Heavy Sled and Light Sled- Data Required


A recent blog post by Bret Conteras left many coaches wondering what loads to use to improve performance. I think the study is great for beginners but for elite sprinters I don’t see it. Before young coaches start a bonfire around sacrifices because a study on slow athletes who should join recreation programs at the local Y, we need to drill down more. My answer is your program should provide data on how all of the factors interact, since the research tends to isolate variables. Are we trying to improve 0-10 or 60 meters? Is the athlete in training a beginner or elite? Is the athlete elite and experienced with weight lifting? I have gone higher than 10% with some athletes and found it to work because they were beginners. Two years ago a steady diet of sled work helped take an athlete from area success to a national champion, but what do you do in year four and perhaps six? I don’t work with her as she is in college but I looked at both data from research and training. You must do both. An athlete with poor strength in the weight room given a heavy sled and pushes a prowler may get better, but so will whole milk and sleep with neophytes. The 10% rule is a guideline but it has some great history to support the claims, but most of that history is for track and field athletes getting faster in the 60 and 100, not a NFL guy trying to get to the quarterback ten yards away. Many research studies need coaches to truly get the right narrow focus here. When I read blogs I look for tables, charts, and the workout examples. If we don’t see any data one should ask about concepts versus protocols. Protocols give specific recommendations based on specific parameters. Without data from a complete training package the arguments are just moot to be honest. Bolt using heavy loads is specific strength as he is not a beast in the weight room, but using him as an example for a NFL combine athlete is likely to be a poor model to repeat. Weak athletes are always using heavy loads to get better, since some strength coaches have abandoned classic training such as barbell exercises, a modality that does help the first 5-10m. Training for team sports is not training for sprint events, and if winning the gold in the 10m dash was available, I would change my program. As track coaches keep doing what we are doing as progress at all levels is seen by the recent NCAA championships and keep up the good work. For specific guidelines I suggest reading the following sled article from FreelapUSA.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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