James Colbert's Methods and Principles Thread

OK James,

We are all very interested in your methods - so here’s a challenge to you.

Do one of the following:

(a) Outline your methods/princliples in a progression format as charlie has done for each of his components (ie. short to long for sprinting, or his jump progression from box jumps all the way up to repeated plyos that he uses and has discussed in the past). This is what you suggested you wanted to do in the other thread.


(b) Take a hypothetical athlete, his sport, list his height, weight, lift numbers etc and a general progression on how he has been trained in the past. Then outline a week long microcyle on how you would train him. List any weaknesses (constraints) and how you would address them in the training. We can then question you to help us understand why you do what you do.

Please do not use the excuse that it is too complicated, as you obviously have the time to make multiple posts on this site.

When I was in university playing football, we had what was called ‘calling bullshit.’ After a wild party or a good night out, players would come back to the lockerroom and tell their stories. A lot of them were often too good to be true, so in that situation, so someone would say ‘I call bullshit.’ The player would then be forced to back up his story - or be mocked mercilessly by his teammates for some time.

It seems like a lot of people on this board are calling ‘bullshit’ on you right now. So now its time to demonstrate you knowledge.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, as we would really like to know what you have to offer. :slight_smile:

SVass - the great thing about the internet is that you never really know who is behind a name on these forums. James Colbert could be a credible, middle-aged coach, or a 15 year-old boy from middle-class suburbia

Either way, I look forward to seeing how Mr. Colbert steps up to meet the challenge.

from my interpretation of his training, it goes something like

regular squat followed by short break then depth jumps = 1 set
not sure how many of those sets, but i think a few warm ups and 1 main set - i think?

same idea as squats

and one other main compound movement, i think its 3 main movements?

I have not seen any actuall running by him, so i dont know that part?

diet, tonns of vegies, lean meat and no suppliments

I have not seen where he has come from, ie, a 12sec 100m runner and now is a 11.1 sec runner, i have no idea, nor about his strenght, can he lift 100kg??? have never seen…

i could be a mile off?? but that is what i have seen. Dont know if it helps?

[QUOTE=NumberTwo]. . .

James (and popique) are probably the only ones that will get that joke.

And I am quite content maintaining my silence.

Easy everyone. Let’s just wait to see a full program

We are waiting with baited breath Mr Colbert, stand up to the plate and deliver.

If he “steps up” like Sean Jos, you guys are not likely to hear from him.

I think the main issue is the transition from an “off season” team programs of short duration, which will usually consist mostly of a weight program, to a longer term speed program which must include all componants. this is the trick.

o jesus lol im laughing to hard to respond right now. give me a day lmao.

let me first say that when you start a thread asking someone to explain their line of thought, that you shouldn’t mention or hint at bullshit. as I don’t have to take my time to respond and sharing this info and my thoughts are not for my benefit but for yours. just a tip, but I will anyway try to lay out my beliefs, I will however not create an entire program for you to dissect as my training doesn’t work like that, in know this gives a lot of you fuel to call me full of shit but that’s the way it works. there is no cookie cutter system. and it may vary depending on indicators encountered in the session itself. what i will do is try to plainly lay out what I’ve talked about in the past an entertain questions on the theory. if situation calls I may lay out a potential session of work and explain why I do certain things in this manner. sorry folks that’s my call and that’s the way its going to be.

ok first, training volume and intensity. simply I believe it should always be at it highest, as we are trying to instill desirable neurological patterns. neurological patterns doesn’t simply mean the order in which muscles are activated but how they are activated (motor unit recruitment, rate coding, synchronicity) and activation differs between sub maximal and maximal efforts. now of course their are problems with this recovery for one but as a will point out one factor of fatigue CNS can be overcome by first realizing that is not a substrate but inhibition which limits the output of the CNS and that the CNS being the plastic system that it is can be reshaped to conform to more desirable pattern.

the CNS is not infinite in its output capabilities but it has a far larger capacity than most are aware. the trick is to put the system under conditions in which the CNS must output greatly (this means high motor unit recruitment and high rate coding frequency) its only obvious that this can be achieved through reflex. study the alpha gamma loop of afferent and efferent nerve fibers. you will see that a reflexive action set off by stretch reflex or otherwise both excites the stretched muscle to a greater degree and potentially maximally, inhibits the antagonist muscle group and elicits powerful contraction of the agonist synergists. this is a reflex the CNS will output maximally no matter what you are in fact bypassing the natural inhibiting mechanisms. and what is characteristic of a high volume high intensity high load high velocity regiment? continued production of powerful muscle contractions. powerful muscle contractions being described as high motor unit recruitment in the involved muscle and high rate coding in the same (there is however the problem of perifrial fatigue, but this will be addressed). by performing rebound movements in which a reflex mandates a powerful contraction it seems in my experience and observation that there is a transfer in the cognitive conscious ability to do the same with various loads wether said load is maximal or moved with the utmost velocity and acceleration. let me again state the potential output is not infinite.

the perfrial considerations are this: what is necessary for tissue to contract, and in what state does in operate most efficient?

a muscle fiber needs stimulus (CNS) and energy to contract (some work by AV Hill states that it doesn’t even need this) and that it. have these two things and the muscle fiber will function. the first it seems is best trained under situations in which the muscle must recruits its fast twitch fibers under duress. Under conditions in which the fast twitch fibers are recruited even though contraction time exceeds the normal operating time of said fiber. confusing ? ok simply you make the fast twitch contract for a long time, adaptation in the ability of the desired fiber to produce ATP does seem possible and is another discussion all together.

the second problem is the state of the fiber. most people do not realize the length of the tissue is neurologically controlled. and even “relaxed” muscle is not truly un-contracted. elongated muscle is able to better absorb force and therefore better able to generate force. keeping the tissue elongated is key to being able to reproduce maximal efforts over and over. this can be considered flexibility endurance (as flexibility is a neurological phenomenon). I don’t like the term personally but it may make it easier for others to understand the concept.

so now we have set the stage to be able to handle greater volumes of work, not infinite but greater volumes. one more consideration is bio-mechanical efficiency. as movement efficiency goes up so does work capacity. a more efficient machine experiences less stress less wear and tear and less energy expenditure to accomplish the same thing a less efficient machine is trying to accomplish. in any given movement there is a ideal time and joint angle for an involved muscle to fire. some call this form but I believe the term to be too loose. movement efficiency also has to do with intra and inter muscular coordination. it is important but often over looked, that the antagonist muscle group relaxes at the same intensity/velocity/rate as the agonist contracts. or else the system is fighting itself and again not being efficient.

the use of maximal loads at a high volume of work necessitates the system find a state of efficiency. the human mind being what it is will seek a state of optimum efficiency. this is not the case or at least it is not as great an effect with sub maximal loads. Referring back to the Bulgarians this could account for their high technical proficiency in the Olympic lifts and high developmental rate. an advanced lifter/sprinter/athlete is more proficient not simply because strength and power differences but movement efficiencies. imagine a person who is able to increase efficiency 10% what repercussions would that increase in efficiency have on performance for any given movement?

ok so for high volume high load work we need the right stimulus for the CNS, the proper substrate in the muscle, the proper working state of said muscle and high movement efficiency. why do we want to train in this manner? a high rate of progression and proper instillation of desired motor patterns.

at this point its 1 in the morning im tired, im not done but im going to go to bed. im sure many of you will like to comment on the bullshit I’ve just typed up, have at it. im sure there are a lot of questions out there, keep them civil. if they aren’t ill lose interest with this real quick, and if I lose interest I could care less about talking more, remember I already know this stuff, this is not for my benefit. you don’t have to agree with me just please keep it civil.

I’d just like to say I support james in explaining his ideas and reserve judgement until i have actually tried them. It is also probably worth noting that a lot of these ideas come from other people who have had success by using them. Thanks for your time James.


Agreed …

James this is spiralling out of control…again. Every time you post you create more and more questions and don’t actually answer what was aksed in the first place. We want a practical example of how you would set out the training program for a sprinter of any calibre. Once you set out the training cycle, be it GPP, SPP or what ever name you have invented for the phases in your system, you can then justify your reasons by giving us chapter and verse of the theory and abstracts behind it. Until then your posts mean nothing becasue they are out of context to be frank.

So, set out a sample program then justify your program with all your theories after.

It doesn’t have to be a program, but rather a general plan… I understand that you James say that there are no cooki cutter programs, no one is asking you to create one, but rather explain your philopshy in a general and practical plan in general lines… details come later!
You can say whole eternity that every athlete is different, and that you would aproach everyone differently and never actually say anything practical, but here is one interesting quote: Athletes and sports are more simmilar than differente… thus a general plan (like CFTS… se components and graphs) is actually very possible to create… escaping the discussion mentioning that everyon is different and that there is no cooki cutter programs is just playing dumb… no ofense! :slight_smile:
Everyone have to squat… whether it has 60% of FT fibers or not… start from BASE, you are going to details and apstract philosophy too often… you are escaping practical solutions…

im sorry, i found the article hard to read, other than doing things at high volume and high loads, it didnt tell me anything about a program??

I think what they are asking james, is, what do you do?
squats? jumps? something else?
bench? push ups? med ball? something else??

when you run, do you
A. run flat out for as long as you can?
B. run flat out for xx distance??
C. it seems you dont do tempo in this type of plan, so i guess thats dropped? or is it?
D. do you say, bench a max effort, rest xxtime then repeat and keep doing so till you can no longer do that max effort?
E. something else?
how do you structure a week?
mon, gym
tue fast running
wed gym
thur off

mon weights and run
tue off
wed weights and run
thur off

or ???

I think guys are looking for a structure to work with, not reasons why you do it, just, what is it?

It’s somewhat annoying to be insinuated as dogmatic, trapped “inside the box” or not able to grasp particular “certainties” presented, only because one is trying to analyze given theoretical arguments on the practical level. I cannot see any reason why the discussion shouldn’t shift from theoretical arguments into practical implications, failing to do that means that time is wasted. This is not a unique problem for athletics, it’s universal in science. Take for instance medicine: it’s not enough to be able to identify a certain condition at detail; that detailed information must find its way into discussion about treatment; a medicine must be created; it must be tested; and it must work in the way that was intended. The medicine is only valued in accordance to how well it works in practise.

Sometimes the side effects from a working medicine are such that it, in fact, hinders recovery, even though that it’s backed by rigorous scientific proof of its “correctness”. An inflammatory medicine is no good if patients die of heart failure; a pesticide is no good if it kills the bugs and the plant. I think this is the case here, although I have never managed to get into debate about this because I have constantly been referred back to the theoretical plane – usually with the insinuation of being “trapped inside some kind of box”.

Sprinters sprint, they do strength training, they do tempo and circuits, and they do plyometrics. It should not be impossible to create a general plan from these variables, yet it seems so, if you follow a particular philosophy – how else should this be interpreted? What’s the use of such an approach if its practical implication cannot be discussed? The only thing of value for coaches and athletes alike is stripped from them!

Agree with Duxx and Lorien.

Also the original point of the post was Svass question which I dont think got any further along the lines of being answered.

I think everyone understands at least the basic of what your behind high volume high intensity high less overall rest than CFTS.

Cookie cutter training is the best way to do things, but Charlie has created a template that has been successful for many people you have adapted it and applied it to their situation.

We just ask for something that says how you implement your ideas.

Would this be better since training discussions dont help if they dont tell you what types of exercises to do, or when or how to run, or what type of rest to take.

In whatever given period you choose to talk about given whatever type of athlete you feel is necessary:

What days do you do weights, which days plyos, which days sprints?

Main plyos and exercises used with apprx rep/set/rest/intensity ranges?

Types of sprints you use with same as above?

Obviously there would be continued discussion after that but I dont think that would be too much to humor us with.

lorien you some it up perfectly, the point is i cant offer anything that you can as a group go into the gym and institute right now. i can offer the concepts in which you can apply yourself. you guys are also right all athletes have the same basic needs. so in general as I see it the limitations are first muscular efficiency, then the ability to absorb force, the ability to create force, and finally the ability to create force rapidly.

this seems to be the most natural limitation of constraints. in general a person would first work on muscular efficiency via iso extreme work (this also has other positive side effects) this is difficult and often takes months of work.

after the body can get into the proper position you are then safely able to absorb force. this can be scaled down so the force is minuscule and scale up till it is 20+ times ones body weight.

now that you can absorb force its time to learn how to generate it. I like the term learn because is largely neurological. this can be accomplished with maximal effort movements, EMS, rebound movements etc.

creating force rapidly is accomplished with overspeed, max velocity lifts impulse inertia work etc.

the thing is that its not a cut and dry do this stage then this stage only that the concentration is on one factor such as absorbing force or creating force and this is the focus of the work. the other methods are still used at this time but not in a manner that say the ability to create force out performs the ability to absorb it.

there is an interplay between work in which one set can enhance the work of another. for example a maximal squat before a vertical jump. a certain level of conditioning and ability is necessary for this as an unqualified athletes will be fatigued to greatly by the first set of work.

What is extreme iso work? Iso work at extreme joint positions? Such as?