12 Month Strength Training Model for Track Sprinters

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A yearly training plan is as important a tool for achieving long-range athletic goals as a weekly plan is for short-term planning. Afterall, when you build a house, you don't start with the roof; you first lay the foundation and then build up from there. Thus, a sound, year-round conditioning program must be based on the concept of periodization, or the logical development of successive training sessions, and must employ its training programs and principles. A good performance coach understands the reasoning behind his or her training program and continually adjusts it, thus optimizing results while reducing the risk of injury to each and every athlete. This systematic approach to training should be tailored for each individual and their experience and skill level. Each phase of training can last any length of time, from a few weeks to a year and the progression from one phase to another should be gradual and systematically linked to the athlete or team's overall goal. When designing a 12-month plan for a 100-400 M sprinter, the performance coach must address the dominant energy system(s) used, the limiting factor(s) for performance, and the training objectives for each individual and their event.

A sprinter (100-400 M) requires explosive speed and long, powerful strides. Endurance is not as important a consideration as acceleration since the sprinter needs to move quickly over a short distance. The first step of the program is to identify the dominant energy system used during the sprint events. Since the events will last anywhere from 10 seconds to 1 minute, the dominant energy system utilized is the anaerobic alactic and lactic systems. These systems rely utilize fast-twitch muscle fibers and rely on creatine phosphate for energy, rather than oxygen. What this means is; aerobic base training (mileage) should not be included in a conditioning plan designed for sprinters! The performance coach should focus on manipulating the anaerobic systems with high-intensity sprint-interval training instead.

The second objective in designing a 12-month conditioning program for the performance coach is to identify the limiting factors for performance. These are factors that will limit the desired performance unless they are developed to their highest possible level. In sprinting, the limiting factor for performance is power. So the goal is to maximize the athlete's reactive power, starting power and acceleration power and their ability to maintain that power throughout the course of the entire race.

Now that the limiting factors have been identified, the performance coach can design the training objectives of the program. Since maximizing power is vital to sprinting success, the training objectives should be to focus on increasing each athlete's maximal strength, reactive power, starting power, acceleration power and power endurance. The first step is to increase the athlete's maximal strength; because power, and therefore speed will be severely limited without first developing a solid strength base.

Model of a year long, periodized training program for a collegiate sprinter designed to maximize power and therefore, speed.

Prep. 1
Comp. 1
Prep. II
Comp. II
[5] Anatomical adaptation
[6] Maximal strength
[4] Conversion to power development
[10] Maintenance
Improve specific power components (Limiting factors)
[2] Anatomical adaptation
[5] Maximal strength
[4] Conversion to power development
[9] Maintenance
Improve specific power components (Limiting factors)
[6] Compen

The following example cannot cover all variations possible for the track season. This model is designed around the main competitions in winter and summer. Each coach and team will have certain meets they may want or need to peak for. Therefore, it is critical for the performance to know their schedule and design their program to peak his/her athletes for those meets/events.


Shawn Dassie, MS, CSCS
Sprinting Pro Trainer
Director Of Physical Enhancement
Siouxland Acceleration: Fitness & Athletic Enhancement

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