Reverse Hyper Sprints – Don’t do this

A recent article dropped on Bret Contreras .com entitled, Reverse Hyper Sprints: The best speed exercise you’re not doing.

Have a read for yourself

And a video demonstration

I’ll give you a second…Just to collect your thoughts on what you’ve just seen…and perhaps to have a re-read of the article to revisit the claims made by the author…..The ‘Best’ exercise I’m not doing you say…?

When it comes to ‘new exercies’, I become a big science geek. I want to know what (if any studies) have been done on this exercise to assess it’s effectiveness in the job it’s designed to do. So, in this example I’d second the question posed by one reader in the comment section of the article asking,

“1) How do the various muscle activation percentages compare to sprints?”.

Bret’s response was…

“1. I haven’t conducted this experiment yet. I could extrapolate based on what I’ve seen in the literature reporting sprint EMG with similar MVC positioning, but it would just be speculation.”

Where EMG is defined as

“An electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction”.

As a possible student and consumer of an educator (Bret), I don’t think it’s out of place for me to expect more from him; especially when looking on his website and seeing the blogs, websites and Strength and Conditioning Journals he has written and contributed to. What Bret has here is a hunch, nothing more. His hunch is that this exercise, which he claims is similar bio-mechanically to sprint mechanics (which I’m no sprint mechanic major, but I’d also question it’s effectiveness, and applicability here) will have a similar “EMG with similar MVC positioning, but it would just be speculation.” My issue here is that Bret’s article title is “Reverse Hyper Sprints: The best speed exercise you’re not doing”. I hope alarm bells are ringing with you as they are with me. Basic science 101, if someone claims to ‘know’ the results of their experiment before they’ve done it, ask questions. It’s not good enough for Bret to claim the statement, but I only said I “could extrapolate based on what I’ve seen in the literature reporting sprint EMG with similar MVC positioning”. Bret has ‘invented’ a new exercise here which is the ‘best’ exercise I’m not doing. If he’s to be so rigid with his claims and terms here, we as his readers, should also be rigid with the requirements of proof that we require from him.

My personal opinions on this exercise…

Will it really create greater turnover speed in my legs? Will it reinforce good sprint technique working through similar sprint mechanics? Will it improve my speed strength…realistically? What is this exercise an alternative  to or similar to, and is this more efficient and proven to be more effective than those alternatives? So this is a horizontal ‘power’ developer which then produces greater flat line speed right? Will this really make me a faster sprinter? I’m going to go out on a hunch..and say No to all of these. Looking at the video flipped 90 degrees, the mechanics look like sprinting without the two alternate end ranges of hip and then knee flexion, which we know are so imperative to fast running. Think of a raw powerlifter bench pressing doing 4 board presses and with no lockout, is he wasting his time? I’ll let you decide on that one…(You should know the answers is yes though if you didn’t know).

“Reverse hyper sprints likely help bridge the gap between weightroom strength and the track by increasing horizontal power via greater hip extension angular accelerations.” Wah…huh?

So where does this exercise fit into my strength and sprint training you ask? In my opinion nowhere as yet, Mr Contreras still has much to prove in my opinion.

As always, here at Standontheshouldersofgiants we encourage you to be analytical and rational in your thinking.

Strong Body. Stong Mind.