Weights for speed

Hello Charlie,

I would like to ask you, in Weights for speed 2 you were talking about how many reps and sets are good for improoving the strength. You recommend 5x5.

My max squat for 5 reps is 365.More working with 315. My question is: how should I do 5x5?

ex.A) 1xXrep with bar
1x3-5rep with 135
1x3-5rep with 225
5x5rep with 315

ex.B) 1xXrep with bar
1x5rep with 135
1x5rep with 225
1x5rep with 255
1x5rep with 285
1x5rep with 315

What is the best idea? A or B? Or another?

Thank you for your answer.


I would go with option A- the rest is warm-up

Charlie, if his 5RM is 365, that puts his 1RM at around 417 (according to my charts). So, 315 is about 75% of 1RM. Is that the intensity you would recommend for the 5 x 5?

Thank you, Charlie.

100% for 5 rep is 365. 315 for 5 reps is about 86%.
I am able to do right now prb. one set for 365 not 5x5. It is too much.

My rest is around 3 min between sets.

PS: Charlie I studied FTVS (Charles University) in Prague, you mentioned, a couple of time that guys did good job for 100m analysis in 1987 and 1988 during WCh and OG. One of my teachers was Mr. Hlina, who was there and worked on it.

Probably not but that’s an individual call.
As the squat involves muscles directly involved in speed, I’d rather see him start where he can handle it and move it up as it proves easy, rather than set a weight via a rule and find the loading an impediment elsewhere in training.
I would be more inclined to stick closer to that thinking with the upper body.

5x5 at 75% is not easy esp if you are working with a speed-power athlete whos fiber makeup is a little different from most.

Not really sure, as far as a sprinter is concerned anyway. For general strength/mass I prefer to work the 5 x 5 closer to the 5RM, so for this athlete maybe in the 335-350 range, occasionally trying to establish a new 5RM. For CNS stimulation, I would work more in the 2-3RM range with less volume. But I honestly have no idea how such a strategy fits into the track and field game, hence my question. There the ultimate goal is obviously speed and acceleration, the weights are simply a means to that end.

Our quandry presently is trying to work a program that will concurrently, and hopefully optimally, build strength, mass, and explosive acceleration. We would like to move all points forward, and certainly speed is king, but at this point in the development of the football underclassmen I’m working with, mass and strength development are critical, even if, unfortunately, acceleration and speed work suffer to some degree.

have you read http://www.amazon.com/Coachs-Strength-Training-Playbook/dp/1585188697

IS the 5x5 method more for gpp or can you do it during the comp phase. If not what should be done during the comp phase 5x3?

I’ve done 5x5 a number of times, and I have better results starting with a lighter weight that I can complete all the reps, and then slowly build up. That is opposed to taking a heavy weight and lifting something like 5, 5, 4, 4, 3 and trying to get more reps the next time. It depends on the athlete, but I have a tendency to over-exert myself using the latter.

Use your head bro, why would you do 5x5 in comp phase. I have already given you a comp program that CF recommended on this site and his forum review.

Naw that was my homeboy that asked that question. He was on the site logged in under my name.

Read most of the stuff out there. We have no problem building strength and mass (see the link at bottom, he’s my 20y.o.). The trick is that while I fully realize quickness and acceleration/speed out to 30m is key at any position, and we do see improvements in quickness and speed, how do we optimize the training to get the best combination. Reading Charlie’s work has allowed me to understand that you can’t move all things (mass, strength, power, acceleration, and speed) forward maximally, all at the same time. There are tradeoffs. So I’m constantly in learning mode trying to determine how best to distribute the training for a specific athlete in order to optimize that athlete’s training goals.

As an example, the athlete in the link below has left football (injurys) and his focus is powerlifting. He does no speed training other than pushing a sled. If his focus were to maximize acceleration and speed, he wouldn’t be making the gains in mass and strength that he has; he simply doesn’t have the CNS pool to accommodate the additional stress, not to mention that the weight training that he does would be a huge impediment to developing speed (recovery issues).


Hello Charlie, is it ok to perform upper body work on tempo days in spp? I was thinking something along these lines:

Mon/Thur: Speed
Hypers complex

Tue/Fri: Tempo
Bench press
Db row

I would save the bench for speed days. Use the tempo for complete recovery. The bench will hit your cns which you should be letting recover.

In the download, Charlie says the bench press hit less motor units.

Yea it does hit less, but it still hits some. I do mine on speed days.

You will still have Wed to recover from the bench and most people are not getting that much, if any, CNS stress from benching. If you aren’t getting close to 1.8-2.0xBW, you aren’t moving that much.

Yes, that was my thinking, Wednesday is rest day, no weights or running.

Oh ok I was thinking you had a speed day again on wednesday. In that case it doesnt matter.