Sprint, Speed and Force Application Part 2

In part 2 of this series, JB Morin further discusses the implications of sprinting forces, impulses and power. He explores some research being done in the area and further explains some recommendations for training.


The take how massage from this series seems to be that force application should be very well considered especially for training purposes. Traditionally we tend to focus on vertical force training, yet horizontal force training should not be overlooked! This is especially true in higher skilled athletes.



Sprint, Speed and Force Application Part 1

In this post JB Morin, who has been researching advancing speed training science and methodology for a very long time, discusses some optimal techniques and determinants of sprint.

JB Morin and his teams’ lab is based in France. It is for this reason that they have access to some world class athletes, namely Christophe Lemiatre. Characteristically Lemiatre is able to apply a bigger net horizontal force than most of his peers. Morin discusses how this advantageous, while he also talks about some training points that we might want to take into consideration.



The Importance of Slowing Down

This tile might come as a surprise to many of us considering that the main aim of our spslow-downort is to be as fast as we can ultimately be. Mike Young, a track and field coach as well as a strength and conditioning coach, explains the importance slowing down to get better. By slowing down he is referring to the eccentric components of the muscle contraction spectrum; which is the active contraction of a muscle occurring during simultaneous lengthening.

We must remember that sporting movement occur in a tri-phasic muscle spectrum, that is utilizing all three contraction types – concentric, eccentric and isometric. Whilst neither one should be neglected, today we will be focusing on the eccentric portion of the spectrum.


Aspiring Young Coaches

Today we are aiming to reach the young coaches out there, because just like we look at the best ways to carry over our youngest kids from youths, teens to hopefully make it to the senior stage, we cannot neglect the coaches who are essential going through the same process.

Without developing our coaches we cannot develop our sport!

Below are the top 5 tips from Andreas Behm – sprints and hurdles coach at the World Athletics Center in Phoenix.



Hamstring Injuries in Track and Field Athletes


Hamstring strains and injuries are one of the most common injuries in the sporting world especially where acceleration and maximal sprints are common. This does not exclude track and field for which it accounts for around 11% of total injuries. Hamstring injuries do not always occur due to lack of strength in the particular muscle or muscle groups but also due to strength imbalance between hamstrings and quadriceps and hamstring muscles of different legs, lack of core stability, range of motion in the proximal joints, muscle architecture, fatigue as well as neuromuscular control. Furthermore, the chances of a muscle injury increases if lengthened further than their optimal length at the corresponding peak torque. Physiologically the hamstring is made up of three separate muscles; the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris which in turn is made up of the long and short head. All of the hamstring muscles extend the hip and flex the knee during the stance and swing phase with the exception of the short head of the biceps femoris as this does not cross the hip joint and hence only facilitates knee flexion.

Cause of Injury

During the running gait cycle, the hamstrings’ major role is to decelerate the front leg and foot movement in the forwards swing which usually occurs between 45% to 90% of the running gait cycle. This is also the time when most hamstring injuries occur in sprinting due to the muscles lengthening eccentrically to be able to decelerate a high angular velocity to then be able to produce the maximum amount of force concentrically. This phenomena is also known as the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) which is an eccentric contraction followed by a concentric action and separated by the amortization phase.


Research has found that hamstring injuries can be reduced when increasing their optimal length for peak force which can in turn be achieved via eccentric exercises. As explained above an eccentric contraction is when a muscle produces force while being actively lengthened and this can increase the size, strength and flexibility of a muscle, improve optimum length-tension properties and the recoil effect (SSC). In fact, the stiffer the muscles and tendons (muscle-tendon unit) the more recoil will be available for the coming movements and the less mechanical energy the athlete needs to use.

A number of training methods can be used to reduce the change of hamstring injury in track and field. These include a variety of unilateral and bilateral exercises in open and closed chain situations and multi-joint and single joint exercises focusing on both hip extension and knee flexion. Moreover, the use of SSC exercises with isolated eccentric exercises are also beneficial. Such injury prevention exercises should work all the muscles and parts of the hamstring muscle group although emphasis should be upon the long head of the biceps femoris since this has been found to be the most susceptible to injury. One must not forget that for an exercise to be effective, it must be biomechanically very similar to the sporting movement itself to be able to work the necessary muscle groups. Although eccentric training does not focus on force production as such, muscles are stronger eccentrically and it is advised that similar training parameters for sets and repetitions are applied to that of concentric strength training with enough recovery.

Exercise ideas

  • Nordic Curls

nordic curls

  • Double and Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

romanian-deadlift      Single-Leg-RDL

  • Double and Single Leg Swill Ball Roll Outs

roll out

  • Hamstring Catapult

catapul 2

  • Sprinter Eccentric Leg Curl


  • Double Leg and Single Leg Hip Thrusts









Concurrent Training

Concurrent training is a method whereby one does endurance and strength training on the same day. Whilst it has been thought that fatigue from the endurance training might negatively effect strength development, research supports the notion that a combination of endurance and strength training improve running economy and maximal strength. In one of his info graphics Yan Le Meur discusses nutritional strategies to support this.


Free Travel To Gozo Weekend

Athletix A.C. will be hosting a variety of athletic events at the Gozo College Boys’ Secondary School in Victoria on Sunday 17th November. Registration is free of charge. Medals will be given to all participants and category winners will also get to take home a trophy.

The full programme of events can be found below.


Fgura Car Free Day

On the 22nd of September 2013, the Fgura Local Council will be organising various sports activities with the support of local sport entities, including Athletix which will coordinate the events. The events are open to the general public without the need of prior registration. Participants are kindly requested to present themselves at the respective event sites at the advised times.


Free fruit will be available throughout the event, with certificates being presented to the participants.




Date: 22nd September 2013
Time: 09:00 – 12:00
Venue:  Area in proximity of Zabbar Road from HSBC to Hompesch Gate


9.00 1.5km run for children (12 to 16 years of age)
9.00 1.5km run for adults
9.00 Netball
9.00 Fgura united Target Shoot -off
9.00 Face Painting
9.15 Balloon Modelling
9.30 1.5km bike sprint challenge 14+
9.40 60m sprint challenge 6 – 12
9.45 60m sprint challenge adults
10.00 breaking limits 60m sprint
10.10 Kids Athletics
10.15 Zumba
10.50 breaking limits basketball game
11.00 Electric vehicles
11.15 Martial Arts (ninpo & taichi)
12.00 Tug of war
12.30 Presentation of awards and speeches


Universiade : The athletes did their thing!

Today saw the last activity for Maltese track and field athletes in Kazan.

Last Tuesday (9th July) started on a very good note, with Rebecca Sare’ performing excellently in her preferred event, the triple jump. Despite being Sare’s first time jumping from the 11m board, her third and final jump was her best, where she once again cleared, 12.01m. Sare’ can now head into her off-season reflecting on her successful year. There is no doubt that this break will be of benefit, allowing her to re-gain her focus and strength as the national record is now clearly in her sights.

Matthew Croker followed by running the 200m. Facing hard competition in the 10th heat, Croker finished the distance in 23.18s.

Finally, this morning Andy Grech took part in the long jump. Despite having two no-jumps in the second and third attempts, Grech jumped a huge leap of 7.10m in his first attempt. This result puts Grech number one in Malta in the long jump this year – 8cm clear of his training partner Ian Grech (7.02m) and veteran Rachid Chouhal (7.01m). Will this stimulate our jumpers to pursue further challenges in the remaining Summer meets in Malta next month? Let’s hope for the best!!