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Drills that work

by Carl Brewer last modified 2010-06-05 21:13

Now we're going to be able to do a bit more smart coaching

Over the last few months I've collected quite a bit of data from the NTID and aboc sprint squad sessions with track power meters.  We haven't done anything with the data yet, but just collecting and having a quick look at it.

Now the data isn't perfect, but it's reasonably good and I'm going to use it to try and sort out which of the drills we use at track training are the best at producing overload.


In the gym, we manipulate three main variables - intensity (how heavy the weight is), volume (how many times we move it and how far) and recovery (how much time you get between reps and sets).

This is because we want to overload at least one of these variables every time, to disturb homeostatis and drive an improvement.

On the bike, we need to do the same thing.  We need to manipulate intensity, volume and recovery - but we don't have the same easy way of manipulating intensity that we do in the gym.  With, for example a squat or a power-clean, we just add more weight to the bar.  Simple .. We can micro-load with humiliator-plates if we need to (0.5kg plates, everyone loves the humiliators - they're tiny, but they make it so much harder!).  Up goes intensity.  The other two variables are trivially easy to manipulate as well.

On the bike, how do we do that?  Up the gears?  Ok, except that we never really get a 'fail' on the bike, the rider can turn any gear we put under them (on a velodrome anyway).  Up the speed, by chasing a motorcycle or another rider etc, and up the cadence by using small gears at high speeds.  These are all ways to do it, but I don't think we've ever really looked closely at how well they work.  The traditional sprint drills we use are all based on experience (which is not to be discounted!).  Now we're collecting a lot of data, we can start to see which drills get the best overload events out of our athletes - which ones produce the highest peak power, for example, or the highest power at a specific cadence range, the highest torque and so on.

Hopefully with some careful analysis of the data I've collected, with a bit of help from Dr Dan at the VIS, we'll be able to identify which of the drills we use are the best at overloading our athletes so we can train them smarter.  Watch this space!

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