"General Strength of the organism" concept

I remember reading a quote from Charlie that said something like:

“The main contribution of upper body strength is to the general strength of the entire organism”

I’m still kind of struggling to understand this.

For example, bench press is meant to ‘contribute to the general strength of the organism’.

How does this influence sprinting speed?

If you trained almost exclusively lower body and pretty much neglected upper body, why would you get sub-optimal results?

I honestly believe the bench press may be the best weight training exercise for a 100m sprinter. I’m just drawing from my own experiances.
My sprint times never correlated all that well with increases in squat lifts for example.

But whenever the bench lift was in my program I increased my speed.

I don’t go to the gym anymore for various reasons and I don’t have a heavy duty powerlifting bench and olympic barbell at home.

I have since dropped all weights work and now do more running drills etc. (not a tip, as that bit’s not relevant to this thread for starters, but please read on.)

If I was able to add one weights exercise to my program it would be the bench press. (followed possibly by dumbell rows.)

Your muscle fibres in lower body are allready taxed from the running work. Any further training - even damage - may compromise effect on those fibres and what they are to adapt to. (Remember that most athletes at sub elite leval are so desperate to add leg strength that they often go overboard on reps x % of 1 rep max, exercise variaion and volume, in order to try and build strength, often making mistakes.)
The bench press however, is less likely to interfere with the most important fibres in running, but can still give a good stimulation to the central nervous system. (Most peoples bench is WAY over half of their squat.)

There are other factors in my opinion;

It is easier to recruit a large % of fibres from upperbody muscles in upper weights work, than same % of lower body fibres from lower weights work.
weights is a little better at developing upper body strength than lower body strength, yet another reason why upperbody weights work is easily as effective as lower weights work for the sprinter, in my opinion.

The stimulated c.n.s (stronger body) without further compromise on lower body, whilst developing upperbody strength directly -which in turn helps sprinting arm mechanics- which effects rest of body in sprinting - also helps improve rest of bodies strength etc.

I’m in no way the expert on this, but this is my logic and way of seeing it, plus like you, I have a lot of training experiance of differant programs over the years.
I’m sure Charlie or other may pin point the facts for you better if need be.

“The crossover effect of training (with all means except EMS) means that every muscle that is strengthened leads to the strengthening of every other muscle in the body. This phenominon allows you to spread the training load across the whole body, not just on the legs and back. Once you accept this, then it is clear that total useable power output will be greater when the whole body is involved in the strengthening process”(Evil)

TheOne: Wow. Have you got any more detailed info about this effect?

Goose: Thanks for the very thoughtful reply, completely made sense.

Do you feel you are getting stronger (ie. weightroom-strong type) from drills etc? When you hit a plateau will you move to weights?

You can read more about this in the first Forum Review available on the site.

I’m not sure if this is the one Charlie means or if Charlie is referring to the E-book.


Search - advanced search …

Key words; Organism Strength

“Search titles only.” (not whole threads)

Leads to above link.
Come to think of it, I’m going to have a look through that thread again. :slight_smile:
It’s still at the top of the Strength forum.

Yes, I feel I am increasing my power from drills etc.
I feel more powerfull, though I no longer measure it in the weights room, so I can’t say “weightroom-strong type” as you have written. But yes, i do feel more powerfull sometimes, than before. I don’t think anybody is going to constantly feel more powerfull, becuase ofcourse, you get used to your new leval of power. (beginners are sometimes in AWE at their new feeling of power, then they get used to it. I’m no where near a beginner, 19-20 years of training under my belt, since I was 11 years old.)
But yes, a few days after a session, into my new training approach, I get the feeling of greater power than before. (More powerfull punches for example, even though they are not the main goal of my program).
The other day I did some chin ups (not a particularly regular feature of my program) and was pleasantly suprised by the ease, for example. (Charlie himself has mentioned how speed on the track can push up the weights in the gym. He also has mentioned Ben Johnsons Bench press PR, which was a few days before Bens 100m pr on the track in Olympic final. )

Both these facts tally up with what we’re talking about and some of my experiances I typed in my first post. Mainly, that lower body weight training is not the first or main step on the training plate to improved speed.
That other exercises such as upperbody weights can be just as usefull (In my opinion, MORE usefull than lower body weights.) Also, that speed work/track work also improves strength.

I would certainly stick the bench press in your program though (if not allready a feature), if you go to the gym.

Re: THEONES post

Because of this cross-over effect it is a huge bonus that you can make your legs stronger by working on your upperbody. This is a fantastic effect and you can and should use this knowledge when you taper for an event.

FWIW, my hand speed & juggling ability go way up when I’m peaking in either bench or SQ.

Can this “General Training Effect” apply to Tempo as well?

e.g. by substituting bodyweight circuits, medball circuits etc for tempo, will this acheive the general effects of the tempo (running) sessions.