Anyone here not do weights at all?

Just curious as to how many athletes here (if any) rely on hills, circuits and plyos solely for strength training? If so list your alternate strength training techniques here :slight_smile:

I personally lift weights but I am curious how many use different forms of strength training.


Hi Chris:

I’ve gone through some timeframes without weights because of lower back issues that flare up from time to time.

During those times, I do what I can with plyometric work, isorobic pulls and/or hill work. Also some bodyweight stuff: mostly pushups, pullups, single leg squats, lunges.

The biggest difference I notice between times when I’ve been on weights and off weights is on starts. I start better when I’m working weights.

Thanks for your reponse :slight_smile:

How do you find your top speed and speed end when off weights?


I definitely notice a huge difference between lifting weights and not lifting weights. When I don’t squat, my legs feels “heavy” when attepting to run or jump. When I squat at certain amount of weight (or magic number which in case it’s for me 315lbs), i noticed that my legs feel a lot lighter. Keep squatting…

Depending on your level of conditioning weights can make a huge difference. If you already run 10.3 I’m not sure how much of a difference it would make but if you run say 12s hundred it will probably make quite a big impact. Then again at 10.3 you arn’t going to improve that much more anyway so adding weights is probably one of your last resorts.

I thing weights are especially important for girls. Even without OLs and Plyos just squatting and general bodybuilding exercises will make you considerably faster and more endurant.

Of course be careful, extra work in the weight room will have to be compensated for by less on the track or better recovery. You need the right balance.

Last year I almost completely stopped lifting for the summer…I had the exact same question as you and figured “what the hell?”. I powerlift at meets occasionally and have done 450 squat, 550 deadlift, 320 bench at like 193 bodyweight. I was running 11.1s and mid 22s.

I stopped lifting for like 3 months, got down to around 180. I ran a meet late in the summer, felt like crap and ran like 11.96 and 11.67 in finals. For me that explained the importance of lifting.

What gets me is that I hear stories all the time about people who didn’t really lift (Carl Lewis?) but still run blazing times. I don’t get it.

When you stopped lifting did you do any other strength or strength end work like hills, plyos, tows etc?


ps- The reason I am asking is that I know several guys (One I am training with now and one I trained with years ago) that did next to no weights but were still relatively fast. One was (10.9, 22.XX, 49.XX)

The other ran as quick as 47 seconds for 400m but I am not sure what weight work he did back then.

All their strength work was on hills or the track and they could typically get 3 quality sessions in a week with tempo or pool on low intensity days.

As I said before, I noticed a difference in acceleration, but I don’t think it affected top speed or speed endurance much. That’s hard to evaluate, though, because you never know what it would have been if weights had been done. Based on times in training and racing, I just didn’t see much drop off there, but I did see a difference in how quickly I was able to reach top speed.

There have been times when I have lifted weights and times when I haven’t. Once again, it had the biggest impact on my starts. During a short cycle, I once focused on an allmost “Bulgarian lifting” approach. Full Oly squats for reps of 2 with puase at the bottom and powercleans for 1 and 2 rep sets. My first 4-5 strides were powerfull but after that I felt nothing which was as dissapointing, if not more so than not having a good start but reaching high peak v. During times that I have not lifted weights, my peak speed has not slowed down, but only becuase I’ve had more time to spend on other things such as postural and core work and plyometrics. The less I lift weights, the more I work on everything else and I guess I’ll just have to learn to incorperate ALL that is neccessary. Add Daley Thompsom to your list of people who did not lift weights but was world class (Decathlete with a 10.2 100 meters and over 8 meter long jump, 2 x Olympic decathlon champ.) Nevertheless, he did lots of bodyweight circuits with simple squat thrusts, sit ups, push ups and chins + training for 10 differant events. I guess it’s really about finding a program that is simmultaniously time economical, conveniant and effective and we all have slightly differant life styles. :slight_smile: Now, people who are not busting out 500+ pound squats may lose there confidance about weight training when comparing themselves to athletes that can move those kind of weights. It is the athletes with less weight training ability that most often question the weight training. I think that is reasonable, becuase if you’re not doing huge squats after many years of trying you may very well want to consider if there are other exercises that develope as much athletic power/speed. There are SO many differant ways to develope athletic power and speed. For starters, if u stop the weights, you MUST include plyometrics which can match the FORCE (in differant ways), of weight training.

Good posts guys :slight_smile:

I guess it comes down to an evaluation of your current weaknesses and then making adjustments as necessary.

I am wondering what program would net better gains.

  1. 3 high intensity sessions a week with two tempo/circuit sessions. NO weights: (1 hill/plyo, 1 power, 1 max V)

  2. 2 high intensity sessions a week with weights afterwards and 2 tempo sessions
    (1 power/weights, 1 max V/weights)


I have the same problems as yours. But the thing is that I only do wieghts for about 2 - 3 months and then I forget about weights. Its all about lazyness!! But then when I’m on weights my times aren’t that well. When I’m off weights I keep on breaking. You see, I still believe in weights and that I should put a well developed year round training program. I feel like the good times come cause there is more CNS room for the sprints when I’m off weights. But I’m sure I can get better results with the complete year round of training everything together. Haven’t tried yet!


When I stopped lifting, I didn’t really increase my volume of other work (sprints, tempo) nor did I compensate with any tows or hill runs.

I will agree with everyone else in that I think weight training shows the most benefit early in the race.

This picture proves otherwise. Old computer games don’t lie - Or do they?

How strong are you naturally cause a lot of it is going to depend on that. I notice the guys who get fast without lifting are just naturally strong. To a large extent they already have what the average person is getting from weights. For instance, someone like a Carl Lewis may not have lifted but you could take a month and teach him how to squat correctly and I’d be surprised if he’s not putting up ~400 lbs plus in a half squat. That strength didn’t come from squats he already had it.

Then you got someone like me, who was not even half that strong after a month of lifting and someone who required 5 years of solid training to build up a decent strength (and size) base. I know from experience if I stopped lifting my acceleration could not be maintained with hills and sleds because i’d be losing too much strength.

yes, i have a friend that runs 11.26/22.3/48.66 and in two sessions could lift 300lbs of weight for 5 reps with ease, when he had never done any weights prior, he weighs 150lbs btw and is 17.

What did his track work consist of? It would be interesting to see what kind of on track strength work he did prior.


While this is certainly true for some, I believe Carl Lewis is a bad example. Some accomplished sprinters are actually weaker than the average person (in the weightroom). Strange as it may seem.

good guestion -again- Chris!

i suppose it depends on your training background, your current status (and lifestyle) and how much these allow you to have an X number of quality sessions

and your age, i suppose, since your recovery might be slower, which means you need not only more time for your CNS to recovery, but other sessions (e.g., tempo) and means (e.g., massage) to speed it up; so in this case, if the 3rd speed sessions is not of high quality as it should be, then two, but good ones should produce optimal results

it’s a highly individualised issue, i suppose and close monitoring of responses should stir you into the right direction


Ha ha, yes Daley Thompson was the number one pin up for early track and Olympic computer games, I guess some computer games probably had him doing cannoing and archery for all I know :slight_smile:

The massage and recovery options available is a good point!

I dont really have the massage or EMS option available to me. (Due to cost and time constraints)

What I have noticed is that if I do very low volumes of weights and focus more on strength development using hills/bodyweight circuits I seem to be able to handle a much higher frequency and intensity of running. (still alternating low/high intensity of course)

Now I am 31 years old and only recently gotten back into training so this might not apply to a younger athlete.

I think where I have such a strong background in weight training (about 18 years now) that I am really able to kill my CNS during a weight training session and thus hinder my recovery for on track sessions.

(It sometimes takes me over 10 days to recover from a deadlifting or squat session and I am only deadlifting 2.0-2.25 x BW)