Email response. This one to a collegiate sprinter. He had tapered lifting down at the end of the season but did not see the results he wanted on the track. He was wondering if the Jump Science program would be effective for speed development.

“Ok, personally I don’t think tapering lifting is enough.

At higher levels of athleticism, increasing strength often only creates potential for athletic gains. Great athletes, collegiate sprinters in particular, are very explosive. That level of explosiveness is affected by strength training, because of the lasting fatigue that it produces and because it’s just low-speed training. An increase in strength combined with a loss of explosiveness doesn’t really get you anywhere. You have to stop lifting for a while to get that high level of explosiveness back. That’s when peak athletic performance occurs. I’m working on an article on this topic. I talk about it a little in my Taking Time Off and How Much Will I Gain? articles.

For example, I trained a collegiate 400 hurdler from last August through the end of his season a week ago. He saw big increase in power in the first few months. That allowed him to PR in his first race of the season. But then we stopped all lifting 7 weeks before D3 nationals. That combined with the taper of his on-track training allowed him to get really explosive. He ran his best race a week before nationals. It was 2.5 seconds faster than his first race and 3.13 seconds faster than his PR from last season.

Another example is a high school basketball player who contacted me probably a year ago. He said he had been lifting and getting stronger for many months but was not jumping higher. I told him to just stop lifting and do plyos a couple times per week. A month later his approach vert had gone from 30 inches to 38.

So you can get my program if you want, but I’m saying the training you’ve already done may not have had a chance to take full effect yet.”