Q: In your last q&a you said that when you do depth drops you should move your weight back so that your hams and glutes will absorb the shock. If you step off of your box or chair, your momentum will carry you forward, making it harder to use your glutes. i was wondering if it would be effective to step off backwards. Then your weight would carry you backwards, so all of the force would be on your glutes. Is there another way to better isolate the glutes and hams? Also i was wondering what height of box you would recommend. and if I did these on the same day as weights should I do them before or after I lift?

Yes, stepping off backwards is a good way to engage more posterior chain in the depth drop. You never get complete isolation but you can draw more focus to certain muscle group. In much the same way if you step off to one side you engage more abductors, if you land with completely straight legs you involve more plantar flexors (calves). If you land in a squat you build functionality for something like the start of a sprint. If you land in a split squat you build even more functionality for acceleration or agility and you can also engage more glutes. If you step off backwards and land up on your toes with completely straight legs you build functionality for something like top speed sprinting or a long jump. For the most part you can draw focus to any specific area you want.

Keep in mind though that many depth drop variations are fairly high intensity and can easily lead to injury if you introduce them at the wrong times or in the wrong progression. Before you try to bring out a muscle group through a depth drop you want to build it up via regular strength work and other lower intensity power variations. For example, if someone has extremely weak plantar flexors you wouldn't want to start out having them do a backward depth drop onto one leg from a high box. If you did you would almost guarantee injury. You would start them off with basic loaded movements and low intensity drills then progress to something like a bilateral (2-leg) drop and save the highest intensity stuff for when they need it.

Q: I wanted to get your opinion on some stuff related to sprinting:

1. What are the best drills for improving stride frequency?

2. Do vertical plyometrics carryover to sprinting?

3. What is the ideal volume of sprinting for a conditioned athlete when training for the 40yd dash? and the 100m respectively?

4. What are the most effective methods for iimproving the start?

5. What is good for improving the power of the foot strike during a sprint?

6. Which harnesses are the most usefule for sprint training?

7. How useful is overspeed sprint training? Also is it best done before a normal sprint?

A: 1. It's seldom a limiting factor and improves naturally as your relative power matches up to your relative speed - or the speed at which you cycle your legs when pushing your bodyweight down the track approaches the speed which you cycle your legs lying on your back. If it was a factor I'd say something simple like sprinting in place and moving the legs as fast as possible would be as good as anything. Or laying on your back and cycling your legs as fast as possible.

2. Yes, amount of force one puts out in the first .100 second of a depth jump correlates to the top speed when sprinting. The amount of force one can put out from a stationary 45 degree knee bend correlates best to the start of a sprint. For top speed sprinting plyometric moves need to be as reflexive as possible with little voluntary effort. Example: one-leg speed hops or jumps instead of standing broad jumps. The first is all reflexive, you just bounce up and down on the box without trying, or at least you should. The 2nd is all voluntary - you gotta wind up and really put forth some serious effort to get going. Comprende?

3. Honestly whatever volume it takes for you to make progress. It could be no sprinting at all or it might be quite a bit of sprinting. Keep in mind that sprinting is much a display of strength qualities and technique and sometimes you can get faster by not sprinting at all but by building up your strength qualities and working on your technique. Generally the better your technique the less sprint work you need.

When you want to display your strength qualities you need to be in the correct mindset to do that. That means if you're on the track running at 100% then you should be making consistent progress week to week. Generally the more you're itching to get out on the track and run fast the better your performance will be when you do. A horse will run faster if you hold the reins in and get him itching to turn it loose then if you just go out and run him to death every day. Keep that in mind because people are the same way. I feel most people think because they want to get faster that they need to be out on the track 6 days each week a minimum of 2 hours which is not true at all.

When you plan to run at 100% I believe that 100% should be a true 100% and if you have set things up properly lead to personal records and progress nearly every time you really "turn it loose". In other words, don't run at 100% unless you plan on seeing progress. That doesn't mean that you need to go all out every time you run because you can use 90% runs and tempo runs to bridge the gap between maximal efforts.

Choose one day per week that you strive for a training record (100% effort) over a given distance. I feel that most natural athletes past the intermediate stage can really only make consistent progress focusing on one truly 100% effort day on the track per week - so make it count.

It might be starts, it might be flying 20's it might 120's - it really doesn't matter. Don't take stimulants or psyche yourself up or any other crazy stuff just try to beat a training best. Warmup and then start running. Time your sprints, establish a daily best and keep running until you see and feel a noticeable decline in any aspect of your performance. For example, if your running 40's and your best 40 of the day is 4.5 you would continue running until you dropped somewhere around 4.6. At this point you're not going to create any more adaptations in the nervous system running in a fatigued state unless you're training for endurance.

One other day during the week you can pick a distance, preferably a distance other then the one you used in your 100% session, and run sprints at 90% effort and focus on technique and relaxation. I wouldn't go much above 500 meters total in this session. If you need it you can add one extra tempo day per week at 60-70% in addition to those 2 sessions for a total of 3 sessions per week running period. Prior to each session you'd do a warmup consisting of basic technique drills, buildups, etc.

On off days if you feel you need to do something extra then do something that doesn't tax your lower body. A dynamic warm-up, splashing around in a swimming pool, or any other fairly light activity to get some blood flowing and get you off your feet.

For example, let's say you went out on Monday and ran for a max or a personal best over 20 meters with full recoveries. Then on Thursday you went out and ran 60 meter sprints at 90% with full recoveries. On Saturday you might go out and run 10 x 100 at 60-70% with 45 second breaks.

After about a month you'll need to take a couple of weeks where you back off on the 100% days and do them at 90%-95% for a couple of weeks to allow your gains to consolidate. That type of split right there can dramatically improve short distance sprints in a very short period of time and it's very simple.

Sometimes you can even pull out all the sprint work except for technique work and a tempo session and focus on building up your various strength qualities with extra plyometric or weight room work etc. obviously if you're a 100 meter sprinter you have varying aspects of speed to address but they can all be covered with a similar split. If you need speed and agility you can still cover what you need with a similar split.

4. Practice the start and improve relative body power (power per lb of bodyweight). The first is easy enough but for the 2nd you want to be explosive with a high percentage of your 1rm in the squat and have a high standing vertical jump and broad jump.

5. Anything that makes you run faster will also improve your power during a foot strike.

6. Honestly I don't know cause I've hardly ever used any gimmicks in sprinting. I got a catalog in the mail the other day and counted around 200 sprint and agility training devices or gimmmicks. I like toys as much as the next guy and I'm sure most of them would be nice to play around with but of the ones I have seen the only ones that I would recommend to someone on a budget are maybe a sled and a weighted vests. Actually now that I think about it, you could replace a sled by running up a hill and a weighted vest by overeating for a couple of weeks!

7. I think it has some value but not for the reasons commonly cited. I believe it allows barriers to be broken in the nervous system that when broken allow the body to accept higher levels of speed as normal. Charlie Francis has stated that before a sprinter ever sets a true legal competition PR (legal wind limit) at a given speed, he will have set that PR prior in a wind assisted condition.

I wouldn't use tubing or downhill sprinting as an overspeed device. I would only use the wind. Sprint with the wind. The wind doesn't actually blow you down the track unless you're sprinting in a hurricane. What it does is cut down on air resistance so that you're not pushing and fighting against resistance. For breaking barriers and resetting boundaries it does appear to have value. Hey, that's an idea isn't it? One gimmick I have yet to see in these sports products magazines is a gigantic fan to use as a training aid to blow an athlete down the track. Sign me up for a patent!

Q: Hi kelly, I have a question concerning different variations of the static-dynamic method. From the examples you gave in your Q&A from 7/27 an athlete would perform a strength set followed immediately by a power set. DB Hammer talks about the same strategy in his Q&A (Jan 21) at inno-sport but he also says that one can "pre-set" the nervous system by performing power work before the strength work. So basically my question is do you think it is a good idea to reverse the static-dynamic method as DB suggested? What would the advantage to be performing the power work before the strength(Iso) work? If I remember correctly Chris Thib has wrote about performing various ankle hops (speed/power work) prior to a set in order to "potnetiate" the nervous system for the power (mag) work to come i assume this is the same idea.

My observation is that as long as the movement that you're trying to improve requires power, which is a combination of speed and strength, whichever quality you're lacking will be helped by whichever you do first addresses in the static-dynamic method. Let's say you're doing a set of power cleans. A clean requires a good deal of speed as well as a good deal of strength so it's definitely a power move. If your limiting factor is strength then do a set of heavy iso holds prior to a set of cleans and your clean poundage will jump. If you lack speed then do a set of snatches or a depth jump prior to a set of heavy cleans and you'll get the same effect.

So bodybuilders or powerlifters would be better off doing power first then strength, since they're most likely gonna lack speed......team sport athletes or track and field athletes will tend to get a lot of benefit doing strength first followed by power.

Now when it comes to pure strength work, like a maximum effort bench press, squat, or deadlift, - in almost every situation a heavy lockout, iso hold or walkout will improve subsequent efforts. With a strength move the most important thing is the level of muscular recruitment and not the speed at which the muscles fire. So doing something like a set of depth jumps prior to a deadlift isn't gonna be as effective as holding a supramaximal load in your hands for a few seconds or something similar like taking a heavy weight out of the bench press rack and holding it prior to attempting a bench press 1rm.

Hope that helps.