Olympic triple jumper Kenta Bell responds to questions about using timing equipment in his training program.
I’m responding to the questionnaire regarding my use and experiences with the Freelap Timing System. I have been using the system in a wide variety of applications. In addition to using it to time runs, I’ve also found much success in my jump training getting times from the toe board to the edge of the runway just before the sand. I’ve also found the Freelap as a very useful training partner in my bounding and plyometric work. By timing each interval and sometimes timing them in even splits, it allows me to competitively compete against myself from rep to rep and sometimes within the rep when I’m trying to get negative splits. I have also found that by timing my bounding and jumping reps in workouts with multiple intervals that I no longer have to base my level of fatigue on how I feel. Now, when the time begins to fall, I know it is time to knock off and move to another exercise.
In regards to the specific questions:
Have you measured any increases in maxV?
I’ve seen my personal best time in the fly 30m sprint come down from 2.81sec to 2.71sec. I’ve also lowered my 20m acceleration time from a 3point stance from 3.00sec down to 2.73sec
Have you measured any increases in velocity during the jump?
I have seen great velocity improvements through my phases since I began recording the velocity. Having this new knowledge has allowed me to tap into some really exciting technical changes that have netted in improved distance.
Have you measured any increases in triple speed? Triple distance?
As you see I have combined two questions here because its impossible to answer one without touching on the other. I have found a huge correlation between velocity and distance and a very consistent improvement in distance going up as the times drop. For example:
1.49sec = 51ft
1.43sec = 53ft
1.40sec = 55ft
1.32sec = 55ft ‡
‡ (landed standing up due to over rotation on the last phase. A technical error due to increases in velocity and deficiency in timing mechanics)
What is your overall impression of using timing equipment to train for the triple?
My expectations have been far surpassed on what I thought I would be able to get out of this system. I truly know that if you can time or measure something that you can beat it. Within that it has opened my thoughts and perspectives into other means of training both on and off the track and going into the weight room. When it comes to jumping and increasing velocity and distance it all comes back to force application and conservation of angular momentum. I’ve now learned to manipulate the body and refine my movements to better adjust to this speed and debunk many myths and philosophies that the current school of coaches and gurus share when it comes to training the triple jump. I look forward to seeing how far I can push the envelope of time and distance.
2004, 2008 Olympic Team Member
Follow up question from a reader:
Can you expand on your comments regarding myths and philosophies?
This is exactly what I’m saying. First and foremost, jumpers don’t spend enough time working on the art of jumping, and definitely not at speed or velocity comparable to competition. There is no comparison between short run jumps of 4, 6, & 8 steps compared to a full run jump. Jumpers need to spend more time jumping at distances closer to 85% of the jump run-up.
Secondly, there is no transition in the traditional model of speed bounds and more dynamic accelerated bounding with hard 20m acceleration or even downhill as the season and fitness progresses. When you look at sprinting there are progressions throughout the annual plan of training. Typically they start with longer aerobic endurance strength running in the fall/winter months. At that time they are also lifting for more muscle endurance. As time shift you see more speed endurance and specific speed work come into play. During this same time period he/she is also transitioning to max strength and power conversion lifting phases.
What you are seeing is a sliding scale of speed, power, and intensity progressing. Unfortunately most, not all, jumpers and jump coaches only bound or do plyometrics one way throughout the entire season . SLOW!!! In my opinion we need to make shifts in our bounding and the speeds of our movements as our seasons progress and the demands for greater speed, timing, and force application are required of us to make bigger and better jumps.
Triple jump is a beautiful event when done correctly. Very often the event is referred to as a power ballet. Although requiring large amounts of raw strength and power the jumps consist of impulses, quick dynamic pops. Most people are making slow loud thuds thinking they are being powerful. I hate the notion of coaches explaining the sound and rhythm of triple jumping with claps of the same three rhythms and audible clap. If the jumper runs through the board appropriately there is no need for a hop phase.
If the athlete has good running mechanics and posture down the runway where the heel is recovered high to the bottom of the butt/top of hamstring and applies great force vertically into the ground extending down from the hip flexor/extensor then he or she will be able to blow through the hop with little to no effort. The only thing he or she may need to do is shrug the shoulders or punch the arms. Now your looking at a much faster and flatter hop phase that covers the same if not more distance.
I hate to end here, but I could go on for hours talking about this. I do camps, clinics, and personal coaching if you your coach or team are interested. I am also working on 3 separate training videos 1) explosive bounding and jump training for sprints, jumps, and throws 2) weight training for T&F 3) triple jump 101 the most comprehensive look ever at how to explain and teach the triple jump.