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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Speed and Power Coach speaks about Coach Charlie Francis

July 28, 2017 by Angela Coon

Coaching a high school track program as been a great deal of fun and created a lot of excitement for me and the kids I am working with. 

Seeing athletes I used to train with and compete with has also been an enjoyable experience. 

Sport as been a huge amount of fun throughout my entire life and it's rewarding to get notes from people across the globe that have been inspired by myself or the work Charlie and I did to create www.charliefrancis.com. 

Thanks for reading. 

You may also enjoy reading this blog. 



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Warming Up for Sprinting in Track and Field

June 26, 2015 by Angela Coon

A Sprinters Warm up. 3 Essential Rules:

1. Think relaxation in all things you do. If you are not able to perform the movement in a relaxed way do something easier.

2. Take your time. Don’t rush your warm up. I learned this lesson the hard way from former World and Olympic Champion in the men’s 100 meters Ben Johnson. I asked what he had thought of my race at one of my first national championships in 1991 in Montreal. He said “ okay , but you would have done so much better if you didn’t rush your warm up.”. I never forgot what he said and it changed the way I prepared for all training.

3. An excellent guideline to know you are ready for the actual work of your training is achieving a mild sweat on your forehead. This rule does not seem overly sophisticated but it works. I am not talking about profuse sweating before you begin. 

Guidelines for an extensive warm-up before Sprinting or Tempo

Note :
 Get in the habit of timing your warm up, pay attention to how much time various parts of your warm up and training take, and record it in your training diary.  

1. Jog slowly for 10 minutes or X number of laps around the track or grass if you have it. Usually 3 to 4 laps outside on outside track.

2. We used the length of the football field (post to post) to perform a lot of the drills and runs in the warm up. It was a predictable distance and most often easy to replicate in almost any location in almost any country. Approx. 100 yds or meters depending Canada, US or Eurupe. Soccer or American Football. 

3. Once the 10 minutes of jogging took place we usually launched immediately into side skips down one length and shaking back. Generally we would mix in one , maybe two exercises at one end of the field. Generally the end where we had all of our bags , water etc. The exercises would be a mixture of med ball throws, donkey kicks. sit ups mixed with stretches. 5 to 8 minutes

4. Side skips, grape vine, back ward arm circles and tripling were the main exercises on the way down the field and then usually we did what we called shaking back which was like a jog but shoulders are down and you are shaking your entire body. Some have commented on the silliness they feel doing this exercise but it promotes relaxation throughout the warm up.  

NOTE: Shaking promotes relaxation. It’s not a jog. It’s not a skip. Your hands should fall to your side and as you are shuffling along in somewhat of a jog as you are shaking your body. 

5. @ approx. 18 to 20 minutes Power Speed Drills = Power Speed was included in 99% of every warm up I ever performed in 7 years of training. 

• Bum kicks
• A skip
• B skip
• Running A’s 

The distances might vary. A typical progression might be =

3 sets of each drill over 10 meters , then 4 x 10 meters of each drill. As the drills improve so too does the distance maybe. Quality first , volume second. 

Total time up to this point = Not more than 45 minutes but not one hour. 

More is not better / Practice makes permanent

In my next blog I will discuss the things that need to be added after the power speed but often on tempo days the above warm up might be it. But maybe not. 

Often we used a series of med ball throws routinely in our warm up.

After the 10 min jog and within the back and forths and before and or during the power speed.

When I first started out , I did far more little exercises in the body of the warm up before Power Speed. ( see the bike workout for this) 

The reason for this was to gain FITNESS. So for all of you talking about how possibly fitness is not important for speed or the development of speed. 

Pay close attention to the details within the warm up. 

And I never lifted one weight for 2 full years. Instead I worked extensively with a very light med ball. I think it was 2 or 3 k. I remember complaining on deaf ears "when can I use a heavier ball". I got nothing back.

You are ready to move ahead when you are ready to move ahead. Most athletes all want to move ahead faster . No kidding.

I'd love to hear about your warm up. Thank you for all of your questions and feedback. I will do my best to respond to you.




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The method of how you train may matter more than the specific exercises you choose

May 17, 2013 by Angela Coon


I recently read an article where  the author tried making a case for why certain exercises should be removed from your training routine.  The article was called: “ 5 Most Overrated Exercises You Can Stop Doing. “

Read the full article here but also read the rest of my post . http://dailyhealthpost.com/5-most-overrated-exercises-you-can-stop-doing/#ixzz2ROHkHpAy

As I finished reading the article I could not find any reason to stop doing exercises that might be working well for someone.  Maybe people  would benefit more by changing the methods of how they perform their exercise routine not just the exclusion or replacement of certain exercises? I think it makes sense to try and replicate how elite athletes train as they are spending larger amounts of time perfecting athletic skills to compete at a very high level. Try some of the suggestions I have made below and decide for yourself whether you need to change specific exercises or alter the method of how you organize your routine. I think you might like some of these ideas. 

1. Experiment with shorter or longer rest intervals to intensify quality or make the workout more cardiovascular in nature.  Shorter rest periods will make things harder for you and therefore more intense. Intensity can be very good but intensity is also difficult to repeat consistently so be thoughtful. For example most elite sprinters may be able to handle 3 very intense sessions per week but others may only handle 2 high intensity sessions per week. Define intensity? Well, it has to do with the percentage of your total maximum output over a certain period of time. Longer rest periods might allow you to perform exercises more intensely but you need to be progressive with what you are doing over time or you risk for injury goes up.  

Example = plank = you might routinely repeat this for 30 seconds. On occasion you might challenge yourself to see how long you can hold the plank for more than 30 seconds.

2.  Another trick is to add a small number of abdominal exercises between each exercise. You might take these 5 exercises, perform this routine as a circuit and all of a sudden you have a totally different workout.     

Example. – side plank 30 seconds

                   4 regular sit ups

                   Traditional crunches

                   4 sit ups (choose a different kind then crunches or regular sit ups)

                    Bench press

                    4 sit ups of yet a different type again

                    Seated knee extension

                    4 varied sit ups

                    Hanging knee raises

You could repeat this above circuit. One or two more times depending on how much time you want to spend exercising. 

3.  Another great way to change the way this routine could become more or different for you would be to add intervals on a bike, treadmill, pool or other exercise machine. The only restriction might be gyms might not offer the flexibility of going back and forth from some      equipment while doing other exercises but I will leave it to you to innovate where and how you could make some of these general ideas work for you.

Conclusion =

There is a lot of information in the media which I feel caters to a quick fix or fast and easy approach to fitness. The ideas I am trying to teach people stem from rules followed by athletes to succeed in a competitive sport.  Typically I see people in gyms doing a few exercises with the expectation of success. Try some change in your  methodology ( =  how you train)  by mixing some of your own simple exercises ( or the ones listed in this article) but experiment with how you perform those exercises.   You may continue to gradually adjust and do other things but I think the method is far more important than the exercises you select. 

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Three General Guidelines to Training

April 17, 2013 by Angela Coon


I get a lot of questions about training from clients and customers and friends. I get questions from mom's about their kids training and I get questions from girlfriends who used to be very active. Now some of these people are less active because of having kids and how life gets busy and then training gets buried into their schedules as a low or a non existent priority.
With this in mind maybe these Three General Guidelines to Training might  jump start you into a new workout or help you improve training you might already be doing. 
Number 1.
Do something you can repeat each weekly cycle. For example = Everyone wants to go for the big workout day one with zero thought about day 2,3 4 on. Hey, I am not being critical. The Bootcamp business model thrives on this idea.  It's not anyone's fault. you just don't know different or better ( yet ) How about you try to do what I tell people all the time.  Set yourself up to succeed. Test yourself. Start with a 20 minute maximum routine and see if are able to repeat it  every other day for 7 to 10 days. Your next test is to  keep that same workout exactly the same and repeat if for one more cycle ( try and repeat another 7 to 10 day trail of 20 minute workouts ) . If you can do that then experiment to add 5 to 10 more minutes on the 20 minute workout. ( one common mistake I see all the time =  No one wants to skip a day inbetween. Why ? =  because more is better. ( it's our North American culture imbedded that more is better)  Trust me. More is more. More is not always better. Stick to the plan of this Number 1 and you will do fine. )  
Number 2 
You need to find the kind of exercise that works for you. This took me a long time to learn post athletic career. I am one of the lucky ones. I love exercising because it makes me feel better than I did if I don't exercise. I even think it acts like medicine for some but that is for another blog. Walking for exercise might sound dull or riding your bike might seem too easy  but both forms of exercise are repeatable and sustainable and they are relatively safe. One tip =  injuries happen to everyone.  when they happen they pull people off track. Having babies, starting new jobs or something accidental while enjoying a weekend activity... Then what? Stick to Number 1 and work on Number 2. No excuses =  you can do a ton of exercises in your basement , bedroom ( no comments from the cheap seats please) or your living room. Get down and give me  3 sets of 5 push ups and 10 sit-ups  ( switch the order and number around/ woman do more sit ups / men do more pushups generally) and you pick one other exercise and repeat it 3 x a week. Ya, I know. Most of you reading this are saying that is not enough. Ok. do it and tell me different and what worked for you then. 
Number 3.
Regarding the silly numbers I just recommended someone do for push-ups and sit ups in my last general principle? Well,  10 situps and 5 push ups? Really? 3 sets? That's it? Yeah, well I have seen people who could not really sustain that but so what. Work with what you have and grow it from there. Small progression over time needs to happen. It has been called Progression of load. Load could be a bunch of things . Load could be progressively add some time onto the workout.Load could also be progressively adding one more or two more to a set. Here is the thing. Most people progressively load too FAST. 
Whoops ONE more and its kinda important but I am not adding in because three things is enough to remember. I could give you 10 general principle but 3 is enough right now.  Just remember this last thing =  PLAN TO REST, SLEEP MORE, SLEEP BETTER, ACTIVELY PURSUE THE IDEA THAT IF YOU TRAIN or WORKOUT  or  ARE TRYING TO DO SOME KIND OF PERFORMANCE .... you can't just keep adding more work to your day or more exercise as without restoring your energy pool , naturally revitalizing you energy capabilities and giving yourself a chance to re-boot. 
I know lots of people want  recipe workouts and training . Just try to keep in mind these 3 Easy to follow General Principles of Training   and  my  hope is some of these ideas help you get going.  Moving  makes us feel better and when we feel better we laugh more , love more and enjoy more.
I hope it is going well for you.
I wish you my best in the journey. 
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