At what point is max. strength improvement not neccesary?

I know there prolly isn’t a exact number, but is there a point where improving your squat/deadlift/bench/lifting numbers not going to help you much on the track anymore? and is it more so relative to body weight/age?

You shouldn’t be striving and adjusting your training just to hit certain numbers anyway. Max strength gains (from a numbers perspective) should be, at best, a secondary concern from the program design geared towards better sprinting results. You could quite easily get to the numbers of many elite sprinters in little time, but it would do little good, quite likely plenty bad, for your sprint results because of the adjustments needed.

Maybe it’s the grammar, but this doesn’t make any sense. You are essentially saying that max strength has nothing to do with max speed. So why train at all? Would a sprinter be well served by increasing his max squat from 225 to 405? The majority of empirical evidence suggest yes, but you say no?

I didn’t say that at all, perhaps it is a reading comprehension issue.

There are plenty of sub 10 sprinters who could not squat 405lbs to parallel and many who could not squat even 2x bodyweight to parallel. Both of those numbers are quite modest and easily attainable numbers if someone specifically trains for max strength.

The caveat to this is obviously whether or not these numbers are easily reached within the context of someone aiming to sprint as fast as possible. Considering many individuals have improved and even run near WR level with relatively low levels of max strength, it should be obvious that specific focus on its development is not necessary nor even necessarily a good idea. That is not to say that improvements in max strength are worthless or will hinder somebody (because plenty of people have gotten stronger and improved), but it is necessary that those gains come within the context of a complete program that is focused on sprinting fast, not one that is focused on lifting as much as possible for 1 rep. If the goal is to improve strength, that can and will happen fairly easy, but often results in at best modest improvements (if any) in speed because of the lack of focus on other, more important, qualities.

The grammar is quite fine, but I’m open to potential errors in my writing that caused your misunderstanding.

What about RJ, he does little to no sprinting and mainly focus on the squat.

And I’m probably slow as hell right now. :smiley:

My power levels seem to be fine (I grazed my head on a 9’ ceiling from a dropstep in boots and without warming up), but I guarantee you that I’d need some time on the track before I could even match my old, weaker PRs.

Oh, and to the OP, improving max is important only as far as the volume required to do so doesn’t take away from the rest of the program. There are no specific numbers, but once you’ve got to start dropping track work to keep the weights moving, you’re being counterproductive.

Last year when I stopped squatting during the main part of the outdoor season, I ran a pb after 12 days of no squats. I continued that way for a bit and PBed more, just doing cleans, clean pulls, bench and pull ups. My squat had decreased as well over the previous 3-4 weeks by a bit.

I returned to squats only for 2 weeks, then didnt squat again till the final meet of the outdoor season (3 pbs). I had lost quite some pounds on my squat, went down to 225-245 for reps, from repping 275 easily and getting over 300 for one. My squats all improved now though, up to 335-345 for good reps.

Track Man it sounds like you deloaded from the squat and then took advantage of the strength gains. It is really all about peaking.

fogelson what sub 10 sprinters couldn’t squat 2x BW to parallel? Is this by choice? All elite sprinters naturally have great lower body relative strength - so I imagine if they wanted to they could squat 2x BW fairly easy. It is really tough to make gains in-season anyway, I’d just try to maintain and of course the actual sprinting/movement efficiency is priority #1.

To me if you are a shorter sprinter I think heavy strength training is a must. You don’t have those long levers, tendon/reactive strength to lean on as much. Kind of puts you at a disadvantage…

How strong does a short sprinter need to be?

Define wanted, please. Are you saying that they are actively trying to keep their max strength in the squat down? This post has to be a joke, sorry.

I assume he meant that if back squats to parallel were emphasized and prioritized as a key training stimulus in a particular athlete’s training program, they would be able to squat double their body weight. They obviously have the muscle fiber composition to squat good weight (perhaps not the anatomical advantages for the long-legged ones).

For a good number sprinters, back squats are not treated as a key exercise and they essentially go-through-the-motions on it. I see this all the time. The stimulus may be had from other exercises (jumps, throws, etc). You would have to examine the entire program to determine where they were getting their various contributions.

The question becomes, “Are deep heavy squats required to run fast?” The short answer is “no”, but this does not mean that heavy squats should not be a part of a program.

NumberTwo answered it very well and I was just curious how you came to the conclusion that plenty of sub 10 sprinters couldn’t squat 2x their bodyweight if they really wanted to?

I just feel a lot of elite sprinters have naturally strong legs, very lean, if they had motor efficiency in the squat I’m pretty sure 2x BW squat wouldn’t be that difficult for them.

Like I said, define wanted to. If you think either Bolt or Powell could squat >400lbs (double bodyweight) to parallel or below in a backsquat without significant work you are kidding yourself. Powell could barely do a lunge with handweights. If we look more generally at all sprinters, Muna Lee’s coach has said she could not even adequately handle bodyweight work when they initially began working together and she is still incredibly weak even after some years of training.

Everyone talks about fiber composition as-if it is the end all be all and there are plenty of sprinters that have lifted seriously that aren’t putting up great numbers by any means (even when they try). This is one of the worst misconceptions on the internet about sprint training, I think. If it was the case then there would be thousands of sub 10 guys on the internet and these forums because numerous people can squat 2x bodyweight to parallel with minimal to no training and have no hopes of even breaking 12, let alone 10.

**Minimal to no specific training in the squat. Just general strength training, not necessarily focused on improving 1rm.

I thought it was already answered, but if squats were of high priority I really don’t think 2x bodyweight squat would be impossible for many of them to achieve. I never even mentioned fiber composition or that a 2x BW squat would achieve a low time. I wish! Not so much form drilling, core strength, plyos, tempo runs, flexibility work, etc. 2x BW squat isn’t even that great…

I do think squats and other lower body strengthening has its place. It has helped me, specifically with an explosive start. I do believe it becomes a higher priority if you’re a shorter sprinter. With that said my sprints have almost always helped bring up my squat to a certain degree.

I didn’t say it was impossible. I said many do not have the strength right now and it would not be done easily by simply “learning” the movement. Plenty of sprinters know the movement and if neuromuscular efficiency was the only issue, then all of these guys should be able to squat 2x BW, but many can’t (or at least, not to a reasonable depth).

And I also didn’t say that resistance training does not have a place, it is just one role within a complete program and resistance training in general is not and should not be limited to lifting weights. Plenty of sprinters got strong enough to run sub 10 by doing hills, stadium stairs, plyos, throws, etc. It depends on the situation and it is a misconception to think that increased strength in lifts means faster times or that guys fast on the track will have big weightroom lifts, even with “learning” the movement.

The point I am trying to get through to you is that many people exaggerate what sprinters are capable of doing in the weightroom–or at least the context of those lifts (ie doing 1/4 squats not parallel squats)–and this leads to the belief that doing lots of heavy lifting (to the point of extreme excess) is going to help you run a faster 100m and it sadly won’t.

The US has long had somewhat of a max strength bias among coaches and I think a lot of this in recent years has to do with groups like WSBB and the powerlifters pretending that max strength is the be-all, end-all of training.

Nevermind that current PL’ing numbers are inflated with a combination of absurd gear and feds that pass bs lifts. They tend to talk the loudest and people who don’t know better listen.

As well, coaching in the weight room is relatively cleaner: you do X and the numbers either go up or they don’t. Makes it easier to see what’s working and/or claim that ‘My program works’ because you raised max strength to some arbitrary level.

At least compared to a bunch of interacting variables that go into sporting performance.

But outside of two sports, to whit PL’ing and OL’ing where what you do in the weight room IS the competitive movement, strength per se is, at best, a means to an end, not an end to itself.

People forget that last bit all too often.


Also, as Charlie has mentioned many, many times before, as performance levels in sprinting improve, strength levels expressed in the weight room tend to reflect power output on the track, rather than vice versa. Once your basic strength levels are established well enough to permit proper execution of the sprinting technique, speed development tends to lead strength development, or perhaps more accurately, strength expression (given the right circumstances of recovery).

In other words, Ben didn’t run sub 10 in the 100m because he could squat 600 pounds. Rather, he could squat 600 pounds because he could run sub 10.

I don’t believe people are exaggerating. We are simply stating that if their training program was directed to lifting heavier, we believe that they could lift heavier. This doesn’t mean that we are advocating it.

I don’t believe anyone in their right mind - if they happened to acquire Bolt and Powell as their athletes - would advocate that they squat heavy. Mo Greene easily full squatted over 400lbs, as did many others in his group who also ran under 10 seconds. Does this mean everyone should do it? No. It may reflect a preference by the coach, and it is not a question of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

For younger athletes, working on your squat could very well improve their start and acceleration - particularly if their strength levels are not great. Does this mean everyone should do it? Certainly not. It is a case-by-case assessment.

The art of coaching is making appropriate decisions given the circumstance placed before you (athlete type, personality, climate, facilities, group size, etc). I do get frustrated when people argue about black-and-white issues when there is so much gray area in training. Good coaching is about making good decisions, not following a plan or philosophy blindly.

As Flash cited, Ben did heavy squats and ran fast (not because of squatting heavy). It does go back to what Charlie outlines in his lecture DVD’s - you have different options and different means of eliciting training effects. Squatting is a tool and, in some cases, may even be an indicator. As we found out in another thread, deadlifting is a tool. Is one better than the other - who really knows from an absolute point of view? If you don’t have a squat rack, I’d say perhaps deadlifting is an option. Same if you are Quasimodo.

Others may throw a med-ball or rely on jumps. I remember when Charlie and I were back in North Carolina doing a seminar (that’s where we met Flash and Pioneer), we had dinner with what was then one of the top female sprinters in the world and her coach. We found out that she didn’t lift heavy, but did hundreds upon hundreds of reps of jumps and plyos. She looked pretty freakin’ strong and scary to me. She did kind of scare us.

If people are out there advocating deep heavy squats for mature athletes to get faster, well that’s unfortunate. But I do believe that people on this forum are much more intelligent than to purport that squatting leads to a fast 100m.:cool: