@11.4 some very interesting info there. Whilst there are differences between road and track sprinting obviously what would be key factors in your experience?
For the riders I coach I haven't had to ever really focus on anyone's sprint, building the engine to get to the end is still primary for most, a "natural" kick takes over from there.
Personally, I tried to be a kilo rider with the odd match sprint... And found out rather quickly that good numbers on the road don't mean squat against those track boys. Even after 2 years of training... yeah, no, different beasts indeed. Though an improvement to 1min power *did* play out well on the road, better than any arbitrary 5s (or less) "bragging rights" power numbers.
Have you had any truck with some more of the "fancy" gym-based session like using something akin to Litvinov conversions or post-attenuation potentiation to help "convert" weights based strength to actual power output? Or do more "simple" think like box jumps and other dynamic movements translate just as well?
Tape, you have a lot of background yourself, so I'm just adding incrementally to your prior comments. I can't disagree with anything substantial you've said.
But you asked about Litvinov conversions. Frankly, I can't see the point of exhausting my phosphate system with maximal or near-maximal lifts and then instantly going out to do a prolonged marginally anaerobic interval (which is what his 400m run amounts to, right?). The workout is brutal, no question, but I suspect he simply benefited from the lifting portion of the drill. If anything, even for advanced athletes, that run just prevents someone from duplicating sets at maximal levels. We debated this with some track sprinters and had a few of them do maximal squats and instantly move into weight-loaded stair runs, WattBike 60 second sprints, plyometric box jumps, etc. The thought was that if something would convert power training to speed training, this might be valuable. Riders were in fact able to do higher box jumps right at the moment, but probably due only to more intense muscle recruitment, because the next day and thereafter they couldn't duplicate the higher jumps. WattBike performance wasn't benefited by the drill in any of the riders. We tried other variations on this because so many classic on-the-bike workouts have the same pattern of maximal power interval followed by hard interval that should be aerobic but ends up anaerobic. Just think about a kilo -- your power profile for 5 seconds is like doing a lift, but then it's about how to maintain power through to the end of the kilo. We thought that a kilo rider would benefit from a Litvinov workout better than -- ironically -- a hammer thrower (double pun intended), but the kilo rider didn't seem to develop any sustained improvement. The studies done on Litvinov drills have been crappy at best, since there is so much going on in this workout and I haven't seen anyone who has identified exactly what might be happening, if anything. I don't think Litvinov would get much attention except that it resonates with the Crossfit crowd.
As for post-activation attenuation (or post-attenuation potentiation), myelo studies seem to show that it is happening, but I've never seen either valid research data or coaching data that show it actually benefits athletic performance. Some power lifters use it to goose up for a record lift, and that's about the only application I can see. For cycling, whether road or especially track, I don't see how it works. The Aussies were very interested in it and put Ryan Bayley and a few others through a lot of drills to exploit it, without achieving sustainable results. There may be a coaching regimen that succeeds with it but I haven't really seen it.
(I should say at this point that I do look at most of the exercise physiology and athletic research data with a great deal of skepticism. The studies are generally atrocious by the standards of other disciplines and most should never have been published. Some people like to search PubMed and the like for articles relevant to their sport, but it's a dangerous practice without someone weeding out the garbage. If a coach can't translate a concept into athletic improvement, measured by placings, times, and winnings, it isn't ready for prime time.)
You asked about road versus track? The two disciplines have become much more similar. Track sprinting isn't the old cagey tactical racing it used to be but goes from farther out and with much more power. If one can't kilo well, one can't really sprint well on the track these days. One wins a match sprint with a great 200m to place well (like a driving shot in golf) and a great kilo (think "drive for show, putt for show"). I know, bad analogy, but you get the point. You rarely see trackstands at the World Cup level any more and with track sprinting more standardized on 250 meter tracks, it's become more and more a drag race won by the kilo riders. On the road, you have more good trackies making the transition to follow the money, and the same tendencies that favor kilo riders on the track favor riders with good kilos in road sprints. There are still some specialty track events where sprinting is a very different effort -- I'm thinking madisons in particular -- but especially with the domination of the omnium in current track programming and the ubiquity of tracks at a length where lapping is not uncommon, the old pure sprinters like Daniel Morelon or Lutz Hesslich would struggle to do well.
As you've pointed out in various posts, one has to be in contention if one is to win a sprint. For the average amateur, the most valuable coaching is usually about how to be there at the finish. Getting dropped in a race frankly sucks -- this is a sport about winning, not placing -- and sprinting is frankly more a fantasy for the city limit sign on group rides than a racing reality for most amateur riders. But on the track, one can focus on the attributes to ride successfully the kilometer or so (or the distance involved in a relatively short scratch or points race). All the major track teams these days are very heavily invested in maximal workouts in the weight room, and their sprinters are transitioning successfully to road sprints.
Again, rather than theory, I'm simply asking to see what actually works for elite riders in terms of winning statistics -- think Moneyball for cycling. And I'm not trying to apply this to average pack-fill amateurs because to be very blunt, they are limited in terms of genetics, time available, coaching, and racing opportunity. Data from amateurs tends to be at best anecdotal and every coach has success stories but with rare exceptions not the real statistical demonstration that her/his sprint training method works better. We try to give them the opportunity to experience real track or specialized sprint coaching and do the workouts, and the successful ones develop and move up.
Since someone asked, I co-head a new promotion organization focused on developing track racing, while also paying attention to road and even marathons, triathlons, biathlons, and the like. We organize the major events and provide complete year-round programming for coaching, racing, and training. It's easiest to do around a track, so we're focused there at the moment, but that will expand. I've coached national level in Europe and the US, but I prefer to promote the events and leverage my time across more riders and events. The Australians more or less pioneered this approach and the British copied it, with equal success. We hope we can do the same here.
Since some forum members seem to think I'm too wordy, I'll leave it at this. Tape, please feel free to PM me. I've enjoyed your thoughts and the balance you bring to this forum.