Star61 I may be way off base but I do believe their are great number of ways to improve strength. Many roads to Rome. I know you power lifted with your son, created a low volume 400 program for you daughter, and seem to be a strong believer in Charlie Francis’s methods. Have you had a lot of experience coaching runners on the opposite end speed endurance spectrum? Like 5k, 10k, or even shorter events like the 1600? I ask these questions because it took me a while to develop the program for my distance kids after years of research, anecdotal evidence, trial and error, and even conversations with Dr. Daniel himself. After all of this you begin to connect the dots that at certain times a endurance athlete should be trained in the weight room like sprinter and other times the loads will be much different.
First, yes many roads lead to Rome, but the vast majority of roads do not. I’m not suggesting HOW an endurance runner should or shouldn’t be trained, I’ve stated that clearly several times. What I’ve said is, if you believe the athlete needs more muscle mass, you need to train for hypertrophy. If you believe improving the athlete’s ability to generate force, then you need to improve the athlete’s ability to generate maximal force and/or improve the athlete’s RFD, (the athlete’s ability to generate greater force in a shorter amount of time). Once you have defined those goals, there are specific training methods that need to be utilized. You can’t walk into a gym and say “We’re training to improve strength…” then have the athlete lift very submaximal loads for submaximal reps and expect to actually force an adaption that will result in an improvement in strength. There are loading ranges and rep ranges that are effect in producing specific adaptions, and if you don’t follow them you will get subpar results, or no results at all. I’m NOT saying to follow a bodybuilder’s, or a powerlifter’s, or an Olympic lifter’s training, but you need to understand what and why they do what they do, and adapt the training to fit into your overall training budget.
Rich Tolman said…
Isn’t some of this just about the distance community’s interpretation of the words “strength” or “strength training?” Oftentimes, one will see elaborate periodization schemes for the running part of a program and then on certain days the word “weights” appears. To me, it just shows that it’s been an afterthought in the distance community.
I agree, and I for one feel we need to keep the terminology straight. In fact, in this very thread, do we all know exactly how Mike was using the term?
One can debate the usefulness of the technique, or even the exercises, shown in the video but maybe it is strength work for Rupp, compared to what he used to do. Perhaps they are concerned more about an attempt to balance out their program than jacking the numbers up?
In the beginning, anyone will make improvements in strength by doing about any kind of resistance work. But we’re not talking about totally novice athletes or sedentary citizens. Very quickly, after some base level of strength is established in the first few weeks to months of resistance training, it becomes progressively more difficult to improve strength. Also, I would think that most coaches would want to use the most efficient and successful methods of accomplishing their goals, of course making sure that the training fits into the overall scheme and doesn’t compromise the athlete’s other training goals.
Not sure if defining strength increase exclusively as an increase in maximal output makes sense, especially for those who may not push the envelope with 1RM testing. If I’m training my mom and she goes from the 3lb pink dumbells to the 6lb green dumbells in a particular exercise, ( standardize sets, reps, tempo, rest ) well, I’m calling that a strength increase, regardless of the source of the increase. Isn’t it simply about progress?
You can use any load, just about, to measure strength, but loads less than 1RM are a proxy for 1RM. Strength, as it relates to force output, is in fact defined as the maximum force expressed without relation to time. The NFL uses total reps at 225lbs. to calculate 1RM, and their formula works pretty well. But the bottom line, early adaptions come quick and easy, but adaptions that bring about further improvements in strength, or power, or hypertrophy, all become progressively more difficult to create. Using less efficient methods leads to less efficient progress. You have to fit any training into the overall scheme, but you can’t fool yourself into thinking endurance runners can improve strength beyond some novice level doing 50% body weight squats and almost unloaded lunges.
And, if you’re really not talking about maximal force output, why call it strength? Call it endurance or strength endurance or special endurance, or stability, or core work or work capacity, or whatever.