5/3/1 for strength program?

For those training for sprints wanting to build strength for speed, do you think Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 maybe a good fit?

I did watch Weights for Speed video, and I learned a lot about the principles, but I haven’t comprehended it enough to apply it myself. It seems like it takes a lot of autoregulation, like if the track workouts were super fast (high CNS demand), or one is too flat (CNS burned out) one should reduce or drop weights and all.

I am not competent enough to make those kind of decisions, and I see with 5/3/1 although there’s a routine, the weights are conservative because you’re using 90% of 1rm weight and the percentages are pretty easy. Only part where it can really be challenging is the set three, where you will do as many reps as possible, so it is like a built-in autoregulation. For example, for week 2 90% x 3+ workout, one can do three reps if fatigued, or maybe if one is full of energy can do maybe five reps.

It also sort of goes along with CF idea of training in that it also uses 3 weeks of intensification and 1 week of deload.

Can this be a good fit and possible guide to follow?

Not a good idea kwave; particularly regarding lower body weight training. The reason is because 5/3/1 works off of a sub-max figure, say 90% of an actual maximum. This then makes for higher attainable reps on the repetition maximum attempts at 70, 80, 90% which would result in substantial soreness/stiffness for the sprinter which, again regarding the legs, is a substantial liability for muscle pull during speed work.

Upper body weights not as significant of a liability, however, I definitely advise against it for any lower body weights.

In the summer of 2009 I thought you did something similar with your skill guys at pitt?

Indeed my post was a reference to trial and error. I realized the error when I had athletes half squatting double bodyweight for 15-20 reps. Clearly not a knock against the program’s efficacy for lifting more weight, however, not a smart move for the sprinter.

Granted this was during an off-season so I was in control of everything (hence no soft tissue problems arose), however, that was the last time that happened.

I guess the problem for many people is that Charlie never really made any recipes for anything and this is a problem for a lot of people looking for answers.

Taking theory and applying is not easy for sure. Or taking an idea and applying it when the moving targets are many.

I am always curious about how people feel and I am also curious about if each of you know what it feels like to feel fantastically fast and strong and regenerated?

Now I guess many people have dug such deep holes for themselves they don’t even know how they feel. Or I also think feeling is for sucks and feeling is second to doing.

In fact many of the players I’ve met outside of track seemed to have a pretty strong intuition about their bodies. We are not conditioned in NA to feel. There are so many aids in our diets like sugar and caffeine and over the counter pharma to quickly negate what is felt and override those feelings so we can work more and harder. Quality is often NOT the guiding principle.

I’m surprised that they went up to 15-20 reps when they were supposed to do “five reps or more” on 85% of their 1rm (of which is 90% of true 1rm, but still)

If those excessively reps are the concern, what do you think? maybe use slightly heavier weight than recommended, or finish few reps short? (if you’re doing “five reps or more” of 85% on squat, and you feel like you can do ten, but only doing eight)

If I don’t go over 8 reps and avoid getting sore and stiff, would there be no problem in doing so? I think maybe keeping it few reps short might account for the fact the stress of sprinting iteself, which powerlifters don’t have to worry about.

Yes, applying theory requires much more understanding than what I have, and the “art” aspect is so difficult especially.

I know my intuition for how my body feels is very distorted. How I feel and how I actually perform (relative to my recent previous performances) doesn’t really seem to match up.

My diet isn’t perfect (nowhere near high standard diet I’ve seen on Jane Project video), limited by lack of time and budget, but I still see it as being much better than most people. Remembering to drink water frequently as possible, fruits and vegetables, lean meat, etc.

I don’t drink any coffee or high caffeine drinks and though I can’t say I don’t eat any sugary foods, I don’t really add sugar to anything pretty much.

I wonder if having proper intuition is something you have to be born with or is it something you have to learn under someone that’s more experienced in the matter? I would love to learn to have it if it’s something that’s possible.

If you use more weight then the workouts probably wouldn’t be submax anymore. I usually don’t use %'s because each day is different - 80% will feel different every single day. If I decide to use %'s Dr. Stone cycles are usually good for low level sprinters.

I wish I had such a sharp intuition like that.

Intuition is just responding to what the body is telling you. Sometimes in the gym a certain weight is feeling heavier than normal. Like if you lift following speed, it feels harder than a pure weights session. This is the risk with a % based model. In the earlier example, the gap in capability could be large rendering the % redundant or changing the dynamic of the workout entirely.

I suggest you keep the lower weights very simple. During accumulation the reps can go from 8-10 down to 6-8 over the 3-5 week phase then during max strength you work between 3 and 6 reps depending upon the athlete (the stronger they are the better off you’re going with a few more reps to keep the bar weight from getting extreme). If you’re doing Olympic lifts then I suggest not going above 5 or 6 reps no matter how light they are then working down to doubles or triples

Remember, the weights, especially the conventional movements (squat, bench, row, deads, cleans, snatches) are essentially general exercises for the sprinter (though the cleans and snatches transfer more closely to the first couple steps) so no need to spend to much cognitive energy on them.

Off topic - I’m gonna play around with mid thigh pulls and counter move shrugs when I move my training into the weight room. Thoughts?

Better for me to provide my thoughts on your rational for using the exercises, versus just the naming the exercises without your rational for using them.

The same reasons you listed above on the positives of using ol’s lifts (transfer more closely to the first couple steps). Also the cold weather won’t allow for high quality speed work I would like to experiment with a moderate dose of pulls etc. Now I must get 5 hrs of sleep.

In the interest of sprint work substitutes due to climate and limited training space (ergo no quality indoor facility), I would first recommend specialized jumps, with and without starting blocks, bounds, and power speed. As for the weights, you’ll want to match or closely approximate the joint angles associated with block clearance and the first few steps so pulling off of blocks or pins is certainly an option provided you make the appropriate adjustments. As for the counter movement shrug, or jump shrug variant, the joint positions there more closely approximate upright running; however, the dynamics of muscle contraction are phenomenally slower on the shrug in comparison to GCT at max V. Therefore, I’d just some spin bike work (even better if they have a power meter on them), with the seat high for max V stimulus or the seat low for acceleration stimulus.

I played around with the bike in 2005 but I wasn’t a fan unless the athlete has a lower body injury that keeps them from running… I played around with various seat positions and resistance settings - lower seat setting and higher resistance for acceleration and higher seat and lower resistance for max v etc. Mon/Sat will be squatting/pressing while Thur will be pulling. Cleans and snatches aren’t a option, I’ll experiment with podium trap bar deadlifts, mid thigh pulls, and counter movement shrugs on my pulling days. When I return to my normal track work in the spring I will put a heavy focus on getting my acceleration back, I’ll probably spend 3-4 months on heavy acceleration work its been a major weakness…

So will you be able to sprint despite the cold weather? I understood that you would not be sprinting during the cold months.

I’m going to man up and sprint in the dark cold weather, I done it in the past but I had more motivation because of races etc. The outline I posted in the OT had me performing submax speed work in the winter 15-30m int limit and higher intensity sprint work will take place in the power block when the weather warms up right before my field testing and “real” gpp.

I’ll probably have 2 speed days 60mins per session probably more alactic capacity work in blk 2 (cold weather).

Blk 1: 10 reps… All runs 80% (buildups and tempo type runs)
Blk 2: 6 reps… All runs 90% (wk 1-4 60, 30m hills, wk 5-8 in/outs, 30m hills) 2x speed
Blk 3: 3 reps… All runs 95-100% ( starts, flys, 60) 3x speed

Understood, in that case the only comment I’d make is to be cautious with the purely linear approach you’ve listed with respect to blk 1, 2, and 3. If I’m understanding what you’ve listed correctly you are going from 10 reps, to 6, to 3 without supportive volumes to maintain a certain overall volume of speed work (as sub-max as it might be) throughout that reduces much more incrementally. Granted you didn’t list the distances of the reps in blk 1 so it is feasible that you could plan the distances in blk 2 and 3 to sustain a certain overall volume.

In summary, be mindful of the overall weekly volume of speed work from block to block and be cautious about planning any substantial reductions or increases in volume from one week to the next.

Remember these speed/running sessions will be very causal. The only goal I’m trying to achieve is to get my body some what use to sprinting again so my spring gpp won’t be a total shocker. I’m using a pure linear approach because I feel like that’s all I need right now, I would like to milk all the simple shit before moving to anything advance.

The running volume in block 2 will be much higher then block 3 because the intensity of the runs are much lower - for example blk 2 runs will top out at 8x60 walk back recovery and blk 3 60’s will probably top out at 4-5x60 at full recovery.

Don’t understand what you are asking about the 10 reps, to 6, to 3 without supportive volumes to maintain a certain overall volume of speed work? The 10-6-3 reps are only for the primary lifts.