WATCH: Table Talk with Nate Harvey — Why Do Football Players Run Long Sprints in Practice?

TAGS: conditioning circuit, oxidative system, increase fitness, 100 yard sprints, gassers, long sprints for football players, The State University of New York at Buffalo., heart rate monitor, head strength coach, aerobic threshold, elitefts coach, lactic acid, table talk, Nate Harvey, mental toughness, dave tate


Today's Table Talk features a special guest: Head Strength Coach of Olympic Sports at The State University of New York at Buffalo and newest elitefts coach Nate Harvey. For those of you unfamiliar with Nate, the short list of impressive things you need to know includes that he has coached a national shot put champion, eight All-Americans, and 18 Olympic Trial qualifiers. And on top of all of his coaching accomplishments, he also has a 2450-pound powerlifting total. 

If you want to know more about Nate and his training and coaching methods, read his introduction to the site, follow his coaching log, and watch this special edition Table Talk. Today, Dave and Nate answer a question about long sprints for football players:

Why do strength coaches have their football players running gassers and 100-yard sprints?

Though Harvey clarifies that he doesn't train football players, he gives his perspective: coaches probably have athletes run gassers or 100-yard sprints to a) build mental toughness, or to b) increase fitness in the lactic acid or glycolytic zones. To make this answer more clear, Harvey explains what the oxidative system is and how it differs from training done in the lactic acid or glycolytic zones.

The oxidative zone refers to low-intensity work, such as tempo work at less than 75% of your max heart rate. For example, this could be a conditioning circuit such as 10 overhead medicine ball throws, a light jog, and 30 seconds of jumping rope. For these circuits, it is advised to use a heart rate monitor and to keep your heart rate around 130 beats per minute. Alternatively, Dave gives another indicator of when to know you're leaving the oxidative zone: your muscles start to burn.

Dave then asks Nate about his use of recovery workouts for his athletes. They discuss the body's adaptation to all types of training methods you subject it to — including recovery techniques. Because of this, Nate's advice is to cycle conditioning and recovery work the same way that you cycle your main work.

The final topic Dave and Nate discuss is the aerobic threshold. For powerlifters, the minimal aerobic threshold for sufficient recovery is much lower than for athletes such as football players or wrestlers. This means that a lot of the time, powerlifters can improve their aerobic base to helpful levels simply by walking on a treadmill.

WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — How to Balance Training with a Physically Demanding Job


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