Focused strength and speed-strength trainings of sprinters

Dr. Hab., Professor E.P. Vrublevskiy 1, 2
Postgraduate student A.Kh. Khorshid3
Postgraduate student D.A. Albarkaii3
1Francisk Skorina Gomel State University, Gomel, Belarus
2University of Zielona Góra, Zielona Góra, Poland
3Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno, Grodno, Belarus

Keywords: strength test rates, junior sprinters, strength gradient, startup strength, speed-strength qualities.

Background. Tests of muscular strength and speed-strength qualities are widely used to rate athletic physical fitness in particular and training system efficiency on the whole. Many study reports [2, 11, 13] give evidence of the absolute strength being determined by the environmental factors whilst the speed-strength qualities are believed to be largely determined by the combined hereditary and environmental factors. The strength qualities developed by target trainings are mostly sport-specific as verified by progress tests in different sports. In modern sprint, for instance, an athlete should have very strong thigh, shin and foot muscles and push-off strength control qualities [3, 5, 7, 10].

Any training process management system needs to be supported by multisided and comprehensive athletic fitness test data including (as far as the modern sprint is concerned) the short-time high-strength muscular work test rates. Of special interest for the modern sports are the training tools efficiency rating studies with a special emphasis on the strength and speed-strength progress ones to offer the most efficient toolkits for every skill class [1, 4, 8, 12].

Objective of the study was to analyze benefits of the focused strength and speed-strength trainings to build up the sport-specific lower limb physicality and functionality in sprinters.

Methods and design of the study. Sampled for the new strength and speed-strength building 5-month training models testing experiment were 14-15 year-old sprinters (n=28) having 3-4-year track records split up into three groups. Pre-experimental tests found statistically insignificant (р<0.05) intergroup differences in the muscle strength and physical fitness test rates. The 5-month group trainings included the same (by intensities and scopes) running practices for every group plus special lower limb strength building exercises with the following group specializations: Group 1 made an emphasis on dynamic half-squatted jump exercises (4 series of 15 jumps). Group 2 trainings included 4 series of 45s static half-squats. And Group 3 training system offered 4 series of 10 half-squatted jumps with 20s static half-squats in between the jumps for target muscle groups.

The training progress in every group was rated by dynamometric tests of the key muscle groups, with the strength and speed-strength qualities tested and analyzed by a computer strain gauge test system on a strength-to-time scale [4, 12]. The tests produced the isometric strength rating data for the lower limb extensor (knee and hip joints) muscles.

Results and discussion. Competitive success in modern sprint depends on a few key parameters dominated by the push-off strength impulse critical for the run stride. Since the push-off impulse in junior sprinters was estimated at 0.15-0.2s [2, 3, 10], it may be said with confidence that the push-off strength-to-time ratio is more important for the competitive success than the maximal strength rate as such. This is the reason why we used the following test rates in the push-off impulse profiling tests: absolute strength rate in the isometric strain test with no time tag; explosive strength rate i.e. the strength gradient (maximal push-off strength to time ratio); and 0.2s strength rate. Since the pre-experimental tests found no intergroup differences in the above test rates, every progress in the latter was attributed to the new training models.

Table 1. Pre- versus post-experimental strength and speed-strength rates in the lower limb extensor (knee and hip joint) muscles in the 14-15 year-old sprinters

Test rates

Pre-experimental

Post-experimental

р

Group 1

Absolute strength, kg

 78,1±2,1

 91,3±3,6

>0,05

<0,05

<0,05

Strength gradient, kg/s

153,9±8,9

195,4±7,5

0.2s strength rate, kg

  36,4±1,6

  55,7±1,4

Group 2

Absolute strength, kg

  76,9±3,2

  93,8±4,8

<0,05

>0,05

>0,05

Strength gradient, kg/s

158,8±9,5

  185,6±10,4

0.2s strength rate, kg

  37,6±1,2

  46,3±2,6

Group 3

Absolute strength, kg

  75,2±2,2

  92,6±3,1

<0,05

<0,05

<0,05

Strength gradient, kg/s

155,4±9,8

188,5±8,6

0.2s strength rate, kg

  38,9±1,9

  56,2±2,3

Most of the pre- versus post-experimental tests found statistically significant (р<0.05) progress in strength of the lower limb muscle groups; albeit specific group progress was different i.e. the training system dependent. Thus the Group 1, 2 and 3 progresses in the absolute strength rates was estimated at 14.5%, 18.0% and 18.8%, respectively. The tests also found growths of the strength gradients indicative of the maximal strength mobilizing time – and therefore highly informative for the speed-strength resource rating purposes [4, 9, 12], with the tests giving the means to assess the training system efficiency.

Groups 1 and 3 (with the trainings dominated by dynamic and mixed strength training exercises) were tested with statistically significant (5%) growths of the strength gradients – versus Group 2 that showed statistically insignificant growth. The Group 1, 2 and 3 lower limb muscle strength gradients were tested to grow by 27.0%, 16.9% and 21.3%, respectively by the pre- versus post-experimental tests.

Furthermore we obtained the so-called startup (explosive) strength test rates indicative of the ability to mobilize the maximal strength as fast as possible [4, 7, 12]. The startup strength rate was found to be in direct correlation with the competitive sprint success rates in every age and gender group [12]. This finding is explainable by the fact that the surface contact in sprint is tested to make up 0.1-0.2s only depending on the individual skill level, whilst the maximal strength mobilizing time is much longer. This is why the modern sprint gives a top priority rather to the efficient strength impulse (that is by far lower than the individual absolute maximal strength rate) to secure high running speed by mostly the push-off element of the movement sequence [3, 6, 10, 12].

The 5-month training systems were tested to increase the lower limb extensor muscle 0.2s strength rates in Groups 1, 2 and 3 by 34.6%, 18.8% and 30.8%, respectively.

Conclusion. The study data and analyses showed every of the three group training models (dynamic, static and mixed) being beneficial for the junior sprinters’ strength building purposes; with the static and mixed physical exercises particularly beneficial for the absolute strength rates; dynamic practices – for the speed gradient; and combined dynamic and mixed practices – for the startup strength building elements. Progress of the 14-15 year-olds in the above strength test rates may be attributed not only to the age-specific sensitive period favorable for the muscle strength growth but also to the new improved training models. It should be emphasized that the training models may yield even higher benefits if prudently customized to contribute to the sport-specific skills training process.

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Corresponding author: vru-evg@yandex.ru

Abstract

The modern 100m sprinters’ training systems make a special emphasis on the speed-strength training component to facilitate the specific strength building in the key muscle groups for competitive success. The functional specialization of the sprinter’s musculoskeletal system shall not be driven by passive adaptation to the specific competitive requirements, with the trainees expected to attain the sport-specific musculoskeletal system anthropometrical characteristics and functionality for competitive success.

Objective of the study was to analyze benefits of the focused strength and speed-strength training models to build up the sport-specific lower limb physicality and functionality in sprinters. Sampled for the new strength and speed-strength building 5-month training models testing experiment were 14-15 year-old sprinters (n=28) split up into three groups. The model offered, in addition to the traditional running practices, special lower limb strength building exercises, with the following group specializations: Group 1 made an emphasis on the dynamic exercises; Group 2 on the statistic exercises; and Group 3 on the mixed exercises for the target muscle groups. The study data and analyses showed every of the three group training models (dynamic, static and mixed) being beneficial for the junior sprinters’ strength building purposes; with the static and mixed physical exercises particularly beneficial for the absolute strength rates; dynamic practices – for the speed gradient; and combined dynamic and mixed practices – for the startup strength rate building elements.