[quote author="star61" date="1263292581"][quote author="Roger Nelsen (RJ24)" date="1263275084"]
And to Star, I am going to ask my question again. What does lifting heavy (>85% 1RM) provide that lifting lighter (70-80%) does not? Until someone can spell this out, this debate can’t really come to an end.
Roger, I don’t know if anyone can answer that to a certainty. But that’s a theoretical approach. Its one thing to understand WHY something works, its another to simply know that it does work.
Empirically, the vast majority of studies, vast majority respected experts, and vast majority of strength athletes (both powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters) have determined that SOMETHING is provided by including loads >85%, whatever that something is, that allows a strength athlete to improve max strength faster, longer, and farther, than plans that never exceed 80%. I think common sense would tell you that if an Olympic lifter or powerlifter could get stronger by never exceeding 80%, most would be doing it that way…but there are very, very few, if any, powerlifters or Olympic lifters that NEVER go above 80%, and most include anywhere from 10-20% of all reps at 85% or greater loads.[/quote]
We’re going in circles here. The problem with your above statement is that powerlifters and olympic lifters need to train heavy as it is essentially sports practice. The entire point of their sports is displaying strength through a maximal lift. For athletes, who have no actual need to display their strength in such a manner, this practice isn’t necessary and I would argue that it’s actually counterproductive. As has been pointed out, it’s perfectly possible for a stronger athlete (as measured via power numbers) to lift considerably less than a weaker one (also measured by power numbers) depending on how they train in the weight room.
Again, until someone can spell out why athletes need heavy loading, we can’t move forward. As far as I’m concerned, weight lifting should be used for mobility, general coordination gains (pelvic control, etc.), and building muscle. These things can be accomplished more easily with 70% than 90% and at a much more affordable cost. As for rate coding, specific muscular coordination, GTO disinhibition, and increasing central drive, I’ll train all of that on the track, where it’s actually meant to be displayed.
I’m not saying 85%+ lifting won’t make you stronger, as it will most definitely do a great job, but it’s really not necessary for an athlete who already has a high volume of high intensity work in their program.[/quote]
I may be reviving a dead horse here since this discussion hasn’t been touched for over a month, but I was just catching up on some old threads I used to read and found this interesting. One reason that I feel that it is necessary to have an athlete lift at 85%+ of their 1RM is to strengthen their body to feel that one time load, especially in events such as Jumping, Vaulting, and Throwing. It was said that if Nick jumped 8m it wasn’t because he could lift 50 or 100lbs more, but I don’t see an explanation as to why it isn’t because he lifted more. Jumping involves a super-maximal load on the body, the amount of force created during a long jump is greater than that accomplished in the weight room. So why is an athlete able to handle and use this super-maximal load, because the athlete is stronger. If you look at the force involved in triple jump, if the athlete is not strong enough and unable to handle the load on their bodies, they will fail during the jump, or have to cut down the distance traveled between phases. This is where Max Strength is important in my eyes. Looking at throws, I once heard a stat (not sure how true it is, Mike may be able to attest) that the force that was required to throw a 16lb shot 75ft was greater than that of a 400lb snatch. Obviously the athletes throwing 75ft may not be able to complete at 400lb snatch, but they have to have the max strength in order to apply that much force in the ring. Again, this is all my opinion and I have always felt that completing 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps at 85%+ prepared me better when it was closer to big competition time and I felt my body was less exhausted afterward. As for sprints, I’m sure that maximum strength plays a role in coming out of the blocks and driving through the drive phase of a race.