I know that you are capable of doing that and have had similar done to me. Sometimes simple foam-rolling if done consistently can keep that away.

But are you alluding to you training your athletes following the Bulgarian method?

Example of National caliber lifter.

Trained under a somewhat well known coach who is Bulgarian influenced basically using the same method as described by Broz. He plateaued and was constantly injured. Switches to a Chinese coach. Obviously Chinese programming has some Bulgarian elements (they may max on the classics on a weekly basis if feeling it) but it is largely Russian based and involves substantial amounts of auto-regulation based on how they feel for the day.

Many others I have talked with that experienced the same. One I know used both methods and achieved the same PR’s using both methods (Bulgarian and Russian). He was just less injured while following a Russian plan.

Again, not saying the method doesn’t work, it is obvious that it does, but why use a method with typically higher injury rates?

The injury/risk argument against it is echoed by numerous world class coaches around the globe.

I agree with you,and James,perfectly understanding the scenario you are talking about. Nevertheless: in my experience with professional athletes from many sports,injuries,injury rates,emerging limitations (maladaptive responses) in applications of max daily outputs of non-conflicting nature are primarily related to biomechanical and functional faults in the system,which create sub-optimal firing patterns and hence inflammation,starting the injury cycle,and short-cutting the recovery process in an otherwise extremely efficient training approach.

And the points worth to discuss here were originally two in my mind:

  1. opportunity of a background noise stimulus (either max like the Broz’s example - I have no idea of whom these guys are,nor I am interested in what they do,only their use of squats made me think of this - or sub-max,like whatever stimulus you may want to choose in CFTS like programs)
  2. opportunity and possibility of maximality in daily training applications

Both points proved to be very effective strategies for me with many half recovered and half nothing professional athletes who I have had the chance to work with during the last five years or so. That is the only reason why I wanted to share and discuss.

If you want to get strong fast then maxing as often as possible is hands down the best way to do it. I can say hand on heart that it is the only system that I have ever tried where I said “holy crap this actually works” and I’ve tried alot of methods.
I train with my sprint group but plan my weights on my own. They usually never lift heavier than their 5rm and wonder why their track and weight results have not budged in 3 years. We all started in the same group and now 5 years later I am squatting exactly double what three of them squat despite starting with similar squat numbers and my sprint and jump results have increased massively with the improved strength.
I weight train 3 times a week after my speed sessions and max out everytime year round. In season I keep the weights to 1-2 times per week. Maxing out is easier on my body then rep work I find and allows me to make linear progress non stop. The only time I make zero gains is when I go back to conventional methods, however this time I have learnt my lesson and will never lift sub max again. Also I dont buy the injury thing, I’ve never had a knee/back injury in my life, maybe if I was maxing out on snatch and Clean&J 3 times a day I might have some pain.

If it is in fact true that you perform maximal attempts 1-3 times a week throughout the entire year as a sprinter then you must consider yourself highly fortunate to remain injury free and in possession of extraordinary CNS stress tolerance and somatotpye which renders you extraordinarily durable. It is individuals in possession of your traits who were the most successful in Abadjiev’s system.

The pertinent question, however, is what are your current best lifts, 100m PR, and at what bodyweight?

For someone to perform regular sprint training 2-3 times per week and max the weights every session (1-3x per week) they would, in my view, have to be:

  1. relatively weak
  2. relatively slow
    or, if fast and strong
  3. uniquely gifted in the department of morphobiomechanics.

i have a couple hair splitting questions for you guys regarding squatting (or any lift in general i suppose)

First of all, I understand weights are “general”

My first question regards breathing. When you’re squatting and performing sets of 2 or more reps, how much pause at the top is too much? Taking 1 deep breath in at the top seems fair to me, but taking any more than that seems like it turns too much into an aerobic exercise. I say aerobic because I compare it to the amount of breaths it takes to accelerate up to 30-40m. (Usually just 2 or 3 I think) It’s also aerobic because I would not be able to complete the lift without the extra breath in between reps allowing O2 to get to the muscles. Again, I know Im splitting hairs here, but perhaps one should decrease the weight on the bar in order to complete 5 or so reps without taking 10 second breaks at the top of each rep.

Second question. Is it possible to progress weight too quickly-- even if technique does not falter? I have gone up in weight rather quickly in the squat and deadlift lately, but I question whether im actually gaining strength linearly with my progress. Of course, squats are a means to develop hip power for sprinting. The idea is to squat to develop those muscles to improve your sprinting– not just to improve your squat. Im thinking that the idea of squatting a bunch of weight is the common athletes misconception of a measurement of power. The true measurement of power is the sprint itself, thus the squat strength is expressed due to the body’s amount of strength and power from the hips. (If Im making any sense :slight_smile: )

In other words, ALL of my lower body lifts will improve if my power is increasing. They will increase fairly linearly with my speed because I will be developing power in the hips not just a big squat.

Please James scientifically define “CNS tolerance”,as you just used.

Isn’t all this a bit stretched too far out ?

The reason you experience those setbacks whenever you get back to submax is that insufficient input leads to insufficient output. Proper stimulation is required for all of the body’s systems and organs to work properly.

Training is simply a stimulus to the body. This stimulus causes adaptation in the body based on many different factors, with the amount of adaptation being directly related to the amount of stimulus. To maximize adaptation, we want to maximize the information that we put into the body through training.

There is no scientific definition for “CNS Stress”,“CNS Tolerance” as stated above yet (although this is a complex topic well worth separate discussion),and there is none for “relatively weak”,“relatively slow”,or “uniquely gifted”.

When I work with athletes and people I like to think of them as humans. And mammalians when it is horses.

Are there any defining characteristics of such a stimulus, outside of it’s stability, and to use the word you used in a PM 4 years ago describing the same phenomenon perfectly, familiarity? Can any stimulus work as long as it is consistent in it’s presence?

Programs that have this sort of ‘glue’ seem to work better in my experience as there is always to return to.

In light of this idea, how do some of Anatoli Bondarchuk’s training concepts appear, where the entire training program is literally the same on a daily or EOD basis?


Yes to both.That is my experience at least. The phenomenon is the same I described then. Since that time I have tested the model for research purposes across a broad spectrum of possible stimuli,from training to diet to habits ,and found only reinforcement for the idea behind it.

I do not know any of Bondarchuk’s training concepts,but while I like daily stimulus,or at least days in a row before a change of any kind,I got to like less and less EOD approaches. More than a specific time frame issue it may well be a frequency of sequential exposure one .

Familiarity of a specific stimulus to foster positive general adaptation,if it makes sense.

I understand your statement; however, ambiguity must be used until we specify a particular athlete.

It would be irresponsible for me to suggest a particular amount of weight lifted relative to bodyweight because lever systems, attachment points, girth dimensions, and so on make the idea of listing specifics- unusable (ergo 'you should be able to squat XXX amount before you attempt depth jumps, etcetera). This is why weights, and any other non-sprint activity, are merely a stimulus (whose utility varies upon the particularities of each athlete’s ability to benefit, or not, from their use at all)

Similar to what I mentioned to RB34 in another thread, it is the output generation that provides context as to dose and frequency.

I agree that the ‘operating system’ if you will, is fundamental relative to how the joint, tendon, ligament, facial, bone networks sustain stress; however, all that said, an equally pertinent question is what is the output potential of the individual.

For this reason, it is why any sub 9.8 sprinter, for example, can be as biomechanically sound as you want, with access to multiple therapy options a day, and still not be able to perform maxV work on consecutive days, at any meaningful volume, and expect not to become injured.

While the consecutive day schedule is performed at major competitions, this is not something that would be performed regularly.

It is a bit of chicken and egg, one might suggest that the only reason that a Bolt, Powell, Gay, cannot perform multiple consecutive days of maxV, max weights, and so on is because of the operational deterioration of their physical structures (which leads to mechanical overload); however, my position is that it is precisely because their output potential is sub 9.8 and this yields the type of structural and mechanical stress that inhibits more frequent exposure to like high intensity stimuli.

Charlie’s approach, High/Low, just makes too much sense in this regard; particularly in reference to those who are performing volumes of max V speed work that require a separation of dose in excess of 24 hours.

Pfaff raises very interesting points regarding the different adaptation potential of high level sprinters which is why his schemes include more consecutive days of different types of high intensity speed/power work; however, the question comes down to type (intensity) and volume. This is why, in my view, nearly any successful sprint program (producing sub 10 sprinters), that is low in injuries, will resemble a high/low structure by default.

I don’t recall if it was Mills or Francis’s camp, however, an associate of mine told me that one of them was basing the training off of one of Charlie’s graphs.

Charlie elucidated how Ben was able to generate large volumes of annual speed work and this was in no doubt a reflection of the higher volume of quality work that the High/Low system supports.

I would in no way consider myself to be very gifted, haha. My best results are as follows:
60m: 7.05 sec
100m: 11.17
Bodyweight: fluctuates between 89 and 94kg, currently around 92kg
Power clean: 142.5 kg
B.squat: 220kg
Deadlift: 245kg tested about a year ago
Just to clarify, i only max in the power clean and back squat, the rest of the exercises are done for 4-10 reps. I have had plenty of injuries, but only one from the max lifting, which was moderate wrist pain. I have pulled my hamstrings several times which I attribute to that god forsaken exercise the glute ham raise and also some ankle pain, which I attribute to carrying my heavy ass around the track!
I genuinely don’t find it hard to recover from at all. In fact I find the weight workouts easy, I probably haven’t had DOMS in a year. Doing a workout of 5x5 in the squat is in my opinion much more difficult than doing singles up to a max attempt.
Having said all that I wouldn’t apply these principles to an elite sprinter. Also take my opinions with a grain of salt, I have never coached anybody, just what I have found that works for me.

I found in the past that I forgot to look at myself as a human and would trudge through weight workouts of a few sets of 3-5 reps using a 7 rep max, in other words I would not push myself to extremes. If the required stimulus is not there then there will be no adaptation as you have mentioned.
I still adhere to Charlies principles with regards to high/low days (I actually have no low days, just three sessions a week, all max intensity), however I am not as conservative as Charlie was and usually train till my eyes bleed!

I appreciate your candor and your numbers have satisfied one of my theoretical explanations associated with your ability to execute the loading that you do.

It is righteous that you offer the disclaimer that you wouldn’t have an elite level sprinter follow the parameters that you do and it is also necessary that this point be expounded upon:

Presuming you are more muscle bound, and considering the fact that your strength is good, it would make sense that you derive more from the weights.

The same goes for those whose anthropometric proportions are well suited for overcoming barbells and , therefore, are able to generate high outputs in the weight room.


I again agree with your posts and overview above,and appreciate this exchange. I never meant that this training necessarily serves the needs of elite sprinters. What I am trying to show is the importance to shift the focus from the athlete to the human first,taking care of what makes them equal first and only then,and if needed address those parameters which make them already standing out of the crowds.

Human first,athlete second (no false morals,I am only referring to biological and neurological functions and structures here) seems to me the way to go,while what I too often see around is individuals modelling their training on this or that top athlete’s,or coach’s,while completely ignoring and neglecting basic function as humans. This is where the roots of most injuries,and performance stagnation (= regression) truly lie,never in one training approach,or the other. Nor training a la Abadjeev,or a la Charlie guarantees success,and performance progression per se.
Only human function does,and we are structured,and wired to move (and function) only in one way. Understanding this even when it seemingly opposes one or the other athlete/coach’s training approach may help.

In such a scenario (which more often than we may think applies to most professional athletes as well) using max squats or an equivalent max stimulus day in day out has,regardless of output levels and individual differences, in my experience proven to be a very valuable strategy to install those lacking functional patterns and establish a sound base for correct information input to be processed,and further positive and manageable adaptation.

Thanks. Very helpful and insightful.

I absolutely agree with you mi amico

I have a few things to say about the questions raised by “hemann” several pages ago about 1)-breathing- and 2)-whether it is possible to make progress too quickly-. I am stating these as my personal opinion, and not as fact. I am speaking from personal experience I have gained in the past year since I have stopped running track and began doing powerlifting workouts.

1)Breathing…I believe the best way to breathe is to hold the breath throughout the entire lift, pause at the top only long enough to exhale and inhale again, then perform the next rep. This method has allowed me to perform my reps in training with more barspeed because it allows more stability through increased intra-abdominal pressure and my explosiveness in general has improved. I think holding the breath through both the eccentric and concentric part of the lift makes the valsalva maneuver more effective. I believe sprinters should train this way to, because if it increases the quality of the reps performed and allows you to train yourself to recruit more MU’s then it could only help.

2)Can you progress too quickly?..Even if technique and barspeed are not negatively affected I do believe that it is possible to make progress too quickly. I am a strong believer that strength training should be structured and planned in an organized manner to achieve a specific goal. I think the best way to do this is for progressions not be made too quickly, in progressive overload or periodization.
Adding weight too quickly can cause you to hit a plateau faster when if you had made the additions in load more conservatively you could have progressed right through that level. I am speaking in terms of weeks/months…not days.
In regards to periodization, I think the overload from week to week prior to the deload week should be similar…(you wouldn’t go up 5% one week…then 20% the next)

I have a few final comments in regards to weight training that I believe are applicable to this discussion…I believe that lifting too close to your max too often can cause injuries, shitty form, and lower levels of MU recruitment…I believe that in training the primary goal should be to recruit as many MU’s as possible because the end result will be more power, explosiveness, and strength. This requires not approaching failure IMO. All athletes and strength training individuals should utilize Prilipen’s table when designing strength training programs. If you don’t know what that is you should look it up and give it a chance.

I base only my core lifts on Prilepin’s table. I still go very heavy on some accessories, but light on others…just depends

story about Prilepin’s table…several months ago I decided to experiment with it. I weighed 225 and my best bench was 405 raw, touch and go, butt on bench…and had repped 300x11. During bench workouts, I would always go up 315 at the bare minimum. I decided to train by Prilepin’s table for a while. the first week I used 240 pounds…I am not sure. I could probably rep 240 around 25 times but during my first workout i did 4 sets of 6. That was it for the core lift. I paused some reps, touch and go others. But I performed every rep with perfect form and I pushed it as hard as I fucking could. I then did some close grip with 225 and a couple other accessories. The next week I used 260 pounds and the week after 280 pounds. The reps were somewhere between 3 and 6 per set. Later in the week I was at my friends house and I was sick of lifting light weights and never feeling challenged. We went downstairs to his wobbly bench to start warming up. I warmed up and when I got to 275, it felt like there was absolutely no resistance. So I loaded it up with all the weight he had, 300 pounds and repped it 14 times with perfect form…locking out every time. This was funny because when I was 16 and my max was 300 pounds, I could only bench 275 every time I went to his house because of the instability of his bench. This improvement I made while basing my workouts on Prilepin’s table confused the hell out of me because I couldn’t see how I could get stronger when I hadn’t lifted any heavier than 70% of my max in a month. What I hypothesize is that the lighter weights allowed me to perform the exercises with more efficient form, train myself to recruit more motor units, and increase my explosiveness.