You need to be precise with the number to train the racecar optimally for the race!
If you have a goal of moving the fastest in the race, then why are you moving slowly in the gym? Move to a
lighter mass and start ramping up the recruitment, activation and movement speeds. If you have a goal of
moving the most mass then yes, ramp that up but know you are training the diesel truck within you and not the
Ferrari. You are becoming Milo of Croton. If your goal is a mixture of moving mass at a decent speed then you
are dealing with power, which is the product of mass and velocity.
For power training we typically work out with weights that are 30-45 percent of your maximum effort or one
repetition max mass. This is the big block Chevy muscle car. And–yes–there may be a time and place to train
with more mass even with a goal of speed.
Most sport actions take place in fractions of a second. You have hundredths of a second to pick up, hone in,
decide, and swing in softball. The takeoff foot may be on the ground for between a tenth and two tenths of a
second when pitting that last plank on the long jump runway. The time parameter of the sports action dictates
how you should train in the gym.
For example, if you are training an athlete for speed and you know that .15 seconds is the amount of time it
takes for the striking foot to complete the action of hitting and propelling off the ground, then the only
exercises that will benefit or improve the speed component of your athlete need to be designed for around .15
seconds or less.
You may be able to squat 500 pounds, and be built like a semi-truck, but if the CNS responds slowly when
recruiting muscles, then that 500 pounds will not transfer meaningfully onto a quick sport athlete. For Milo,
yes, but for the soccer goalie, no! If you are running repetitions in the gym at .5 or .6 seconds, then that will not
transfer to sport with needs faster than .5 to .6 seconds—your body will not respond faster than it has been
If the time did not matter then the world strong man and woman competitors would also be the fastest, most
agile, quickest, and most powerful simply because they are the strongest. They would have all Guinness
records and Olympic gold medals to show.
We need to get better at presenting a sport specific environment for our CNS to develop and adapt
appropriately. We need to be better at tuning our racecar for the actual race. Too often we train for a strength
competition, but then expect to race like a Ferrari. It should come as no surprise then why we may fail, not
improve, or not reach our potential.
For more information go to nationalpti.org. Check out our Foundations: Movement and Biomechanics – Build
your Racecar Course. We promise a fun and mind-blowing ride. By the end you will have a resounding
advantage in guiding your clients to sustainability, success and performance beyond their wildest dreams.