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.

It is also possible that you used to train too much and the improvement simply comes from the unloading.

Not only do I think it’s possible but I would flat out agree that I had been training too much prior to my ‘experiment’. I think coming from a period of overtraining and going to a period of appropriate training load definitely helped. I think it almost always does.
Most things that I have read utilize only 1 week of deload at a time. I did not consider the fact that the gains were from a deload affect because I thought the fact that I trained that way for 3 weeks proved it was not from a deload affect. I thought that if working out by Prilepin’s guideline was not as potent a stimulus for strength gains as my previous training was, I would have had some amount of detraining within the 3 week period of my new training methods. You have raised an interesting question, which is "Can a deload period of 21+ days still provide an enhanced result?"You have made me realize areas in which I could learn more so that I can improve my methods of training.
My main question I have is based on my hypothesis that lifting in the manner outlined by Prilepin’s table produces a stimulus that is more conducive to strength gains.
My question is, “If the benefits were from deloading alone and lifting in that manner did not in fact produce a stimulus more beneficial for strength improvements, would 3 weeks at a load lower than I am used to not cause me to lose strength/detrain?” In other words, do you know if there is potentially a benefit to deloading for ~21+ days?

I can’t answer that for your particular situation. Proper loading and unloading is highly individual. You have to find out what works for you.
But I’m convinced that there is a long term effect. E.g. One athlete I know semi-retired after an Olympic year and surprised herself by improving 0.1s in the short hurdles and suddenly got into the big races. But I’m not sure if that’s an unloading effect or just a matter of finally loading properly. I.e. did she or did she not need to train so much in the Olympic year in order to reap the benefits a year later?

Also: I shouldn’t have put it so black and white. Both effects may have caused your improvement.

Zatsiorsky explained that maximal MU recruitment is possible in small muscles with loads as low as 50% of Fmm and as low as 80% Fmm in large proximal muscles.

This is why sub-max loading works and I went into depth discussing this in my lecture at South Alabama a couple months ago (will be for sale before too long)

Beyond max recruitment threshold exists rate coding/firing rate and in extreme intensities- synchronization. When weight training is the means, and not the ends, it is even more justified to train sub-max and leave the highest intensity training to the primary objective.

He also said the lower intensity weight would have to be moved either explosively (which he stated would result in little strength improvement) or to failure. In other words, according to Zatsiorsky, if you don’t lift with high intensity, you must lift to failure for maximal MU recruitment if you are training for strength.

What are submax weights? Everything I have seen/heard about Charlie methods displayed heavy weights - maybe not 1-3rm but heavy sets of 3-6.

Damn! I’m from Birmingham, Alabama. My grandparents live in Mobile like 5 mintues from USA and my best friend pole vaults for the University of South Alabama. I would have loved that lecture.