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By: Colin Masterson 

Owner – CM1 Performance 

I posed this question a few days ago on my social media, and I got mixed answers.  People may agree or disagree, but I am on the run/sprint first, lift second, side of the argument.

Running/sprinting is the most physically demanding thing you can ask your body to do.  Looking at the chart below, it is evident that sprinting recruits the most motor units.  Nothing in the weight room is as taxing on the Central Nervous System (CNS) as sprinting.  Therefore, you should perform this exercise when your muscles are fresh; the beginning of your workout. In order for you to get the maximal benefit from sprinting, you need to give maximal effort, and be fully recovered.

Figure1: A chart from the late great Charlie Francis showing the relative proportion of total motor units involved in training activity

Everyone wants to discuss sports specific training.  I have news for you:

if you are not spriniting 1-2 times per week you are leaving the most sport specific exercise on the table. Yes, even sports that do not demand sprinting (golf, swimming, diving) can still benefit from sprinting.  Sprinting is the tide that lifts all ships!

A general rule of thumb when sprinting: 

Volume should be low ~ 2-6 reps (max effort)

Intensity should be HIGH! 

Recovery should be full (1:00 min per every 10 yards sprinted) 

Ex: 20 yard sprint (2:00 mins of rest) 

Now that you have pushed your body to its limits, it is time to hit the weights. I like to keep my high days high, meaning on the days that I am sprinting I like to perform my maximal motor unit recruitment exercises in the weight room.  Referring back to figure 1, those exercises are; plyos, throws, olys, deadlift and squat variations. Again syncing up the stimulus from sprinting the weight room exercises will be (high intensity, low volume).

Even for my endurance athletes I would still tell them to run first.  If you are running you probably are preparing for a race/event.  Performing a distance run after lifting weights could be detrimental towards your performance.  Therefore I would run first, rehydrate, refuel and then hit the weights. 

With strength, 

Colin Masterson 

Owner – CM1 Performance