Training notes

Ryan Flaherty is a speed coach. He tunes up future NFL players before they participate in the NFL combine. There’s a lot of money riding on the combine outcomes. It’s serious business so he’s paid well for helping these athletes improve their numbers.

Flaherty claims speed is a skill, something you can learn, train, and get better at. He says, “Speed has everything to do with how much force you create. The two main factors in speed are stride frequency and stride length, and both are products of how much force your body creates with the ground. So if I can improve the amount of force an athlete creates on every step, I’m going to greatly affect his or her speed.”

Step counts, Flaherty thinks, are an incredibly reliable indicator of race results. After adjusting for height, the athlete taking the fewest steps during any race will win. Longer strides indicate the athlete is generating more force per step than his competitors.

Extra distance per stride compounds. In a 100-meter sprint it means a step or two less. In a marathon, with about 20,000 strides, an extra three inches added to the stride puts a runner a mile ahead of his previous (shorter stride) pace.

Flaherty uses the “Force Number” to accurately predict an athlete’s speed. The Force Number is the peak force applied to the ground decided by his body weight.

His go-to exercises are the trap bar deadlift and box squat, one performed early in the week and the other done later in the week.

Other than the trap bar deadlift and box squat, Flaherty says every lower-body move you do should be done on one leg.  The coach’s favorite exercises include Dumbbell Bulgarian Split-Squats, Barbell Reverse Lunges and Single-Leg Bounding.

He also likes “push-up starts”  – Lie on the ground and hands on the ground next to your chest push-up style. Explosively push yourself up and immediately sprint forward maintaining a forward lean; don’t stand straight up.

Art Devaney who’s a very fit 70 something backs a 15-8-4 sequence for his workouts, 15 reps with a light weight, 8 with medium weight, and 4 at your max weight. All done with no rests in between, and never going to failure.

Negatives (also called eccentrics) are when you lower a weight that you don’t have the strength to lift (yet). You just do the negative part of the movement. Devany likes negatives because you can work with a lot more weight, about 40% more.

He also sprints up a nearby hill. Sprint up and walk down several times, and then switch it up and sprint down to train to go faster.

Someone else pointed out that your 3RM should be about 90% of your 1RM. Once you have that 3RM, you can just use it for all your subsequent percentages.

And finally, A quick workout is the side plank on your palm. The palm support and a straight arm benefit shoulder health by keeping the shoulders down and latissimus tight with the body ramrod straight. Hold one side for 30 seconds, then the other, back again for 20, 15, 10, and 5 seconds, alternating sides. You can do it daily.