section during the 9.58. A group of men between 9.71-9.86 has 2.49m stride length, for a body height of 1.81. That’s 1.38 SL/BH ratio for Bolt and the other guys.

Griffith-Joyner 10.61 - 1.35
Jeter 10.64 - 1.36
Jones 10.70 - 1.28
Arron 10.73 - 1.39
Fraser 10.73 - 1.36
(wind-legal and low altitude marks, SL for 40-80m segment).

Yes. Ratio decreases with level of performance.

  1. How measurable is technical efficiency? If that’s the resulting running velocity, then Bolt is the best.
  2. Yes, the correlation coefficient between SL and SF is -0.97 for 56 sub 10.00 sprinters.