Plymouth Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer Plymouth

Personal Training Plymouth

Plymouth Personal Training

On Getting Heavier... and faster!

I remember being in a training camp for a representative rugby team when I was younger which included going through a variety of fitness tests which included a 15m speed/acceleration test which was accurately timed using electronic timing gates. What I want to mention in this briefest of blogs is a conversation that I remember the coaches having with some players after the tests. They commented to the players that the results of their testing had shown a positive correlation between players weight and their speed/acceleration over the short 15m test distance. But why?

Often where sports are concerned (especially invasion games such as soccer, rugby, american football, hockey etc…) there are 2 stereotypes that abound…. the smaller, quicker but weaker player and the bigger stronger but slower player. This stereo-type is hugely outdated for several reasons as I will explain below:

Although there is a degree of correlation between the size of a muscle and its strength. Where strength is concerned a stronger muscle contraction can be achieved through neural (nervous system adaptations) independent from an increase in muscle size (hypertrophy). So if, for example, you are lining up in a rugby match against a guy with a large frame (which has happened to me plenty of times before) it may well be that he doesn’t hit as hard as you may think. Bigger is not always stronger although there is some positive correlation. When comparing between athletes the smaller guy may be stronger! True story!

However, if you take a given athlete and make his muscles bigger… barring some incredibly poorly prescribed training plan the likelihood is that he will become stronger and this, far from making him slower, will actually increase his potential for speed/acceleration. The force applied by the athlete in sprinting will accelerate him/her and the greater the magnitude of the force applied the greater the acceleration that can be produced. This all stands true providing you aren’t getting too fat (as heavier objects are harder to accelerate)!!

So rather than being stuck in a quandary as to what sort of athlete you want to be and which of the two outdated images to mould yourself into take the step to make yourself stronger, bigger and faster. That can be achieved all in one athlete!

PS as a little aside soccer players need to get involved. I still see way too many footballers in the gym plodding on the treadmill and doing bicep curls and crunches! Guys get with it! Get strong to get fast. Build a base for your speed work, not on the treadmill but in the squat rack. Ask yourself how many weaklings you see on the start line of an Olympic 100m final!

Sports Conditioning Plymouth, Training Tips


  1. Completely agree with what Joe is saying. Even though there is some correlation between big and strong, bigger is not always stronger. Take olympic weightlifters as an example, especially the lighter lifters, they can lift over 2X their bodyweight above their head. The way to achieve this is to stick to compound movements ie. exercises which involve multiple muscles and joints and produce a big hormonal change in the body. Joe has definitely got the right ideas and concepts for training and how to get stronger.

    By Kyle · Jun 27, 08:24 am

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