Loren Seagrave’s thoughts on Absolute Strength

Posted In: Blog Discussion

  • Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #16463

    This weekend I had the chance to speak with Coach Loren Seagrave on his thoughts about absolute strength. Loren is a former LSU sprint coach, founder of Velocity Sport Performance and coach of some of the fastest individuals in the world. I’ve had the privilege of doing at least one speaking engagement with Loren each month for the past couple months and I’ve been able to pick his brain on topic

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    ELITETRACK Founder

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #93857

    I didn’t get to ask what level or percentage of the total tonnage he would recommend when using higher loading but from my previous discussions with him it would likely be a modest percentage…the next time we’re together I’ll try to ask.

    ELITETRACK Founder


    Participant
    eroszag on #93859

    Mike, I have some articles from him, and 1 dvd with sprint drills..interesting, albeit in the TAC book, the workload listed was quite big..
    Did you ask him about Gatlin..how does he feel, train and so on?


    Participant
    sizerp on #93862

    Interesting.

    Next time you speak to him, can you ask about his thoughts on the difference between two models of strength development, i.e which one he thinks would produce better/faster/more consistent results in terms of speed/jumping ability:

    1. A more parallel model, which I think he is using, but I’m not sure. What I mean is an athlete becomes “strong enough” in most of the lifts, and emphasis shifts towards increasing bar speed in all lifts.

    2. A kind of a sequential model, but not exactly. It’s pretty much what happened to me:
    When I started training for track, I had already developed a 2.5x bodyweight full squat, from then on has stayed at the same level +- 10kg. After starting track, my full squat stayed the same, but my box squat started increasing, up to 3.5x at one point. When I stopped putting more weight no the box squat, I started to pay more attention to the cleans, and they increased. Right now I don’t put more weight on the cleans, but the weights and the ease of the lift in the snatch are increasing. So in essence, I have moved from improving in a more max strength movement to improving in a more dynamic movement (snatch).


    Participant
    star61 on #93870

    …After starting track, my full squat stayed the same, but my box squat started increasing, up to 3.5x at one point. When I stopped putting more weight no the box squat, I started to pay more attention to the cleans, and they increased. Right now I don’t put more weight on the cleans, but the weights and the ease of the lift in the snatch are increasing. So in essence, I have moved from improving in a more max strength movement to improving in a more dynamic movement (snatch).

    A box squat of 3.5x is a massive box squat. Was the box near parallel? If it was anywhere near parallel, I don’t think you need to worry about max strength and you’re right to focus on explosive lifts and plyos.


    Participant
    sizerp on #93871

    A box squat of 3.5x is a massive box squat. Was the box near parallel? If it was anywhere near parallel, I don’t think you need to worry about max strength and you’re right to focus on explosive lifts and plyos.

    It was on a bench + a 45lbs disk. I haven’t gone about 3x in a long time, no need for that, it took my body too long to recover. My current problem is that the limiting factors are what I can front squat in the clean, and what my arms can support above my head in the snatch. That’s what is causing me to fail some of the max lifts, and if I start working on those 2 issues, my numbers in both of the Olympic lifts will probably take off. However, the my season starts really soon, and the emphasis by default shifts to less weight and more bar speed, so I’m definitely not going to address these issues now. My concern with the development models is more focused on the long term development of strength qualities, eg. what would be best to do this fall from September to December.


    Participant
    star61 on #93874

    It was on a bench + a 45lbs disk. I haven’t gone about 3x in a long time, no need for that, it took my body too long to recover. My current problem is that the limiting factors are what I can front squat in the clean, and what my arms can support above my head in the snatch. That’s what is causing me to fail some of the max lifts, and if I start working on those 2 issues, my numbers in both of the Olympic lifts will probably take off. However, the my season starts really soon, and the emphasis by default shifts to less weight and more bar speed, so I’m definitely not going to address these issues now. My concern with the development models is more focused on the long term development of strength qualities, eg. what would be best to do this fall from September to December.

    I can’t imagine that your front squat would be that much less than your box squat, unless you always squatted high. Even so, it shouldn’t take much off season work to bring that deeper front squat up, considering the strenth base you have already developed.


    Participant
    johnstrang on #93875

    I am glad you posted this Mike. I have been having some Vern Gambetta thoughts about the strength coach that does all the planning for my athletes. I think they have good intentions, but they are still used to making them football players instead of better high jumpers, pole vaulters, etc. I am going to slowly try and work with them going into the summer and fall.

    What is everyone’s thoughts on having my athletes do some sort of hypertrophy phase for 8 or so weeks over the summer moving into absolute strength in the fall and then cutting the percentages from 85-70% from beginning of January to end of the season? I would also implement more speed, plyo, split/single leg workouts. I also think they would benefit from a lot more overhead type lifts. I am coaching multis and jumpers. I really would like to get the sprinters back in my group, but I don’t see that happening. I came in January to take over, they all seem relatively strong, but not nearly as explosive or fast as I was hoping they would be.

    Nick Newman
    Participant
    Nick Newman on #93876

    This is info is exactly what most of us on here have been saying for ages right?

    Get strong, maintain strength while working MOSTLY on developing power with lighter loads.


    Participant
    sizerp on #93880

    I can’t imagine that your front squat would be that much less than your box squat, unless you always squatted high. Even so, it shouldn’t take much off season work to bring that deeper front squat up, considering the strenth base you have already developed.

    My front squat equals my clean πŸ™‚
    About the off season work, that is the topic Seagrave gets into, maybe I’m “strong enough” and shouldn’t spend time in the fall getting even stronger, but developing more dynamic qualities earlier in the preparation.

    I generally agree with the concept of max strength “ceiling”, what I wonder is about the actual progression. The end result the way it’s happening to me now will be the same, what I’d like to be able to analyze is whether it is crucial to convert the development to a more parallel (conjugate? πŸ˜€ ) approach.


    Participant
    utfootball4 on #93881

    No matter how strong you are those max strength qualities should be touched on each year, this is where using sub max loads to develop strength plays a major – 2-5 sets of 4-6reps at 70-80% should do the trick.


    Participant
    star61 on #93883

    [quote author="star61" date="1263857962"]I can’t imagine that your front squat would be that much less than your box squat, unless you always squatted high. Even so, it shouldn’t take much off season work to bring that deeper front squat up, considering the strenth base you have already developed.

    My front squat equals my clean πŸ™‚
    About the off season work, that is the topic Seagrave gets into, maybe I’m “strong enough” and shouldn’t spend time in the fall getting even stronger, but developing more dynamic qualities earlier in the preparation.

    I generally agree with the concept of max strength “ceiling”, what I wonder is about the actual progression. The end result the way it’s happening to me now will be the same, what I’d like to be able to analyze is whether it is crucial to convert the development to a more parallel (conjugate? πŸ˜€ ) approach.[/quote]However, I don’t think it would be a bad idea to progress your front squat offseason if it is the limiting factor in your clean.


    Participant
    Rich Tolman(mr-glove) on #93905

    I can’t believe he would even consider having athletes at, or even approaching, Phillips level lift three times each week. I’m specifically talking about lower body work.

    Any athlete that spends time with Poliquin will certainly get their nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, etc… addressed. They’ll also get bigger and stronger.
    Whether that translates to performance is another question.

    I’d be curious to hear what Loren thought about Dwight’s experiences with Charles.


    Participant
    Kebba Tolbert on #93909

    It’s *very* common for athletes at that level to lift 3x/week.


    Participant
    Rich Tolman(mr-glove) on #93915

    It’s *very* common for athletes at that level to lift 3x/week.

    My comment is fairly general and one could make an argument based on certain variables but I just don’t think that 48 hours is enough time to recover before a similar session can be repeated.

    I put one too many lower body strength workouts in the same ballpark as all the garbage miles distance runners do. They’ll feel better without it but are too afraid to find that out.

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