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Home » Featured Sports Performance Articles » Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 64: Adarian Barr: Biomechanical Truths and Coaching Myths in Sprinting

Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 64: Adarian Barr: Biomechanical Truths and Coaching Myths in Sprinting

Today’s guest is track and field coach, and inventor, Adarian Barr.  Adarian Barr is based out of Woodland, California.  His collegiate track and field coaching stops have included UW-Superior, Indiana State and UNC Pembroke.  He has written a number of sprint articles for Speedendurance.com.

Adarian has invented 9 devices from footwear to sleds to exercise devices.  He is a USATF Level II coach in the sprints, jumps, hurdles and relays.  Adarian’s unique coaching style gets results, and his work on speed and biomechanics is being adapted by many coaches who want a deeper understanding into the innate function of the body.

I’ve spent the last year talking to Adarian, as well as learning from him in person, so I’m excited to have him as a guest on the podcast for today.  His perspective on human movement is extremely unique, insightful and intelligent.  I haven’t met any coach like him in my 12 years in the field, and I can say that, when watching elite athletes in action, what he says makes perfect sense.  His work has changed my coaching for the better, and I’m excited to share some of that with you for the podcast today.

Topics for this chat will include Adarian’s background, his ideas on sprinting and timing, why a variety of modern coaching cues and ideas on sprinting don’t work (and how athletes often revert to their innate form when going 100%), sprint posture and breathing, foot strike, and more.  This is a great chat for the coach with the hungry mind, and since it goes against the grain, it also promotes good thinking and questions.

Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.

Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 64: Adarian Barr: Biomechanical Truths and Coaching Myths in Sprinting

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Key Points:

  • Adarian’s background as a coach and athlete
  • What makes Adarian different as a coach
  • Concepts on sprinting and timing
  • Why coaching “high knees” doesn’t work
  • Coaching the arms correctly for sprinting and jumping
  • Ideal sprinting posture, and breathing applications
  • Foot-strike, dorsiflexion and proper lower limb mechanics

Quotes

“One of the first things I try to understand is “what is technique”… one of the biggest components is the timing of it”

“To me, one of the critical timing factors is, “where is your weight when you push?” (in a sprint cycle)

“Triple extension is a result of the push, but a lot of people think of triple extension as the push.  If you interpret triple extension as the push, your timing is off… well off”

“The match-up is not high knees, the match-up is stride length and stride frequency”

“We have a visual bias, we always tend to copy the losers”

“From me, I try to get away from cueing, and actually give instructions”

“One of the truths we know is that we can use the arms to control what’s going on in the legs”

“If I don’t understand how to create vertical lift with my arms, then I’ll probably be a good sprinter, but not a good long jumper”

“Wrist flap of the arms doesn’t work if your posture is not set up for it”

“That’s how I coach now, setting the body up so it will do something you want to do, rather than trying to force the body to do something it doesn’t understand”

“If you run with arms at 90 degrees, with wrists locked, with the fingers pointed, that’s a longer lever.  It takes longer to bring that hand back to the front with the fingers pointed, than with the wrist flexed”

“I see people doing what I call “toe raises” as they run to get the vertical impulse, you get the vertical impulse, but then you don’t go forward, you go up and down.  You gotta set the foot up”

“I want to go from torque to force, if I can create the torque, I can apply the force

Show Notes

Christian Coleman’s Fast Arms

Wrist Flap in An Elite Sprinter

Wrist Flap in An Elite Sprinter

About Adarian Barr

Adarian BarrAdarian Barr is a track coach and inventor based out of Woodland, California.  His collegiate track and field coaching stops have included UW-Superior, Indiana State, UNC Pembroke, Yuba City Community College.

He has invented 9 devices from footwear to sleds to exercise devices. Adarian is a USATF Level II coach in the sprints, jumps, hurdles and relays. He has a master’s degree in Physical Education.

Adarian’s unique coaching style gets results, and his work on speed and biomechanics is being adapted by some of the top coaches in the nation.

6 comments

  1. Hi Joel, I’m actually a voice coach and I follow your info as an avocation. But I find the more I learn about athletic movement and coordination the better I am able to explain and understand the voice. Because singing, especially operatic singing, is an athletic activity that requires specific physical coordination that is not obvious at first. I also talk a lot about posture needing to be correct first or the other things we want to do won’t work. I always say it is because the nervous system knows how it wants to do things but it needs to be in the right condition for it to be reflexive. Without that condition, which is created by posture, then the nervous system seems to be turned off. If we try to do things then it takes a lot more effort. I also talk a lot about looking at the body and asking “how does it want to function?” This is basically how I figured out how all of the parts involved in singing actually work. Which is not quite the way we all are taught. For example the issue of belly breathing. Similar to what Adarian mentioned, if there is too much emphasis on belly breathing then the athlete will drop the rib cage to better feel the belly and to make it bigger. But if that happens we lose the posture condition that allows the reflexiveness of the nervous system. So it was nice to hear these points discussed.

    • Michael,

      Thanks for the detailed comment! Really cool to get notes from people in other professions of human performance.

      What you said here:

      ” I always say it is because the nervous system knows how it wants to do things but it needs to be in the right condition for it to be reflexive. Without that condition, which is created by posture, then the nervous system seems to be turned off. If we try to do things then it takes a lot more effort.”

      This sums up a lot of what I’ve been learning over the last 3 years, and is an amazing statement, it actually gives my mind some clarity with what I’ve seen and heard.

      The body is truly amazing when we set it up to be!

      Joel

  2. Every single time Adarian Barr speaks, I listen.
    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some future greats in the US track team were at some point coached by him.

    • Bhavesh,

      I agree, and watching Adarian coach, I’d love to see some USA track athletes under his watch. The man has a gift for human movement.

      Thanks for the comment and listening to the podcasts!

      Joel

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