Why do sprinters do bench?

Here is my personal opinion on the subject. (Probably incorrect hehe :slight_smile: )

As sprinters bodyweight to strength ratio is important.

Functional hypertrophy is also important.

What is the best way to accomplish this? Through heavier weights and rep ranges of 3-5.

Performing higher reps will often add unnecessary mass (If pre-requisite body type/adaptations are already in place)

I personally have abandoned the oly lifts for the time being after speedwork.

Instead I am concentrating more on max strength in the weightroom (squat, bench, rev leg press etc)
and relying more on sprinting itself and plyos for RFD and power. This way I hit all areas of the curve and maximize the efficiency of my workouts for the limited time I have to perform them.

cheers,
Chris

Thanks for your answer.

What, in your view, is the role of weight lifting in sports like sprinting, then?

That is the question I’ve been wanting to have answered

Charlie-

You ask how how more strength can be obtained other than through
the selection of a tolerable number of exercise that can’t in fact be specific or cover all muscles groups in play in wrestling.

The answer is that it cannot be done that way -insofar as you asserting that you need to train the neural system generally to produce more force in specific movements.

You say recruitment is the key for max strength. I entirely agree but I am saying that that strength is the expression of a specifically trained neural system. It is not the result of a carryover from neural adaptations
to dissimilar movements.

Let me give an example. If I wish to perform a strength feat such as a one armed chin I can train my biceps. I can also train my lats. I would also probably train two armed chins. I could become extremely strong in all these movements but none of this is likely to have any significant effect or carryover on or to my ability to perform a one armed chin unless my neural system was trained to produce force in exactly the pattern required.

Our differing observations obviously derive from our different sports and one significant factor is of course that wrestlers are practised in exerting their muscle mass to the limit on the mat and for that reason neural adaptations from dissimilar movements have little value. This aspect is probably the crucial difference.

Peter

So-
The question is,
How would you develope the strength to perform a 1 arm chin. Since there is no carryover from the afformentioned exercises, and most people cannot perform 1 arm chins, what would you do.

I would think that performing all of these (curl, 2h chin, lat pulls etc) lifts would form the base of the program.

Remember the nervous sysrem can increase strength in a few ways

synchronization, firing rate, motor unit recruitment, coordination (agonist/antagonist).

Now strength training stresses high threshold motor units(recruitment) (fast twitch). These MU are recruited last, thus only the last rep of a Hypertrophy, if carried to failure, will potentially stress ther. Thus they cannot be effectively trained with hypertrophy based programs (6-10reps). Also remember the principle of reversibility/disuse. If you do not use them you lose them. So you need to train with heavy weights and explosive lifts to target those High Threshold, Fast twitch MU.

Now think of firing rate, as frequency of impulses summates you reach threshold (fiber contracts). If firing rate increases faster than a MU can fire sooner and more frequently. Thus your athlete can produce more force.

Gotta go

101

to train for 1 arm chins you can do a couple of things

first u can hang a towel over the bar so that one hand is holding onto the towel. Flare the elbow out so u get very little help from that side of the back

then u can move onto 1 arm chins holding onto the gripping wrsit with the free hand

Kinda off topic but its something I knew :smiley:

What, in your view, is the role of weight lifting in sports like sprinting.

Weightlifting is indeed an effective tool to develop leg power and strength. Its emphasis on both speed and strength develop qualities needed for track and field power events.

However, sprinting also develops power and speed. Hence, why train on heavy olympic lifts when there are many other less technical exercises, such as basis squats, lunges, leg presses, bounding, that will develop strength. I believe that Charlie Francis had the right mix with the way he trained Ben Johnson. I don’t believe that olympic lifts would have made Johnson any more explosive as he sprinted, and did other assistance exercises including squats. But for those athletes who enjoy variety and want to master a number of sports, then go ahead and do snatch and clean and jerks. Personally I think they are a relative waste of time for track and field because the neccessary plyometric strength is also obtained from practicing the event and other less technical activities. Olympic lifts are again just one of many options for track and field athletes and hardly an essential ingredient to sucess despite all the famous athletes that may choose to peform them.

Mikeh and 101-

What is the role of weightlifting in sprinting? Come on guys. I am discussing the narrow issue of neural adaptations to training and their carryover. I’ll leave your question for others who know better.

I hesitated to use the example of one arm chins as there are other issues of strength through hypertrophy and transferability which detract from the more narrow question of the transferability of neural adaptations and I certainly was not inviting a “how best to achieve it” response although if people want that discussion that is fine by me.

However, having raised it the general point remains valid.The very performance of the movement is required to develop the ability to exert the exact pattern of force required to execute the movement. In practice, this will require some form of “unweighting” at first. You can develop as much strength in those “base” movements as you want but that will not ultimately transfer to make you strong enough to perform the one armed chin.

I have probably taken this as far as I can. I have had the opportunity over a number of years to make some observations about strength training and circumstances in which there may or may not be transfer.
I think based on those observations that the theory about the transfer of neural adaptations is wrong but fully understand that most disagree with me.

Peter

Peter,

You did well. Whether one agrees with your argument or not, you have raised points that will definitely get people thinking. It is often when people disagree that the best debates occur and one’s thinking is forced to become clearer.

Peter, You raise good points, like spartacus said. We can agree to disagree.

The discussion has been one that has gotten people thinking. I guess my belief is that not all neural adaptations are movement specific. That within a properly organized program (including the motor skills you may be trying to improve, like 1 arm chins) one can experience a positive transfer of neural adaptations to their chosen sport/activity.

The reason we ask for examples about specific movements and sporting activities is because you bring them up. It’s always nice to hear not just why one side is wrong, but using an example with your methods may more clearly illustrate your point.

I think there is a bot of research to suggest that neural adaptation occurs in untrained muscles.

I remember reading a few studies that showed that people who only trained one limbs showed a greater increase in strength in the untrained limb.

Here is a study you could do yourself:

test both arms for bicep strength, train one arm for 6 weeks then retest and see what happens.

Make sure you wear long sleave shirts for a while though otherwise you may get weird looks :wink:

As with your point about one armed chins and other contributing factors, it is almost impossible to gauge the true degree of neural carryover due to those very factors, ie strength transference and muscular coordination.

re: wrestling - neural adaption may not show itself because the wrestler may be inexperienced and not know how to use his newfound ‘ability’. You hear all the time about how some guy who could bench 500lbs got on the mat and was as weak as a kitten. give him 6 months training in how to use his strength and then say that. The emphasis of my argument is that neural adaption gives one the capability of deploying increased strength, however this may not manifest itself due to other factors, notably the sport specific muscular coordination required for its use.

Spartacus/101-thanks for the exchange. I am not precious about my views so it is absolutely fine that you agree or disagree.

At the end of the day I was testing a theory of carry over from neural adaptations against a body of observations I have made over the years and from that perspective I found the theory wanting. No more. No less.

The example I gave was more in fact to do with general transferability
but I felt that it was reasonably instructive none the less. To wander off the original debate and kick this around how would you train to perform the iron cross/crucifix in gymnastics? Would any weight training regime have any real effect? How would you train to close the Captain of Crush grippers (the “gold” standard for grip enthusiats)? Does doing anything other than learning to exert force on the very grippers themselves work?

Finally, despite my intention to leave this alone:

AussieBrad- I addressed your point above. There is some evidence about transferability from limb to limb for the same movement e.g curl. That is about as far as it goes.

Suggy- This is not a discussion based upon what I may have heard.Of course there is learning involved in the example you gave but the issue under consideration is whether once you are practised in exerting your existing muscle mass specifically, improvements in lifting weight due to neural factors carry over to strength on the mat. I believe that the evidence says no.

Is that it?

Peter

It was a long time ago, but the people in my department found a small transfer upper to lower or something like that if I am not mistaken, its been a few years so I may very well be.

Its an interesting topic. At the expense of being labelled one of the sports specific scientists, the amount of transfer from general weights programs to a sport will depend on many factors dependant on the application of “strength” in the sport.

I assume in wrestling that there is much more all over body stabilizing activity then there is in a bench press (from my school wrestling class).

However, to say a wrestler thought x was weak even though he had a big bench is like saying a powerlifter is slow even though he had a big squat from a sprinter’s perspective. I know thats been said before but I thought it was just obvious that a general weights program supports your sports training and when combined and done correctly it has been shown time and again that you perform better in your chosen sport.

I note that many dont do it correctly! (puts hand up).

It was a long time ago, but the people in my department found a small transfer upper to lower or something like that if I am not mistaken, its been a few years so I may very well be.

Its an interesting topic. At the expense of being labelled one of the sports specific scientists, the amount of transfer from general weights programs to a sport will depend on many factors dependant on the application of “strength” in the sport.

I assume in wrestling that there is much more all over body stabilizing activity then there is in a bench press (from my school wrestling class).

However, to say a wrestler thought x was weak even though he had a big bench is like saying a powerlifter is slow even though he had a big squat from a sprinter’s perspective. I know thats been said before but I thought it was just obvious that a general weights program supports your sports training and when combined and done correctly it has been shown time and again that you perform better in your chosen sport.

I note that many dont do it correctly! (puts hand up).

This is a good point and really illustrates the difference between sprinting and other sports.

The iron cross/crucifix is a definable static activity with a predefined strength component. Increasing strength above the level required would probably be counterproductive.

With sprinting, the aim is to continually develop a combination of many skills, strength and power components in order to continue the endless goal of running faster than you can now. As you develop this skill, the requirements in every component increase, though not necessarily in a linear fashion.

continuing on, sprinting also has an extremely high neural component. There is probably no other sport that has the same high speed “neural” burst and the CNS needs to be ready to deliver this, whilst the actual muscles that do the meat of the work, such as the legs, may need to be in a slightly different state, hence some of Charlie’s concepts of CNS stimulation via alternate means.

It’s a difficult concept to understand unless you have worked with higher level sprinters. I did a big post on it in the old forum, but I fear it has been lost. It has some nice charts with pretty colours.

peter:
this has been a very interesting discussion. I have enjoyed this. I wonder if we need to look at the different demands of wrestling and sprinting and how the expression of max strength may or may not aid in performance.

Quote: To avoid any misunderstanding the proposition under discussion is that neural adaptations to strength training carry over to all movements. I say that the literature does not support that view. I also say that neither do my observations of nearly 40 years on the mat.

My observation is that neural adaptations evidenced by the ability to lift more weight in the absence of hypertrophy do not give rise to the expression of significantly greater strength on the mat. I am sorry but the theory of general neural adaptations must be supported by practical experience in all fields of athletics to be valid. unquote

Sprinting requires that I can express my strength over 10 seconds to 12 seconds (100m, M, F). But in wrestling I need to express my strength over 2 minutes (3?) for 2 rounds (3? sorry - not TOO familiar with the specifics of the sport). So an increase in max strength for a wrestler may not translate to performance as well as it would for a sprinter. Maybe strength under different conditions is more important - i.e. during fatigue. It wouldn’t do a wrestler a lot of good to be alot stronger if he can’t express that strength after he has been on the mat for 90 seconds. Sure you do sport specific training, but MAYBE the neural changes from max strength training do not express themselves under the metabolic conditions of wrestling.

For sprinters and sprint coaches, look at the differences in body types once you jump to the 800m. You can builds like Micheal Johnson in the 200-400, but once you move to the 800 muscle mass seems to drop considerably. Wrestlers obviously need max strength more than 800m guys, and max strength can win or lose a match. But if a wrestler isn’t strong after being in the mat for 90 seconds (relative to his opponent) he is screwed.

Wrestlers are not build like 800m guys, but they can relate to 800m guys in terms of knowing what it is like to give maximum effort under high fatigue levels. Is it more important for a wrestler to be able to bench 1.5 x his body weight, or to see what he can bench after he has done 50 push ups?

AussieBrad- Ok, I thought that I had made it clear that nothing I said was to be construed to mean that strength was not important or that you should not lift weights. If anyone still thinks that that is what I am saying then I know it is tedious but you will have to read the entire thread. I am NOT arguing in favour of either proposition.

dcw23- although slightly deviating from the main point I was making my point on the one arm chin/iron cross/crucifix etc examples was to invite discussion about how you would acquire the strength required for such movements and the extent to which a general transfer occured.

Carson-those are very true and pertinent observations and the activity
( 2x3 minutes with 30 seconds rest internationally) does indeed require a number of attributes and the ability to display strength under metabolically challenging conditions so that the answer to the question posed posed by your last question is of course both. However, the observation that we have made time and time again is that neural improvements evidenced by the ability to lift more weight in the absence of hypertrophy does not carry over significantly to on the mat strength. I wish it were otherwise!

Peter

Peter, I have really appreciated your points here, and the discussions on both sides.

So the idea, according to your points, would be to make the goal of weight training muscle strength rather than neural drive?

I’d like to figure out how your theory works out in practicality - in a training example if you’d care to share.

For instance, given your context, would it be more beneficial for an track athlete to bench (for instance) 200 for 10 reps than to bench 240 for 2 reps? The first would train the muscle but less the nervous system. The secind would train the nervous system, but the muscles only a little.