How quick do we lose speed without squats?

A hypothetical: Athlete been squatting for years and years, and is quite strong. He runs an 11.0 for 100m when he’s on his game, and is a very fit athlete overall. If he were to COMPLETELY ELIMINATE leg weights from his life, and continue his speed, acceleration, and speed endurance work regularly on the track, how long does it take him to start running a slower 100m? A month? Two months? Never? [as long as he’s regular with his speed work] And how much [in tenths] might he lose?

Bottom line: Can a man actually hold onto [not necesarilly improve] his speed while ceasing strength training on the legs? PS: I’m not saying I would ever do this or that it is the least bit wise, I’m interested in the theory!

There are several fast guys (Sub 10.60) that do not do backsquats. I raced against a guy who ran mid tens all the time and didn’t do any weights at all.

They tend to be lighter, do a lot of plyos, bodyweight circuit work and hills.

I guess it depends on the athlete.

We all know there is more then one way to build strength and power (ie Carl Lewis vs. Ben Johnson). The interesting question would be then what happens if someone switches from one method to another. Can the guy that based his training around strength built in the gym (ie more then 2.5x body weight squat) maintain his speed if he goes off weights and onto other methods (plyos and jumps as main work). One sure effect is that he’ll begin to lose muscle mass, but if power is maintained would it not be possible to get to a higher high because of this loss of mass?

I would think so. Lighter weight at same strength/power is a good thing :slight_smile:

This is what I’m thinking-a hypothetical guy who switches methods after years of predominantly weights. We all know his thigh and hip measurements will reduce, but can this guy possibly even improve with the right speed training?

I also think there will be a pool of CNS energy available that was previously used up with squats. This topic could make for an interesting debate :slight_smile:

Coaches? Charlie? David W? Herb? xlr8? I know you must at least have some conjecture about this matter! Thanks, Johnny

Indeed, this sounds like a venue worthy of exploration, hopefully someone with a more informed opinion can chuck in something to the discussion.

My hunch, with no proof, is that this guy can initially get to a higher high because of the loss of mass, maintaining power appliable to the track through the track training and jumps, but after one period he’ll begin to burn out because his organism strength will slowly erode since he cannot maintain his same upper body and core strength without weights.

Interesting, for I fall into this situation.

I’m working a full-time job until September and have no time for both weights and track training. Perhaps the debate will boost my morale in this rather uncharted period of my training.


My hunch as well, so what if our hypothetical dude still does upper body and core weights-no leg weights?

Interesting thread…if you would replace weights with hills and plyos as been said, means that theese elements needs to apear during all phases…
Maybe hills with full recoverys could be one way?

I think the question needs to be limited to squats specifically and not eliminating all other forms of strength training.

heavy backsquats and heavy deads are very CNS taxing. What are the potential benefits if other stimuli were incorporated instead?

ie: increase in plyos, hills, bodyweight circuits, stepups, lunges, explosive jump squats etc.

Jump squats like the deadlifts probably have a better neural carry over into sprints than regular squats but both fry c.n.s more than regular squats.
If glute-ham raises were still incorperated or simular that does not fry c.n.s either, then I suspect the sprinter could go a long time before possible erotion of power.
It’s very easy to get enough quad work, you could hop up the stadium steps- allmost anything can work them.

However, is the question;

Dropping squats to save c.n.s, or dropping them becuase the hypothetical dude doesn’t have time to go to the gym?

I meant bodyweight jump squats not weighted jump squats :slight_smile:


ps - You wrote:

Dropping squats to save c.n.s, or dropping them becuase the hypothetical dude doesn’t have time to go to the gym?

I would say lets discuss both.

Oh, fair enough. :slight_smile:

If he still has time to lift the weights then I agree that upper body work is very usefull.
Glute ham raises could be done at home or gym annd I think they are needed.
Hills never seemed to drain my c.n.s.

What do you think of limiting strength training (not including core) to:
Upper body:
pushups (trying to acheive a certain number of reps, or a certain number of reps in a given time frame)
running arms with dumbells or something similar

And limiting lower body strength training to a combination of the following exercises:
running A’s for distance/time
weighted stepups, lunges
jump squats (bodyweight)
stadium stairs
GHR/Reverse hyper

Various double and single leg bounds, depth jumps etc

med ball
various situps
hanging leg raises

It seems to me most of this could be accomplished without setting foot in a gym. If you had a GHR at home or at the track you could do pretty much everything listed above.

My question is would the above provide enough stimulus?

I am talking about strength training for your average sprinter (10.8 and slower)


Sorry Chris30, I’ve been busy in another thread. Now I will actually read your post!

Pushups; excallant if you tense your abs and tuck the tail between your legs becuase it teaches your body that upperbody energy can be sent throurgh the mid section towards lower body which is crucial for sprinting. Do them with someone pushing lightly on your back.

Chins; Best lat and bicep exercise.
Arm drives; I prefer arm “swings”. (focusses more on the shoulder swing than elbow joint.)

Running A’s: With a weighted vest or bike inner tube filled with sand or light sand bags over each shoulder they are a grat power exercise. I believe Ben used 5 to 10 pounds in this exercise. I personally used as high as 20 pounds and it did not hurt my speed. I was actually faster than before though I don’t know how much it was to do with power running A’s,( My bar squat was
also 25 kilos heavier.)

Weighted step ups/lunges; (I think weighted REVERSE lunges and single leg squats, not the crappy way with free leg on chair behind you, but free leg not supported at all, whilst support leg is on STURDY block, are my preffered choice, given the results I’ve had.

Jump squats bodyweight; Not for me. Not much strength OR speed developed there. Not a challenge. Might as well do an xtra sprint or sprint tech or save c.n.s. and rest.

Hop stadium stairs; Very good, differant results form differant step hieghts. Small steps, one at a time will develope reactive speed (crucial.)
2 steps at a time will develope both reactive force and concentric force.

Glute ham raise/reverse hyper; Here’s one about the glute ham raise; If you keep a straight line between knees and shoulder, then goodness, there’s a lot of ADDUCTOR work, not just hammies which are crucial enough as it is.
Calf muscles get worked hard there too. David W suggests they should be called the ham/gastroc raise.
Reverse hypers; only if you either have the machine OR a sensible spot man/training partner to apply correct resistance, otherwise they’d be a waste of time.

…and yes, plyo’s would be a must if there were not much weights involved.
… I can’t say enough about good core strength;

Upper flexion
Lower flexion
Lateral flexion
Compression. If your core progranm utilises those 6 princibles then it’s very good.

Carl Lewis, Bob hayes, Konstadinos Kederis, never much into weights, then again they werevery gifted, still, not lifting weights or seldomly at best, did not hurt them. Cheers :slight_smile:

Thanks for the information :slight_smile:

I was referencing squat jumps as part of a bodyweight strength training circuit. Sorry I didnt mention that.

Here is an example of a triples circuit:

ie: 3 x (squatjumps (20) pushups (30) situps (40)) without rest .

Can you elaborate on your reverse lunge technique for me?


Instead of stepping forwards as in conventional lunges, you put one leg behind you and kind of squat downwards, then when you push up you stay on support leg and bring trail leg from behind which keeps more tension on front leg than other version. In other version you step back as you push up which takes tension off the front leg before lift is completed.