Squating and Sprinting (Ben Johnson)

I squat during the offseason pretty often and I seem to yield good results but never in a timely fashion. I seems like when I go to the indoor season my legs are too bulky from the squat. I can go 30 meters fast and then my legs seem to heavy. When I did not do squat off course I did not have the blazing speed from the blocks but I would still run a fast time. Then I start doing squat and it improved me in the next year. So I squated more heavy this last offseason and my legs seemed to bulky like said. I want to know if I have gone too far because charlie says it will be a long time before you reach that point. Anyway anybody know what sets Ben Johson was doing in the offseason. I think may be doing to many sets. hopefully it is the sets and not the amount of weight. I know ben was doing 600+ or somthing and I know where near that 380 1rm.

The loading parameters (sets, repetitions, load, volume, etc) you utilize will determine the training effect.

What you can be certain off is this: The loading parameters which you have been using yield hypertrophy. If hypertrophy is not your goal than cease what you are doing and change it up.

Follow the high end percentages on Prilepin’s chart, as these are aimed at developing strength speed/max strength.

I have a similar problem. When I do a lot of lower body weights my times =<25m improve, but I run distances >30m slower.
It’s not that my legs get particularly bulky, but over the weeks, as my strenght&power improve significantly it seems as I can’t recover enough and some long-term fatigue effect seems to show.
I usually start with 4 weeks 4sets 10-12 reps, 4 weeks 4x8 reps, 4 weeks 4x5 reps and 4 weeks 5-3-1 reps. Last season I ended up sqautting 400 pd. 2reps. to parallel which was 25% increase compared to year before.
After 6 weeks no lower body weights top speed slowly comes back.

I try a lot for recovery, do a lot of streching, but somehow “agility” suffers.

I don’t know how much to reduce the program, but if I don’t stress my legs it does not feel like training and I wonder if it has a positive effect at all then?

couldn’t all this decrease in agility/top end speed or whatever result from the change from fast twitch to slow twitch(heavy weight training) or the loss of coordination due to new found strength??? of the fast twitch will come back if not with more fast twitch and the coordination will be better after the body gets used to the new strength…

no i think its more because youve developed a peak force curve, diminishing your ability to maitain high power output. this could probably be remedied by always using a balanced sprint program, instead of just focusing on strength.

You maybe have hit the nail on the head. The solution is to limit the amount of time spent squatting heavy to 3-4 weeks, then switch to increasing distances sprinted in the 60-120m phase. Whilst decreasing the intensity of squats to 70-80%.

Balance between the demands of the event are key!

Speaking of lifting for track. I just came across a book called explosive lifting for sports and in the track section (which is done by meg ritchie) there is no mention of bench press in the GPP or SPP only pulls/cleans/squat/push press/SLDL/lunges/Eccentric Hamstrings. The bench is only added in the preseason/early and in season. Is there any particular reason to leave out bench? Just curious.


inseason routine:

I would always keep the bench in the program and this will become clearer in the new materials to be released shortly, as it affects the final taper plan.

Im with you on that C.F. I think this was just a template to be followed loosely. Just wasn’t sure about it. Is the new material a better copy of the CTFS?

It’s a major expansion over what has been released before.

I cannot wait for that, I have so many idea’s forming in my mind and I need more material from the master!! But I have a question. Suppose one didnt utilize the bench press(Jason Gardner is an elite that I can think of, uses gymnastics movements for upper body strength). What would you then suggest as a primer for the nervous system? I was thinking maybe a very heavy weighted pull up?

Weighted pull-up, while upper body, still closer to the demand of the arms in the event. I think you see where I’m going with this- and it will be clear on the final taper graphics to be released soon.

ahh yes i do, too “specific”, hmmm thus I begin toiling once again at a way to prime the nervous system without effect on specific muscular actions in sprinting…

med ball throws?

You’ve got it!

Charlie, humor me.

when making the distincition as to what means to utilize as a general neural primer, how specific are you when identifying which actions/articulations are absent from the sprinting action itself?

For example:

In discounting Numba’s idea for weighted pullups, we may observe that the pullup exercise is seemingly far removed from the prime mover sprtinting action. However, under closer scrutiny, it must be noted that the shoulder extension ,during the pullup exercise, closely approximates the backward arm action during sprinting. Hence, a risk is posed which may negatively effect the sprinting action.

After one eliminates all lifts which are in one way or another related to the sprinting action, as well as offering a good enough mechanical advantage to allow a significant load which serves as a neural primer, there does not seem to be too much of a pool of lifts to pick from.

Acknowledgeing you use of the bench press, for this function. It may be criticized that the shoulder flexion inherent to bench pressing may pose a negative effect on the forward arm action/shoulder flexion when sprinting. However, your advocation of the bench press as a neural primer, discounts this criticism.

Given the fact that there will always be some distant correlation between a lift significant enough to serve as a neural primer and the sprinting action itself, aside from dips, horizontal/vertical presses/throws, what is your opinion of the barbell shrug (w/or w/o straps)? As this lift allows for a significant amount of loading, hence CNS activation, while the shoulders, arms, hip girdle and leg muscles are held/contracted isometrically.

I suppose one criticism might be the postural responsibility of the trapezius outweighing that of the prime movers in the bench press, in regards to the sprinting action.


Prob fair enough comment, but I think the bench is as far away as you can get and you can get a higher stimulus. Thoughts?

  1. Agreed.

  2. I am only looking examining this idea because of my shoulders(i posted in the recovery forum). And the bench press is very stressful on the shoulder joint, thus my resorting to bodyweight exercises and assistance exercises.

  3. But see as you already know the problem with this is the lack of the ability to prime the nervous system minus the fatigue of specific muscle fibres used in the sprinting action. Ahhhhh!:?!?!?!