I wouldn’t necessary call Charlie weights submax, his athletes were straining through some heavy weights.
Clearly sub-maximal in the squat, and as I stated, closer to the maximum in the bench. Keep in mind, however, that the use of the heavy bench training, relative to the squat, during max strength blocks as well as just prior to big meets was as a stimulus for the competition exercise; not as a means unto itself (remember the stir that Ben’s huge bench press before Seoul created due to the misloaded barbell) and in the training of Charlie’s athletes who used the bench as a primary general strength exercise we cannot exclude the rest of the high intensity components from this discussion; as each one facilitated the other.
Even in Ben’s case, in which the pool of primary high intensity stimuli was smaller (ergo sprints, bench, incline, and squat), his outputs were so high on all of them that he didn’t need anything else to add to the list.
The room for leeway regarding performing heavier bench loading in comparison to the other lifts for a sprinter is due to it’s non-specific character from a peripheral standpoint; yet it’s central benefits (of which its strategic use is just one example of Charlie’s genius)
The take home here is that the entire complex of high intensity elements in the training load is what must be accounted for when considering the improvement in any one of them or the other; and in the case of a super high output sprinter (who is as strong as he/she is fast) there will come a time when it only makes sense to perform lower volume/higher intensity loading for a general organism strength exercise such as the bench press (assuming it is used as such in the program) because the purpose is to stimulate the sprint- not to see how much he/she can bench press and the CNS stimulus won’t be as pronounced if the lift is performed with sub-maximal load.
James, I have two questions…
Although maxing is unnecessary and in competition for resources required for improvement on the track, would maxing out prior to beginning a weight training program not be beneficial to a track and field athlete so that they could more precisely select the appropriate weights?
Throughout my high school and collegiate track career lifted heavily and intensely year round. Could this have kept me from being as fast as i could have been on the track due to the weight stimulus remaining at too high a level…never letting me fully reap the benefits of the increased power? I ask because all the guys who could ever beat me in a 100 could never beat me in a standing broad jump, shot toss, hill sprints, and almost never in a sprint of 30m or less. I was more explosive and flexible than almost all of them yet they could all beat me in a 100. I ask because I am wondering if training with lighter loads via Prilepin’s table in the squat would be a valuable an asset to me in speed training? BTW my typical squat workouts recently BY FAR exceed Prilepin’s recommendations. here is what i was doing for 12 weeks earlier this year 5x5 program (up to 430,460,490,520,550 for my sets by week 12 with just a belt, i’m sure all would have passed at a power lifting meet for depth…in same period i talked about the lighter bench training)
I would agree with you that Ben did lift closer to maximal. Charlie discussed Ben’s extremely well developed strength endurance. He believed Ben probably could not squat more than 700, which would mean he worked up to and in excess of 85%. I consider 85% and above ‘near-maximal’, not sub-maximal. And it is also quite evident in videos that he was approaching failure, with maybe one rep, no more than two, left in the tank. I am not a fan of submaximal (50-70% intensity) loads lifted unexplosively for submaximal reps. IMHO, that leads only to submaximal strength gains.
I understand all the premeet neural benefits of the bench press. My point is I don’t consider 3x5x80-85% submax - submax in my book would be 50-75% maybe 80% if the reps were 2-3. If you study the work of Dr. Stone you will see sets of 5’s done at 80-85% - I wouldn’t consider this work submax. I asked earlier for everyone to define submax weights/loads.
My verison of a athletic strength block - still submax
I wouldn’t presume to suggest, from my arm chair, that “this is why you didn’t run faster” because it’s almost always a multi-faceted reason rooted in programming in general.
That said, based upon what you’ve written only, I think you answered your own question.
There’s only so much tolerance for CNS intensive work and that capacity is unique to each individual. The higher your output potential for any particular CNS intensive component the more careful you must be when programming that component into the overall plan.
As for the weight training, what I see so many individuals fail to accept is that maximum strength is improved with sub-maximal loading; however, it is only realized to its utmost via the performance of near maximal loading. This is why only the actual strength athletes need perform, on the whole, the highest percentage of near maximal lifting because they won’t perform to their true maximum on contest day unless they perform the proper stimulatory sessions with higher intensities subsequent to the meet.
Now, there’s also the question as to whether you were even competing in the right event/sport relative to your morpho-biomechanical potential.
One of my biggest criticisms of the US sport system in general is the lack of sports physiology knowledge possessed by every profession encapsulated within the coaching industry. For example, if you’re strength/explosive strength, short accel were your strengths, and not your maxV, than perhaps your true potential lied in one of the throwing disciplines (I don’t know how tall you are/limb length though), bobsled brakeman, American football back, Rugby, and so on.
As I inferred on an earlier post, we can quickly drift into semantics by assigning specific parameters in general unless we specify individual and motor/mechanical activity
It’s not even enough to limit the discussion to percentages because, as you are suggesting here, there’s the question of volume.
From a maximal tension standpoint, Zatsiorsky explained the three mechanisms (RE, ME, DE) and SE then becomes intensities beneath the maximal zone in which the volume is kept short of reaching maximal tension.
My view is that sub-maximal intensities are the bread and butter for strength development, even for powerlifters; however, I have no objection against lifting a sub-maximal load for an amount of repetitions that elicits greater tension, than a single would provide, if it is justified in the program.
As for the definition of the various intensity zones, as I stated, we have to address a very specific context (ergo slow overload strength exercises) because the dynamics of the effort change everything.
I am 6 feet tall. In high school i weighed around 190 at about 5%…now I am 230 and maybe 8%. I was a hurdler in high school, and maybe this is why my maxV was never really developed…Because I only got 15 yards to accelarate before I had to get into a hurdle rhythm, and maybe that is why I never learned how to run efficiently at top speed. i ran 14.60 FAT, and that was my PR from my injury riddled senior season.
Would the concept of competing resources apply to sprint hurdle training vs. sprint training? For example…If too much energy is spent working over the hurdles in practice, would it not leave enough resources to develop speed on the flat? I ask because when I ran track I never ran sprints on the flat. Only flat running was 300’s in high school and in college practice besides warming up i only ran when i was going over hurdles
What is funny is I was going to be playing runningback this fall for my school until I had issues with my grades. And I’ve recently been considering taking up bobsledding.
You said that you gave a seminar in Mobile. Will you be giving anymore seminars in the southeast anytime soon?
Any high cns stress can compete with any other if dosages are out of order.
Can too much hurdle practice impede the speed development of a hurdler, answer- absolutely; however, each situation is unique.
As for speaking engagements in the southeast, nothing is scheduled right now.
To be fair, it is prudent to refer to any effort beneath 100% as sub-maximal. As to where we draw the line between different intensity zones, this is when the situation becomes context dependent due to differences in the biodynamic structure of various maneuvers.
In that case it’s a miracle I could even sprint as well as I did, because the volume of hurdle work I was doing was absurd back then. Leaving no resources for the speed work I wasn’t doing…haha.
Thanks for answering my questions. I am always trying to learn more about the science behind athletics and training
I believe you mentioned Stone. Stone considers Maximal Strength to be characterized by one of the following sessions…
15-25 reps/session @95-100%
20-40 reps/session @ 90-95%
35-85 reps/session @ 75-80%
During the actual bread and butter max strength phases of his periodization plans, there is a lot (>15%) of all reps in the >85% range.
RB, your rep ranges are a little high for my taste, and the loads a little low, for what I like in a true max strength phase. I like the following sessions (talking about a pure max strength phase here without reference to competing CNS resources)…
5 x 5 @ 80% (about an 8RM load)
4 x 4 @ 85% (about a 6RM load)
3 x 3 @ 87.5-90% (about an 4-5RM load)
4 x 2 @ 90-92.5% (about a 3-4RM load)
? x 1 @ 95-100% (max)
I actually don’t believe in calculating a load, because every session in the gym is unique. I like to lift heavy with only a rep or two left in the tank whether its a hypertrophy set (6-10 reps) or a pure stength set (1-5 reps).
The boundaries are vague, but normally when I read/hear most people talking about near maximal, sub maximal etc., it seems to fall into the following broad, unofficial categories (the boundaries are fuzzy, I admit)…
<75% low load - (hypertrophy, explosive strength or strength endurance depending on rep range and tempo)
<75-85% - Sub-maximal (moderate intensity, hypertrophy and strength depending on rep range)
85-95% - Near-maximal high intensity (high intensity, strength and some hypertrophy)
>95% - Maximal (very high intensity, purely strength, little hypertrophy)
You may have seen some of Dr. Stone’ weightlifting/throwing cycles, his sprint cycles are more conservative. The example I gave above is a older block I used with a athlete in the past - it’s my version of submax work for the speed-power athlete. Your examples are too aggressive for my taste - aka too much for the speed-power athlete.
The vast majority of Stone’s program I’ve seen are done for %'s of set-rep maxes. That is, the %'s are from the maximum of whatever sets and reps you are doing and NOT from a 1rm.
I have only seen two of his programs that used a 1rm. One from 2007 and one from the early 90’s and they were used for athletes who had only known at that time 1rm’s and not what their set-rep bests were. The one from the early 90’s was used in a presentation on programming he gave and the one from 2007 was for incoming freshmen at ETSU who had little experience using a set-rep best (maximum for sets and reps) system.
So, if someone is doing working at a moderate load (for him this means 80-85%) for 3 x 10 or 3 x 5 or 3 x 3 that means the percentage is 80-85% of the most weight that individual can lift for that specific exercise for 3 x 10 or the other examples and not a percentage of their 1rm.
I hope my post wasn’t misleading - I wasn’t trying to say Dr. Stone used 1rm etc. Thanks for making my point about Dr. Stone loading patterns - the loading/volume patterns “star” mention above is new to me. That’s a very important point about the set-rep maxes - they must be accurate otherwise it could be trouble - either too heavy or too light.
I’m referencing Stone’s piece on weightlifting periodization…
Weightlifting: Program Design
National Strength and Conditioning Association
Volume 28, Number 2, pages 10-17
Without question, these numbers are based off of 1RM. There is a bodybuilding cycle followed by strength cycles with loads up to 93%, with half of the heavy days over 85%. Even when you factor in a light day, there are a lot of reps of higher intensity.
All I see here and in the latest above discussion is just another series of largely over-estimated stimuli-based constructs which assume our systems respond in a similar linear manner. Which is only a vast assumption.But the large majority of today’s training at all levels is founded upon (erroneous,when not plainly wrong) assumptions in the end.
Prilepin’s table gives an indication: you may take it,use it as a guideline,observe the direction your training is going,evaluate responses more than stimuli,and eventually take all information as guidelines and general directions,not as answers to the questions rising in minds puzzled by such a training scenario as the one described above.
The more we get into specific (purely artificial) constructs such as the above dissertation the more puzzled we are doomed to be.
We can surely always have fun,play with numbers,and words though.
Also the aim of Soviet literature (where Prilepin’s table emerges from) about training and sport was often to evoke productive discussion leading to further possible theoretical developments and theory applications,resulting in very dynamic principles,and never in words carved in stone.
Read through the “sport science” articles collected on James Smith’s site and note how researchers would often engage in open debates through their publications. When time allows I always spend some time there. The wording and phrasing gives me a good laugh too.
On the whole I agree with Pakewi
From the standpoint of general organism strength retention, my last season at PITT proved to be the most positive- experimentally.
Regarding the competition calendar:
I had, each season, experimented with different loading schemes broken down by categories/options (I explained this in my American football- In Season DVD)
Each season, I would create approximately 5-6 different loading schemes for my skill players. Each one featured a different training load altogether.
During the 2010 competition calendar, I used a concept I took from Charlie in which the vertically oriented development of general strength exercises during the off-season becomes serially oriented during the in-season. I continued with multiple loading options for my players; however, the self-regulation became even more pronounced because I would select loads and exercises every session based upon the framework of the blueprint and player feedback.
The result, one week prior to our bowl game against Kentucky I had a handful of 1st string players (O, D, and Special Teams) perform 225lb for reps in the bench press (a low risk assessment of general strength). Note that we had not performed any high rep or near maximal intensity training during the competition calendar. Every player either tied or exceeded their previous personal best in the test and again, this was the week after the last regular season game.
My point is that the load, as far as what I had control over, was the most individualized that season; and, as far as general organism strength is concerned, the preservation of it was the most successful.
Yes, there are some as I mentioned (you have another example). That said, I’ve seen a lot of his programs over the years and I’ve personally never seen one he’s written for his athletes that were from the 1rm with, as mentioned previously, the exception being one for incoming freshmen that had not previously worked off of a system based upon set-rep bests. The programs he writes for his athletes and that some of his GA’s write for their respective sports are for sets-reps. I say some because I’ve not viewed programs written by all of their GA’s only about 4-5.
With weighlifters he will get down to doubles and singles. For throwers, there might be one block I can recall (that’s all I can remember seeing) that featured a four week intensification that ended at VH for 3 x 2 and also dually served as an unload week since it went from 3 x 3 at 90-95% to 3 x 2 at 95-100%. Most often, blocks end in 3 x 5 or even 3 x 3 as unloads with the heaviest micro of the various 4-4 wk block progressions ending with H(90-95%) or some at VH (95-100%) for 3 x 3, the heaviest micro (typically third as in most programming) of a block. Many blocks heaviest micro is at 3 x 5 and even with that does not always end at maximal int. for sets and reps.
What he writes for throwers and some other events has a smaller percentage done at very heavy intensities than would be the case for WL. Some yes, for sure, but since it is multiple sets/reps that it is being based upon, the actual work in a maximal zone is more limited. This is one of the aspects of his programming that I think is ideal for athletes.