The simple question is What impact will hip thrusts and other exercises coined by Bret Contreras have on elite sprinting? My answer is I am not sure, since every few years a new or old idea comes up claiming it will be the next big thing and always seems to loose ground when the track season starts. Why? Reality. The reality of the exercise list is that no evidence of transfer is available. Somethings are great in theory or on paper but you got to actually do it first. Before last year we were ready to give the crown to Tiger Woods as the worlds best golfer ever but injuries and his personal life got in the way. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. The same can be said with any technique that has promise. I think Bret found a novel solution to what Charlie was doing years ago by addressing hip extension.
The question is will the addition of a few exercises and reorganization of a few exercises create a major impact? What is it worth? Is it a tenth? What about specific sprinting? My belief is that the exercises are nice support options that target the glutes and nothing more. Good tools in the cliche training tool box. Remember that sprinting is specific and if you can’t target muscles in sprinting than how are you going to use the strength when you sprint later? Bret is searching for answers and I respect that. He has taken a few steps to unlock the door or crack the code. Unfortunately you got to do it first because the realities are that anything you add will likely take away from something else. The pun I used with Butterfly effect resonates because any change you do will have consequences. Without years of trying this in a complete program for sprinters, you can’t have confidence because you don’t know the impact. Eccentric action is clear on the stance phase and great sprinters develop their speed over time naturally from sprinting and support training such as lifting and jumping. How much is a few exercises in weight training going to do? I will continue to try some exercises but what do I give up? I have a finite amount of time and energy pool. Anytime someone want’s me to try to add something I must see if it takes away to resources that I have that are limited. The same rules apply to Bret Contreras, and without evidence I can’t say much beyond that they are simply specific muscles that target the glutes more.
So what is the likely thought process with some of the new research. What does this do for us? The Harvard studies created a buzz on messageboards and likely caused an influx of new gurus. When Peter Weyand’s study came out I was surprised about how they estimated swing times. It didn’t matter because training didn’t change much. The best coaches still produced faster athletes and all of the trampoline exercises, overspeed cords, and heavy lifting didn’t create freaks. A presentation from the UK simply stated that stride length and stride frequency were descriptive qualities, something that is for the most part true. I am not interested in the GRF of sprinting unless it can be modified by specific interventions. Often it comes down to genetics. Frankly increases in stride length are coming from general power of pushing down on the ground. The trajectory is about the same and it comes down to pushing. Horizontal forces are a product of pushing down period. The improvement of Tyson Gay is a great indicator of the realities that athletes are simply doing better work in a shorter period of time during the stance phase, and no weight exercise can create that.