Comparing Sprint and Strength Training Methods|

Comparing Sprint and Strength Training Methods

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog, Competition, Dr. John Mullen, Latest&Greatest, Training 2 Comments

Resistance training is a common mode in dry-land to enhance out of water strength. Despite the lack of correlation between out of water strength and in water strength, many programs have found anecdotal success with resistance training. This is likely due to poor methods correlating in water strength and poor resistance training programs. Moreover, most studies comparing resistance training have a lack of sports specificity, perhaps the main reason for lack of transfer.

Many dry-land programs encompass plyometrics in a combination of resistance training with the desire to enhance strength and speed.

“The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of five different strength training methods characterized by their different velocity, displacement and the use of traditional versus ballistic techniques on strength and sprint performance (Villarreal 2012)”.

What was done

The five different training programs were 7 weeks (21 sessions) in duration. Pre-test included: anthropometric measures; sprint performance; maximal strength (1RM); and velocity of displacement during the concentric phase of full squat (FS). There were twelve active participants in each group. The groups were:
 all types of training (group A)
 traditional heavy-resistance methods in non-ballistic FS (group B)
 power-oriented strength training method by means of non-ballistic (group C)
 power-oriented strength training method by means of ballistic (group D)
 plyometric methods based on continuous countermovement jumps (CMJ; group E)


At baseline, no significant differences were observed between groups. All groups improved significantly in maximal strength, with the combined group demonstrating slightly greater strength improvements. No groups indicated significant improvements in sprint performance.


These results suggest strength and plyometric activities do not result in increased sprint running in trained participants, indicating an improvement in FS strength does not translate to improved sprinting.

Practical Implication

This indicates these forms of training do not transfer in running, making it difficult to imagine a transfer in swimming similar to other research studies on resistance training.

Related Reading




  1. Sáez de Villarreal E, Requena B, Izquierdo M, Gonzalez-Badillo JJ. Enhancing sprint and strength performance: Combined versus maximal power, traditional heavy-resistance and plyometric training.J Sci Med Sport. 2012 Jun 21. [Epub ahead of

Comments 2

  1. 7 weeks isn’t long enough to determine whether or not the increase in strength can be incorporated into the stroke to make an athlete faster. And that’s only one aspect of the benefit of S&C work for swimmers.

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