Did Carl Lewis lift weights?

Anyone can run faster. By Tom Tellez/1989/

At the Univerzity of Houston, strength training is an important part of our sprint training- both off-season and in-season. Our strength work concists of three primary typer of lifts (with free weights): the bench press to develop upper body strength, the back squat, to develop strength in the legs and back, and power clean or snatch to develop dynamic strength in both the lower and upper body.
As secondary training exercises we have our sprinters train with arm curls, hamstring curls, stomach curls and bent knee sit ups.These excercises isolate particular muscles that act as antagonists to those used in primary lifts and requre special excercises to avoid muscle imbalances.

when tom tellez was talking about the UH he was referring to the UH athletic/track team.although the UH track team and SMTC trained together he was referring to the UH team.

i kmow someone will say i’m wrong about this but the fact is that carl lewis did very little weights from 83-93.from 93 onwards he did do conditioning weights in the off-season but nothing major.his lifting ability was poor but did not effect his performances at all.

He is also qouted as saying that the year he lifted the most was the year he performed worst.

does TT’s weights regime seem slightly basic, compared to some of the weights exercises and and regimes talked about on this forum?

still, prob not right to judge their entire program on one statement. i wonder how much the weights program has been changed between then and now.

( … while - trying to concetrate …)

True DW - but remember that’s 1989 so to be fair it might be a little outdated?

the UH weight programme would be fairly similar to CF’s approach,basic with the necessities.the programme focus’ on bench press,back squat,power clean/snatch-the majority of effort in the workout is used on these three areas.these are primary exercises.

secondary exercises are bicep curls,h/s curls,abs/bent knee situps.periodization is also fairly similar to CF’s approach.the primary exercises would continue right the way throughout the season with different rep ranges of course.

I just can’t understand sprint programes that leave out reverse leg press or similar. Squats/cleans or curls just can’t develop the hams as well for sprinting. In reverse leg press, as in part of the sprint cycle, the hams contract both at the knee and the hip together. In squats/cleans or curls this obviously does not happen, and they develop seperately. Is this good enough?

Doesn’t Glute-Ham raise recruit the hammies in that manner (or is that considered similar to r leg presses)?

Personally i really don’t like the machine nature of reverse leg presses. GHRs feel like they get the hammies in the same way and i feel like the lack of planar stability is better. Or i could have been reading too many “functional strength” articles :slight_smile:

If you look at the action of the reverse leg curl your leg is in the recovery phase (in the air!) of the running action so why would you need such strength for this?

You need it to be fast and tight underneath but the power is put into the ground while the leg is quite straight - something like good mornings wil help develop this while also allowing the correct sequence of glute and hamstring activation.

Specific running drills wil help to develop the recovery leg technique. I jusy fel hamstring curls are a slow heavy exercise good for basic conditioning but not alot else. Dont forget the other exercises that need good hamstring strength like squats and cleans ans snatches - so they always get a good work out!

Just ask Jonathan Edwards - lifts 3 time per week - one main exercise per session and he can still turn it on down the runway!

Back to Carl Lewis and weights. I have no idea what his program was, but have heard alot. As I watched a meet on TV the other day (LJ), I was thinking about power to weight (body weight) ratios. I was thinking about Carl and his build compared to Ben, Linford, Andre Cason etc… And then I thought about Mike Powell and Johnathan Edwards.

It may be linked to jumping. How many great jumpers have upper bodies like 100m guys? Can they afford the weight when jumping? If Edwards can really clean what I have read on the old forum, he is very powerful in the weightroom as well as on the runway. But compare his build to a sprinter. I just think he avoids packing more weight than is absolutely necessary.


Well i dunno what the other threads have said but I have seen Edwards clean 145kg and hang snatch 105kg in recent months. For a guy of his size and weight that is some effort!

you do not have to be big to be explosive.that is 100% true about jonathon edwards and also he ran 10-4/10.5 for the 100m

I hear he’s done 152 this year!

Well either way its big lifting and shows you dont need to be a big guy, just powerful!I can find out what he has lifted if we are all that interested!

To add to this he does virtually no run up work any more just some lifts and plyos. i guess at his age and experience there is no need to over do it if what you are doing is working well! His gateshead no jump was measured at 17.98m on the video! not bad for a grey haired man almost a veteran athlete.

This is incredible for a man of his age and build. However, Jonathan’s recruitment must be up at around 90% of available motor units around the given joint, thus resulting in him constantly improving his oly lift pr’s…

I have both heard and read literature that Tom Tellez put Carl through a killer weight program in the winter of 1981 & 1982.
The weight program was known to improve his explosive-ness from the blocks(something Carl was not well know for)
Thus the reason why he acheived such fast 60 yard times in the 1981-1983 Indoor season.
His best times ranged from 6.02s(which is the Unoffical World Best for the Men’s Indoor 60 yard dash) to around 6.10s.

Originally posted by X-Man
you do not have to be big to be explosive.that is 100% true about jonathon edwards and also he ran 10-4/10.5 for the 100m

I seen a interveiw with edwards at the begining of the season, and he said that he has been breaking his personal best in lifting the weights all the time.