strength/power or power/strength?
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- July 28, 2008 at 1:35 pm #23253tomwillGuest
ashley and damian (plus anyone else who may find this an interesting discussion point),
i recently attended a weight lifting workshop where i learnt the olympic lifts and the various derivatives. the workshop included programming and periodisation and at one point we were discussing individual training sessions.
the tutor presented us with 3 different programmes he used with his athletes and asked us to discuss and critique them.
now, i have always worked on the principle that in a training session the fastest, most demanding (in terms of skill and neural demand) come first i.e. the snatch, followed by less demanding exercises.
however, the tutors example sessions started with a heavy strength exercise (in this case pulls from thigh) then progressed to the explosive exercise (snatch from thigh). his rationale was that the heavy strength exercise acted as a ‘primer’ of sorts for the explosive power exercise.
i can understand this rationale but i was wondering what your take on this was?
my initial thoughts were:
– would the athlete be too fatigued from the strength exercise to be explosive enough to maximise the snatch?
– would technique suffer as a result?
– is this a long-term strategy or something that may be used sporadically?
– shouldn’t the athlete be performing the fastest exercises at the start of the session when they are freshest?
i’m not saying the methodolgy presented to me was wrong, far from it! the tutor was an international s&c coach so the system obviously works but i was hoping to get a few other perspectives on this, and perhaps stimulate some debate.
tomJuly 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm #24159ashleyGuest
Hi Tom I have used both methods on myself, I tend to go with the fastest movements first for my players, although I have had good effect with do moderately heavy front squats first before cleans, I think the key is to keep the volume, both total number of sets and also the number of reps per set low and the intensity high and this will act as a primer to the speed movement, I would use both methods to see which worked best for certain players and then program accordingly, I think it has value and should be tried, cheers,a shJuly 29, 2008 at 6:17 am #24166damianGuest
I don’t have a problem with it. Its like doing sprints with a sled followed by normal sprints – you feel faster because you don’t have the load attached anymore. It can also work if you are just working on the shrug before putting it to the full movement. I tend to perform more powerful exercises first but rugby is a hybrid game where you have to be powerful under fatigue. So both methods work but for different reasons.
DamianJuly 29, 2008 at 9:48 am #24169fergusGuest
My rule as such is whichever aspect you need to improve – do that first…. in most cases it’s the speed dimension, but it varies.July 29, 2008 at 11:03 am #24160ashleyGuest
Fair point Fergus, prioritisation of training should be the focus of all our programming, always work what we need to do most, I am always reminded of the golfer who has a wonderful 300 metre straight drive but can not pitch and putt, what does he usually do, goes to the driving range and bangs them down the middle, hearing the oohs and aahs of the other golfers, satisfying to his ego but can not break 90 on the course, play to your strength’s but never forget your weaknesses, ashJuly 29, 2008 at 5:26 pm #24170fergusGuest
Interesting side note on doing weaknesses first is that I remember reading that Tim Grover used do core work first in his training sessions with basketballers as most athletes bunked it off if he wrote it in at the end of a workout.
I know some people think it fatigues the core too much doing it first and this affects postiure negatively – but since I view one of the main roles of the core as being endurance I think it might have some value – especially since it might even ‘activate’ it in guys who are seated most of the time.
I guess the other consideration is too that neurally we can express speed (or the speed dimension/influence of power) best earlier in the training session.
As we fatigue we probably can still get maximum strength work done later in the training session.
However, there is still the point that Damian made that we still need to be able to express speed under fatigue – so it’s a balance.
Unlike possibly many coaches in the past I’ve been guilty of concentrating too much on speed and ‘neural efficiency’ in my training (being influenced too much by sprint training) – the end result is a very powerful and exceptionally strong athlete, but who fatigues very quickly.
(The opposite is a guy who can run all day – but has poor strength and power – so it’s a balance)
Just my tuppence worth!July 29, 2008 at 9:08 pm #24161ashleyGuest
Well said Fergus, being exclusively involved in Rugby for so long now, it is hard to get away from the concept of balance, rugby is not a pure sport in the sense that not one biomotor quality dominates and hence we must train all qualities continually but place emphasis on certain qualities at certain times for certain individuals speed will come first but for others it will be strength, I like Damian’s approach in a previous post he mentioned if you are above the line in one biomotor quality then spend time in other areas to get them above the line as well but do not neglect your strength’s, go well, ashJuly 29, 2008 at 10:38 pm #24171fergusGuest
Absolutely – it’s all about balance.
Which is as you point out in rugby quite ‘interesting’ in the sense the athlete is never perfect, there is always a strength/speed balance we are looking to improve so that power overall is progressing, (without detriment to Speed Endurance of course).
In sprinting it’s a little different because it’s closer to a ‘pure’ expression.
A good thread.July 29, 2008 at 10:44 pm #24172fergusGuest
One other point which I think might be of interest to younger coaches – I fell into this trap too…. might still be guilty of it!
If you need to improve a variable (speed/strength/endurance) you’ll often go to a source (book/papers/coach) and learn from them – but the MOST important thing to bear in mind is that you can only apply a little of it to team sports (Rugby/Soccer/Football).
It’s back to that word again – balance.
I’ve fallen into the trap of being influenced too much by certain areas and then my training reflects it and then my athletes do. Maybe it’s just part of the learning curve.
When all you have in the tool box is a hammer – everything looks like a nail!July 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm #24167damianGuest
Couldn’t agree with you more Fergus. I also like to look at the purist sports for information. However, the other problem can be that the athletes end up training like an olympic lifter, power lifter, body builder, sprinter, middle distance runner and then they still have to do skill work! Sometimes less is more and they need to be trained as a Rugby player.
DamianJuly 30, 2008 at 1:45 am #24168molonyjimGuest
Interesting points. I remember having a conversation a while back that most non-contact injuries happen when a player is fatigued and therefore why are rehab/prehab exercises not done at the end of a training session.
The argument put against this was that if athletes can’t perform exercise correctly when fresh, what hope do they have when fatigued.
Taking that point I tend to start all athletes with explosive exercises first to make sure they are done explosively when the athletes are not fatigued. I watched an interview with Buddy Morrison on elite fts a while back. He said the second you lift that barbell off the rack you are fatiguing. Therefore when squatting prior to snatch I feel you are fatiguing the muscle because of the weight (heavy) that is often involved. A good warm-up (not too hard) could be the answer to priming the muscles.
Purely a personal opinion.
Jim.July 30, 2008 at 2:11 am #24175jmc404Guest
Just following on from your chat lads, in team games there are a few things to remember, skill acquisition and execution. You might coach the perfect running posture etc but when that ball lands in your hands ‘ toe up, heel up’ is not the first thing in your mind!! I think we neglect multi skill approach in the younger years and things like balance, control and use of both feet, if the guys coming in to you at 18/19/20 yrs etc have better grounding in these things then your life as a conditioner would be so much easier. I guess its a form of prehab in the teenage years.. any thoughts?July 30, 2008 at 2:36 am #24162ashleyGuest
Could not agree more, exposure to a number of diffreent sports and skills is a perfect scenario to develop an all around biomotor quality base upon which to specialise later on, so a grounding in Little Athletics, Nippers (junior surf life saving) if you live near the beach, gymnastics, martial arts, ball games, just try not specialise too early, like the former Soviet sports approach, learn everything and specialise later, some of the old Soviet Sports Reviews are wonderful for that information, attached is pdf index that some of you may find interesting to take a stroll through and track down some literature, cheers, ashJuly 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm #24173tomwillGuest
i agree that getting too specific (especially with youngsters) can be a huge block to future development. ingrained ideas and movement patterns can be hard to break….
i recently spent some time with keith morgan (he’s THE strength/weight lifting coach in the UK. basically if you’ve competed for great britain at almost anything you’ve probably been coached by this guy) and i asked him about “sports specificity”.
his answer was as simple as it gets but was absolute gold and something i’ll always keep in mind when writing programmes. he said:
“if an athlete can push, pull and squat, they can be good at anything”July 30, 2008 at 10:16 pm #24163ashleyGuest
A man after my own heart, push, pull and squat, is the spirit of all good programs, simple, effective and time effective when you are an athlete and have a number of other factors to deal with as well in your training program, ash
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