For more info on upright sprinting mechanics and an intro to the Cheetah LV I Movement Achievement category, see our video on the subject.

Top-end speed requires an athlete to be able to support multiple times their own bodyweight (due to the momentum gained) on a single leg, and to absorb that force and retain a consistent hip height with ground contact times around 100 milliseconds.  The brain will always find balance where it can, as its goal is to maximize stability and prevent injury whenever possible.  This means that if an athlete lacks the tendon and muscle strength to absorb force and propel the body, it will select the best muscles in its arsenal, down-regulate speed and / or absorb energy by taking a longer time to let the relevant tissues stretch under load.  Once top speed is reached, athletes will no longer be able to push, or grind their way to more speed. They need to be able to maintain their speed by being efficient, and by quickly being able to absorb and release force.

Even for athletes who do not typically (or ever) reach top-speed in a game situation can benefit immensely from maximal speed training.  This is because:

  • Nothing prepares an athlete’s nervous system, tendons and muscle tissues like developing top-end speed.  It is only once max speed is reached that the loads on tendons are at their highest, while the demand on the central nervous system to quickly recruit, contract and relax muscles is at its highest.  Even most plyometric activities – like box jumps, hurdle hops and cyclic jumping – are typically 2-3x slower than is required for maximal speed sprinting.  Most weight room activities do not have athletes bearing loads on a single leg that are multiple times their own bodyweight.  Since the tissues and nervous system trained by top-speed sprint training are the same ones used in all athletic endeavors, the preparation needed for better maximum speed translates directly to increased sports performance in all athletic areas that require fast, intense movement.  Bodies that tolerate the level of intensity required for maximal sprinting are less likely to get injured during movements of equal or lower intensity than it has proven it can handle (which is everything else!).
  • In order to get to max speed, athletes must accelerate.  Max speed training lifts the acceleration curve as well, meaning athletes who improve top-end speed can reach higher speeds faster, improving acceleration ability in the process.
  • A higher max speed means a larger speed reserve.  Coach Tony Holler says that “if you can reach 100mph, 80mph is a breeze”.  Athletes who can squat 405lb can do more reps at 225 than an athlete who can only squat 250.  This is because when the ceiling is higher, it is easier to reach an intensity lower than your ceiling.  The athlete who has the highest top-end speed can run more reps –  and with higher quality –  than their teammates who are slower. Even in a sport like soccer, where most running is sub-maximal, athletes with higher top-end speed are fresher at the end of a game, because they didn’t have to try as hard to beat their slower opponents.  One of the best things you can do to train repeated sprint endurance is to make the intensity an athlete has to endure much easier.

The Cheetah LV I Movement Achievement category is designed to help reinforce the postural shapes and muscle activation patterns that most efficiently support top-end speed.  Athletes who unlock these movement achievements often get faster, because they refine the underlying abilities that maximum speed demands.

Following are the movement achievements in the Cheetah LV I category: