What is the story with Weights for Speed?

November 27, 2012 by Angela Coon

I am not a super ,genius ,weight lifter  of the world. Never was and never wanted to be.   I did get very fast and plenty strong but I  began  as a little girl who wanted to run at the Olympics.  At 13 years old that goal guided me to where I am today. The lessons I learned in the process shaped the extraordinary life I have been blessed with . 

Many people have asked how to apply weights for their  training, specifically speed training.  I was wondering if a few examples of how I trained might help some of you. 

This blog was inspired by Mike asking the question “ what were the weight percentages I used in my training” ?

Before I touched a weight in any organized way I spent roughly 2 years doing extensive medicine ball work , speed drills and other exercises using my own body weight. In general , my speed work was always performed after an extensive warm up and med ball might have been part of the warm up, the main body of the workout or perhaps , explosive medball drills were taking the place of weights at that time.

When this foundation was completed my first lifting consisted of 1 block of 6 weeks called the Anatomical Adaptation Phase ( see below)  1 block of 4 weeks , called the Maximum Strength Phase 1, ( see below)   followed by last block of 6 weeks called Maximum Strength Phase 2.   My previous blog outlines a rough idea of the lifts I used in my first 6 week phase of the Anatomical Adaptation Phase. Squats for me were first with vertical row and or arm pulls, then leg curls and incline bench and Reverse Leg Press ( RLP)  or Russian Dead Lifts ( RDL)  when I got stronger and more experienced. 

1. Anatomical Adaptation Phase = 6 weeks = a few examples from Angela Coon weight training (* Squats = quarter or half.. mine were more in-between a quarter and half )

Week 1 = Monday , Wednesday, Friday ( MWF)  = 3 sets of 12/40%  ( the examples below are only for squats )

Week 5 & 6 = MWF = 3 sets of 10/60 % ( I was lifting 135lbs at this time)

NOTE = This weight training was after 1hour warm up, then a sprint / speed workout/ then followed by weights if I was able . Priority was usually given to the weights first on the list. ( Squats ) . IF my legs were toast due to a fast speed session I might only do arm pulls or leg curls with bench press . It was no big deal to scrap the weights all together especially if I had a personal best in training in a key area of speed. ( 10 meters, 20 meters, 30 meters were the base distances most of my speed took place early on in my training years)

2.  Max Strength Phase 1 =  4 weeks 

Week 1 = MWF = 1 set 8/60%, 2 sets of 8/70% and 1 set of 6/80%

Week 2 = MWF = 1 set of 7/70%, and 3 sets of 5/80%

Week 4 = MWF = Regeneration week before moving into Max S.P 2 = 2 sets of 8/60% ( speed work volume and intensity would be similar before next training phase) 

3.  Max Strength Phase 2 = MWF = 6 weeks

Week 2 = 3 sets of 6/80%  and 1 set of 4/90% ( My 90% at that time was 205lbs)

Week 3 = 2 sets of 4/90% and 2 sets of 2 or 3/ 95%

Week 6 = 3 sets of 4/90% and 3 sets of 2 or 3/95%


*Squats for me were tricky because I have almost 1 inch discrepancy between my two legs with the greats difference between my hip and knee. Often, I used a 2.5lb weight plate under my shorter leg ( a very gentle way to compensate) to make up the difference. Tudor Bompa was not a huge fan of how I first looked doing my squats as these progressions were originally designed by him as requested by Charlie. Liberties were taken often with this program once I finished these 3 blocks of base lifting but I believe everyone who wants to be a serious athlete greatly benefits from a proper base of training before lifting occurs and a template of exercises as the next step for weights that will be a part of your main sport. 

 Note = I have on purpose not provided every single week with every single progression with every exercise. These are sample weeks only but maybe people are looking more to fill in the blanks to see what one person did. I would love to hear what you think about this example and if others might find value in my providing a more complete picture of the weights I just gave examples of.

Thank - you for reading. AC

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Complete Speed Training

October 21, 2012 by Angela Coon


I recently had someone ask  the question on the site  "  Who has the complete speed training? " 
I used to wonder the same thing  even though I spent more than 20 years married to arguably one of the most successful coaches in the world in track and field. 
I thought I  needed a group to train with ( sure it would have been nice)  I needed to run in Europe ( certainly competition there had more depth)  I always felt I needed something different to achieve the " complete" speed training. 
I used to feel this way about many things not just my training. This thought was reinforced by others who confused want and need.
I needed my child's nutrition to be complete. " Eat your  carrots " and your nutrition will be complete.
When my husband was ill , I figured the complete nutritional over haul would heal him. I made vegetable juice for him  expecting him to like it. 
I felt my  nutritional ideas were the answer. 
I was criticized by some for not following their idea of the complete nutritional plan. 
Is anything in our life complete ? 
Yes, I think without any question there are many things in our lives that are complete. 
We are living in a time where information about how to do things is easily and affordable and available. 
What I think might be missing is some thoughtfulness about sticking to a plan, having old fashion faith, valuing effort and hard work over an instant result and putting some test to time despite most of us lacking spare time to ponder and reminisce and dream. 
I never really cared about history class in high school but what I have learned from this subject since is to enjoy the idea of " complete anything"  takes passion which drives the process of success.. Everyone wants success but it is the in between stuff not too many these days care enough about. 
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