Loren Seagrave’s thoughts on Absolute Strength

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      • Mike Young
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        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

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        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?

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        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).

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        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.

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        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.

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        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.

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        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
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        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.

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        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 🙂
        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? 😀 ) approach.

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        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.

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        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 🙂
        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? 😀 ) 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.

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        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.

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        Kebba Tolbert on #93909

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

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        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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        sizerp on #93916

        [quote author="ktolbert" date="1263935784"]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.[/quote]

        “lift 3x/week” does not hold enough information to be able to relate it with “similar session”.

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        star61 on #93917

        Being able to train 2, 3, or even 4 times a week depends on whether or not you’re splitting your workouts. If every workout is a full body workout and intensity is never varied, then twice per week is already a lot. If the training is split along body parts (two lower body and one upperbody) or intensity (one heavy, two moderate to light) then three days is easily doable, assuming you have the time.

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        sizerp on #93918

        Why would athletes do bodyparts?

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        star61 on #93919

        Why would athletes do bodyparts?

        By bodyparts, I mean splitting upper body from lower body. I’ve never been a fan of training the entire body in one session. I understand that in season or during maintainance phases it might be best, but if you’re trully trying to build strength and/or power at any level of intensity its not the best way to do it, IMHO.

        And while I realize many track and field athletes do train the whole body each session, there cam still be a split along intensity lines (high force-explosive power or heavy day-light day).

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        sizerp on #93920

        [quote author="Denis Eradiri (sizerp)" date="1263949556"]Why would athletes do bodyparts?

        By bodyparts, I mean splitting upper body from lower body. I’ve never been a fan of training the entire body in one session. I understand that in season or during maintainance phases it might be best, but if you’re trully trying to build strength and/or power at any level of intensity its not the best way to do it, IMHO.

        And while I realize many track and field athletes do train the whole body each session, there cam still be a split along intensity lines (high force-explosive power or heavy day-light day).[/quote]

        So if I do heavy squats followed by lighter snatches and end with push-presses, is that whole body?

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        Matt Norquist on #93932

        [quote author="Denis Eradiri (sizerp)" date="1263949556"]Why would athletes do bodyparts?

        By bodyparts, I mean splitting upper body from lower body. I’ve never been a fan of training the entire body in one session. I understand that in season or during maintainance phases it might be best, but if you’re trully trying to build strength and/or power at any level of intensity its not the best way to do it, IMHO.

        And while I realize many track and field athletes do train the whole body each session, there cam still be a split along intensity lines (high force-explosive power or heavy day-light day).[/quote]

        I’ve actually thought (for a while) that track athletes could learn from split session workouts used by Bodybuilders, Powerlifters, and others. Especially in GPP and (if needed) Hypertrophy periods of training.Personally, I do full body 3x per week, with High, Low, and then moderate intensity – and this seems sufficient for slow(ish) strength gains. I suspect doing more intelligent splits would actually yield bigger strength gains – but I would gain weight like crazy.

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        star61 on #93933

        [quote author="star61" date="1263952598"][quote author="Denis Eradiri (sizerp)" date="1263949556"]Why would athletes do bodyparts?

        By bodyparts, I mean splitting upper body from lower body. I’ve never been a fan of training the entire body in one session. I understand that in season or during maintainance phases it might be best, but if you’re trully trying to build strength and/or power at any level of intensity its not the best way to do it, IMHO.

        And while I realize many track and field athletes do train the whole body each session, there cam still be a split along intensity lines (high force-explosive power or heavy day-light day).[/quote]

        So if I do heavy squats followed by lighter snatches and end with push-presses, is that whole body?[/quote]If those are the only exercises you’re doing, I would say that would be a lower body contrast/complex session with an upper body accessory thrown in. If you’re just doing the three exercises, probably no need to split. If were doing heavy squats and heavy snatches, I would split on intensity.

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        star61 on #93934

        [quote author="star61" date="1263952598"][quote author="Denis Eradiri (sizerp)" date="1263949556"]Why would athletes do bodyparts?

        By bodyparts, I mean splitting upper body from lower body. I’ve never been a fan of training the entire body in one session. I understand that in season or during maintainance phases it might be best, but if you’re trully trying to build strength and/or power at any level of intensity its not the best way to do it, IMHO.

        And while I realize many track and field athletes do train the whole body each session, there cam still be a split along intensity lines (high force-explosive power or heavy day-light day).[/quote]

        I’ve actually thought (for a while) that track athletes could learn from split session workouts used by Bodybuilders, Powerlifters, and others. Especially in GPP and (if needed) Hypertrophy periods of training.Personally, I do full body 3x per week, with High, Low, and then moderate intensity – and this seems sufficient for slow(ish) strength gains. I suspect doing more intelligent splits would actually yield bigger strength gains – but I would gain weight like crazy.[/quote]In off season or early GPP, if strength or hypertrophy were important short term goals, I agree that split sessions would allow greater progress. SPP and Comp periods lifting for sprinters seems to be limited to a few exercises, so splitting along intensity lines, as you’re doing, probably works best.

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        Rich Tolman(mr-glove) on #93945

        [quote author="mr glove" date="1263946892"][quote author="ktolbert" date="1263935784"]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.[/quote]

        “lift 3x/week” does not hold enough information to be able to relate it with “similar session”.[/quote]

        I’m going on the assumption that lift 3 x week means strength training with muscles from the hips on down.

        By similar session, I mean training for the lower body at a similar intensity as the previous lower body session. I’ve seen many programs where athletes are doing lower body work on M-W-F and the coaches think they’re okay because they’re varying the exercises.

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        Rich Tolman(mr-glove) on #93946

        [quote author="star61" date="1263952598"][quote author="Denis Eradiri (sizerp)" date="1263949556"]Why would athletes do bodyparts?

        By bodyparts, I mean splitting upper body from lower body. I’ve never been a fan of training the entire body in one session. I understand that in season or during maintainance phases it might be best, but if you’re trully trying to build strength and/or power at any level of intensity its not the best way to do it, IMHO.

        And while I realize many track and field athletes do train the whole body each session, there cam still be a split along intensity lines (high force-explosive power or heavy day-light day).[/quote]

        So if I do heavy squats followed by lighter snatches and end with push-presses, is that whole body?[/quote]

        That could be debated.

        I think this discussion could be looked at from both an exercise selection standpoint and an intensity standpoint.

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        star61 on #93947

        I’m going on the assumption that lift 3 x week means strength training with muscles from the hips on down.

        By similar session, I mean training for the lower body at a similar intensity as the previous lower body session. I’ve seen many programs where athletes are doing lower body work on M-W-F and the coaches think they’re okay because they’re varying the exercises.

        While not an expert an weight training track athletes, I would say the following. Studies that I have seen indicate that training two sessions per week is better than one, even if the second is at a lower intensity. However there seems to be very little benefit, in terms of strength gains, in adding a third day. With all the hoopla about strength competing for training time, CNS reserves, recovery, etc., it seems that the third day may be beyond the point of diminishing returns for a track athlete. If the third day were an upper body day, that would be different, but training the lower body three times, I’m not so sure.

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        Mike McKenna on #93992

        So if I do heavy squats followed by lighter snatches and end with push-presses, is that whole body?[/quote]

        Out of curiosity, why would you Squat heavy before you snatch, especially if, as you said above, you’re focusing on improving strength in the snatch, a more dynamic, High CNS demand lift?

        By the way, a good and easy way to improve what you can hold overhead in the snatch is to do a couple of overhead squats with your last rep in the snatch. So, 3 Snatches (full or power) then 2-3 overhead squats after the last rep.

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        sizerp on #93993

        [quote]So if I do heavy squats followed by lighter snatches and end with push-presses, is that whole body?

        Out of curiosity, why would you Squat heavy before you snatch, especially if, as you said above, you’re focusing on improving strength in the snatch, a more dynamic, High CNS demand lift?

        By the way, a good and easy way to improve what you can hold overhead in the snatch is to do a couple of overhead squats with your last rep in the snatch. So, 3 Snatches (full or power) then 2-3 overhead squats after the last rep.[/quote]

        Because I don’t focus on improving max strength in the snatch every lifting session. It would be a similar workout as squat followed by squat jumps for me.

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