sub-phases and periodization of strength

GPP,SPP,pre competitive,competitive: these are the subphases of periodization (Bompa).

Now,usually we talk about accumulation,max strength,conversion,manteinance.

I understand that we don’t have a strictly correlation between this two groups,because they refer to different concepts(periodization and periodization of strength),but can we say that:

  • Accumulation run’s across mainly Gpp(more) and Spp(less)

  • Max strength is placed in the Spp

  • Conversion(to power) is in the precompetitive phase
    -Manteinance is in the competitive phase.

Is that correct,or is not possible to build rules??

P.S. yes is not correct to group accumulation with other strength periodization phases because it refers to a volume rather than a strength aspect

Looks fairly accurate but I’m not sure about the “converstion to power” phase before competition.

Charlie, what do you do following the max strength phase? Pure maintainance work with 60-80%?

Yes,looking at Bompas’ books usually the conversion phase is placed between spp and pre competitive sub-phase…But, according to what says Charlie about lot of conversion involved in running,maybe it can be a little shifted in the precompetitive sub-phase (pre competitive means a subphase where you compete in some races to improve , and to arrive at the most important race/races (competitive sub-phase)in the best shape) .

So i was asking myself if in the conversion phase he uses more power oriented exercises (more olimpic lifts and plyo works) compared to the max strength phase,and at the same time he would drop the volume of gym work in favour of pure sprint.

For a sprinter in Charlie’s system, a conversion phase is unecessary because conversion is happening all the time since we are sprinting throughout the entire training program.

Yes,we understand that,but after max strength phase i don’t think he directly goes in a maintainance phase.And,if do like this,i don’t think in the precompetitive and competitive subphases he would use always the same manteinance approach.I mean in the last weeks close to the main competition he would really cut the high intensity volume making possible an intensification.But i don’t think in the first days after max strength phase is over he would use the same way.Instead i think he would cut quite gym work volume(and maybe modality),so it would be possible doing more or at least the same speed work without being to “stressfull” (overreaching-supercompensation),and letting possible more quality work.

I would put this threshold intensity even higher, i.e., around 90%.

Overall weights’ volume can/should be reduced to leave room for higher track intensity.

Fewer exercises involving more motor units -perhaps, not necessary- could also be used for time efficiency, too.

Lastly, the farther you distance your self from MxS phase, the more intensity has to/can be reduced -perhaps reaching the range of intensities you are referring to.


Well, this may be semantics, but if it is not accumulation, and not max strength and not conversion, then the only choice left is maintenance.

And,if do like this,i don’t think in the precompetitive and competitive subphases he would use always the same manteinance approach.I mean in the last weeks close to the main competition he would really cut the high intensity volume making possible an intensification.But i don’t think in the first days after max strength phase is over he would use the same way.Instead i think he would cut quite gym work volume(and maybe modality),so it would be possible doing more or at least the same speed work without being to “stressfull” (overreaching-supercompensation),and letting possible more quality work.

There is certainly a difference between maintenance and tapering to a peak if that is what you are getting at.

You should plan your max strength phase such that you do not have a competition directly after it.

Note that maintenance may include lifts in the 90%+ range, but the rep and set ranges will be kept quite low. As the name suggests, you should do just enough to maintain your strength and use your CNS reserves to focus on intensifying the sprint work.

Yes I wasn’t thinking when I replied, lower volume but still enough intensity to prime the CNS. OLs come to mind.

The maintenance phase can stay pretty high percentage-wise though the reps are down.

i tried this maintain with low reps and heavy weights even at 75% and i burnt out and got injury. I’m unsure where to do it to maintain power and be fresh for next practice. IF i unload i get sick goin back into it, but if i go long with no unload weeks i make good gains but im unsure how to periodize it all to benefit the sprint training. To perplexing for me

What about the Competition phase? OL perhaps but what about the secondary exercises such as the bench press. I currently have 90% as suggested but I figured 70% is the range I would consider to use instead. I know this means that less MU are recruited with a lower load (assuming the same tempo) but even doing exercises like the bench press at 70% will maintain your strength in the Competition phase. I am not sure why the number 90% keeps on being tossed around. Even with less volume wouldn’t 70% be optimal considering the fact that you want to utilize most of the energy on Sprinting?

The way I see the SPP is 85-100% for 12 weeks which according to one of your effective adaptation period is the most an athlete should use. I figure that in the precomp phase the intensity level can be lowered to 90% but in the Competition phase the wts should be lowered again to 70% except for OL (which can remain at their normal levels).

My reason for the drop to 70% is that you don’t need to be training at 90-100% bc as an elite sprinter you should be able to maintain your strength levels by doing secondary exercises such as the bench press at 70%.

The Second reason I would do this is conserve the energy for the sprinting.


This is the concern I have with the wts intensity being kept high during competition even though Vol is reduced! Again this would be for an elite sprinter like Ben for example who’s strength is nearly maximized (therefore the CNS should be focused on the sprinting/OL in the COMP II and COMP III phases).

My argument lies with PL exercises in these COMP phases. For example, I noticed in CFTS pg. 60 that in the COMP period before Rome Ben did 600lbs X 4 reps for squats and also for bench press 1 rep X 375 and 6 reps X 350. Now I don’t have Ben’s Journal but looks like the Bench Press numbers fit the 70-80% range but the squat numbers look a little fishy.

This isn’t a reply it is just a comment:

The periodisation of weights with sprint training during the final stages of SPP is something I really am not confident with just yet. This is mainly due to the fact that I only get 3 chances to experiment a year and I really don’t want to screw up!

This year I cut weights totally from training during competition and every athlete PB’d but the problem with this was when we had a 2-4 week break from competing (the major competitions were June and then July was off and another big event mid August) and wanted to go back to weights (to build something from which to taper from) everyone got sore so I was left with using 60-70% in limited sets and the athletes psycologically never got back into it because they had seen the affects of reducing competing stresses and didn’t want gym to affect thier running. Catch 22.

After this experience I am now certain that it is imperative to keep doing something during competition period the question is what.

I think it may be as simple as 2 times a week walk into the gym and do something like 2 sets of 3 bench @ 90%3RM and cutting the reps short on each set if it feels unusually heavy and a similar thing for squats. Then perhaps a few bodyweight exercises and some light OLs (perhaps 65%) to keep stuff ticking over with other lifts you might use after the final taper. I guess it is then a case of stepping up the recovery post gym - perhaps a short non fatiguing push ups/pull up/bodyweight squat circuits to get the blood moving and more pulsing ems and lift efflurage/some petrissage (massage).

I am hoping this tread will help me really get to grips with this topic.

Maybe it isn’t about making gains while you are running fast but more about keeping your body conditioned for lifting while using minimal resources. Perhaps I misunderstand your post?

-Why spend all that time and energy getting stronger, only to let it go at the time when you need it most?

-A phrase that I repeat to myself in instances like these is “drop the volume, not the intensity”

-If an athlete performs 6 sets of 2-3 reps at the height of intensification, a drop to 2-3 sets of 2-3 reps should be enough of a stimulus to maintain max strength and repsect your desire to not create residual CNS fatigue.

-Variation in your program would have helped prevent “bench press burnout.” I’ve seen professional basketball players adapt to a particular workout after the 4th exposure and once that happens, the next workout is different. The intensity can remain high( a la Westside, Poliquin, Defranco ), just change the angles, tempo, reps, etc…

About the percentage in the manteinance phase…i think what you have to look for is the complementarity–conflictuality of an exercise(as pakewi was talking about some time ago).
Looking at the Force-time curve, modality of contracion ecc ecc, when going closer competition you have to be even more complementary with gym from track.


oK,I got the point.There is a bit overlapping beetwen maintenance and taper, so let me be a little more clear.
We suppose to be in the preC subphase.We planned some races.Maybe we won’t do a taper,or at least this would be short.
Going on Competitive subphase : the taper will be longer (more important races).
Now,do you think in this 2 subphases the train,far from the taper,would be similar?

Absolutely! Strength is the fastest thing to gain and also the fastest to loose if it isn’t stimulated enough, which can cause a very narrow peak, as mentionned above.
Also, don’t forget that during taper periods you’re also dropping the intensity of the sprinting slightly- especially at the very end and having a weight exercise, like the bench, that can create a strong stimulus for the CNS without trashing the muscles you need for the event is extremely useful. 70% of 1RM is far too low. I don’t even count reps below 80% when calculating load- the rest are part of the warm-up.

just a comment, if the aim is to leave more room for track work by “CNS relaxation”, I would prefer to drop the intensity of the OL -more MUs- rather the intensity from exercises that don’t directly affect MUs important for performance (see Bench Press) -I have to say though, I was a bit lost with the rest of your post. :o

Having said that, I would prefer TC’s second option.

PS TC, what were you thinking with the first option? :stuck_out_tongue: See Charlie’s first sentence above.
Experimentation is good!

Ok. I was just trying to get more of a justification of the higher intensity like 90% during the competition phase as opposed to 70%.

Now I understand that exercises like the bench press are used for CNS excitability but what about the squats? For example, in my original post it shows that Ben did heavy squats (probably 5 days out as opposed to 3 days out like the bench press) in the competition period before Rome. Was the reason for this to have Ben keep his phenominol start, seeing how strength contributes the most in the first ten metres and also considering that the conversion to power in your program is happening all the time.

Actually it was late at night I now I realize that the third reason I stated in my original post isn’t a factor. I’m an idiot! I just looked back at my annual training template for sprinting and I do have a drop of intensity to 80% in weeks 4 and 8 of my 9-week SPP II phase and also in week 4 of my 5-week SPP III phase. I have each individual training week Intensity in my SPP all the same color except my recovery weeks, so when I was looking through it I didn’t see a recovery week and I said “Wait a Minute”. So once again disregard the third reason in my original post which I have stated above as reference to my jibber jabber and deleted it from my original post! :o :o :o :o