Track & Field

Explosion Strength – The Origin of Speed

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Track and field finds a balance on the track and in the weight room

Speed doesn’t necessarily come from practice on the track. Adam Mead explains why every runner at NDSU is getting after it in the weight room to improve their explosiveness.

Exercise: Romanian Deadlift (RDO)

Romanian Deadlift
Step 1
– Begin with feet hip-width apart, holding the bar shoulder-width apart and your hips and knees bent with your back flat.


Romanian Deadlift
Step 2
– Begin exercise with the bar at your shins, keeping your back straight and chest out. Lift up.

Romanian Deadlift
Step 3
– Come to a stop when your body is straight, take a breath and hold. Don’t shrug or lean.

Step 4 – Control your body on the way down and keep your back straight until you arrive in the position you started in.

*Tip – If you feel stress on shoulder blades, lift chess higher so you feel your lower back and rear working

Exercise: Sled March

Sled March
Step 1
– Rest torso on the hyperextension bench with your hips on the front side of the curved pad, hands holding the grips.

Sled March
Step 2
– Squeeze medicine ball between your feet with ball and feet dangling.

Sled March
Step 3
– Steadily raise legs, keeping them straight until they are parallel to the ground.

Step 4 – Hold for a three-count and slowly drop legs back down and repeat.

*Tip – Do not raise legs above your torso. This will cause unneeded stress on your back.

Exercise: Reverse Hyperextension

Reverse Hyperextension
Step 1
– Grab sled on each side and slightly lean into the sled without moving it and begin your march.

Reverse Hyperextension

Step 2 – During your march, your raised leg should form a 90-degree angle, and your toes should be pointed up.

Step 3 – As you place your foot down with each marching step, your foot should push into the turf, not pull.

Step 4 – Steps should be short in length and explosive. Continue march for 15 yards.

*Tip – If you’re not getting over 30 steps in over 15 yards, you’re pulling your feet against the turf too much. Steps should be half-yard in length with an emphasis on pressing the foot into the turf.

Gluteus Maximize Your Explosiveness

There’s an easy explanation as to why Usain Bolt is one of the most famous international athletes in the world. Not only is he the fastest man on the planet, he competes in an event that consists of less than 10 seconds of power, vigor and explosiveness. No other sporting event compares.

There may not be any Bolts wandering the tundra in Fargo, but inside the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track Facility, NDSU is home to some of the top track athletes in the Midwest.

Rose Jackson NDSU

Rose Jackson is entering her senior season as a multi-event athlete at NDSU. She also anchors a championship-winning 4×400-meter relay team.

The Bison track and field team spends three days in the weight room during the offseason and two during the season, honing their explosiveness to maximize their power on the track. For every sprinter, this comes from their backside and hamstrings, says assistant strength and conditioning coach Adam Mead.

“We get after it,” said Mead, who oversees the women’s basketball and soccer teams, both track squads and the golfers. “We’ll get after it but then we also tone back during different times because of the volume they are getting on the track.”

Therein lies the intricacies of training track athletes. College track is split into two different seasons: indoor and outdoor. The challenge stems from knowing the appropriate times to peak these athletes’ performances as the season progresses.

For example, during the holidays and as the calendar turns, many of the runners are on their own, training moderately with an average amount of volume, according to Mead.

When the season starts kicking back into gear in January, a lot of the strength is being built as a foundation for the rest of the season. Training will slowly taper off in the weight room as the runner trains more on the track. The goal, ultimately, is for the athletes to be in peak condition for the indoor conference championships in March.

“We talk to the coaches,” Mead said. “They all know what we’re doing in the weight room. We know what they’re doing on the track in terms of a plan.”

The volume of training in the weight room continues again in between seasons but there isn’t much time. Then, the basic training re-enters the athletes’ regiments so they’re peaking again in May, for the outdoor conference championships.

“It’s taught me a lot,” Mead said. “I have a ton of fun with them. They’re twitchy athletes so they’re really explosive athletes, which is a lot of fun for us.”

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