Weight lifting exercises for speed training

November 22, 2018 by Angela Coon
Strength and power are essential for the 100m. Which are the best weight lifting exercises to use to improving your speed? Coach Charlie Francis and Coach Ange Coon share what they did to achieve repeatable and consistent results for speed training.
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Overspeed? Are you sprinting into trouble?

November 22, 2018 by Angela Coon

Overspeed. Decide for yourself.

Does overspeed make sense? ( refer to "Running into the trouble", above). 

Is there a need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to safe, proven methods that can be repeated with grand successes?

Is the risk worth an alleged return?

Running into Trouble

Why didn't Charlie use overspeed to develop some of the most most repeatable methods for speed training to date?

( because he didn't need to..., an idea the may be too simple for most?)  

Keep in mind this. If you get injured, you may never be capable of returning to the same abilities as before. You would not be the first to have this happen or the last. ( this idea was a main idea we used to navigate daily training for more 2 decades) 

My mission after losing Charlie to a 5 year fight with Stage 4 NHL was to maintain the content he spent his life creating and experimenting with in order to achieve significant and repeatable results in sprinting.

In the face of many political sport hurdles, Charlie and I made it our primary goal to share our content with sprinters, coaches, athletes and students who were passionate about speed training.  

I encourage you to study some or all of the massive archive of content at charliefrancis.com.  The forum review of 2002 as well as 2009 offers some of the best content from the website’s world class forum to which Charlie contributed over 10,000 posts himself from 2000 to 2010.

Take a look at our Weights for Speed bundle here  to learn why lifting weights and building strength are critical but study why Coach Francis and Coach Ange Coon prioritized speed training followed by lifting weights.

This is a list of lifts Francis and Coon used and Coon continues to use while coaching sprinting at the highest developmental levels.

Lastly, the best context for a full understanding of why Francis became a world class sprint coach is inside his book "Speed Trap". The story revolves around the events of 1988, but for me the most interesting part is how Francis discusses many of his ideas and how he came to them and why.  For passionate athletes looking for more in their training this book might help you find it.

Sprinting your own race requires a recipe only you the reader can decide and experiment with.  I trust this information will become content you find useful and enjoyable for your speed, sprinting and power sport pursuits.

"Sprint your own life"











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Hydration for Speed Training

October 05, 2017 by Angela Coon
Filtered water in bpa free water bottle, Coach Ange's Protein Super Shake, Ice Coffee, Rooibos Herbal Iced Tea with splash of *Pomegranate juice not from concentrate. * no added sugar
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Managing Hamstring tightness for Sprinting and Speed work

September 13, 2017 by Angela Coon
Hamstrings are not supposed to be sore and tight 24/7.
It is not normal or desirable to have sore and tight hamstrings around the clock. I am not talking about bodybuilding, cross -fit, training to have an instagram rear end. I am speaking about speed training, sprinting and literally kicking butt across the finish line or end zone first and often. If you can’t walk from tightness and soreness of your hamstrings, trust me…. Your speed training suffers and worst case you get injured constantly.

Speed training is different than anything else regarding sports as it’s unique in how you ultimately gain speed consistently.

 Sure almost anyone can get faster by making simple routine improvements in the warm up as one example. But how to max out on becoming a speed demon you will need to pay attention to each variable often get overlooked in sports.

Tightness and soreness can be managed and needs to be managed to be fast, get fast, stay fast and get faster.

Some soreness of the hamstrings will be natural when doing speed work or high volumes of work related to speed work. Chronic tightness will never end well for anyone.

When you are able to balance the training loads needed to become faster as well learn to manage soreness and tightness proactively it will help with injury prevention. Coaches and athletes need to learn the factors effecting hamstring health and when they are addressed they will be creating an ideal environment for speed training. 

The Structure of Training for Speed ( Key Concepts Book 1 )

Factors to be addressed to prevent Hamstring tightness for speed training.

Planning and Methodology of Speed Training includes:
If you are a sprinter wishing to compete with success it will be a good idea to have a plan to improve your speed development and it will be your job to know which methods of training and recovery you respond to best. Repeating successful methods will be the most efficient way to make the most of your annual speed-training plan. 

It’s common for those interested in speed training to think running more reps of sprints at any speed will bring success to becoming a faster athlete. Monitoring quality and rest intervals of speed training is key. Successful methods of training for speed might create muscle tightness and soreness but managing active regeneration, diverging from what might be written down for training opposed to responding to how individual sessions play out will help you keep your body healthy and prevent injury. 

The Charlie Francis Training System (E-book)

1- The Annual Plan:
Take a look at a one hour lecture of Coach Charlie Francis’s plan to create one of the fastest people on the planet who eventually broke the world record and won the gold medal at the Olympics in a record breaking time.

Coach Charlie Francis Edmonton Series Seminar 2007

Note: Annual plans need to be customized for individuals more so as an athlete improves over time. Beginners will have a more generalized plan. Take a look at this informative video on tips to prepare all athletes in sport. 

General Preparation Phase for All sports Essentials (Video Edition)

2-Continual Improvement of Personal Nutrition:
Eating well has never been as important for athletes due to increased processed foods devoid of nutrients. Environmental stress depletes our food chain due to damaged soil and pollution.   Athletes proactively managing their diets will be rewarded with more consistent training gains and improved recovery so adding work becomes seamless. Basic supplementation via a simple protein smoothie is easily adopted and will enhance your achievements for your speed training goals. Read this blog for more info

Anges Tuna Salad with a Punch

3-Practicing Rest and Active Recovery:
Learning to be good at doing nothing was how I first observed the essence regarding rest and recovery. The trick is to add varied methods of rest and recovery into your training day and cycle the same way you routinely practice other training variables. The rewards are large, as you will experience once you are prepared to put in the time and work.

Super Compensation and Recovery(Key Concept-Book 3)

4- Massages Don’t Have to Be 1 Hour:
One of the most innovative aspects behind Coach Charlie Francis’s training methods was born out of the idea of his own experience of had to quit sport prematurely as he was suffering constant hamstring injuries due to tightness and soreness Finding ways to keep muscles loose with short and consistently preformed massages. Check out Charlie Francis Facebook Page to see how it might be done.

Simple Things First and Consistently
Tight muscles means circulation of blood flow has been compromised. Creating circulation can happen manually with massage or contrast baths or perform low intensity exercises, which promotes blood flow. Continued tightness restricts motion and prevents routine high performance within daily workouts.

A Diary:
Log raining habits to record patterns that will impact training goals.

Water Consumption:
Fatigue can be one of the first signs of dehydration. It’s easy to be lazy about drinking water but it is not a difficult thing to make sure you are drinking enough water before, during and after training.

Make a List of Your Routine Regenerative Habits:
Check them off or list them in your diary once you have completed each action.

Stay Off Your Feet:
Part of managing fatigue and energy as an athlete is building in a routine where you are not on your feet. Find ways to get things done while resting at the same time and prioritize all things that effect your performance.

Are You an Expert Sleeping? 
Sleep is the best and most natural way to heal and keep your body recovered. Learn about eating foods to regulate and optimize your hormones from reducing blue lights from electronics and phones to understanding blood sugar management as one of the most important ways in the prevention of food cravings as well as eliminating energy drain which deprives consistent training goals achievement.

Low Intensity workouts to alleviate, treat and prevent constant muscle tightness and soreness from speed training ( low intensity is performing work at 75 percent or less your maximum effort or speed)

Bike Tempo:
You don’t need to have resistance on the bike to get the blood flowing. Creating tension on the bike may have adverse effects to promoting needed circulation to tight muscles. 

Charlie Francis Workout Series: The Bike Wourkout

Grass Tempo:
Performing recovery runs or tempo at 70 to 75% your max effort on grass in flats will promote cardio vascular fitness and provide a flush of your tight muscles. Finish the last runs at the same speed you began. 

Water Tempo:
Using an interval of 45 seconds of running in deep end preferably with floatation belt. Start with 1 set of 10 reps of 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest and build up to 2 sets of 45 seconds over time.  The Jane Project

Alternating high intensity training with low or very low intensity: 
Elite sprinters are able to handle 2 or 3 high intensity speed sessions per week.( HI is defined as 95% - 100 percent of your best time) To optimize speed work allow alternation of high and low intensity work. ( low intensity work defined as 75 % of best time or slower) The hamstrings ( as well as the central nervous system) need 48 to 72 hours recovery and to repeat speed work. 

High Intensity Training - Expanding the Limits of Performance ( Key Concept- Book 4 )

Typical Rest Interval for 10 Meters of Speed Work:
Is 1 min rest for each 10 meters of speed work / rest time may increase as quality and distance improve with experience and age of athlete

Stuff To Do Before You Start Your Speed Training

Wear Layers: 
Make a habit of wearing layers to begin training especially keeping your hamstrings and glutes warm. Extra layers can be taken off once technical speed training begins.

Wrap With Heat and Plastic Wrap:
Apply heat and or anti inflammatory creams depending on severity of tightness and soreness of hamstrings. Wrap with plastic food wrap and tensor bandages and covered by tights loose fitting sweat pants to bed. Repeat in the morning for training sessions. We used to do this routinely for hamstrings, glutes, calves and low back.

Epson Salt Baths Are Awesome:
After training Epson can minimize some lactic acid in your muscles. Keep baths away from competition prep.

Use Water To Bounce Back: 
Swim in it, drink it, and use it to heat you up in a bath or cool you down to contrast showers and baths. Water can promotes circulation by submerging yourself in it, exercising in or drinking it because it accelerates the removal of waste products in your system.

Actively keeping your hamstrings healthy and loose will save you a great deal of time and heart ache and allow you to train successfully and consistently. Your hamstrings are one of the largest muscles in your body and when you have a problem your hamstrings it will creates other issues that ultimately prevent you from sprinting your best.

“Sprint your own race”


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What are the Best Hamstring Exercises for Sprinting?

October 12, 2016 by Angela Coon

The best hamstring exercises for sprinting comes from sprinting itself.   Speed drills ( or Power Speed Drills)   are also effective  hamstring exercises  for sprinters and runners.   The hamstring exercises noted  below are supplementary to your speed training. 

Outside of sprinting fast , I wanted to share some insights on Christian Thibaudeau’s T Mag article recommending his “ 7 best hamstring exercises”  and how they fit into my training experience as a sprint hurdler. 

1.Back Extensions
One leg back extensions are a no brain – er in my opinion.  Coach Charlie Francis  still preferred both leg work to prevent injury. I do singles and doubles and also add in arm pulls with varied weights. I find single leg anything requires more attention and higher risk of injury almost all the time outside of those days when you are feeling AMAZING. Learn your own body and what works best for you. Careful training is smart training as prevention of injuries is time saving. Injuries suck and are draining in multiple ways. Coaching athletes to be cautious is tough. Learning it as an athlete takes time and most much learn the hard way. Sometimes you might not get second chances depending on injury severity.  Don’t confuse caution with less effective training or cautious means you are weak or afraid.  I rarely missed a full training day ever. Training might be modified but I always view training as an opportunity to see how much I could "get" each time I stepped into a workout.  Elite athletes tend to understand caution better than less experienced athletes .  Single leg stuff is higher risk for cramping. I guess cramping does not matter so much if you don't mind missing training. I was taught to  " Live to fight another day" and if you don't have to do something with risk don't. Find an alternative exercise or skip the exercise entirely.  I have a back extension machine and it's one of the most essential exercises for anyone and especially important for sprinters because of how it develops your entire back end. 

2. Natural Glute hamstring raise
I know I already made the point of ultra careful but if you are trying new hamstring exercises be fully warmed up and progress slowly.   The disconnect in literature regarding training IMO can be not knowing the common training mistakes and what the exercise looks like within a performance program vs a fitness program.  Keep the  emphasis on slow with this exercise. Start with a repeatable angle  and work towards going lower over time. You can get plenty done without going to the floor.

3. We called this exercise Hamstring Ups
( CT calls this Scissor hip Extension)  We did this exercise first with double legs and then progressed to single legs.  I would not start doing this exercise with speed. Make sure you can successfully do this exercise for 3 sets of 15 over a few to several week period , feel great at doing it and then add the variable of speed.  As a trainer or coach make sure your athlete or client is fully warm. Cramping is very common with this single version. 

4. Leg curl
We did a lot of leg curls or hamstring curls as we called it. My first weight lifting had leg curls in each 6 week block of 1. Anatomical Adaptation Phase, 2. Max Strength Phase One, 3. Max Strength  Phase Two.  After this background we did a lot of supplementary leg curls depending on need and time of year. 

5. I am not familiar with this exercise
but it sounds interesting and I love how easy that would be do replicate anywhere.

6. Band Stomping
We did several versions of band resistance exercises but not like this. This exercise looks like the leg swings we did ( daily)  only with  added resistance. It looks like a great exercise. 

7. Stiff Leg Good Morning
I never did much of this exercise but I know CF liked it. I was much better at  squats, cleans and RDL in that order so consequently I spent more time performing these lifts. You need to choose exercises where you get the biggest bang for your buck in your training. 
My first organized weight lifting was 6 weeks beginning in August and ending in late September. This training coincided with the end of my competitive  season and the very beginning of my fall training in Canada. 

  1. Half Squats were the first exercise
  2. Vertical / Upright Row 
  3. Leg Curls
  4. Incline Bench
  5. Reverse Leg Press
  6. 6. Dead Lifts.

( These lifts were ordered in priority and sometimes I might not have been able to finish all my lifts. I loved the feeling the results of lifting weights, getting stronger and running fast. I hope my comments shed some light on how we used the hamstring exercises discussed above. 


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Race Dynamics Key Concept in Sprinting

October 30, 2015 by Angela Coon

This coming week I will release "Race Dynamics" a new book in the series of highly specialized "Key Concept" books. 

After participating in a few discussions on LinkedIn group talks this week I thought the following quote from the forums at charliefrancis.com would be helpful to many coaches and athletes reading.

Follow us on twitter @AngeCoon 
Like us on Facebook @charliefrancisdotcom
Join me on Linkedin linkedin.com/in/angelacoon

Forum Member Question

Is there a Silver Bullet for teaching Biomechanics & Technique?

Coach Ange's Answer

Form follows function. When asked about the ideal leg length, Abraham Lincoln said: "One that reaches from the hip to the ground!"

  1. Sprinting is an automatic action, controlled by the primitive hind brain, where almost any voluntary (forebrain) input is NEGATIVE.
  2. Ground support forces cannot be increased by any voluntary action DURING GROUND SUPPORT. They can be increased by corrective measures taken in advance of the ground support phase (if, in fact any are necessary). Such corrective measures must be MINIMAL, rehearsed well in advance, and made automatic to keep the action in the hind brain during competition.

Implication for coaches:
  1. Think twice and speak once. Never attempt to correct a technical issue that you think will correct itself through the development of greater strength.
  2. Train technical aspects indirectly, if possible (i.e. med ball work for start development). This helps prevent "Paralysis by Analysis" Never over-explain in order to show how smart you are. You are a coach- leave that to the "Gurus"!
  3. Practice makes permanent- not perfect. Make sure your athletes are physically prepared for any work that requires technical execution. This means make sure the most demanding parts of the workout occur right after the warm-up, and make sure you prescribe only the number of reps they can handle perfectly.
  4. At the first hint of any mechanical breakdown, stop the session and move on to less demanding training.

Speed Trap "5 Rules"
  1. Let my runners run
  2. Hands-on observation
  3. Reinforcing the positives
  4. Low-density coaching
  5. Patience

The oldest rule in the sprint book is to run with optimal form, no matter what happens! If you get a great start, terrific. If you get a bad one, too bad but you must run with the same optimal form all the same! There's a big difference between fighting and aggressive good form.

Send me a note. I'd love to add you to my LinkedIn or Facebook page.

CharlieFrancis.com page coming soon. 



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Life After A Sprinting Empire ( Ha! Ha!)

July 16, 2014 by Angela Coon

Look at what happened..…how cool is this?

My last blog was about liking it or not liking it. It was about people stealing others work (in this case it has been items from my online store) online and acting like it’s no big deal. I don’t like it.   I had sent the offenders a note, I did not get a response (why would they respond?) and then I discovered the Digital Millennia Copyright Act. It’s a form found online you send to the appropriate provider. In my case it was Facebook and YouTube.  I was impressed to get a response within 24 hours and shortly after that I received notice that my material had been taken down.  How cool is that? I like it! Thank you to the law makers of the DMCA!

On another note I wanted to talk a bit about something slightly different.


Coaching : What is the key role of a coach?

If you asked 15 different people you would get varied answers. The higher level of athlete and the higher level of the performance the more similar the answers to what the key role of a coach might be.

Some people feel it’s the information a coach is able to deliver while others feel it’s the inspiration and or leadership.

When Coaching and teaching children it’s important to bring enthusiasm, leadership and , inspiration and while expecting knowledge might not be as high of a priority until the skill level improves.

If you are able to make others believe in their own abilities and if you are able to inspire the talents of each individual for their own success, the power of this idea can be unstoppable.

I don’t like hearing when teachers or coaches are not inspiring. My son has argued with me on this point and while I might agree coaching teenage boys requires slightly different skills and may I say courage than other categories of people, I still believe negative bully type leadership has a limited prescription for success that might thrive only in military settings.

There is a great deal of information out there on the web. How you go about sifting through what works best might depend on who inspires you the most.

I’ve felt fortunate to be given enough time to realize my own athletic talents. I was and continue to be inspired by the information you will find on this website that changed my life.

The letters I receive from people all over the world are just one of the things that inspires me now. I am thankful for people who take the time to tell me their stories. I like it! .... thanks for reading ... ange

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" LIKE " it or " DON'T LIKE " it ?

July 07, 2014 by Angela Coon

"LIKE"  it?

"DON"T LIKE"  it?

I grew up not just "LIKING"  track and field .I loved it.

I have told many people : Track has brought me some of the very best things in my life.

Historically I have not "LIKED"  some aspects of track and field. 

In the past 26 years I have endured some of the most difficult events in track and field history and thankfully I "LIKE" track again. I think I might even say " I LOVE IT". 

What I don't get is why people like to steal other people's stuff and publish it. 

I don't " LIKE " when people do this sort of thing.  

I guess some people" LIKE" my stuff so much they want to give it to everyone. I am sure they must be a great people everyone " LIKES". They  are just so generous don't you think?  

I tried sending these people a note saying I don't "LIKE" that you have stolen my copyright protected material and you are not supposed to publish it without my permission. 

I am wondering if the conclusion I have is correct. 

Do these people "LIKE" the work of my late husband Coach Charlie Francis? 

I wonder if they know I might not "LIKE" what they are doing. 

I wonder if they think I am dead. I don't think they know I am alive and make my livelihood from selling my material. I don't "LIKE " that but I guess I need to wake up, get off my sprinters butt and do more about this sort of thing. GEE Whiz. I better get busy.

Good luck with your training and make sure you are taking care of you.







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Speed and Sprint Drills

October 28, 2013 by Angela Coon


Speed and Sprint Drills

I came across this video the other day and thought it was pretty cool.


The author is doing some interesting athletic moves in this video. Even though he is not a sprinter he recognizes training as a sprinter will also give him the tools to jump further and higher.

 I loved watching what he was capable of doing.

I also liked how he was able to understand the value of a speed and sprint drill  from reading “ Speed Trap”. I have done this drill countless times and taught many people of all ages how to use this drill to get faster.

What makes this drill unique is it teaches a person how to run fast in the easiest possible way for the coach and athlete.  This is because SPRINTING IS A HIND BRAIN ACTIVITY.

While the author clearly understands a great deal about the value of this drill it’s not always clear to people that because sprinting is a hind brain activity  NOT THINKING is critical in the learning process. Alternatively too often coaches try to force instructions which can paralyze the person trying to learn the basics  of sprinting .

Very little instruction is another reason teaching this particular speed and sprint drill is so effective.

Here is a link that gives you a little bit more information about understanding this idea behind what coach Charlie Francis talks about sprinting as a  hind brain activity.


My only other comment is if you are doing this drill to develop speed to not run or train on sand.  You are trying to practice proper foot contact to the ground and if the surface is too soft the idea of this drill becomes counterproductive for sprinting, speed and acceleration and reaction time.

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Debates in Training are Good

November 15, 2012 by Angela Coon


Debates in Training are good... even if most sprinters on this site understand the debate between using a front squat over a back squat is moot.
Was debating the reason this site was created?
The site was created as a response to the world banning a coach. There was no debate there. Charlie was never re en-stated as a coach.
The site exists because it gave it’s creator Charles Merrick Francis a place to talk to the world about who he was, what he did and why he did what he did as a coach. 
At the time there really was not too much of a plan for the site.
Selling Charlie’s two books was an obvious idea pushed by a few friends for years before the site got started.
It was a gathering of a few like minded friends  and the next thing you know you have a group that is growing. The forum has always been the body and soul of this site. 
The debates followed and 2.5 years after Charlie has been gone people continue to come to this place one by one to check out over One million posts about how to be a sprinter.  Ten Thousand post about how to run fast are from Charlie.. Several thousand more posts have been added by some pretty cool people that have been around for ten plus years. I personally thank each of them for helping me out in this difficult time.
So debates are good even the ones about Front Squats vs Back Squats in Sprinting.

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