Drawing Comparisons on Speed Training
One my athletes on the weightlifting team was a national swimming team member for eight years.
She trained anywhere from 20-25 hours a week, with a handful of vacation days of centered around major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
We have many interesting conversations because I like to pick her brain about her training history.
I love hearing about the methods, level of commitment, and training structure with regards to intensity, volume, and frequency of training. I ask questions and that’s how I learn.
Over the Christmas holidays she sent me a video of her doing a loaded 10 metre swimming sprint with a 100lbs in the water.
She towed 100lbs explosively for 10 meters, and looked strong and explosive.
What was impressive to me, was that she hasn’t been swimming competitively for over two years.
She was on a trip at Auburn University and she got into the pool with some former teammates, and ripped off four powerfully explosive sets of max effort loaded sprints in the pool.
She immediately attributed the reason she could still do this with the Olympic weightlifting training she has been doing with me. She felt strong and powerful, even though she has not done anything like loaded sprints for a long time.
On New Years Day, during the team training session, I asked her how frequently she’d do loaded sprints.
Her answer blew me away.
She said, and I quote, “three times per week!”
And get this, after weight training, I repeat, after weight training.
All year round and as heavy as she can go! With the loaded sprints.
This is pretty much exactly how we prescribe speed training with some of our athletes.
We do maximum acceleration three times per week, after weights.
This was the first time I’ve heard of athletes using this structure, sequence, and frequency of training with this method.
The only other coaches I’ve heard that sprint after lifting weights is Victor Lopez of Rice University in the early 1990s, and the developer of this speed training system, an Italian sprint coach, Carlo Vittori in the 1970s.
Using weights before sprints seem to be sacrilegious in the strength and conditioning world.
But by actually using loaded sprints three times a week like I do… I’ve never heard of that.
Oh, and by the way, Auburn University is one of the top swimming programs in the country.