What the Soviets Can Teach Us – Youth Athletes

Development of Speed Strength Qualities in Youngsters
Theory and Practice of Physical Culture,  1963
O.V. Federov

What they did

Research was conducted to determine if the complex method of developing speed and strength simultaneously is more effective than its unilateral development.  Training both motor qualities simultaneously has not shown inhibit their development with youth athletes. This study was conducted over a one year period on school children from age 11-12 preparing for future specialization in throwing and jumping events during their teen years.

How they did it

Boys were split in groups of 15 each.  One group focused 50% of time on speed and 50% of the time on strength during the main portion for their training.

The other group spent 75% on speed and 25% on strength training during the main portion.   Both groups still utilized time after the main session for general training.  Training took 2 hours, 3 times a week for the entire school year.

Warmups included stretching, agility, coordination, relay races, and play.  Speed development consisted of full speed runs, deceleration, changing direction runs, jumps into sprints, accelerations from a walk, and downhill sprints.  Strength exercises included medball throws, DB’s, barbells, wrestling, strength games, throwing lightened implements, discus, shot, and hammer.

Athletes were tested regularly in the broad jump, triple jump, overhead shot throw, weighted press, and 30m sprint.  Body measurements including weight, and size were assessed throughout the duration of the school year as well as dynamometer readings from left and right hand grip strength.


Results proved that the group that spent half their time in the speed – strength regime accumulated much higher testing indices than the other group.  Physical measurements also validated group 1 provided the better stimulus.  Height was consistent within both groups at the same rate, however group 1 had significantly more weight gain.  It was concluded that athletes focusing their future on jumping, and throwing events should focus no less than 50% of both speed and strength training.


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