T Nation

Mass and athletes


If am an athlete and i want to gain some functional mass i know i would need to do some heavy lifting coupled with slightly higher reps, likes 6-8. But is explosive lifting necissary to keep the muscle i gain funtional?


Short answer: no.

Long answer: That really depends on what you mean by athlete and functional. If you're in a power or strength sport then the explosive training will help with the neurological control (long story short makes you stronger and faster).

However if you're training heavy you're still going to gain a fair amount of strength.

I know that's all a little vague but it's hard to be more precise than that without:

a) You being more specific
b) Writing a text book on the subject (there are more than a few)



Well i'll be a lil more specific, i am in a power sport, basketball. I know mass isn't necessary in basketball but i'm 5'8 an only weigh 135 lbs so it is necessary. I also think its holding my vertical back because i dont have enough muscle mass to create more power, i already have a 31 inch vertical.


By increasing strength in the gym you increase the contractile force of the muscle fibers. In order to transfer that strength you also need to engage in movements involving your sport a couple of times per week. If you're doing that, then IMO there is less need to do additional functional power training in the gym, the movements of your sport are functional enough unless you were training for a desired strength quality (elastic strength for example), which may require specialized and controlled methods. But if you were just training heavy in the gym and not also practicing your sport then it would be of benefit to do high speed ballistic exercises in the gym as well to kindve "remind" your muscles they need to be fast and explosive as well. Although you listed your height and weight you didnt list your squat weight. Chances are you can put on functional size just by training for strength, no need to train for hypertrophy just for the sake of having bigger muscles if you're an athlete.


You don't need more mass to create more power, in fact it will probably do your vertical more harm than good. The nervous system is where the power is best developed. The capability to jump over buildings are already found in your muscle structure. It's triggering the nervous system to fire all those fibres at precisely the right time and level, that is holding you back. Train heavy, low reps and think "fast" when lifting and practice your sport but don't add much more jumping on top of the amount you are doing in the playing itself. Adding more plyos and jumping exercises will only overwork your nervous system as it is VERY succeptible to being easily burnt out.


Kelly Baggett: Well i'm not technically an athlete anymore, but i still play alot of basketball. I played college ball for a year but now i'm done with that. I would love to gain some size but i dont want it to be the kind of size that is just there for looks, i want it to be size that leads to increased power. And my best squat is only 255 full squat. But i've had some back problems here lately. My pelvis got out of place and stretched my sciatic nerve and its really been giving me problems. My chiropractor told me i shouldn't do back squats anymore but i could do front squats. But when i get back to training, i thought about something like this.
Day 1
Poliquin 5% method on all exercises
incline bench- 4x3-5
chin up- 4x3-5
dips- 3x6-8
pulldown- 4x3-5
Day 3
Poliquin 5% method on all exercises
front squat- 4x3-5
glute ham raise- 4x3-5
split squat- 3x6-8
romanian deadlift- 3x6-8
Day 5
ballistic bench press- 8x3
overspeed chins- 8x3
incline db press- 3x6-8(Poliquin 5%)
seated row- 3x6-8
Day 7
power snatch- 4x3-5(Poliqiun 5%)
speed squat- 8x3
step up- 3x6-8(Poliquin 5%)
hyperextension- 3x8-10

I value your opinion Kelly because you say you have a high vertical and your going to be coaching basketball players. Even though i dont play competitively anymore i'd still like to improve my game. U never know i might try out at my the college i'm transfering to.



I like the way you have the program set up. As soon as you get your back taken care of I'd give it a shot. If you find your strength is not increasing as much as you want you could eliminate the speed work on day 7 and instead do more heavy lifting, this is especially true if you're already playing basketball 2+ times per week. Remember, basketball can be a very intense plyometric activity itself. Too much speed, plyometric activity can be very difficult to recover from yet in your case won't do anything to increase your base level of leg strength which is where you may be lacking.