Not to rehash this thread but since it was a good one and one that I didn’t have time to really chime in on when it was hot and heavy I thought I’d share some quick thoughts.
*I do think max strength development is important for a variety of reasons (as a lead-in to eccentric strength devlepment, hormonal responses, motor unit recruitment, providing alternative high intensity training stimulus that is no / low-impact)
*I think to develop max strength most effectively (no qualifiers) you have to train above 85% with trained athletes and some time should be spent above 90%.
*Max strength is beneficial but not vital aspect of speed-power development. In my opinion, the only area that you really absolutely CANNOT do with out when training for speed is high intensity sprint training with sufficient rest.
*Max strength work will provide greater bang for your buck with intermediate level athletes who have not already developed high levels of strength.
*We have to recognize that ifts and tests of strength in the weight room are somewhat arbitrary in the grand scheme of things…although it’s nice and easy to use them to say so and so is / is not strong to further our points, a single lift itself may not be the best assessment. The thing that has really driven this point home to me is seeing some of the athletes who worked on farms when I lived in OH. I’ve seen them toss around odd, awkward objects easily than most any weight room trained athlete could do but they were just slightly above average in the weight room. I’ve even seen the same thing with some elite throwers that I work with who do not have insane weight room numbers.
*I’ve only rarely had a problem with too much emphasis on strength development. In such cases it was more due to the unique characteristics of the athlete. In fact, with most of my athletes they are at peak strength levels (PRing left and right in the weight room) at the same time as they are at peak speed levels.
*Related to the previous point, I have no qualms doing some limited volume but very high intensity work deep in to the competitive season…often times going up to 95%. With that said, I’m increasingly balancing that with lower load (70-85%) work with a greater emphasis on speed of movement. The mix of these 2 methods is proving very effective for me over the last 2 years.
*Intensity is generally regarded as just a load variable (% of 1RM) but it can be tricky because when the emphasis is on speed of movement you can have equivalent intensities (and force outputs, and higher power outputs) with lower loads. This only seems to hold true within a relatively small range of loads though.
I’m in total agreement with everything you say here.