Charles Poliquin question?

Does he use body part splits when training his athletes? I seen one of the splits he uses is Day1-Chest/Back,Day2-Legs,Day3-0ff,Day4-Arms and Shoulders,Day5-off…i was just curious if that’s how he trained his athletes or if he used a total body approach with them?

It changes based on the athlete and training phase. I think he discussed this in his t-nation interview recently. I can elaborate if necessary.

Sure if you don’t mind, i’d like to hear more.

I discussed this with a colleague yesterday, and the only way it makes any sense is as the technical training comes to a peak (closer to competition), the shift to full body training allows for more complete development (as an organism/structure) of the qualities most specific to the athlete (also more local/total recovery theoretically; my question here relates to the difference in CNS stress). I think it’s difficult to apply his methods to a “normal” athlete with a normal training schedule and multiple coaches (sport, S&C, etc.), but it works, at least theoretically, if you can manage all training variables.

Poliquin’s thinking seems to be that to overload the elite athlete, the split approach is the method that works most effectively to different movements/lifts. Of course, this is not taking into account the athlete as a whole and this thinking is more popular with bodybuilders. If any coach could possibly (with emphasis) make a split system work, I think Poliquin’s understanding of program design makes it possible. I haven’t taken his Level II and up courses, but from my understanding he may include power/strength movements in the beginning of a split routine (eg Power Snatches before a Shoulders/Arms training session) thus further differentiating his system from a traditional “bodybuilder” split.

Hope that helps.

Poliquin mentions using a body-part split (movement splits in my experience) in early phases and then possibly moving into total body sessions as the athletes near and then enter into their competitive seasons.

This info corresponds well with my experience with noted sports scientist and coach Dr. Michael Stone who has written much over the years with regards to non-linear, undulating periodization methods.

His weekly breakdown during gpp and early to mid spp was(maybe is) as follows:Pushes(squats/presses) on Mon and repeated on Friday at lower intensities and Pulls(olympic and related lifts) on Wed. and a different pull day altogether on Sat. It might exist as clean related lifts on W and snatch related lifts on Sat.

As the athlete nears the competition phase, the number of days goes from 4 to three lifting days and become total body sessions. Early phase pulls are mostly mid thigh pulls, clean or snatch grip shrugs(with a leg kick) and pulls from the floor. Over time his athletes move away from the partial pulls and into the snatches or cleans.

I’d like to add that in early phases maybe the first two four week blocks of sixteen total weeks, the squat intensities tend to be higher early on and then as olympic lift intensities are rising the squat or general strength intensities come down a bit.

This goes well with the model of increasing general strength early on and then backing down a bit while increasing the intensities of the more purely power related exercises. Hypertrophy to general strength to power.

Which Stone work was this taken from (text, other)? I’d love to read through it.

I was a student under him at App. State. Univ. I used to have entire handouts of what he would do over 3-4 4 week blocks with track and field athletes. Not sure where they are at this point.

Thanks for sharing that info. I don’t train with bodybuilding splits, but i was just curious if you feel there really that bad for an athlete? Wouldn’t exercise selection be of more importance then whether you use a Total Body,Upper/Lower, or Bodybuilding split? Like for example say Day1-Chest/Back…you use…Bench Press,Pull Ups,Pushup Variation, and Bent Over Row, is that really a bad workout considering that all four of those exercises are what i like to call “money” exercises? Before i babble on any longer, i guess what i am asking is, is exercise selection more important then the style of training split you use?

By isolating bodyparts he can stress the complete muscle more intensely

I always hesitate to say one method is “better”/more important, but yes exercise selection is very important. But then again, so is rep bracket, # of sets, recovery between sets/training sessions, etc. It sounds like you are on the right track regarding the split approach though.

Can the lack of “CNS” stress be thought of as a positive for the sport training or is it more distracting? For instance, wouldn’t a hard snatch/shoulders.arms workout make it difficult to complete technical training later/the next day?

What Technical Training?

Sport training, etc.

I take it you guys have read this by now.

Yes, it was my understanding that we were to elaborate on that piece. I’m also trying to piece this together (along with no23, etc).

Well I was being a small bit scarastic to be honest Daniel.

Charles himself will readily admit that he is not a technical or long jump coach - he’s paid to get people strong. Period.
So the Technical end of things is not an issue really.
Even with people like David Boston, Charles did NO speed work as far as I can recal, so again the technical end of things is not an issue.
As for splits - its quite simple - he favours as BBing style split to optimise the CNS and the MS systems.

You haven’t done it because no one has done it as there is no Level 2 at all.

He has not even finished the course outline or manual.

That’s right. I forgot about that.

Cool, that’s what i thought at 1st but no-one seems to be referencing it.

What are the views on his argument that splits allow a greater number of sets per session to be done making it more effective?

It seems to me that there will be a conflict with volume/session vs frequency. A high volume (of one particular body part) should clearly produce great strength increases session-to-session but how much of this is transferable to the athletes sport? Where i’m coming from is, if relative strength is developed my motor learning does the additional volume of a split system really just increase strength in the lifts being performed as opposed to increasing organism strength which may be more effectively achieved by means of little and often method (full body 3x/week)?

Absolutely correct. Like pieces of a puzzle, just putting more time to each section doesn’t mean you can put the whole thing together. It’s definetly worked in the past, and I think by analyzing such programs (Poliquin’s and others) is how we will take the next steps in program design/performance.

All true - but Poliquin focuses on muscle strength and muscle building - per muscle, muscle group, so the work-load is not as big an issue - and with no extra technical work - more volme can be completed more frequently.