Weight training?

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Weight training?

Postby Robert on Fri May 25, 2007 10:42 pm

So how many of you skaters out there do weight training? I've got to admit I don't, although I wish (I think) I could find a way to fit it into my schedule.

I know some skaters lift weights. I met Droid at the Crystal Springs Marathon (he won) and he certainly looked like he lifts weights. ... And I'll bet Greg Major still lifts. (He's a former Mr. Chicagoland). (Correct me if I'm wrong, Greg.)

What I'd like to know is do you think it helps your skating (and if so, how) ... or does it just make you look better in a skinsuit?
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Postby dykstraspeed on Sat May 26, 2007 2:14 pm

I personally was very happy to see the article written by Westy Bell about WT.

My personal Experance is I ALWAYS perform better as a skater when Weights are a part of my Training Plan.

In the Off season the focus is 50% General (Aerobic and Strength) and 50% Specific training (Skating)

The WT allowes me to Build my Absolute Strength, Thicken Tendons and Ligaments, and the Stretching Between Sets, help keep them Flexable Too.

About 4-6 weeks before the Big races start, 70% of the training focus should be on Skating/Dryland and 30% on the Maintenance of Strength with WT.

Remember too that with De-Training OR Tapering you will lose Strength the SLOWEST and Endurance the QUICKEST. So don't worry about losing the strength you worked so hard for.

With that in mind, It's OK to stop with WT 2-3 weeks before the BIG Meet(s) of the year, and shift Focus on Perfecting Technique/Stratagy/Focus for the main goals of the training season.


If you are concerned about getting too big in the gym, you can do Higher Reps. (15-30) with only 75-50% of your Maximum 4 Rep Lift.


If your Coaches/Skaters are Unsure about the Benefits of Weight Training,
They could talk with a certified pro, to discuss how WT could Enhance Their Performance in Speed Skating.


Happy to see this Topic Discussed. :D

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Postby skate2Bfit on Sat May 26, 2007 7:00 pm

Yes I lift weights and I feel it helps my skating tremendously.

I do squats, deadlifts and good mornings to strengthen my back, glutes, quads, hamstrings and abdominals. I do more exercises but these are the ones that really build the core to enhance balance. I also have enormous and powerful lower legs which help balance too, giving me solid edge control.

I alternate lifting methods to get the benefits of all and to avoid my body getting conditioned to any one type of routine. Extremely high weight with 3-6 reps for brute strength, high weight with 6-8 reps, moderate weight with 10-15 reps, moderate weight with a plyometric routine for explosive power, light weights with a Tabata routine.

I'm on a weightloss program so my training routine is a bit different, but if I were training for competition, I'd be all over the weights in the off-season and once competition starts save all the energy for skate time, maybe lift weights only as a means to build muscle endurance but definitely cut back a couple weeks out from a competition for recovery.
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Postby panch0 on Sat May 26, 2007 9:47 pm

I feel compelled to write about this subject since a big part of my thesis for my Kinesiology degree was on Strength and Power development :D

Can WT help your skating? Sure it can!

My experience with speedskating in the Miami area is that very few skaters do WT. The main reason is lack of facilities and lack of knowleadge on how to design a program. The only Miami skater I've seen WT is Sebastian Cano.

However, there is a big difference in WT for an average Joe, for an average athlete, for an athlete in development, and for an Elite athlete. The reason is that they all have different needs and the WT has to be specified to those needs.


Strength is the capacity for an athlete to apply muscular force to an object. Essentially, how much weight can you move/carry! The more weight you can carry, the stronger you are!

Strength relates to a skater (runner, cyclist, swimmer etc...) as an ability to displace his/her body weight. This is what we commonly call the strength to weight ratio. If a skater weights 150 pounds and has a strength of 150 pounds; his ratio is 1:1. If this hypotetical skater would raise his strength to 300 pounds, his ability to displace his body weight has effectively doubled! This skater will be much quicker and therefore powerful, and he will also be a much more energy efficient skater.

An average Joe who has never done WT will probably benefit the most out of WT because the untrained body will make "significant" strength development to affect his strength to weight ratio.

Where in contrast, an athlete who has gone through several cycles of strength development and has reached a peak in strength, will see very small changes in strength that can be characterized of "not significant" to his strength to weight ratio (he still have do WT if program calls for it though!).


So here is the big question and dilema when training athletes, a good coach must take a look at each one of his athletes and always ask himself the question: What does that athlete need?

The answer will almost always be different for each athlete (could be weight loss, lactic threshold, aerobic capacity, anaerobic threshold etc.) and sometimes the answer will NOT include WT.

Strength is inherently the dominion of fast twitch muscle fiber athletes. The larger the percentage of fast twitch fiber, the more responsive the athlete will be to WT.

By contrast those that are born with a prevalent percentage of slow twitch fibers will be "not significantly" resposive to WT.

In between these two poles exists a wild variety of "muscle mixes". I for instance, have 80% fast twitch fiber, combined with 20% slow twitch fiber. Essentially I am a fast middle distance athlete. Because my fast twitch count is high enough, I am very responsive to WT.

If you turned those numbers around, a hypotetical athlete with 80% slow twitch and 20% fast twitch fibers, you would have a slow middle distance athlete who would not be as responsive as me to WT.

We would still have to race each other on the same race and both would have to employ different tactics to try to win despite the similarities and differences in fiber percentages.

There is a third muscle fiber type that back in my day (graduated in 90) we called muscle Type AB (they probably call it something else now!) which is a fast twitch fiber that will "lean" in the direction of training. So if your WT program is good.... they will get faster! But if you are doing lots of aerobic training, they will learn to oxydize efficiently. However, these Type AB fibers are not a large enough percentage to make "significant" changes but more than anything to support the focus of training.

Muscle fibers DO NOT covert to the other type! But, the "double standard" exists that fast twitch fibers can be taught to efficiently oxydize through aerobic training, where slow twitch fibers will never be significantly responsive to WT nor they will acquire fast contractile characteristics.

In my opinion, interval training is correlated to dominant muscle fiber type simlarly as WT. Knowing this, a coach can isolate interval training to exploit the athlete's strengths and improve the weaknesses of an athlete.
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Postby chucky on Mon May 28, 2007 12:53 am

Panch0, your understanding of exercise physiology far exceeds mine, but you’re assertion that those “born” with a relative low percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers can never become fast, powerful athletes because their slow-twitch fibers cannot be converted to fast-twitch fibers, I think is based on dated science.

If, from what I’ve read it true, that fast-twitch muscle fibers are fairly evenly distributed between the muscles of sedentary people, with most possessing 45 – 55 % of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle types, then it would logically follow that the percentage of fast-twitch fibers an athlete has depends more on how she trains, than on the percentage she is born with.

So I think it’s very good news for the young athlete who perhaps has not developed his fast-twitch muscles fibers at an early age, and who aspires to someday become a strength athlete, or a sprinter. There’s much to be said for “genetics,” in many physiological aspects of the human body, but it’s good for the budding athlete to know that speed and power isn’t necessarily limited by one’s “genetics” as far as muscle fiber percentage is concerned.

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/fast-tw ... scles.html
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Postby panch0 on Mon May 28, 2007 2:52 pm

chucky,

I read that article that you linked us to. This article is correct and overall I am illustrating the same concept.

I very much agree that (I am quoting from that article):

"*The way our sporting experiences are shaped at a relatively early age;
*How we train our muscle fibres throughout our sporting careers."


In that sense, I as a coach, never engage children/young adolescents in unecessary aerobic exercising and constantly limit it. I consider speed to be the single most important asset of an athlete and I try my best to contribute to each kids speed development. For the kids it works much better to do games that involve bursts of energy such as "capture the flag" or "bullrush". I am always amazed at how developmental such simple games are for the younger athletes.



I do have a problem with several items on that graph table.

The first is that if the researchers tested muscle fiber distribution especifically from a sedentary population, their finding will be nothing more than an average of that specific population. That number of 45-55% fast twitch fiber is exactly correlated with the general population's muscle fiber distribution. It actually shows the belly of the Bell Curve! Therefore, you can only use that number to compare to other populations. In this case they are comparing it to a sprinting population.

Now, if the research would have showned that the population was 45-55% fast twitch fiber and with training, the percentage of fast twitch fibers had significantly changed, I would have been very impressed.

Second; the percentages shown on that table regarding Distance Runner (25% fast twitch) and Sprinter (84%) are not as dramatic as the ones I found when I was doing research. I was lucky to be able to test world class sprinters and world class distance runners and the numbers I found are significantly different. For instance, I found 95% fast twitch fibers on a friend of mine who was an Olympic 100m semifinalist (and my suspicion is that the finalists had a higher fast twitch percentage). And I also found 95% slow twitch fibers on another friend who at one time was the 10k world record holder (and multiple times NCAA cross country champion). That number disparity shows me that either I was too lucky to be able to test World Class athletes (which would yield the same error as only testing sedentary people) or that the population tested on that table is an average distance runner and an average sprinter. Or it can also show that 15 years of difference in testing methodology will vary the data a bit. :D

I've never tested a Cheetah though! But it makes me wonder a bit... what makes a Cheetah so fast? Is it that they are born with a high fast twitch count? Or is it that they are trained from young pups to sprint? How would they differ in average fast twitch fiber count to other feline species who are not as fast?


Despite the articles and the opinions, I think safely we can conclude and most likely agree on all of the following:

*speed is the most important asset for an athlete.
*WT is important to speed and power development.
*younger athletes should be given the opportunity to train thoroughly and develop all aspects of their physical aptitudes.


And to conclude my first post on this thread I will offer this analogy:

You cannot turn a Carl Lewis into an Abebe Bikila nor an Abebe Bikila into a Carl Lewis. No matter what type of training you do. That was all I was "saying"! :D
The best training for skating... is skating itself!
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Postby dykstraspeed on Mon May 28, 2007 11:55 pm

Nicely said Panch0

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Postby chucky on Tue May 29, 2007 11:19 pm

Thanks Panch0, for responding, it’s nice to read ideas and opinions on exercise physiology from someone who has actually been in the trenches conducting scientific research, rather than just summarizing it. And I very much agree with your approach to coach kids by having them play games involving bursts of speed.

There’s one more link (it’s short!) I’d like to post that I think nicely summarizes the different types of muscle fibers:

http://www.athleticquickness.com/page.asp?page_id=20

From this, I briefly summarize:

* The average healthy adult has roughly equal numbers of slow-twitch (ST) and fast-twitch (FT) fibers, but show great variation in this regard. [So from this I would assume if you randomly selected, say, 1,000 people from a population of healthy adults, and plotted the frequencies of the ratios of ST to FT fibers, you would generate a Standard Normal Distribution (bell curve), as Panch0 pointed out, and most people fall around or near the center of the bell curve, and the exceptions -- those who have very high percentages of either ST or FT fibers – would fall near the tails of the bell curve.]

* Muscle fibers can change in size and type; they can be converted from fast to slow, and from slow to fast, referred to as muscle plasticity.

* Weight training converts Type IIx (very fast-twitch) fibers to Type IIa (fast-twitch) fibers.

* Sedentary people have a higher percentage of Type IIx fibers than active people and endurance athletes (very surprising to me).

Getting back to the bell curve, and those exceptional people who fall in the tails of the curve who have either a very high percentage of ST fibers, or a very high percentage of ST fibers, it would be very interesting, as the author of the link ponders, to know the ST/FT ratios of these people at birth. I suspect despite the principle of muscle plasticity, those born with a high percentage of ST fibers would naturally gravitate to endurance sports, and those born with a high percentage of FT fibers would gravitate to the speed sports. Still, it’s good to know that because of muscle plasticity the young athlete will not feel he needs to limit himself due to his “genetics.”

Another measure of an athlete’s potential is VO2 Max, the upper limit of which is determined by one’s genetics. The VO2 Max for elite athletes is commonly between 80 and 90 ml/kg/min. The average person’s is about 40. Lance Armstrong’s was measured at 83.8 and Greg Lemond’s an astounding 92.5!

Imagine if Eric Heiden, whose VO2 Max measured a paltry 64!, had allowed his “genetics” to dictate to him that he could never be a great athlete!

Btw, Panch0, what is this game, “bullrush?”
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Postby panch0 on Wed May 30, 2007 1:29 am

chucky wrote: * The average healthy adult has roughly equal numbers of slow-twitch (ST) and fast-twitch (FT) fibers, but show great variation in this regard. [So from this I would assume if you randomly selected, say, 1,000 people from a population of healthy adults, and plotted the frequencies of the ratios of ST to FT fibers, you would generate a Standard Normal Distribution (bell curve), as Panch0 pointed out, and most people fall around or near the center of the bell curve, and the exceptions -- those who have very high percentages of either ST or FT fibers – would fall near the tails of the bell curve.]


EXACTLY!!


chucky wrote: those born with a high percentage of ST fibers would naturally gravitate to endurance sports, and those born with a high percentage of FT fibers would gravitate to the speed sports.


Typically that is what happens! So when we see people voluntarily joining a sport and succed in it we are already looking at a population which has been "filtered". From this population you can plot yet another Bell Curve! The ends of the curve will be your National/World Champions! Of course the ones in the belly will be "also-ran". In the old Comunist Block... no volunteers, athletes got shoved into a sport. They accelerated the Bell Curve a bit! :shock:

chucky wrote:* Muscle fibers can change in size and type; they can be converted from fast to slow, and from slow to fast, referred to as muscle plasticity.


I agree that muscle fibers can change in size and even "reproduce". But in all honesty, I've yet to see good research that shows how fibers "convert"! I do agree that those fibers (which I call Type AB) which are Fast twitch leaning in the direction of training, will suffer a "convertion" because of the training. But I want to see a straight out fast twitch convert to a straight out slow twitch!


chucky wrote: the young athlete will not feel he needs to limit himself due to his “genetics.”


I agree! As a coach I would never let my athletes know any information that can remotely make them feel limited! And a coach should employ as many arms in his arsenal as possible to develop that athlete!

Not for a second do I suggest that people find out their muscle fiber distribution so that they know their limitations or so they can focus on a particular event. The competition experience should take care of that and the athletes begin to get "filtered" to different events. Besides, nobody will ever really know someone's muscle fiber distribution unless you have a muscle biopsy! So you either have fast athletes or not and a coach applies a training "answer" to the problem.

More than anything, I think WT is an arm in the arsenal that may get used or not. When is a coach to use it? When it serves the purpose! I have actually seen many athletes spend too much time WT to the point that they had forgotten about the specific sport they practice or they were not getting the response from WT that they thought they would get. In many instances WT will be useless to an athlete.

For instance, I remember a post where I was telling Pete Dykstra that in all my years as an Elite athlete I never saw or knew of any other Elite endurance athletes who did any WT whatsoever. In fact these guys would go out of their way to stay away from any sort of resistance work. I think these guys, some of which are the kind I tested in the 95% slow twitch population, never got any response to WT. Now that I am thinking about it, I never even saw an Elite middle distance athlete doing WT.

By comparison, I think the great majority of athletes in the endurance, middle distance range, chose to stick to the specific sport because interval work alone is a great way to regulate the athlete's strength by carrying it's own weight at greater speeds than normal in a more intense state. For example, a skater chosing a slight uphill to do interval work is a form of resistance training (plus the added value of being lactic, or speed endurance etc.). Or a cyclist chosing to use a "bigger" gear than usual is another form of resistance work.


chucky wrote:Another measure of an athlete’s potential is VO2 Max, the upper limit of which is determined by one’s genetics.


VO2Max is relevant to the endurance athlete (and the middle distance athlete) but it has not relevant measure for sprinters! Do you guys remember when Pele failed the Cooper's Test? Anyway... and if it is determined by genetics I would predict that the single most factor that would affect it would be muscle fiber distribution as lung capacity is a trainable item. VO2Max is a value always in transit because it dependa on your current physical condition.

chucky wrote:Imagine if Eric Heiden, whose VO2 Max measured a paltry 64!,


I don't believe that! :shock: I've never heard that! Knowing that Eric Heiden was at one time World and Olympic Record holder in the 10k I just simply don't believe it! It is possible he had gotten such result if the method to test was not within the realm of specificity. If he was tested on a threadmill... that is not a valid test result as a cyclist or speedskater is not used to running. This is the ONLY explanation I have for such result of the Earthly God Heiden!!


chucky wrote:Btw, Panch0, what is this game, “bullrush?”


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5jaKvrH3r8

adapt it accordingly!! :lol:
The best training for skating... is skating itself!
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Postby chucky on Wed May 30, 2007 2:33 am

A most thoughtful and enlightening response, as usual, Panch0. I must say I really enjoy reading your posts here and at the other skating forums. We're really lucky that you made the leap from cycling to the inline skating community. Though I'll bet there are a more than a few marathoners in this year's Disney Marathon who probably wished you'd never arrived! :lol:

Anyway, I found Eric Heiden's VO2 Max value surprising, too. Barry Publow, in his Speed On Skates cites it on P. 143.
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Postby dykstraspeed on Wed May 30, 2007 5:04 am

panch0 wrote:
chucky wrote: * The average healthy adult has roughly equal numbers of slow-twitch (ST) and fast-twitch (FT) fibers, but show great variation in this regard. [So from this I would assume if you randomly selected, say, 1,000 people from a population of healthy adults, and plotted the frequencies of the ratios of ST to FT fibers, you would generate a Standard Normal Distribution (bell curve), as Panch0 pointed out, and most people fall around or near the center of the bell curve, and the exceptions -- those who have very high percentages of either ST or FT fibers – would fall near the tails of the bell curve.]


EXACTLY!!


chucky wrote: those born with a high percentage of ST fibers would naturally gravitate to endurance sports, and those born with a high percentage of FT fibers would gravitate to the speed sports.


Typically that is what happens! So when we see people voluntarily joining a sport and succed in it we are already looking at a population which has been "filtered". From this population you can plot yet another Bell Curve! The ends of the curve will be your National/World Champions! Of course the ones in the belly will be "also-ran". In the old Comunist Block... no volunteers, athletes got shoved into a sport. They accelerated the Bell Curve a bit! :shock:

chucky wrote:* Muscle fibers can change in size and type; they can be converted from fast to slow, and from slow to fast, referred to as muscle plasticity.


I agree that muscle fibers can change in size and even "reproduce". But in all honesty, I've yet to see good research that shows how fibers "convert"! I do agree that those fibers (which I call Type AB) which are Fast twitch leaning in the direction of training, will suffer a "convertion" because of the training. But I want to see a straight out fast twitch convert to a straight out slow twitch!


chucky wrote: the young athlete will not feel he needs to limit himself due to his “genetics.”


I agree! As a coach I would never let my athletes know any information that can remotely make them feel limited! And a coach should employ as many arms in his arsenal as possible to develop that athlete!

Not for a second do I suggest that people find out their muscle fiber distribution so that they know their limitations or so they can focus on a particular event. The competition experience should take care of that and the athletes begin to get "filtered" to different events. Besides, nobody will ever really know someone's muscle fiber distribution unless you have a muscle biopsy! So you either have fast athletes or not and a coach applies a training "answer" to the problem.

More than anything, I think WT is an arm in the arsenal that may get used or not. When is a coach to use it? When it serves the purpose! I have actually seen many athletes spend too much time WT to the point that they had forgotten about the specific sport they practice or they were not getting the response from WT that they thought they would get. In many instances WT will be useless to an athlete.

For instance, I remember a post where I was telling Pete Dykstra that in all my years as an Elite athlete I never saw or knew of any other Elite endurance athletes who did any WT whatsoever. In fact these guys would go out of their way to stay away from any sort of resistance work. I think these guys, some of which are the kind I tested in the 95% slow twitch population, never got any response to WT. Now that I am thinking about it, I never even saw an Elite middle distance athlete doing WT.

By comparison, I think the great majority of athletes in the endurance, middle distance range, chose to stick to the specific sport because interval work alone is a great way to regulate the athlete's strength by carrying it's own weight at greater speeds than normal in a more intense state. For example, a skater chosing a slight uphill to do interval work is a form of resistance training (plus the added value of being lactic, or speed endurance etc.). Or a cyclist chosing to use a "bigger" gear than usual is another form of resistance work.


chucky wrote:Another measure of an athlete’s potential is VO2 Max, the upper limit of which is determined by one’s genetics.


VO2Max is relevant to the endurance athlete (and the middle distance athlete) but it has not relevant measure for sprinters! Do you guys remember when Pele failed the Cooper's Test? Anyway... and if it is determined by genetics I would predict that the single most factor that would affect it would be muscle fiber distribution as lung capacity is a trainable item. VO2Max is a value always in transit because it dependa on your current physical condition.

chucky wrote:Imagine if Eric Heiden, whose VO2 Max measured a paltry 64!,


I don't believe that! :shock: I've never heard that! Knowing that Eric Heiden was at one time World and Olympic Record holder in the 10k I just simply don't believe it! It is possible he had gotten such result if the method to test was not within the realm of specificity. If he was tested on a threadmill... that is not a valid test result as a cyclist or speedskater is not used to running. This is the ONLY explanation I have for such result of the Earthly God Heiden!!


chucky wrote:Btw, Panch0, what is this game, “bullrush?”


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5jaKvrH3r8

adapt it accordingly!! :lol:



Hi Panch0,

It does not suprise me that Elite Endurance athletes do little or no WT. I believe this is because WT by nature is AnAerobic, and AnAerobic training would strengthen that system, and in turn the Aerobic Capacity would suffer. In training Aerobic, AnAerobic and Lactate Systems all share a percentage of a Pie.

Depending on Performance/Outcome goals, These 3 systems can be Manipulated by the balance of how much these systems are trained.

There is a balance. Make a change (action) and you can expect a change (reaction)

I feel in our sport of speedskating, WT can and does play a very important part of performance enhancement, For "All Arounders" as well as the Sprinters.

How much it would Benefit A distance Skater, I think would depend on the Course. An example could be a Flat 50 Mile point to point race, WT may not benefit an endurance athelete on flat, Yet if the Course was hilly, I am sure some WT would help Vs. None.

I agree with you that some coaches may have a skater do too much WT sometimes, which takes away from the "Laws Of Specificity" or in this case Training on Skates for Skating.

Another fact to consider it that Our sport requires "Technique" and Trying to Develop "power on skates" alone may make you stronger, at the expense of damaged technique. Risky Buisness IMO

A better way to mix in the WT, could be in a "Complex" training method.

An example of that could be WT 30' followed by Slideboard Intervals, to carry over More Firing Muscle Fibers, To your specific sport, ie. Speed Skating.

WT works IMO for skating. If you feel it makes you too big, do higher reps and less weight, and spend less total time in the gym.

If you want to try WT, yet you are getting close to some "Big Races" Put it off until you can afford to experiment with it at seasons end.

Try a 6 week block of WT 2x a week followed by some slideboard or Dryskating in the same workout. Drop the WT 4-6 weeks before a race, yet continue the DL and SB until 2 weeks before a race.

Compair performance notes in your training log, and you may find WT in small doses, at the proper times will make you quicker, stronger and faster ;)

Pete
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Postby The Major on Wed May 30, 2007 2:06 pm

The thing about our sport, in particular outdoor road racing, is that to really compete you have to have endurance and be able to sprint. If your goal if to be great at skating long distance over time that's a different story but to be competitive at the marathon distance or 21K's, even 10k's you have to have a combination of endurance over time, the abilty to recover quickly from a strong surge, and the power to sprint.

Weight training will be very benificial if done properly and in a specific way. I feel that you should train you whole body but not necessary to build muscle but to make that muscle funtion to the best of it's ablitly.

I view myself as a sprinter but that's not going to do much in a marthon if I'm not in the lead pack at the end of a race so I need lot's of endurance work too. But I still incorperate off season weight training and plyometrics to keep the sprinting muscles in peak form.
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