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The Jouney to Speed
“Journey at 4.30”
The journey of 4.30 is a story that every athlete who has ever run the 40 yard dash can relate to. My journey from running a 4.66 40 yard dash as a freshman in college to running a 4.30 for the New Orleans Saint Scouts and New Orleans Arena 1 football team. I won’t have you believe it’s as easy as speed centers across America advertise. It takes persistence and hard work. In this journey I will give some information about mental preparation, strength training, speed training, nutrition and the environment during this time. I must warn you that I know nothing about elite fitness and have not followed a concurrent system of training. The point is that the design of the program was flawed and the hard work I put my clients through led to some positive changes.
My mind was very focused at this time because I was not far from college, married, had a son and another on the way. I felt that this was one of my best opportunities to achieve something good and provide a better life for my family. My friend was a scout for the Saints and arranged tryouts for me, as well as a place to stay while I was down. Every day I had a training session, I would wake up at 4:30am and lift weights, go to my full-time job and run at the local college on my lunch break. I was what you would call in the zone. I envisioned myself running the best 40 yard dash ever at a facility in New Orleans. I went through my mental practice, my role, my first step and saw myself succeed. Visualizing your success is a step that is often skipped in program design, but it can have some profound consequences. I believe that if you don’t believe, you won’t achieve it.
My training was a sporadic mix of everything I learned from strength coaches during my high school and college days. It was mostly a hybrid of Olympic movements, linear interval and hypertrophy based training. As we now know in the training world this type of training should have left me crippled and slow as dust. The more I train, the more I question the philosophy on paper because I find that you have to test everything with great success on countless people before you come to any conclusions.
What was missing from the program?
Lower Rep Max Effort Training
Balance in movement (vertical pull vs. vertical press)
CNS Monitoring (High CNS vs Low CNS Days)
Great technique for all exercises
Scheduled deload day
What was the program?
Explosive Cocentric Rep
Bike and jump rope warm-up
Core Exercises (Squat, RDL, Snatch, Power Clean)
Single leg exercises (lunges, step-ups, reverse lunges, single-leg squats)
Progressive overload (weight increased by at least 5% each workout)
Intensity and volume decreased by 50% in the week before the workout
Short rest periods on certain days
Varied rep range (8-12 reps on strength rep days/ 3-6 reps on core exercises)
Static stretching before every session (I paid to not stretch my hip flexors every day with back pain)
Back Exercises (Low-Row, DB Row, Bent Over Row)
Chest Exercises (Bench, Plyo- Push Ups, DB Press)
My sprint training consisted of two high intensity speed days as well as one speed endurance day per week for 8 weeks to build up the effort. I didn’t run anything but light tempo runs the week before the attempt, plus warm-up events like short shuttles.
Distance – 10 yards. – 50 yards.
Recovery – No running without complete rest without pressing time
Volume – 100 yards – 400 yards.
Stance- 3 point stance
Speed Endurance Day
Distance – 75 yards – 150 yards
Recovery – from 75 seconds – 30 seconds
Volume – 600 yards – 1000 yards
Position- three point and standing
Intensity- 70% – 90% depending on emotion
Experimentation – mixed high intensity acceleration with a tempo finish
My nutrition was very basic. I didn’t count the calories. I ate lean meats, fruits and vegetables. I also ate lots of carbs like white rice, potatoes, pasta to match the amount of energy I needed during my session. If I know my training is going to be hard or high intensity, I will increase carbs. I supplement with Cytogener after workout sessions to replenish my carbs, as well as provide some protein to prevent catabolism.
I was lucky enough to work out with some of the guys at the college I attended who were training for their upcoming college season. The boys were always intense and competing to get new PRs in everything we tried. Competition was in the air and no one wanted out. From late night pancake eating to big squats, you didn’t want to be a clown. It was also a very encouraging environment as we all wanted to push each other to the limit, so that we could succeed. There’s nothing like pushing your lifts higher when you train with a group of fired up guys who want to lift heavy weights. It’s this type of environment that inspired me to call my training business Chamber, and what I envision my gym to be like when I open. The chamber is an environment where only grime lingers, huge plates rattle, the air is filled with sweat, dirt and rust. Some music is blaring and some big guy is pushing you to get under the bar. If you have ever experienced a chamber you know what I am trying to say and words cannot describe it.
When the smoke cleared and the tryouts came and went in a blur, I calculated my stats and I wasn’t surprised. Achieving it is not surprising when you believe you can achieve it. I was grateful that the intensity of preparation resulted in a big win. My words about my journey to 4.30 can only paint a picture of how exciting the journey can be. I believe it was Martin Rooney who said enjoy the process of climbing the mountain in your life. As summer approaches and many young players prepare for their season, I hope you enjoy each tough training session and remember to attack each day with purpose.
225 Rep Max: 17
Vertical Jump: 42″
Pro Agility Run: 4.13
40 yard dash: 4.30 twice (field turf)
Broad Jump: 11’2″
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