Interview with Stan Edwards (part 2)

Part 2 of our interview with the former UM standout. This part of the conversation focuses upon some of his philosophy and techniques regarding speed training.

For those who missed part 1 of the interview, it can be found here: Interview with Stan Edwards (part 1)

Special thanks to message board poster "Ufer's Spirit" for passing along some very poignant questions.

What usage of speed/strength exercises do you have track players use? For instance, do you employ plyometrics?

We only do plyometrics with kids who are seniors. We don't do a lot of plyometrics with the developing athletes because their growth plates are still open. We don't want to run the risk of damaging them. However, we have most of them doing a lot of resistance work. For instance, we work with the harness, the Roman Sled, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.

(edt. note:For those unfamiliar with plyometrics, a good FAQ on plyometrics can be found here: Plyometrics FAQ)

What type of weight training do you have your team do?

Our high school boys and girls, particularly from the 10th grade up, lift weights. Our kids who are 14 and under do mostly push-ups and sit-ups. Many tests have shown that kids can start lifting weights as early as 10 without being harmed, but we still don't do it.

Do you have your athlete's perform Olympic style lifts? (Examples: cleans, pulls, and jerks).

We do jerks, cleans,…all of the EXPLOSIVE lifts. We don't 15-20 reps. We only do 6-8 reps of weight that they can handle. They have to move the bar at a rapid pace. That's what we call explosive lifting.

Do you have your athlete's do predominately free weight exercises?

We use a lot of both the free weights and the machines. In the developing athlete, ANY resistance training is going to benefit them. Mind you, we have our 10 and under kids simulating the power clean with broom handles in the sand. We, of course, don't put any weight on it. It's just to guide their motion, get them used to the movements, and give them SOME level of resistance.

What do you think of the argument that working out on machines over free weights is less dangerous (i.e. fewer injuries)?

I'm not especially familiar with that argument. All I can tell you is that in our squat exercises, for instance, we never go deep. We never go down where the thighs are parallel to the ground. We go a quarter of the way down, and then explode up on our tiptoes. In our power cleans, we use weight that we can handle comfortably for 6-8 reps. We monitor them closely and only have them lift what they're physically able to. If those two things are in place, you won't have injury.

What kind of stretching techniques do you employ?

Static stretching. In every angle we stretch, we hold it for 20 seconds. One of the trade secrets that we focus upon is upper body flexibility. That affects your stride length. If you have a tight upper body and can't straighten your arms behind your back and clap them together, you have severely shortened your stride length.

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