T Nation

From Physique to Athlete

Hey guys first post on here but looking for some feed back on how to get more all round fit. Competed in men’s physique for the past three years but now getting into football and all round athleticism. My training routine used to be lower weights, slow reps and complete muscle growth workouts but now I’m trying to switch it up to strength training/ bodybuilding (ie. Strong 5x5 compound excersises, bench, squat, shoulder press, etc. and finishing with isolation fly’s, leg ext, side raises etc.) Workouts are still the Bro Split, chest day, back day etc but looking to switch it if need be

Just started running and I’m at 1.6 miles in 20 minutes

Doing lots of bodyweight excersises post workout, ie chest day variation pushups, leg day air squats lunges.

Just looking for any advice on how i can train more efficiently and become a faster, stronger athlete. Thanks in advance

Just to focus on compound movements (just use isolation for imbalances, or at most a little extra arm work). If you really want to keep this stuff, I think Omalsurf has some sort of concurrent or periodized setup you could look into, but I can’t remember off hand.

I think you’re best splitting up your conditioning and weights if possible, having an AM and a PM session (not everyday, but some days).

I think 6 miles is a good distance to build up to, just add 10% a week, easy pace. And do something else easy pace short duration as well a couple times each week, one of them could be a short run, but make the other something lower impact, like on a bike. That’d take about 14 weeks, but it’s pretty easy to maintain, and then just focus on sprint type stuff, 20s, 1m, 3m, it’s all good.

Maybe do some carries as well, it’s not really strength or conditioning exactly, but they are very usefull practically.

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I take it you have football practice? Also what type of football are we talking about?

It still looks like you are keen to keep or at least maintain all your LBM. Keep in mind, you may have to put your muscles on the back burner for awhile in order to increase your aerobic capacity and athletic abilities. This depends on your conditioning and skills that you have right now.

Do you have set goals you are trying to achieve? 400m in 60sec, 5min mile, vertical jump 100cm… Etc

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Yes it would be American football practice. Trying to maintain some LBM but already lost some and was prepared for that. Mostly what I’m trying to achieve is a stronger faster self, like i said before i never did much heavy lifting nor did i ever run so focusing a lot on strength and power. Definitely going to bring in more compound movements and make my way to running six miles but so far that’s a long way away. Training camp starts in a month or so but just wanted to see what kind of exercises and plyos people would recommend to gain more speed and strength.

Being able to run 6 miles is going to do nothing for your football conditioning. There’s a million football-centric programs on the internet. Find one and do it.

Aside from there being tons of football training information and workout routines online, I would stick with the following.

5x5 program for weight lifting. You can even do bodyweight burnsets if you have extra energy to pump out such as push-ups after your bench.

Not sure why you’re running for miles… 1.6 in 20 minutes is slow btw. Way to gauge that is for most military they need to finish 1.5 in under 10 minutes and for Police it’s anywhere between 15-17 mins. I run 1.5 in 12:30 on average. But for sports like football you should be focusing on explosiveness. That means lots of sprinting which will in turn create some good power behind your legs and increase cardio. There also tons of foot work drills you can do.

If you do bodyweight stuff, is add in some plyometrics. Again, explosive power.

If yo train properly, eat well, and get the rest you need than you should make gains in no time. Just be consistent with your program and you’ll see yourself increasing weight weekly at the least.

Athletes need to be explosive, have endurance, and acquire solid cardio.

Plyometrics style BW training mixed in or on certain days of your choosing
Sprints and footwork

Again, tons of workout routines for football on the Internet. Just Google it.

Being able to run 6 miles is going to do nothing for your football conditioning. There’s a million football-centric programs on the internet. Find one and do it.

I was mostly meaning just for general athleticism. But you need a base to work of off, then you can add more intensity. You could get away with less, but once you get up to a moderate distance it’s easier to increase anyway, .

If you can only do 1.6m and take 20m, then you can’t do any sort of intensity for any sort of volume. Hell, sprinters warm ups I’ve seen include a 3 mile run, then drills before you sprint. Plus in the long run it actually help in recovering and getting in more total volume.

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Conjugate Training

This is defined as training different type of Strength during the same program;

Training days are set aside to for…

!) Hypertrophy/Bodybuilding

a) Sets: 3 plus per exercise

b) Reps; 8 - 12 repetition or more

c) Training Percentage: 65% to 80% of your 1 Repetition Max in the exercise.

d) Rest Periods: Approximately 1 Minutes between Sets.

2) Power Training

a) Sets: 5 plus per exercise

b) Reps: 1 - 5 repetitions.

c) Traditional Exercise Training Percentage: 48% to 63% of your 1 Repetition Max in Traditional Exercises (Squat, Bench Press, etc.)

Olympic Movement Training Percentage Between 70% to 80% of your 1 Repetition Max in Traditional Exercises.

Rest Period: 3 Minutes plus between Sets.

3) Limit Strength

b) Reps; 1 - 5 repetition.

c) Training Percentage: 85% plus of your 1 Repetition Max in the exercise.

d) Rest Periods: Approximately 3 Minutes or longer between Sets.

Synergistic Effect

Training different type of Strength (Conjugate Training) in the same program provides a Synergistic Effect.

That meaning the sum is greater than its parts. It amounts to 2 + 2 = 5.

Counterproductive Training Method for Football

As Dr_Pangloss and gainz100 noted in their post, distance running is a conunterproductive training method for Football.

  1. Distance running of this nature impedes your recovery.

  2. Distance running develops Slow Type I Slow Twitch Muscle Fiber; it does NOTHING for developing the Fast Type IIa and “Super” Fast Type IIb/x Muscle Fiber necessary for Football.

In fact, distance running depresses the development of the Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber. Speed, Power and Strength decrease.

HIIT Conditioning

High Intensity Interval Training is much more specific for Football Training.

It employs Short Sprints with Rest Intervals. It is effective because is…

  1. Develops the Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber necessary for Football.

  2. It utilizes and enhance the Phosphagen Energy System that Football uses.

  3. High Intensity Interval Training is a Paradox. It increases your Aerobic and Anaerobic capacity, Endurance and Power.

NO other Training Method does this.

Kenny Croxdale

Specifically, A Counterpoductive Method

No matter how you spin this, distance running is counterproductive method


No knowledgeable Sprinter is going to warm up by running 3 miles.

Any Sprinter that warms up by running 3 miles is an idiot or has a coach that is.

A Sprinter running 3 miles turn their warm up into a workout. It ensure you Sprint will be slower.

Warm Up

The majority of individual turn their warm up into a workout. Doing ensure you will perform less weight and repetition with your top set in an exercise.

Sprinters who utilize distance running as a means warming up are going to run slower; it will take them LONGER to reach the finish line.

The purpose of a Warm Up is to do the minimal amount of work necessary; thereby reserving you Speed, Power and Strength.

Kenny Croxdale

Disagree a bit with this. While a 3 mile warmup for sprints does sound excessive at the surface, it may not be in reality. It depends on the intensity. If a sprinter walks for 30 minutes prior to a sprint session, i’m sure they’d be fine and actually better off for it. So if that 3 mile run is at a very slow pace (10+ min/mi) - snail pace, just hitting the ground soft, relaxing, going very slow -> it would probably do a decent job of waking the body up & getting loose. Follow that with more specific sprint warmup related work (hurdle mobility, progressive sprints etc), or intercalate that with some short strides, and it could be a great warmup. 3 miles @ 10:00 also falls into the window of “30 minutes”, which is probably the maximum window for a warmup before you start transitioning into more specific speed.

For speed, my warmup lately is: 1 mile very light (10-11 min/mi), light strides with walking recovery, 800m to 1 mile again (at 7:XX min/mi), progressively more intense strides with walking recovery: that usually lasts around 30 minutes for me. Then I rest ~10 minutes and hit speed. FWIW, i’ve also tried warming up with 2 very light miles, felt fine with that as well.

If someone is “fit”, a long warmup should be fine. I always agree with the idea of minimum work necessary and maximum efficiency, but what might be perfect for one athlete may not be perfect for another, obviously. So due to injury history, age, daily life fluctuations, motivation, last night’s sleep, personal preference etc, one may require a longer warmup to get their body firing optimally before training speed.

“snail pace trotting” is like a high performance vehicle idling, that’s how it feels to me anyway.

Also, i’d prefer to warm up too much than to warm up too little.

I just wouldn’t knock it (coaches & athletes who utilize it) so aggressively without knowing more details.

Also just one thing I often find interesting: when it comes to slow running, Type I fibers are always mentioned in a somewhat evil context. But what about just activities of daily life? Or walking? IMHO, people often conflate the ideas of converting fiber types using specialized training, with the activities that simply use them. If as a sprinter you are hammering in hard mile after hard mile, then yes, sprint specific qualities will probably suffer - at least in the short term immediate future. But to simply utilize slow fibers at very low intensity (walk or jog to the track, warmup, cooldown), for whatever reason, isn’t going to cause any kind of considerable conversion or detraining of sprint specific energy systems.


In Reality It’s Counterproductive

The reality is that it is counterproductive and a gross mismanagement of training time and energy.

Law Of Specificity

Warm ups need to be specific to the sport you are training.


Distance running, jogging, etc is senseless for Sprinters. The only jogging or walking they need to perform is for recovery from between progressive sprints.

Uneducated Coaches and Atletes

Individuals who utilized this protocol are uneducated in sports science. There is a plethora of scientific information online regarding this.

As Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with a college degree, my eexpertise is in the development of Speed, Power and Strength. I have co-written/written five magazine articles in regard on this topic; the can be found online.

I have been a guest speaker at Strength Clinics on this subject, as well.

For the past 6 years, I have hosted a one day Strength Clinic, sanctioned by the National Strength and Conditioning Clinic and the National Academy of Sport Medicine.

So, I am fully qualified and capable of evaluating and “knocking” coaches are athletes with sub par knowledge on this topic.

Dr_Pangloss and gainz100

…they stated the same information. At least they know. My posts were just more adamant and provided more detail.

Off Topic

This has Nothing to do with this topic.

Kenny Croxdale

So, jogging is senseless for sprinters, but it can aid recovery between sprints?


Why jog when you can just sit there and not move, sparing all fibers from firing? 8|

Awesome. Respect!

However, that doesn’t justify you “knocking” coaches and athletes without having all of the details in front of you. You made “gross generalizations” (a play on gross mismanagement) without knowing what intensity or duration this supposed sprinter in question was utilizing for their 3 mile warmup. You also don’t have any details about the subsequent workout, what the focus was, what period/phase they are in, etc.

So, with little to no details you called people (coaches or athletes) idiots.

IMHO, you sound like someone preaching in the dark.

On topic. If the goal of a warmup is to perform the minimal amount of work necessary to transition into the desired functional state, then everything preceding a warmup is also a variable that achieving the desired state somewhat depends on.

So while you’re on about warmups and a small bit of slow trotting, one of our hypothetical athletes may also stand on their feet for 8 hours as part of their work requirements, or they may have walked 1 hour to the track.

Point being: very low intensity work that involves slow twitch fibers isn’t as evil as you are making it out to be.

I’m sure our ancestors, while on a hunt, made sure not to jog slow & quiet for a while before sprinting after prey and spearing them… We have different energy systems for a reason, overspecializing in systems is different than simply using them.

Perhaps… Perhaps not.

In my own personal experience, being around academics & such in sports science: i’ve found that many of those who are the most educated in sports science, often have a very difficult time applying what they know.

Extremely dedicated & driven, yet uneducated athletes & uneducated coaches are often very refreshing to be around. They don’t think about what’s going on at the cellular level. They have less “noise” in their brains. They most often just execute a recipe that was passed down to them from someone successful they know directly: sometimes that recipe, though scoffed at by armchair theorists, is incredibly effective. Edit: to be clear, not calling you an armchair theorist, just generalizing.

IMHO, you use a few unnecessary and disrespectful labels.

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You’re a little slow but you eventually figure it out, don’t you.

The labels were earned, “Stupid is as stupids.”

Kenny Croxdale

Tried to parse your reply a few times, but finally gave up. Apologies.

Curious: how do you know I am a little slow? Have you been following my running journey? Or could you tell from my posts that I am Type-I dominant? Intrigued to say the least.

Anyway, when’s your next seminar? I’ve been meaning to renew some continuing education credits. Learning from a self described “Master of Sport” such as yourself, would be a true honor. Honestly, it’s rare that I get to have an intellectually stimulating discussion on a forum with someone who has a college degree.

From the numerous grammatical & typographical errors in your posts, I am guessing you were raised in the Eastern Bloc? Is that where you attained sports mastery? Sorry if I am way off.

What’s your experience in track & field btw? Training sprinters or middle distance runners? Not going to create a tangent here but, just wondering for future reference.

Thank you.

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Cool bro, I’m sure you know much better than all the top athletes, about how to train to be athletic.

It’s almost like athletes are capable of doing much more work than coach potatoes turned internet warriors.

Saying minimal is vapid, because that leaves open what is minimal for optimal performance, “minimal” could mean spending an hour priming your nevious system.

I’m not sure if that particular protocol is optimal, but whatever the case all decent level sprinters do a very extensive warm up, one that does reach the length of some people’s quick work out.

Why do internet warrior love to talk about training time? Except for some super busy people, which often aren’t the ones who spend any time talking about fitness on the internet, recovery limits you long before time.

[quote]Law Of Specificity

Warm ups need to be specific to the sport you are training.[/quote]
It is specific, it uses the same muscles in a pretty similar way

What’s even the point of reiterating what you just said?

LMAO, cool bro, we should take the authority of some guy that trains some people in strength on sprinting over people working at a much higher level and/or specifically with sprinters.

The question of the ultility of type 1 fibers is more on topic than the warm ups of sprinters you’ve spoke a lot about, focusing on just that some protocols include a 3 mile run and missing the point that these workouts in full are too taxing for someone who can’t run a little bit, since it actually matters to the Opie who isn’t actually a sprinter.

Final point but one of the most common training methods for sprints is long to short, it’s largely built around an intense competition schedule, and to recover after that they spend some time doing just stuff like 3 mile runs. There’s a pretty good case to be made for short to long for people without the intense competition schedule, but long running can’t be that counterproductive to spr intingconsidering the number of top sprinters doing it for periods of the year. And most sports, think combat sports or team sports, have a very direct aerobic stamina component

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Nothing wrong with longer runs early in the preseason. No need to run 15km but there are plenty of sprint based sports that will begin the preseason with slower, longer runs and some sprints and slowly move towards more sprinting and skill work before killing off the longer runs.

You just need to know how to manage overall performance.


Good stuff here:

And to clarify for others who may have never watched sprinters warmup, that could literally be a 45-60 minute warmup of: static stretching, hurdle drills, hurdle mobility, “jogging”, dynamic stretching, just walking around or sitting/lying down randomly, shooting the sh*t with each other etc. It can be remarkable to watch sometimes… Because say you’re running on the track, lap after lap, you’re thinking when is this athlete going to really do something wtf? Then eventually they start blazing.

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Right. But also, it seems to happen quite often where someone will mention something like longer running, in the context of improving athletic performance, and someone with an “academic background” jumps the gun and shoots it down without considering variables that would make it more appropriate, such as like you mentioned - in the offseason etc.

Some ex-NFL player or boxer could tell someone “on my off days I liked to run for an hour”. An academic could seize on the opportunity to mention how that isn’t “specific” to the energy requirements of football, scoff, laugh, such & such. The athletes themselves, not thinking about how things work at the molecular level, may have just found something that worked for them. In addition, they may already be addressing all of the energy system requirements of their sport by simply practicing/training their sport. Then, by doing a “long slow run” every few days, they just happened to address another energy system, as well as several other physiological components which will improve their overall recovery and performance. Finally, they never mentioned the intensity at which they were running (could be slightly above walking intensity), what phase of the season/competition period they were in, as well as several other variables.

I guess my point there being: Kenny Crox seemed to not only jump the gun whilst seemingly not having much experience in the field of sprinting or T&F, but also inferred his superiority and threw around a few insults. That could be a bad sign but who knows. Honestly, if Crox just stated his ideas as part of his experience & knowledge, and not claimed it from the standpoint of ultimate truthiness, it would be much more easily digestible. tehe.

All I know is, i’ve seen it from both points of view. I’ve seen the academic side & the tradition (with experience) side. If they were to face off against each other, i’d put all of my money on tradition - no hesitation. The compromise between tradition & science is where the magic happens nowadays, but tradition is still the leader IMHO.

@bitplayer mentioned this:

Phrased more politely, I think there’s alot of truth to it. When people become obsessed with the science, things can become such an exact recipe that alot of “art” can be lost. And what seemed to work for so many people, may no longer theoretically work because it doesn’t make as much sense at the cellular level according to a text book.


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To add to the science Vs tradition thing. I think a big problem is how people read the science. Firstly a lot of people don’t even have access to full articles and just read abstracts, or other people’s (often biased) readings.

I love science, but something being in a paper also doesn’t make it true, to really be scientific you have to look at a crazy number of papers, and understand limitations in methods, and you’re pretty much not going to be able to do it yourself, so you need to find a good review where someone has done it for you. But people often aren’t even doing that, they will extrapolate several steps further. For example people often cite something a being the best way to improve VO2max, but that’s just how high you score at a certain experimental set up, optimizing your training for that test and not what you’re actually training for is obviously pretty silly.

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I have spectated and participated at club/open athletics meetings. I have watched athletes at international meetings on the warm up track. I have watched other athletes warm up for training.
I have never seen a sprinter run something like 3 miles as part of a warm up. That represents 20 mins (at least) of easy paced running. You would notice that kind of thing.
You will see a couple of laps jogging at most. Some build up runs. Dynamic and static mobility, drills.
Warm downs contain a similar couple of laps jogging.

Speed training is related to the distance at which one wishes to compete or display athleticism.
For say 40-60m running or equivelent games (football etc) efforts, the focus should be on acceleration.
For longer sprints sustained speed should be developed.
Recovery is typically via extensive tempo running or similar.

Developing speed at any distance, including long distances, should include some running at target fast pace.Eg if you want to run 5 miles in 30 mins you need to be able to handle 6 minute pace mile efforts.

Generally 2 running sessions per week at quality/race pace is appropriate for most distances.

I have no idea what sport science says and dont care. Just look at how successful athletes train.

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