I was talking to a colleague of mine the other day and he mentioned a person in his city who was advertising the latest Eastern European Periodization for speed training. What is amazing about this was when he investigated this “speed training” it included NO SPRINTING! The whole program consisted of lifting and heavy lifting at that. I know I have titled this amazing and have use amazing twice already but this is more than amazing, it is stupid. In fact I classify this in my exclusive training category called Pretty Stupid Stuff (PSS). You do not have to be a coach or a biomechanist to figure that to gain speed that you must sprint. Strength is only one part of a very big picture.
There is one surprising fact about programs like this that are biased toward one component or method, they get results with young athletes. I should qualify this to say young athletes who are beginning training. They are like an open book. They have huge windows of adaptation so in essence for the first six months to a year of training doing ANYTHING will improve them. (As an aside this is the reason the high speed treadmill programs show speed increases with this age group. A flawed method gets them in shape.) The problem with this is that sooner or later they will pay the piper for this biased one sided training and most of the time it is sooner.
Just imagine you were sent from mars to earth to study sprinting. You would get off your spaceship and go out to see a track meet. You would watch the sprinters sprint. Then the next few days you would go to this training program and see the athletes do nothing but lifting weights. The typical Martian comment would be “ that sure doesn’t look like what I saw at the track meet.” The moral of this story is, to evaluate training programs become a Martian.