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March MAXness: Max Speed Dynamic Mode

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Speed, my favorite! Before we go anywhere let’s understand that both speed and power are skills.  These attributes must be learned, developed, and continually practiced. Strength is derived from the ability to recruit motor units within a muscle, while power is born from a muscle’s contraction force and speed  Essentially, some can fire more of a muscle more quickly than others and these individuals are more powerful within a given movement. While some of us are born with the genetic potential to be more powerful than others, all must work to develop full expression of their capabilities.  

Without getting too deep down a science hole, power is fueled by energy stores within the muscle cells and when it’s gone, it’s gone. One must rest in order to “recharge” and repeat the desired effect. So when we train power, we are training the body’s ability to completely exhaust the available energy (ATP). In conjunction with muscle strength and the ability to fire “more” of the muscle, how quickly we can use the entire fuel tank will determine how much power we are creating. So if within 8-12 seconds you are unable to reach the point where you can no longer maintain a top speed, then you have not yet learned the skill of power output.  If this is the case, no worries! You can train the body to to get better the same we we train to get stronger, practice.

This week we will give you some tools for moving more efficiently in the power domain and this weekend y’all will get several chances at measuring your power output. Here is how I go fast:

  1. Use both hands, force is derived from stability and the most stability you have access to is the frame of the treadmill. The goal is to transfer as much of that stability through the upper body and core then down to the legs so you can move the belt.

  2. Start at a walk, then a slow jog to get the belt moving. I don’t to waste precious energy stores getting the belt moving from zero mph, so turn on the jets once you have the belt around ¼ speed.

  3. Power THEN speed.  First use strong strides that have good force production and then you start to increase tempo.

  4. Don’t break the kinetic chain.  Hips stay forward, in extension. If i break at the waist, I am letting power leak from the core so the stability I have derived from my push is not getting to my legs.

  5. Take warmup seriously. Do some light strength work that preps the hamstrings and glutes (usually tread-pulls, deadlifts, and reverse lunges for me).  I hit my top speeds usually intra or post-workout. This is because my brain is connected with the necessary muscle groups on a deep kinetic level and my muscles will primed and patterned for peak contraction (which is what muscles are designed to do, squeeze and relax)

  6. This means probably take a couple attempts at 85-95% before you try to hit 100%. Unleash everything you have and don’t stay up there too long if you aren’t getting the numbers you want.  Rest a few minutes and try again, you shouldn’t be super winded on your next attempt.


I will end by mentioning that the treadmills downtown are more broken-in than the big studio in Wazyata.  It is easier to get the belt moving so you will find more success. The treadmills in the small studio in Wayzata have been used the least so speeds are much slower in there.  Keep this in mind and maybe take a trip downtown if you’re debating between the two studios, as much as I’d love to see y’all in Wayzata, my priority is everyone feeling that speed!


Happy Sprinting,


JW