The 100-meter dash is often looked upon as the glamour event of the Olympic Games. It epitomizes both aesthetic grace and brute strength - it is both a thing of beauty and a display of powerful muscular force.
The greatest sprinting champions of our time possessed a propensity to engage their many fast-twitch muscle fibers, to maximal effect - the result a seemingly super-human propulsion of sinewy muscle which belies its athletic properties.
Indeed, genetic attributes, including a greater percentage of rapid-force-producing, fast-twitch fibers, are fundamental prerequisites to higher-level athletic success. Does this leave the non-genetically-superior athlete without a chance of competing at the highest level? Not necessarily.
Don't Forget Your Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber!
If you are middle-aged or older, or planning on becoming a fit middle-aged adult in the future, it's critical that you exercise all three muscle fiber types: slow, fast and super fast.
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Although we cannot, by and large, change genetic determinants, we can enhance our natural ability through adherence to a properly periodized training program. The following is an overview of a 100-meter dash training program for advanced athletes.
The key to any good athletic performance is a well orchestrated plan of attack. With sprinting, the ideal training plan involves periodizing the training season to allow for optimal building, recovery and peaking phases. With periodization, each successive phase builds upon its forerunner, until every performance component is in place. This article intends to explain the concept of periodization through outlining the phases of a hypothetical 100-meter dash training model.
Note: Before each and every session, a complete warm-up should take place. A cool-down following each session will also need to take place. Light jogging, walking, knee-lifts and leg raises followed by a series of stretches for each muscle-group constitutes an adequate warm-up and cool-down.
Warming Up To A Great Workout!
A warm up can undoubtedly be advantageous if done properly, and in accordance to your desired training effect. Let's dig in and find out where you've been going wrong; you may be surprised!
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For this training-plan example, designed to allow for a yearly peak performance, there is six phases, each encompassing a repeated 4-week program. The repeated 4-week program for each phase will fulfil a specific athletic requirement. Again, this 6-phase program is only a general outline. For more comprehensive detail follow the links.
The Six Phases Are:
- General development of strength, mobility, endurance and basic technique.
- Development of specific fitness and advanced technical skills.
- Competition experience for testing purposes and to qualify for main competition.
- Adjustment of technical model and preparation for main competition.
- More competition experience.
- Active recovery and preparation for the next season.
During phase one, the athlete will steadily develop their capacity to run a strong, technically proficient, race. Weight-training sessions feature 3-times per-week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) over all four weeks of this phase.
With each weight session, ensure the body is trained as a whole, with a wide variety of exercises, to avoid any imbalances which could limit sprinting success. With weight-training, complete 2-3 sets per-exercise and aim for 14-20 repetition maximum (which should equate to 60% of an individuals one repetition maximum). To determine a one repetition maximum go here.
Enter the amount of weight you lifted (Lbs/Kg) and the number of reps you completed. Your One Rep Max (1 RM) will appear at the bottom left, and your various percentages of 1 RM will appear on the right side.
Also, included in this phase is both anaerobic and endurance training components (endurance on Tuesdays and anaerobic on Thursdays). With the anaerobic training component, one should aim for 80% of their target personal best (TPB). This training is obviously demanding and therefore could include 3 sets of 4 repetitions of 50 meters.
Endurance on the other hand can be done over a longer distance, with the intensity level being at 80% of one's personal best (PB) as opposed to the unprecedented TPB percentage.
The final week of this phase will include performance testing on Tuesday and Thursday. This will include:
The Cooper Test:
The Cooper Test is an excellent way to determine one's fitness level. It is beneficial in that it predicts future performances, indicates the athlete's weaknesses and measures improvements. The aim of the Cooper test is to run as far as possible in 12 minutes. The distance covered will then give an estimate of one's level of fitness. The total distance should be measured to provide a bench-mark for future Cooper Tests.
The Quadrathlon is used to determine the extent to which an exercise program has assisted an athlete to become more powerful, and it consists of four components: the standing long jump, three jumps, 30-meter sprint and the overhead shot throw.
How To Conduct The Test:
Standing Long Jump
Athlete to place their feet over the edge of the sand pit, crouch and lean forward, swing the arms backward, swing the arms forward and jump horizontally as far as possible, jumping with both feet into the sand pit. Measure the distance from the edge of the sand pit to the nearest point of contact. The start of the jump must be from a static position.
Start with the feet comfortably apart with the toes just behind the take-off mark. The athlete takes three continuous 2-footed bounds. Measure the distance covered. The start must be from a static position and the feet must be parallel on each jump phase. Spikes allowed.
30 Meter Sprint
The athlete sprints from a stationary position (standing or from blocks) as fast as possible to the 30 m finish line. The time keeper stands at the finish line and times the run from the moment that the runner contacts the ground on the first stride to the moment when the runner's torso crosses the line. Spikes allowed.
Overhead Shot Throw
The athlete stands on the shot stop-board, facing away from the landing area, with their feet a comfortable distance apart. The shot is held cupped in both hands. The athlete crouches, lowering the shot between the legs, then drives upward to cast the shot back over the head.
There is no penalty for following through, but the athlete must land feet first and remain upright. Measurement is taken from the inside of the stop-board to the nearest point of contact. Shot weight as per the BAF age group. Please watch the safety aspect.
Compare test results with past tests to ascertain the athletes degree of physical improvement.
Phase two builds upon phase one in that the intensity of training is increased. Also, in addition to general strength work in the form of weight-training, there is a specific strength training component. Racing technique is also included (on Sundays). Again, this phase lasts for 4 weeks and the intensity is gradually increased on a weekly basis. The general strength component of weight training can be undertaken as per phase-one.
An intensive strength component is phased into Friday's general strength session. This will include three sets of three repetitions of 40-meter sprints on the first week, three sets of three repetitions of 60 meters in the second week, three sets of three repetitions of 60 meters on the third week. For all three of these weeks, sprints must be at 90% of 100-meters TPB.
In the fourth and final week, performance testing is again undertaken. This will include a 60-meter dash and 10-stride at 100% intensity in place of Tuesday's specific endurance sessions, and 150 meters at 100% intensity in place of Thursday's anaerobic quality session.
Technique training will include the drive, stride and lift aspects of the sprint, on weeks one, two, three and four respectively.
Proper Sprint Mechanics.
Proper sprint mechanics will lead to better conditioning and cause less injury.
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Phase-three will include a general strength session of weight-training on Mondays and Wednesdays as per phase-one and two. Endurance specific work will feature on Tuesday and include two sets of three repetitions of 100-meter dashes.
Intensity will be increased with the addition of two 100% effort sets over a 100-meter TBP. Anaerobic quality training will feature on Fridays with two sets of three repetitions sprinting at 90-95% of TBP over all three weeks. On weeks 1-through-3, technique and speed training on Sundays will be the focus.
The first week will require the completion of 3 sets of 3 repetitions over 30 meters, emphasizing the driving motion. The second week will focus on the stride with 2 sets of 3 repetitions over 60 meters, and the third week will require 2 sets of 3 repetitions over 40 meters with the emphasis placed on the lifting motion of the sprint.
The 4th week includes evaluation days on Tuesday and Thursday with the 60 meter and 10 stride at 100% and the 150 meters at 100% respectively. Monday and Wednesday strength sessions stay the same for this week, and Sunday's technique session focuses on starting from the blocks at 100% intensity.
Also during this period, competitive experience to prepare for the more important contest in phase-5 will be undertaken.
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This phase is the last pre-contest phase and as such will emphasize an adjustment of the technical model to fine-tune all aspects of race performance. Continue training as per phase-3 to prepare for the main competition.
During this phase, competition objectives will be achieved.
During phase-6, active recovery in the form of light-training and various games will be undertaken. This period will ensure the body recovers from the extensive training and competition that has taken place. Planning for the next season can be done in this phase also.
All About Recovery!
I will discuss some secrets that I use with my athletes. When talking about recovery from training and competition, there are basically 5 areas to focus on.
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This article will hopefully have served to inspire track enthusiasts looking for an advantage over their competition. The example provided of a 24-week, 6-phase periodized training program, is illustrative of many of the programs used by the world's best, to ensure competitive success. Indeed, when preparing for sprinting success, a planned routine followed religiously will elicit results faster than an arbitrarily designed program. Indeed, consistency and good planning are the keys to athletic success.
Click here for an interview with awesome sprint champion Ato Boldon.
- Sports Coach. 100 Meter Training. [Online]
- Sports Coach. Quadrathlon. [Online]
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