I have actually changed my mind a bit on that one.
t’s true that my numbers went up quite a bit You are pretty accurate with the numbers you posted.
But other things to consider:
When I played football I was fatter: coming out of high school I wanted to match the roster weight of the linebackers (some of whom were 21 years old to my 17 with lots more training experience than me). So I went from 179lbs up to 220lbs… but my waist also went from 31" up to 42".
When I hit y 4.54/40 (laser) my waist was back down to 32" and I had veins on my abs, although my body weight was fairly similar (210-215).
I was doing jumps every day as part of my activation routine. Normally 3-4 sets of 5 max effort jumps of various kind 6 days a week.
I was doing loaded jumps at least once or twice per week.
I was a shitty technical lifter on the snatch, clean & jerk. My power snatch and power clean were pretty much the same as the full squat variations because instead of focusing on moving fat under the bar/reducing pulling height to be faster under (modern technique) I would try to produce as much bar height and speed as possible all the time. I was essentially trying to jump with the bar (and I did with lighter weights). This is not optimal for actual weightlifting results, but it is more effective for power development.
When I was squatting, I used a huge rebound/emphasis on the stretch reflex rather than sheer strength.
I wrote in a recent article on my personal website, that I believe that these elements are likely the real reason why I was able to gain so much speed, rather than just getting stronger.
I’m not saying that strength work had nothing to do with it. But I think that heavy strength work is overrated when it comes to getting faster.
If strength was the key to getting fast, powerlifters in the 181 - 198lbs class would win the 100m at the Olympics o at least be very competitive. But that is obviously not the case.
After more studying my belief hs evolved.
Strength work’s likely effect on speed is probably simply due to the fact that it increases the nervous system’s capacity to send a strong excitatory drive to the muscles, improving fast-twitch fibers recruitment and firing rate.
A stronger drive gives you the tools to get more out of the speed and power work that you do.
But here’s the thing: once the strength of the neural drive is sufficient, improving it further by getting even stronger will not contribute to making you faster.
That’s why strength work can directly increase speed in those with a shitty neural drive to start with, but will do nothing for those with an already great capacity to send a strong neural drive.
FORCE APPLICATION IS VELOCITY-SPECIFIC
One of the main reasons why getting super strong doesn’t translate to getting super fast is that the muscle recruitment pattern is different between explosive and slow high force productions.
In an explosive movement (left) you have an initial burn of the agonists (prime movers in the movement and their synergists) with almost no antagonist co-contraction. After the peak agonist force production there is a burst in antagonist contraction to stabilize the joint(s) and there is a second burst in agonist force production and a reduction in antagonist co-contraction to facilitate the movement. This is called a triphasic pattern… this all occurs in milliseconds, of course.
In slow high-force movements, the muscle recruitment pattern is monophasic: throughout the whole action the agonists fire and there is a background antagonist co-contraction.
You can be very efficient at one of those patterns, without being good at the other one.
Simply put, to be capable of contracting muscles fast to produce acceleration and speed, you must train explosive movements.
I was talking to Ben Prentiss a few months ago (he trains dozens of NHL hockey players) and he does a lot of testing/data crunching. And in over 10 000 tests, he found no correlation between strength and speed among his athletes.
I’m not saying that getting my squat up to 585-600 and my front squat to 485 didn’t help with my speed and jump. But my theory is that it’s effect might have been more indirect by allowing me to perform better on the olympic lift variations.
I believe that all the explosive work I did had a lot more to do with gaining speed than the strength work that I did.
As for how I got my squat from 375 up to 585-600… well first understand that this wasn’t done in a year. It was more like over 3 years, maybe even 4.
I didn’t do anything special at first. Just started squatting a lot more. My squat went from being trained once a week with no special priority when I played football (basically just another exercise in the program) to being trained 3-6 days a week when I switched from football to weightlifting, because I was told that the squat was the foundation to weightlifting performance.
Having poor technique on the olympic lifts, and no coaching, I reasoned that my only way to be competitive was to squat monster weights. So the squat became my obsession.
Just squatting heavy more often got me from 375 to 465 pretty quickly.
From that point on I kept progressing my adding special methods like clusters, eccentric overloads with weight releasers, wave loading, heavy partials, etc. And that got me to the 525-550lbs range.
I got to 585-600 by specifically peaking my squat, like for a powerlifting competition.
Honestly, I didn’t really do anything magical, except being absolutely obsessed with squatting more.
For a very long time my training was actually very basic…
3-5 sets of jumps
Power snatch variations
Power clean variations
Squat or front squat
I did that 4-6 times a week with varying sets and reps but always with the intent to be violent with the bar whatever load I was lifting.
I only started adding special methods when I was squatting heavy weights.