We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. –Albert Einstein

As human beings we are by definition dysfunctional. We are constantly striving to maintain integrity, balance and, efficiency. Before you accuse me of judging your character I am of course taking about dysfunctional movement and the fight to maintain joint integrity, movement balance and efficiency.

The body was built to perform a certain way; specifically each joint was designed to function in a particular way. Problems arise when a given joint(s) begin to do the jobs of their neighboring joints, also known as movement compensation. Compensation is defined as the attempts to offset ones shortcomings by the exaggerated exhibition of qualities regarded as desirable.

What an athlete eats every day has a big effect on how they perform. What an athlete eats before a game has a huge effect on how they perform. The purpose of the pre-game meal is to provide the body with an ongoing fuel source which will power the athlete through the demands and requirements of the competition. This is primarily done by preventing significant drops in blood sugar during competition. The athlete's blood sugar is simply the amount of glucose (sugar) present in the blood stream. These glucose molecules are great to have available during exercise as they are quickly and easily taken up by the cells of the body where they can effectively be used to energize on-going exercise. If an athlete's blood sugar levels drop to low during competition their ability to recover and perform is significantly impaired. The body will feel fatigued and sluggish as it struggles to create glucose from other substances within the body which is a slower and much less efficient process.

 If you haven't read parts 1 and 2 please do so before going any further.  In part three of our series of why you're not fast we examine the effects of your body composition and speed.  Body composition is the makeup of the human body as it relates to muscle, bone, fat, etc. Typically body composition measurements are broken down into what is called a 2-compartment model. The 2-compartment model compares fat percentage or fat mass vs. fat free percentage or lean mass. This comparison tells us how much of our overall mass is working to make us faster (lean) vs. how much is making us slower (fat). We all need a certain level of fat to function effectively but once we reach a certain threshold that extra weight will start to limit how fast we can go. The actual percentages vary from gender and age along with sports and positions.

As we learned in part 1, speed is determined by stride length and frequency, one way to improve this is maximizing the bodie's ability to generate force. In part 2 we will examine how your posture and joint alignement directly affect how fast you can go.  Joint alignment is bascially how well your joints are stacked to endure the stresses imposed upon them.  The less centrated or 'centered' the joint can stay the more efficient the muscles above and below that joint can operate and the less wear and tear is placed on the joint itself.  So as you can see it is a win, win for the body.  There are three areas of the body generally negatively affect posture and running mechanics: the ankles, hips, and shoulders.

 I always tell all new athletes and clients if they can give me: 1) maximal effort, 2) a championship attitude and 3) consistency in training (attend at least 90% of scheduled training sessions) I can guarentee their success.  That is why it is no wonder to me this athlete in particular made such great strides this summer.  

Jared is going into his sophmore year and came to us looking to get ready for football season. We tested him in early June and retested last week. His improvements were very impressive for such a short period of time, but before we compare the numbers let's see how he got there.

Everyone wants to go fast, and with good reason: speed never takes a day off and is always in style. Coaches and trainers often act as if the formula for speed development is super-secret and requires all types of fancy drills and complicated programs, but in reality we have known the exact formula for speed for years and it is really, really simple.

Speed = Stride length X Stride frequency

If you want to go faster which I'm assuming is true, you must either cover more ground in every stride you take, take more strides, or some combination of the two. Without one or both of these changing to some degree you will never get faster.

Research has shown us that developing stride length and frequency is best developed by improving three specific measurables.

  • Your ability to produce force
  • Your posture and joint alignment
  • Your body composition

In part one of this three part series we will examine how force production directly relates to running faster.