In 2009, Texas A&M became the first school in 20 years to win both the men's and women's titles at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Their all-around dominance was possible because of an effective training program geared toward helping sprinters, distance runners and field athletes reach their personal bests at the absolute right time.
The mastermind behind the Aggies' success is Allen Kinley, director of strength and conditioning of Olympic and team sports. Kinley's training methods develop the key attributes of improved performance at every event.
Kinley was kind enough to put together a nine-week training plan for high school trackletes looking to run faster and further or jump higher and longer. "It's going to be a total body balanced workout," he says. "Athletes who adhere to this plan can expect an increase in explosiveness, power, strength and flexibility."
Obviously jumpers and throwers will benefit from these improvements, but they will also translate into more efficient, effective and longer strides over the course of a race. Over 100 meters, they could shave tenths of a second off your time. Over 5,000 meters, they could shave off minutes.
Following a workout plan during the summer is crucial for taking your skills to the next level. However, Kinley recommends making your training a 12-month habit. He says, "This plan will definitely help you become a better athlete; but if you truly want to perform at your optimum, you should incorporate a year-round training plan."
If you already practice what Kinley preaches, great. If you don't, use this summer plan to begin a year-long journey of dedication to the weight room. You'll definitely be a step closer to your championship dreams—and a step faster.
Here, Kinley breaks down his nine-week plan so you know exactly what to expect as you sweat through it during the hot summer months.
Phase I [Weeks 1-4]
This plan is a periodization cycle, and the first phase is a transition period. I want athletes to become familiar with the lifts and exercises. The first four weeks have a little more volume and less intensity than Phase II.
Active Rest [Week 5]
I scheduled Week Five for active rest to give the body some restoration. But make sure you don't mistake rest for lounging on the couch, watching TV all week. I want you to be doing some activities you normally wouldn't do, like cycling, taking long walks or rollerblading. Make it a safe activity to limit your chance of injury.
Phase II [Weeks 6-9]
During this phase, you will see marked improvements in your performance, because you will do a lot of explosive exercises to build strength.
It's essential to properly warm up your body before doing any intense activity. That said, I designed this warm-up not only to prepare your body for what you are about to do; but the exercises in it are very beneficial to track athletes. The Jump Rope portion is good for footwork and the development of calf muscles. It's also a lower level plyometric exercise to prepare you for the higher-intensity plyometrics you will face during the workout. The Active and Dynamic Stretches are very important, because they involve movement and flexibility. The third portion of the warmup involves track hurdles, and I include them to make you dynamic and flexible.
Kinley lays out the following warm-up, to be performed every day before you hit the weight room.
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