Muscle Conversion

If all muscle gains are easily converted into functional strength due to the amount of speed work, wouldn’t it be logical for the majority of people to work on gaining mass(specifically in the posterior chain)? By my understanding, it is only the athletes with the correct somatype that should spend all their time on max strength… So, since most athletes don’t have the proper somatype, shouldn’t they devote most of their time to muscular development and limited amounts to max strength?

My question is fairly simple. Should the majority of sprinters spend most of there time in the gym devoted to hypertrophy work until they have achieved the optimal body type?

yeah i’d like to know that too, cuz that’s what i’ve been concentrating on (the hypertrophy of posterior chain).

Well, according to research by Schmidtbliecher and Gunter Tidow, hypertrophy of prime muscles is beneficial. Yet it must be sequenced properly. Hypertrophy followed by a power or speed phase or max strength phase. But the concomitant increase in muscle mass may lead to weight gain that negates any gains. Also with hypertrophy training fast muscle becomes more like slow twitch muscle in its behaviour, but once the hypertrophy training stops, the muscle returns to the original characteristic but with an increase in the diameter of inidivual muscle fibers. So, in short you could have phases of muscle mass training purely for the prime movers but expect a slowing in movement possibly and a loss of speed POSSIBLY or no progress. After the hyp phase max strength or speed must be the emphasis. The phases of hypertrophy must be no longer than 12 weeks otherwise ALL fast fiber begin to behave like slow fiber with a slowiing in contraction speed. The duration of hypertrophy training will also determine the length of time that it takes for re-conversion back to fast twitch characteristics. For example if the hyp phase takes 12 weeks then it will take 12 weeks to reconvert, but this can be sped up with a concentrated effort on moving fast. Check out R S Staron et al for more detail on this phenomenon. I think Tidow et al have also proven this and have published in NSA before.

What about just working to achieve maximum strength levels–regardless of body type? Would doing this tax the CNS too much? Maybe a periodized approach would work where you work at near maximal loads for a few weeks, then take a couple of weeks for lighter loads, repeat.

For sprinting, would it not be ideal to be as strong as possible, while being as light (bodyweight) as possible?

"…don’t call my name out your window when I’m a leavin’, I won’t even turn my head. Don’t send your kinfolk to give me no talkin’, I’ll be gone like I said…

Yes, that would be the best solution but, how many world class sprinters do you see without enormous quads and hamstrings? If anything, muscular development of the posterior chain should lead to speed improvements.

guys think of an elite sprinter as an F1 racing car.powerful(massive horsepower) but with as less weight as possible

One more thing I meant to say about the near maximum load lifting was that, when we do this as part of a multi-week phase, we should probably keep the overall workout volume low. I trained and lifted this way for a long time. When I was at my peak strength, my workouts consisted of several sets of 2-4 reps with heavy loads. The moves incorporated here were back squats, mil. presses, full cleans, and competition style snatches, among others. Occasionally, I would do a near max. single also.

Training this way, while not overeating, helped maintain a nearly constant bodyweight, while greatly increasing my strength levels. As for hypertrophy, we can’t forget about the importance of eating to grow vs. eating to maintain.

Larger muscles should but not always. The balance has to be right between mass building and sprints and other power work.