Jul 14, 2003

Dear Stronger Athletes: Speed Training/Swat Fitness

"Be wise with speed. A fool at forty is a fool indeed." Edward Young (1683 - 1765)

Dear StrongerAthlete: Speed Training

Coach Rody,

What are your thoughts on speed development? Specifically, all of the devices that are intended to provide "over speed" training.

Thanks for your time,
Scott Monson

Mr. Monson,

We are not advocates of devices such as harnesses, parachutes, down hill running, sled work, etc... To develop speed, the athlete should not only be on a good strength training program but they should concentrate on the following:

  • Improving reaction time. This can greatly improve an athletes speed.
  • Running with good form: Arm swings, foot placement, head movement, landing etc...
  • Practicing running the distance the athlete is going to compete in. If it is the 100 meter dash then practice running the 100. If it is football then practice sprinting varying distances from the athletes' stance.
  • Flexibility training should also be considered.

When combining strength training and speed work, one must be careful not to overtrain. Doing too much of one of the activities could affect the other. The bottom line is in order to perfect a skill at maximum speed, practice that skill at maximum speed taking in consideration the above info and you will become more neuromuscularly efficient at that skill which will enhance your ability. Hope this helps.

Coach Rody

Coach Rody,

My name is James Dockray. I'm a Semi Professional Soccer player that will be turning professional very soon and hoping to play in the Premiership in England... You won't believe how much info I have researched on the internet and how many articles I have saved relating to both cardio, strength & power to my computer. I researched a lot about "acceleration" and this is why I was asking you about the article "Can jumping with weights improve your first step?" (Acceleration)....


Before I give you our take I think you should first be aware of the dangers of "internet research". Kind of ironic since we have an informational website on the internet! Much of what we try to educate coaches about is based on scientific principles of strength development, not new gimmicks. I would recommend 2 books for you to get your hands on: "A Practical Approach to Strength Training" by Matt Brzycki and "Maximize Your Training" which is a series of articles by various strength coaches and edited by Matt Brzycki. In short, no, jumping or moving fast with weights in your hand will not improve your speed. You can improve your speed in a variety of ways two of which:

  • 1) Practice your starts/sprints
  • 2) Develop your strength.

We simply feel that performing quick movements in the weight room does not transfer to quick movements on the field. Hope this helps and good luck with your training.


Matt Brzycki's Operational Tactics

Matt Brzycki has teamed up with Stuart Meyers to write about fitness training directed at "fitness standards for SWAT team personnel." Dan Riley, Head Strength Coach with the Houston Texans says,"SWAT Fitness by Matt Brzycki and Stuart Meyers has been added to my list of references for reliable strength and conditioning information. It is must read for anyone interested in obtaining an elite level of physical fitness."

Matt's books are the first we recommend to people who inquire about safe, productive and efficient training. We encourage you to take a closer look at SWAT Fitness.

If you have questions or comments about this web site or strength development or training please drop us a note at coachrody@strongerathlete.com

Jul 7, 2003

The Athlete/Coach Relationship

"Be sincere; be brief; be seated." Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Athlete/Coach Relationship

We recently received a letter from an athlete who trained with us and has now moved to another town. As he is a commited athlete he began attending his new school's summer strength and conditioning sessions. However, he found that he was being asked to perform movements and routines that were in violation of everything he was used to previously.

His situation is a precarious one in that his loyalty should be to his new coaches and environment but he has developed an awareness for safety, productivity, and efficiency that most athletes do not have. We include his e-mail below followed by our advice. We hope that other athletes and coaches can empathize with this situation.

Coach Rody,

Everything is going great here at my new school. Well, I started weightlifting with my new school this summer and they do things different. I didn't know if I should be doing what they are telling me or if the way we did it was better. We do the 3 sets of 10 one day and speed training with weights the next. We lift almost every day. Is this a good strength training program? Let me know what you think. Thank you so much!

I'm happy that things are going great for you.

I think it is important for you to trust the coach you are under, however, this could be a great opportunity to share some of these training ideas with him. Give him our website address and encourage him to browse around. If he has any questions he can call me or e-mail me.

However, you do not want to do movements in the weight room that would compromise your safety. If speed training with weights means Olympic lifting and plyometrics than I suggest you use caution. Many coaches do not understand that plyometrics and other exercises that involve speed and momentum can really increase the chance of injury. These exercises also predispose you to future injuries. In other words, these exercises could weaken the joints which could create injuries during you sport activities.

We do not want to offend someone or make them angry in any way. Everyone has their own philosophy.

Once again, give your coach over there a chance by doing their program. But possibly he wouldn't mind an adjustment or two to protect your already injured knees. Any coach would understand that. I can help you with those adjustments if you need me to.

Good luck to you and I hope things continue to go great for you out there.

Coach Rody


***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the StrongerAthlete.com website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***