Author Topic: General Strength Training Principles  (Read 5680 times)

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undoubtable

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General Strength Training Principles
« on: August 09, 2011, 01:15:29 am »
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I've done a good amount of reading on strength training and there is one principle that I'm still very unsure of since the answers tend to vary from source to source. I'll start the question from personal experience and then generalize it since I feel it might be easier to understand that way.

With nearly every exercise whether it be squats, rdls, rows, or bench I feel that I generate more power when I do my reps very quickly and get into a nice rhythm that way. When I say quickly, I mean that I almost drop the weight during the eccentric phase, although I feel that its done in a controlled manner. I can definitely say that I generate more power than I would if I executed the exercise in a "strict" fashion because I move the weight with greater speed and the force of the weight does not stop at the end of the concentric movement but instead contributes to an even quicker eccentric action and so the cycle is repeated throughout the set. Not only do I feel that I generate more power when I lift this way, but the neural drive and excitement is greatly elevated. Naturally, I can only lift this way with submax weight in the 60-85% range (just a guess). I'm sure most people experience this.

So the question I have is whether it is optimal to lift this way? I have heard two different viewpoints. One suggests that lifting explosively for power is sport specific because athletic movements occur in the same fashion. While the other suggests that lifting weights is generally not sport specific at all so strength training should focus on placing the muscles under greater tension. If I'm not mistaken, muscles face greater tension when they are under the weight for a longer period of time so this viewpoint naturally recommends lifting in a strict and controlled fashion which will naturally be slower. This viewpoint would typically suggest that the specific movement and power would be developed through the movement itself ie. developing sprinting through sprinting or something close such as bounding.

I'm very uncertain on which strength training principle is more accurate since they both seem very reasonable. I prefer the explosive way of lifting because it feels more natural and the neural stimulant resulting from it is much more exciting and enjoyable but I also want to lift the way that will help my performance the most (sprinting faster and jumping higher). What are your thoughts on the matter?

Sorry for the long drawn-out post.
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

LanceSTS

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 04:46:55 am »
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I've done a good amount of reading on strength training and there is one principle that I'm still very unsure of since the answers tend to vary from source to source. I'll start the question from personal experience and then generalize it since I feel it might be easier to understand that way.

With nearly every exercise whether it be squats, rdls, rows, or bench I feel that I generate more power when I do my reps very quickly and get into a nice rhythm that way. When I say quickly, I mean that I almost drop the weight during the eccentric phase, although I feel that its done in a controlled manner. I can definitely say that I generate more power than I would if I executed the exercise in a "strict" fashion because I move the weight with greater speed and the force of the weight does not stop at the end of the concentric movement but instead contributes to an even quicker eccentric action and so the cycle is repeated throughout the set. Not only do I feel that I generate more power when I lift this way, but the neural drive and excitement is greatly elevated. Naturally, I can only lift this way with submax weight in the 60-85% range (just a guess). I'm sure most people experience this.

 The more you train like that, the higher the percentage of your max you can lift explosively.  Really explosive athletes will often lift their 1rm very fast, especially when compared with average athletes.  They either make the lift or they dont in the first couple of seconds.

Quote
So the question I have is whether it is optimal to lift this way? I have heard two different viewpoints. One suggests that lifting explosively for power is sport specific because athletic movements occur in the same fashion. While the other suggests that lifting weights is generally not sport specific at all so strength training should focus on placing the muscles under greater tension. If I'm not mistaken, muscles face greater tension when they are under the weight for a longer period of time so this viewpoint naturally recommends lifting in a strict and controlled fashion which will naturally be slower. This viewpoint would typically suggest that the specific movement and power would be developed through the movement itself ie. developing sprinting through sprinting or something close such as bounding.

Well if time under tension were the ONLY factor that was important in strength training, holding a body weight iso for 5 minutes would be a great way to strength train.  It doesnt work that way though.  If you do an exercise of 3 sets of 5 reps with 85 percent of your max slowly and have a total time under tension of 50 seconds for the set, you can end up with the exact same time under tension for the exercise, by doing more sets of 5, or even 3s etc, explosively, but more sets.  The total tut can equal out BUT, the total force output in the latter will be MUCH higher.  It takes ~101lbs of force to move a 100lb load, but if youre pushing maximally and explosively, you can put 300lbs of force into that rep assuming you are capable of generating that at max f efforts.  

 There are some benefits to creating a hypoxic type enviornment with a continuous tension type of lifting, but for the big compound lifts like squats, explosive powerful reps should be used more frequently.  Both are good, both have different purposes.  The powerful reps train the central nervous system heavily, the smooth continuous tension reps train the musculature but dont stress the cns to the same degree.  It really depends on what your overall goal is and what the rest of your schedule looks like to determine which one is optimal for YOU.  

Quote
I'm very uncertain on which strength training principle is more accurate since they both seem very reasonable. I prefer the explosive way of lifting because it feels more natural and the neural stimulant resulting from it is much more exciting and enjoyable but I also want to lift the way that will help my performance the most (sprinting faster and jumping higher). What are your thoughts on the matter?

Use both.  Do explosive, powerful reps on some sets, then finish with a higher rep more controlled "blood" set at the end.  I would keep the volume of explosively performed reps higher than the volume of slow reps though if jumping and sprinting are your primary goals.  

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Sorry for the long drawn-out post.

« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 04:49:01 am by LanceSTS »
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undoubtable

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 01:46:55 pm »
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So say the max weight I can move explosively on DB Bench were 65s for 4 sets of 6. Can I set it up so I lift 65, 65, 65, & 70 on the last set where I have to move it slow and controlled. Then I would do this until the 70 moves explosively and next weeks set up looks like 65, 65, 70, 70. So basically I would do 3 explosive sets and one controlled set that is over my explosive threshold. Would it make sense to progress weights that way?

Also, would all I be doing is increasing the percentage of my max that I can lift explosively or would my max strength also increase?

Thanks a lot for the reply.
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

LanceSTS

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2011, 01:59:02 pm »
+1
So say the max weight I can move explosively on DB Bench were 65s for 4 sets of 6. Can I set it up so I lift 65, 65, 65, & 70 on the last set where I have to move it slow and controlled. Then I would do this until the 70 moves explosively and next weeks set up looks like 65, 65, 70, 70. So basically I would do 3 explosive sets and one controlled set that is over my explosive threshold. Would it make sense to progress weights that way?

 Nah, I would make the last (slower/hypertrophy focused) set, lighter than the others.  Keep moving up the weight until you can no longer move it without sticking in the entire range of motion for your regular work sets.   Then on the last set, drop the weight down a little and do a set of 10 or so, slow and under control for more tut/hypoxic/blood work effect.  The last set will benefit from the heavier explosive sets as well since the cns will be firing on all cylinders, and the previous explosive heavier sets will benefit from the last set as the increased blood flow will contribute to recovery and hypertrophy.  Dont focus too much on what the top speed you can attain is, as long as youre TRYING to move the weight explosively, and not "sticking" (the weight stops moving upward) during any point in the rom, its not too heavy. 


Quote
Also, would all I be doing is increasing the percentage of my max that I can lift explosively or would my max strength also increase?

Thanks a lot for the reply.

 You will be increasing your max in probably the most efficient way possible by lifting a heavy weight as explosively as you can, along with increasing your rfd and neural efficiency.  The weight has to be heavy though, purposely using a light weight and moving it fast does not work the same way, nor does grinding up reps.  The rep should be accelerating through the rom constantly, and be the heaviest weight that you are capable of handling in this manner, for your chosen rep range.



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undoubtable

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 09:53:23 pm »
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Ok cool the hypertrophy last set makes a lot of sense. I just have one more connected question. I have also read that doing high intensity work, both weights and sprints/ jumps, on the same day has a greater effect because the sum is greater than the parts. Do you agree with this idea of having 2-3 very high intensity days where you combine the weights and sprints/jumps and scheduling a couple of low intensity conditioning days around them? And if so, should the sprints/jumps be done after or before the weights considering that the lifts occur explosively as previously mentioned?

Really appreciate the advice Lance as it gives me something concrete instead of the trail & error stuff I do.
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

LanceSTS

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 11:38:37 pm »
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Ok cool the hypertrophy last set makes a lot of sense. I just have one more connected question. I have also read that doing high intensity work, both weights and sprints/ jumps, on the same day has a greater effect because the sum is greater than the parts. Do you agree with this idea of having 2-3 very high intensity days where you combine the weights and sprints/jumps and scheduling a couple of low intensity conditioning days around them? And if so, should the sprints/jumps be done after or before the weights considering that the lifts occur explosively as previously mentioned?

Yes I agree with that assuming that you mean lower intensity in the sense that the skill work/ exercises/drills/jumps etc. are lower intensity themselves and not necessarily the effort put forth.

  I dont believe in a lot of "junk" volume, and that everything you do in training should have a definite purpose and be performed purposefully as well.  You see lots of guys doing "low intensity" stuff with a lot of sub max volume,  that is much more taxing and draining than had they done less volume but performed whatever work they were doing at a higher and more highly focused intensity.  In the end quality always wins over quantity regardless of skill work/conditioning/strength training/ explosives/ etc. 

 Coupling heavy, explosive weight work with plyometrics/jumps and short sprints is very beneficial if done correctly, and complexes are a great way to do this as you get the p.a.p. effect from the preceding exercise.  If you are not doing complexes, then for sure, do the sprints and jumps first. 

Quote
Really appreciate the advice Lance as it gives me something concrete instead of the trail & error stuff I do.

no problem bud, good luck with your training.
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undoubtable

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 03:37:21 pm »
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Hey Lance, I didn't want to start a new thread and I need some advice on my squat. Can you let me know if what I'm doing is technically sound and if I can keep pushing the weight?

3 sets on video - 3x285, 3x295, and 10x205 - The 295 is maximal effort and the 205 is the last set you told me about.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ILpqFfhIdg" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ILpqFfhIdg</a>


Thanks man.
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

LBSS

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 03:44:32 pm »
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video is private
Muscles are nonsensical they have nothing to do with this bullshit.

- Avishek

sunday: long very easy run 80+ mins @ 5:40+ (14+ km)
monday: strength/cross training
tuesday: extensive tempo (7 km) OR fartlek (mostly easy pace with mix of strides, hills, long tempo) 45 mins (8+ km)
wednesday: easy run 60+ mins @ 5:20-5:30 (11+ km)
thursday: easy run 60+ mins @ 5:20-5:30 (11+ km), strength/cross-training
friday: rest
saturday: short tempo 6-8x500 @ sub-4:00 (7 km)

strength would be:
- hops 2x10
- box jumps or ME SVJ 2x5
- squats 3x6-8 or weighted BSS/lunges 3x10/leg
- RDL/hypers 2x10-12 or SLRDL 2x10-12/leg
- upper push myo-reps or sets to technical failure
- upper pull myo-reps or sets to technical failure
- leg raises, holds, pallof presses

undoubtable

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 03:54:15 pm »
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Crap thanks. Should be fixed.
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

LanceSTS

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 04:47:59 pm »
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 Looks very good man, nice work.
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undoubtable

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 09:35:25 pm »
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k nice thanks again.
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

undoubtable

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 08:37:24 pm »
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Yo Lance, I've been working hard to improve my cleans but need some help with my form to move heavier weights. I feel comfortable with the actual pull but the catch is terrible and as you can see my body goes forward and instead of backward. What can I do to fix that and any other problems you see? Thanks a lot man.

Also another thing I've been doing after heavy cleans is doing a 10rep hang cleans. It works real well and I can get a lot more reps in then I would had I not done the heavy cleans before. Thought that would work only for the heavy lifts but it works well for the explosive ones as well.

Here's the video of max effort cleans at 205, 210, 215, and 225 miss

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHjmG9Bveaw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHjmG9Bveaw</a>
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

LanceSTS

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 09:40:47 pm »
+1
 

  Youve got several issues there that are causing you problems, and some that will for sure cause you problems as you get stronger.

   First, your starting position is off, youre back is rounded to begin with, and its only going to get worse from there if its already rounding at the start. 

  You also dont have a first and second pull, youre basically jerking the weight off the ground in one motion and racking it.  When you start from the floor, the first pull is controlled, and the goal is to keep a constant torso angle to set up the second pull (the explosive part of the lifts).  Think "push the floor away" until the bar passes the knee, then "jump".

   Then, youre getting on your toes and its kicking you forward, and as you catch youre not unlocking the hips, youre trying to lean back to compensate.  Its impossible to catch solid because you are off balance, you have to unlock the hips, even in the quarter squat position, dont lean back.

    You can fix these issues pretty easily if youll take a little weight off and start from the top down.  Hang power clean from the mid thigh, then hang power clean from slightly below knee, then finally power clean from the floor.  Something else that will help you is to do a front squat after clean you do.  Try to go right into it and not break the momentum, if you can catch in a full clean do so.  That will force you to unlock the hips and fix your catch. 

  I would also not do the high rep sets, thats likely re enforcing bad habits as you fatigue and form deteriorates more and more.  These lifts are like jumps, dont string together a bunch of sub max crappy ones, do one, re set, do another, etc.  You can easily get the same volume by doing a rep, taking about 10-20 seconds to reset, do another, etc.  You will maintain more explosiveness this way along with better technique. 
Relax.

undoubtable

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2011, 05:19:08 pm »
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Thanks for taking the time you give all that detail. I'll definitely drop the weight and learn the proper technique.

Just one question. How can I stop my back from rounding because I'm sure that's a problem I have with other pulls and it also happens during max effort squats where I basically do a good morning near the bottom then straighten up as I get to half squat depth?
GOALS

Squat 340x3               Power clean 265

BP 225x3                    100m - 11.5

LanceSTS

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Re: General Strength Training Principles
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2011, 09:31:30 pm »
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  Something that helps a lot of guys is to tighten the upper back as well as concentrating on arching hard.  Basically flex the lats like youre doing a pull up, and hold that position.  The lower part of the spine can sometimes be the issue as well, and thinking about "turning your belt buckle to the floor" will help lock in the lower lumbar region. 

  Make sure you sit back a little before you begin the pull, kind of "rock back" onto the back half of the foot at first, that will help with your start as well.  When you jump a barbell up think about jumping off the heels instead of the toes.  When you jump your body into the air you want to jump off the toes, when youre jumping a bar up you want to jump off the heels.   Youll still get plenty of plantar flexion when you do this, but using that cue will keep you better centered as well as help you extend with the glutes more and not the low back. 
Relax.