One of the top questions I get asked in regard to the 1080 Sprint is about workflow. Differing from sled use, the 1080 Sprint provides a significantly enhanced experience over other forms of resisted and assisted training. Since most people are lucky if they have one unit, the question of how many athletes you can get through in a timely manner is always at the forefront of peoples’ minds. We are lucky enough to have two units here (the University of Illinois), but with time restrictions on most practices—whether you are in high school or college—along with most private performance centers having timed slots, it is a very fair question to ask.
The 1080 Sprint utilizes a Microsoft-enabled tablet to run the machine itself. Since it has one tablet per unit, this brings up many questions, such as:
- Do I need another person to run it?
- How many athletes can you get through the machine at one time?
- How easy is it to move from athlete to athlete?
- How easy is it to digest and utilize date while the athletes are using the machine?
While I am not a master of the 1080 Sprint by any means, and my situation is not the same as everyone else’s, I feel like my experiences with the machine and being around other coaches using the machine with varied group sizes and ability levels allow me to confidently answer these questions.
The Setup of the 1080
The setup of the machine itself is relatively easy and takes just one person. I often set up both machines by myself before practice in less than 10 minutes.The setup of the 1080 Sprint itself is relatively easy and takes just one person. For instance, I often set up both of our machines by myself before practice in less than 10 minutes, says @jake_co. Click To Tweet
The machines are stored in a hard, protective case. Once you take them out of the case, there are two wires that you have to plug in (the power source and the wire for the emergency stop). You then flip a switch, and, assuming you remembered to plug the cord into the outlet, the machine comes on. After this, you grab the tablet, connect it to the machine’s Bluetooth, and open the application on the tablet. I honestly think this is easier than dragging sleds and weights out to the track, and I prefer this to that any day of the week.
Number of Coaches/Employees
I have had anywhere from 1-3 coaches help run the machine(s). It only takes one person to operate the tablet or even tablets in our case with two. After you have loaded all the athlete profiles, which we do before the workout begins, moving between athlete profiles is as simple as one click. Once you have the workout template up, which we start on the athlete’s first rep, tracking reps is really easy.
The software allows you to categorize different workouts and sets and reps within the workout. Moving between resistance or assistance metrics for different athletes is also just another click. While the machine retracts the cord back to the start position, you can make these changes for the athletes. They also have to put on the belt, which provides another few seconds for you to make these changes. We always have some sort of parameters we work within.
Video 1. Simple acceleration is smooth and effective with the 1080 Sprint. Athletes of all sports, not just track, can benefit from motorized resistance.
When we only have one coach available (me), I feel confident personally running the machine and coaching at the same time. The tablet has a connectivity window where you have to be within a certain number of meters of the machine for the tablet to work. I generally sit right behind the machine. While this limits my view and perception within the practice, it offers me a chance to engage more with the athletes. I tend to view practices from the side more often than not, but having a session once per week where I only view them from behind is not a deal-breaker to me.My athletes like to see everyone’s metrics as well and will hover around me. It’s a unique opportunity to be in the thick of the athletes during their recovery time, says @jake_co. Click To Tweet
My athletes like to see everyone’s metrics as well and will hover around me. It’s a unique opportunity to be in the thick of the athletes during their recovery time and get to hear some things I may not hear when I am on the track or viewing from a different angle. When we have multiple coaches, I generally wander around and view the practice from wherever I deem necessary while I let the other coach run the machine.
As I mentioned before, we are privileged to have two machines for our team. We started with one unit in 2016 and made the move to purchase another unit two years later. I have had anywhere between 3 and 30 athletes at a time whether we had one unit or two.
I will write another article about my favorite workouts to do on the 1080, but what I can tell you here is that with larger groups we tend to use the 1080 as a potentiation or contrast effect. With bigger groups, there obviously will be a waiting period if you just used the 1080, and while I defer to people much smarter than me on the best ways to use resisted or assisted training, a large number of people who use sleds have gone to contrast or potentiation type workouts to begin with.
The benefit of that with the 1080 is completely about flow. Even with a group of 30, if we do a set and rep scheme that involves work on and off the 1080, by the time we account for a reasonable amount of recovery, we end up having kids working seamlessly on and off the 1080. They generally end up lining up, and by the time they get to the front of either line, it’s right at the end of the prescribed recovery time.
We also used some of our older methods of resistance training with the 1080 when we only had one unit. I would throw out a few sleds or weight vests near the 1080 to improve the scheme and workflow within the workout itself. You can get a force-velocity profile with just three different resistance reps, and I have had days where that was all I needed to accomplish, and sleds could fill out the rest. While this is not my favorite thing to do, I can still get some metrics for the day and accomplish what I need to.
Utilizing Feedback from the Machine
Obviously, one of the main benefits of having a 1080 is the metrics you receive from each rep on the machine. Immediately available to you are peak and average speed, power, and force. As a track and field coach who works mainly with sprinters, hurdlers, and horizontal jumpers, power is the main metric that I like to talk about on the 1080 Sprint. Especially during general prep and specific prep, I feel that power development and correct technical models will be the things we ideally want to set up for the foreseeable future.One of the main benefits of having a 1080 Sprint are the metrics you receive from each rep on the machine. Immediately available to you are peak and average speed, power, and force. Click To Tweet
The power metric itself is what athletes like the most during our early sessions. They very frequently hover behind me and ask to switch over to their workout page to see what the last rep looked like. Our male athletes generally like to see 2,000-watt peak outputs, while our female athletes get pretty excited about anything over 1,000 watts. This creates a great work and practice environment with the athletes. It also feeds right into what I try to do anyway, which is get them to be more powerful.
Due to the athlete’s need for competition and the quick feedback from the machine, we now utilize the feedback in the best way possible to get what we want out of the workout. I will also say, unlike velocity, using the power metric in practice does create a more competitive situation. While my short sprinters will have the fastest times, using the power metric gets kids to ask for more or the right resistance to increase their power output. It levels the playing field and also helps me steer the athletes toward their goals.
Video 2. Dual systems enable the optimal competitive training session, a popularized concept with teams that have two or more 1080 sprints. You can be very creative with individualized sessions for groups and make adjustments on the fly as needed.
As for using the other metrics, they are just as easy to check. I use the average speed and peak speed metrics to make sure we are within whatever percentage I want to be of their top-end speed through the distance we chose. When looking at dosages for volume for the day, I am much more general in the assigned workload because I know I have immediate feedback and metrics to help determine when their day is over.
As mentioned previously, I will have a follow-up article about which workouts I like to use and how, but due to the immediate feedback, I write the workout for the day with a larger difference between minimum and maximum reps. On an acceleration-based 1080 day, you may often see something like 8-12 total reps for that day with some people being stopped immediately at 8 when power output drops, or someone making it all the way to 12 because power and speed were still getting better. The immediate availability of the metrics makes it possible to make these decisions instantaneously.The immediate availability of the metrics on the 1080 makes it possible for coaches to make these decisions instantaneously. Click To Tweet
Cataloging and Reviewing Metrics
After the workouts are done for the day, there is an option to sync the 1080. I always choose to do this because it sends all the reps from every athlete to the cloud-based website, which then stores all the information under each athlete’s individual profile. Some of the things you can do are significantly easier once the information has synced to the website, and I find it more productive to do them when I have time in my office. Almost everything can be exported to your preferred method of cataloging information, whether that is Microsoft Excel or another software program.
When viewing the information on the website, you can break things down into segments to see the metrics for each rep. I personally like to work in 10-meter segments because that’s how I was taught to find stride length and stride frequency, along with 10-meter segment times being the gold standard in my mind. This, coupled with the ability to plot points to find force-velocity curves, gives you quite a bit to work with to determine what the continuing goals will be for each athlete.
I try to not spend too much time looking at a specific individual rep or even one session so I don’t get lost in the fact that the athlete could have just had a good or bad day. Having information stored from years, though, helps create a unique looking glass to see back into the past. I often go back and look at sessions from previous years at the same time in the training calendar to decide if we are on the right path or if I’m missing something. Going from one year to another is as simple as one click. This offers a truly unique ability to have quantifiable information easily accessible at all times.
Differences in Assisted vs. Resisted Workflow
While most of the information I have talked about so far has been through the lens of resisted work sessions, there do tend to be some differences when athletes perform an assisted or overspeed session. For simplicity’s sake, when we do assisted or overspeed sessions, I tend to not record the data in individual profiles. I know a lot of people who do, but when we do these sessions, I have already made decisions about the top-end velocity I want them to reach, or how long I want them to be towed distance-wise from the standpoint of assisted speed.
I am more likely to actually track the things I need to in these particular sessions through alternative means (video for foot contact time, Freelap cones for 10-meter splits, etc.). In these sessions, I usually pull up a random profile, tune the machine to the resistance I want that athlete pulled at for the start of the rep, set the zero point for the machine to stop pulling (I usually use at least 20 meters before they reach the machine), and just change the top speed it will pull to depending on the athlete. The benefit of this goes back to timeliness. I now accomplish everything I need to without adding any extra steps.
A Higher LevelThe 1080 Sprint gives you the ability to take your assisted and resisted workouts to a level that its predecessors could not achieve, says @jake_co. Click To Tweet
Overall, the 1080 Sprint’s workflow is very easy to navigate. With many options and solutions to look at depending on your situation, I think it is easy to see the many benefits available to users and the coaches behind the scenes. While it can seem like a daunting task compared to just throwing some sleds or weight vests on the track and telling your athletes to get to work, the tool itself provides the ability to take your assisted and resisted workouts to a level that could not be achieved by its predecessors.
Since you’re here…
…we have a small favor to ask. More people are reading SimpliFaster than ever, and each week we bring you compelling content from coaches, sport scientists, and physiotherapists who are devoted to building better athletes. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — SF