ascending/descending training

I have begun using the ascending/descending strength method to supplement my sprint training.The reason I’m doing it is that i feel I was lazy with the weights for my GPP and I want to gain some power before its too late. I do speed work 2-3 times a week and I plan to do the weights twice a week after the speed. I have a few questions regarding it though:

  1. Is it too late to start this program now? ( I start competing in about 3 weeks)

  2. Is this program combined with speed work too intense? how should I modify it if this is the case?

  3. has anyone used this method before and was it effective?

Thank you

i have used the cad program with success and three wk is about the time frame i had. I wouldnt do no more then 2 speed session and keep the volume no higher then 360. if you can post your weight lifting volume that would help.

Thanks for the reply. I started on friday and did: 3x10 step-up jumps
3x10 hurdle hops
3x10 jump squats @ 20% of max full squat
4x5 hang snatch @ 75%
3x7 full squat @ 70%

I was thinking of removing the step-up jumps to save some energy, thoughts?

Ascending/descending, does that refer to the number of reps incorporated into each set? Sorry for the niavity!!

yes i would remove the stepup jumps. i dont have a problem with hurdle hops, jump squats but decrease the vol on the hs and squats.

ol= no more then 3reps
squats = no more then 5, but i would lean more towards 2-4range.

force curve, one day go from fast to slow another day slow to fast:

mon: ascending
depth jumps

fri: descending

Just to clarify, didn’t CT eventually come out and say that he wouldn’t do the speed after the strength anymore (descending)?

yes he did, but he still use the cad believe it or not. i like the system myself, my vj and short sprint times went through the roof

No it refers to the order in which you do the exercises. day 1 you start with the speed exercises and work up to the squats, on day 2 you start with the squats and finish with the jumps. google canadian ascending/descending training for more info.

(This is the vertical jump/power/speed training program I was talking about in the other thread.)

Canadian Ascending - Descending Power Training

By: Chris Thibaudeau

Canada is a land of many strength training legends. Maybe it’s the frozen tundra and the dark forests we live in or the fact that we have to carry a shovel and dig our way to work in feet of iced snow. Either way, there has been a lot of good strength training advice coming from our side of the border. No doubt that you’ve heard about such Eskimos as Charles Poliquin or Charlie Francis. It’s possible that you also are aware of the existence of a Polar Bear named Pierre Roy. Well, for every well-known Canadian strength coach out there, there is a dozen more just as good that still dwell in the dark, unknown or unrecognized by most strength adepts. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the strength coaching profession is not as respected and revered here as it is on your side of the border or in Europe. Regardless, there are great coaches around that do have some unique training methods worthy of being added to our training codex.

Such a man is strength coach Jean Boutet. A mountain of a man who was himself a strength powerhouse and a **** good football player in his youth. This man, rugged in style and crude of words (great blues singer too!) has produced time after time incredibly powerful athletes in all the range of athletes. From youngsters to master athletes, from synchronized swimmers to football linemen. His training approach is simple, to the point and extremely effective … to say the least!

Probably his greatest achievement as a strength coach is the training of Pascal Caron, the break man for the Canada 1 bobsled team. At the training camp Pascal turned some heads after he bench pressed 425lbs at a body weight of 175lbs (without a bench shirt or any mechanical aid/recoil gear) and ran the 60m in 6.36 (0.02 sec. faster than the actual World Record by Maurice Greene of 6.38). Among other things, he has power snatched 100kg (hang snatch actually) and hang cleaned 130kg for a triple. At a pro football combines a few years back he also bench pressed 225lbs 33 times and ran a 4.17 / 40.

Coach Boutet’s accomplishments are not limited to Pascal as he is currently training dozens of hockey players from midget up to pros (NHL and AHL), he also trains over 70 football players and dozens of other elite athletes from various sports. He is also a great football coach. Last season he was coaching two teams, one High School team and one Collegiate team and both won the provincial championship (equivalent of the state championship) and both were undefeated for a combined 24 - 0!!!

Okay, this is not a eulogy or a biography, you will get some useful training info! Specifically I will expose you to one of Coach Boutet’s most effective, yet simple, training method. The “ascending-descending” method. This method is aimed at improving lower body power to its maximum level. It is simple, brutal, and unbelievably effective.

The nuts and bolts

The method is simple. It uses a series of exercises, each different in nature in regard to the F = ma equation. It will use one pure slow-speed strength exercise (or limit strength exercise), one strength-speed exercise, one speed-strength exercise, one reactive strength exercise and one bounding exercise.


  1. Full back squat / Front squat
  2. Hang snatch / Hang clean
  3. Jump squat
  4. Hurdle jumps / Depth jumps
  5. Step up jumps

The workout is done twice per week. The first time you start with no.5 and work up to no.1 (ascending training). In the second training you start with no.1 and work your way down to no.5 (descending training). This way, you emphasize the high speed movements once and the slower speed movements with a greater strength component once also. This will allow you to get an incredibly powerful and explosive lower body!

Program design

While it’s not set in stone, I recommend using a 3-1 approach to this training. This means that you increase the volume during the first 3 weeks, then cut it down drastically during the fourth week to allow the body to surcompensate. During week 3 you should be at the end of the line … you should be tired and somewhat fatigued (although not excessively). Performance-wise that third week is your lowest point (keep that in mind!), but during the fourth week you get better and better and when you start a new

4 weeks cycle you are much improved compared to the first cycle. This progression is maintained for 3 cycles.
Here’s what a sample program might look like. You’ll notice that I do not write the reps, sets and load immediately. Right after the workout description there will be a list of periodization tables for each exercise explaining how much to do every week. BTW, the exercises are not supersetted, you do all the sets for exercise one then move on to exercise two etc.

OK, i will remove the step-up jumps, Why do you think I should start with heavier squats and snatches though? I feel i would benefit more by working up to heavy weights after a few weeks as I am fairly new to weights (about 6 months on and off ). Also can I continue with this at low volume throughout the season? thank you.

How did you set up your microcycle to include sprints?

i wouldnt use the cad during the season if ur a sprinter. just bc ur doing lower reps dont mean the weight is heavier you could be doing 6x5x70, 7x3x80 etc. i perfer to keep the vol low when using the cad method with track workouts.

OK I get you, so your saying do lower reps but not using max weights. I need some power though, thats why I’m considering doing it for at least part of the season.

remember when during the cad program most of ur gains wont come till 2-3 wk after u complete the program. if used during the season be careful wit cns burnout, i heard of bobsled guys using this method during the season.

I will adjust the program as I feel I need to and see how it goes, maybe cut down to 2-3 exercises if I’m tired. Thanks for all the advice.

CT comment about the cad program:

“I use it stil, but now mostly as an in-season program. My off-season programs might include 1 phase of CAD but not much more than that. I still use the same concept (training the whole strength spectrum) but with other methods and means”.


  1. Back squat

  2. Romanian deadlift

  3. Power snatch from hang

  4. Jump squat

  5. Depth jumps


  1. Bench press

  2. Push press

  3. Weighted chins

  4. Barbell rowing


  1. Depth jumps

  2. Jump squat

  3. Power snatch from the hang

  4. Romanian deadlift

  5. Back squat

The number of reps/sets/weight varied depending on the training phase. But it was normally 3-4 sets per exercise, 3-5 reps for the strength and power movements and 10 reps for the plyo work.

Bench press max (32" grip, no bench shirt):
1996: 363lbs
2002: 425lbs
Difference: +62lbs

Full back squat (thin olympic lifting belt):
1996: 484lbs
2002: 505lbs
Difference: +21lbs

1996: 186lbs
2002: 170lbs
Difference: -16lbs

30m (FAT: First Action Timing/timer starts when athlete starts)
1995: 3.63s.
2002: 3.42s.
Improvement: - 0.21s.

60m (FAT: First Action Timing/timer starts when athlete starts)
1995: 6.56s.
2002: 6.36s.
Improvement: - 0.2s

Bobsleigh push test
1995: 6.09s.
2002: 5.09s. (world record at the time)
Improvement: -1.0s

ask him how PowerDrive promotes CNS recovery.