Which strength training is better for team sports athletes

The reason I am posting here is that this pertains to strength training even though it has to do with training an athlete to be bigger, faster and stronger in his/her sport

My in season strength training has been tied closely to the westside method

1 day speed strength 8 sets @ 3 reps @ 50% to 60%

1 day max strength sets and reps vary week to week

Now I just read an excerpt from CT talking about timed sets. He says athletes should consider timed sets. For my sport he recommends doing as many reps as possible in 45 to 60 seconds using 30% of 1RM. 3 to 4 sets with 3 to 4 minute rest (specific to my sport) The weight stays the same until you can do at least 43 reps in 45 seconds

My question to all of you (David W etc) is there an advantage over the wesstide speed day. I think CT’s helps in mucle endurance but what about strength and is there a corelation to my max strength days? Positive or negative

I am a hockey player and my speed strength day exercises consist of

overhead squat warmup (bar only)
good mornings
an excellent quick feet drill

speed strength core exercises
parallel or deep squats
bench press
dead lift using a high trap bar
push press

Followed by 1 set (regular not speed) each of
1 leg squat
squat jump
2 grip strength exercises
15 minutes of stretching

My max strength days consist of

same warmup

parallel or deep squat
bench press
dead lift (using trap bar)

followed by
glute ham raises
forearm exercises


Team athletes who do not perform quality running sessions would definately benefit from exercises that target RFD. As I’ve mentioned previously, my rugby players do large amounts of ‘hip’ snatches.

Because, the majority of the players I work with do Olympic movements I have never felt it necessary to have specific speed days (i.e. we perform limit and RFD biased exercises in the same workout). If however you are not proficient in the lifts, and do not feel it is time efficient to learn, you could definately try a Westside style program (providing you have enough available training time).

Alternatively, stick with limit exercises and add some med ball work…

Can you please explain ‘limit’ exercises. Sorry if this is a dumb question.

In hockey we practice 3 or 4 times per week and have 2 games. These practices are done at an extremely high tempo/speed for 1 1/2 hours. In games a shift last for 45 seconds to 90 seconds and then we rest for 3 minutes before going back on the ice.

Therefore, are you saying that if we practice like this then I should not be doing speed days? Just 2 days of lifting in the 70% to 90% of 1RM max area?

C. Thibedeau’s article intrigued me by saying that timed sets 45 seconds to 60 seconds replicate the hockey shift energy requirment and therefore have a positive training affect.

My strength training is done 2x per week at 8:00 AM because evenings are taken up with practices. This is what the majority of most college hockey teams do.

This is confusing and I am trying to maintain and slightly increase my explosive strength during a strenous season

Examples of limit exercises include: squats, deadlifts, presses etc.

I wouldn’t describe your training or games as high intensity so DO include exercises to develop RFD. With a frequency of 2 per week my opinion is that limit and RFD exercises should be done in the same session.


  1. Back squat, hip snatch
  2. Front squat, power clean

3. Squat, bench, pull downs + med ball throws

Christian knows hockey better than me (we don’t have ice in London!) but I don’t feel you should develop anaerobic qualities in the gym.

I agree with David here, although I think he meant “anaerobic lactic” qualities - as you will be developing anaerobic alactic qualities in the gym. This is analagous to training for a 400m sprinter - who does work for 45-50 seconds while performing their event. This doesn’t mean, however, that lifting sets for a 400m are done over the same duration.

Rather, as David was alluding to, work should be focused on RFD and maximum strength capabilities. Enhancing these qualities will make all submaximal work easier to maintain at higher levels of output. Over-training lactic qualities can also inhibit alactic abilities one or two days later due to soreness and stiffness.

Training (particularly in the weight room) based on durations of effort in a game can be dubious. When I watch a hockey game, I see a lot of players coasting, as not every player can be on the puck at all times of their shift. As a result of this type of thinking I will often see hockey trainers sending their players out for longer sprints (i.e. 400m sprints) for high volumes (i.e. 10x400m with 5 min between sprints). This type of training helps to make people good at tolerating lactic acid, but doesn’t help to train alactic (speed, power) qualities. It also affects the level of enthusiasm for workouts on the part of the athletes.


You say to do limit and RFD excercises in the same session. But why in that order? And would this order be the same for a sprinter?

I didn’t specify an order. It would depend on which strength quality was being emphasised (and on volume in the limit exercises)

I think he meant “anaerobic lactic” qualities - as you will be developing anaerobic alactic qualities in the gym

No, weightlifting is primarily CP.

The idea from CT’s timed sets, as I interpreted it, was to stimulate a more functional hypertrophy. Basically it is an alternative approach to the bodybuilding/repetition method approach.

In season training is about keeping/building your strength and power. This means ME exercises (or limit lifts as DW calls them) and a westside DE method day (or oly lifts). I would keep most of my focus on those two goals.

I’d use timed sets during an early GPP period when attempting to add some hypertrophy. In this regard, the timed sets will help hypertrophy and train some qualities involved in the sport.

From what I’ve read, CT doesnot like using the weights for anaerobic energy system conditioning. For Hockey he tends to reccomend 400m sprints for conditioning


Strength is only one of the physical factors which is important to your Hockey performance. Other factors are equally important such as accelertion, speed and speed endurance.

I would recommend that you only need one weights session a week to maintain the strength qualities you developed in the pre-season.

The key exercises you should include are either power cleans or snatches (I’m tending towards a hang snatch), squat and a pressing action. You need to include exercises for your core and any other corrective exercises which prevent you getting injured.

Remember you are training to be fit for hockey, not to become a powerlifter.

David W, I love your ideas. Thanks. I love the application of training science. Seems a lot of coaches are just out to criticize others, but can’t create a successful program.