How Strong Should A Sprinter Be?
Sprinters & Strength Training
In the world of sprint training, one of the common discussions which separates coaches along opinion based lines is the topic of how strong a sprinter needs to be. Unfortunately, most of the talk surrounding sprint training is related to elite athletes, which bodes poorly when applied to developmental and intermediate sprinters.
A certain level of strength is required in order to allow for the basic movements and speeds of sprinting to occur. Beyond that, beginners and developing sprinters can improve their acceleration directly by increasing their maximal strength and power output levels. This, of course, is primarily achieved through the proper application of a strength training program.
How Strong Should Sprinters Be?
When it comes to deciding the strength goals of a sprinter, one can use the following as general guidelines:
- Bench 2x Bodyweight
- Deadlift 2x Bodyweight
- Bench Press 1x Bodyweight
- Power Clean 1.5x Bodyweight
- Squat Jump 50% Bodyweight
These are not exact prescriptions, but guidelines that can help direct towards what your potential focus might need to be.
How Should A Sprinter Develop Strength?
By combining a variety of methods, a sprinter can develop a wide range of force output capabilities which will allow the sprinter to apply more force to the track if paired with optimal sprinting technique.
Sprinters can utilize strength training methods such as:
Strength training should be combined with a well thought out sprint training program, taking into account the needs of the type of athlete, as well as what part of the year they are training. The work done in the 100m off season is far different from what is done during the in season for a 400m runner.
Remember The Big Picture
As with anything, you must look at strength relative to its role in the big picture. Strength helps propel the sprinter and protect them from injury, but it only plays one role in the overall success of the athlete. Strengthen the athlete in a manner which helps the particular athlete, which may vary significantly from one person to the next.
Develop weaknesses in the off season and exemplify athlete strengths during the competitive season, ensuring that the athlete’s confidence levels are high and their belief in themselves strong.
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