Dynamic Effort Work and Sprinting

This is the E-mail I’ve sent to Louie Simmons and also want to know your ideas.

"Hi again!

Just finished the book that you gifted me yesterday and about explosive strength.

I’ve learned a lot of stuff that I didn’t know. Great exercises and info.

But I can’t find the answer of my question because there is not a big part that you told about programming(implementing) the training. Or I’m missing something.

I would love to use all of the things that you told in your book but there is a problem, I must sprint because I’m a sprinter. The problem is I don’t know how much impact those dynamic effort and plyometrics(as I know 7-14 days rest needed for full recovery, of course according to volume and intensity) have.

Let me tell you about my question again. I’m not strong enough. Here is the some numbers.
Age: 18
Bodyweight: 170lbs
Regular Deep Squat 300lbs
Romanian Deadlift 350lbs
Bench-press 242lbs
52" Box Jump(with getting speed)

I know I must get stronger, this is requirement. And I must sprint this is also requirement. Here is the my weekly scheme again(just as example):

Monday - Max Effort Lower
Tuesday - Max Effort Upper
Wednesday - Active Rest (tempo work, technique work or speed drills)
Thursday - Short Sprints
Friday - Active Rest Again
Saturday - Long Sprints for Speed Endurance or Lactic Acid Tolerance
Sunday - Full Rest

The questions are:

  1. Is that OK to do dynamic effort work with max effort work in same day?
  2. Is that OK to do dynamic effort work with short sprinting in same day, previous or next day? If It is OK, what about repetition work after dynamic work? (I will be feeling DOMS next day, probably…)
  3. What do you think about Hard-Easy-Hard-Easy-Hard-Easy… scheme?

Actually this is scheme for until 400m race of this winter. I’m normally 100m and 200m sprinter but have lack of endurance and GPP. So this is why I train like a 400m sprinter(kind a preparoty training). After the ondoor season I will cut lactic acid tolerance work and I will be able to put dynamic effort method or short sprints, instead.

Actually there is a lot of thing that I must implement with my current scheme but maybe I’m too much afraid of overtraining? Actually there is a lot of things to ask but these are enough for now.

Here is the my training diary of last 2.5 months. Training Diary - Google Docs
(And yes I must change something about my max effort trainings to there is a lot of things to learn. Looks like I must take care of total lifts, volume and intensity for max effort work more. I need to do some research on this.)

Thanks for everything.
Yusuf Ali Bozkır
Bursa, Turkey"

As a sprinter you don’t need to do max effort or dynamic effort work in the weight room. Starts and short accelerations will be max effort work and max velocity speed work will be dynamic effort work. Weights just need to be general. All you need to do is add a few sets of weights after your speed work. For instance:

Starts, Accels, Max Velocity, Speed Endurance or Special Endurance
Squat 2-3x3-6
Bench 2-5x2-8
Row/Chin 2-5x2-8
RDL 2-3x6-10

Just work up to a weight that feels heavy and do your work sets. Your weights should go up naturally over time since the speed work will push up your strength levels.

Why do you think I don’t need? What is your arguments?

If your goal is to become a faster sprinter there is no need for max effort weight training. The reason is simple. Your body adapts to the specific demands placed on it. It’s called the SAID principle. It has been documented by many coaches that the exercises with the most transference to an event are the ones most similar in biomechanics and speed of execution. A squat, bench or deadlift is far different than sprinting so there is little transfer to sprinting.

There is some but not enough to make it worth utilizing the body’s limited adaptive resources. The best exercises for sprinters would be sprinting, sprinting drills, starts, in and outs, flying sprints, etc. Then would come exercises like plyometrics and jumps, med ball throws. Then would come exercises like bike sprints, olympic lifts and finally you would have exercises like squat or bench press.

Because there is such low transfer to sprinting it is not worth utilizing the time and effort the Westside method takes. Your body has a limited ability to adapt and it is best to adapt to the exercises with the best transference to your event.

Specificity and simulation aren’t the same thing. Have you ever heard about positive transfer?

So for an athlete, uphill sprints might be better than regular sprints. There is a lot of parameters that will affect this.

So depends on your limitation. If you lack absolute strength, you must train for that. So my numbers aren’t enough I think.

Strength limits speed. F = ma


The best exercise for a sprinter is sprinting! I agree with this but then why we need plyometrics? We need them because of variety rule!

Body doesn’t adapt training same everytime.

Just an example, why westside doesn’t use powerlifting squats in their trainings?

Monotonous program overtraining is another thing.

But If you aren’t strong you can’t be fast, too. This is what newton tell us.

You don’t need plyometrics if you are a sprinter. They can be helpful for developing reactivity and rate of force production. You don’t need weights if you are a sprinter but they can be helpful in developing strength. Most sprinters lift weights but I can’t think of a single elite or even college level sprinter that uses a Westside style weight program. It takes up too much recovery and CNS resources and has limited carryover to the track. Most track athletes lift weights in the 70-90% range for the majority of the year. They don’t max out every week like Westside does. There is a difference between weight lifting strength and sprinting strength, just like there is a difference between construction worker strength and gymnast strength.

You need specific strength to be a better sprinter. You get that by sprinting and then adding some additional stimulation from plyos and weights if and when you need it based on your weaknesses. If you do max effort lifting you won’t be able to put out a high level effort on the track due to CNS stress and muscle stiffness. A good way to look at it is to think of sprinting as the only thing you need and everything else as therapy to make sure the sprinting is improving. Chasing numbers in the weight room is a horrible idea for a sprinter. It will throw everything out of balance.

As far as positive transfer is concerned, Bondarchuck found(on page 74 of Transfer of Training) that the only exercises that had positive transfer for all levels of 100m sprinters (from 11.7sec to 10.2sec) were 10-fold jumps and 50m bounding. Snatch and squat had positive transfer for the lower level sprinters but it diminished as times improved and sometimes had negative transfer. So yes weight training can help certain sprinters at certain levels improve, but it is not as good as more specific means.

The bottom line is, as a sprinter you don’t need to do a high intensity powerlifting program like Westside in order to improve strength. Your weights will go up by training in the 70-80% range and you won’t have any of the negative consequences a powerlifting program will have on a sprinter.

Not a sprinter but there might be differences between in and off season, which people might focus on more strength and less maximal sprint work

Asking Christian Thibaudeau is probably a better idea on these forums, since he works with athletes more.

Email Louie Simmons when you want to train for a powerlifting competition. Otherwise, ignore everything he says.

[quote]belligerent wrote:
Email Louie Simmons when you want to train for a geared powerlifting competition held at his gym where the judges are also his lifters. Otherwise, ignore everything he says. [/quote]

Fixed that for you. “Westside” methods have no place in an athletes training. Even DeFranco’s stuff is incredibly overrated. Using a bunch of young, juiced out genetic freaks to prove your methods work is dishonest at best. Also, a lot of his guys numbers go DOWN after training with him.

Every sprinter I’ve know used squats, cleans, bench and chins, and a ton of ab work. Most of 'em were pretty damn strong, too.

[quote]Derpost wrote:
Specificity and simulation aren’t the same thing. Have you ever heard about positive transfer?

So for an athlete, uphill sprints might be better than regular sprints. There is a lot of parameters that will affect this.

So depends on your limitation. If you lack absolute strength, you must train for that. So my numbers aren’t enough I think.

Strength limits speed. F = ma[/quote]

Terms like “absolute” or “max” strength are redundant. There is no other type of strength. The problem with sprinters training like powerlifters in the weight room, where the preoccupation is with increasing 1RM or what the people whom you’re reading arbitrarily deem “absolute” strength, is that max-effort lifting and sprinting call upon and develop different skills. For this reason, there is little correlation between improvements in 1RM and improvements in sprint performance. Resistance training is ONLY of benefit to a sprinter to the extent that it optimizes the strength of the muscle fibers themselves, i.e. hypertrophy. To the extent that the foci of weight training is on reinforcing lifting skills, which is all that Westside style training is about, the training is worthless for the purpose of making you faster