T Nation

Programming for Power Output, Plyo/Squat Questions

Hi Glenn/CT,

I am in the process of putting together a program for myself, focusing on improving power and strength. Over the years I have read alot of websites and books and worked alot out for myself, but on this occasion I would appreciate your guidance.

My goals are to improve my vertical jump/sprint speed 30m sprint and general athleticism and become generally faster.

I have been training on and off for 20 years at a decent level 3-4 times a week.

Over the last 10 years, due to work and committments, this has reduced to twice a week (although I learnt how to olympic lift and this made my twice a week routine at least more productive) and over the last 6 months I am now back to training 3-4 times a week doing a mixture of full body workouts and splits which change dependant on my time. I am also doing alot more conditioning via sprints and cycling.

Over the last 20 years, I have always focused on strength movements and included oly lifts over the last 10 years, but neglected focusing on explosive strength (plyos) for alot of the time.

Over the last 20 years I have learn’t the below which will hopefully help you answer my question:

  1. I cannot get on with high volume and medium + intensity. It always leads to overtraining, I always hypetrophy but do not make massive strength gains. (I thought this was initaially capacity/conditioning related, but have realised lower volume 3-4 sets x 5 reps, 4-5 sets x 3 reps, 5x2 on lower body works very well where 4x6, 10x3 etc overtrains me.
  2. When I have tried to include plyos to improve explosive strength, this has generally lead to overtraining, even when I have started with basic exercises such as squat jumps. I have to be very careful not to overtrain
  3. Sprints are ok, but as soon as I do any all out sprinting I seem to overtrain
  4. All of the above in conjunction with each other seems to really damage my explosive strength, even when I push just fairly hard.
  5. CAT training has improved my lifts
  6. Iso/strength complexes worked very well for strength
  7. When I have been at my best in terms of explosive power I have had a 29 VJ and it seems its when I only trained for limit strength every 10-14 days which obviosuly is not optimal.

I believe I have a explosive strength deficit based on this and the below stats. My current 1RM strength levels are:

Full Back Squat 150kg
Full Front Squat 125kg
Deadlift 210 kg (I have very long arms average torso and fairly long legs)
Power Snatch 75kg
Power Clean 105kg
Military Press 70kg
Pullups bodyweight + 40kg
Bench Press 105kg
Bent over row 110kg
Vertical Jump 26"

I weigh 82kg with 15% bodyfat and I am 36 years of age.

Would you agree my Vertical and Olympic lifts should be better based on my strength levels?

Regarding programming and based on my time I have the following options:

Option 1

Do the following routine:

Day 1

Power Snatches Or Hang Power Snathces 3-5 x 3-5
Full Back Squat 3-4 x 5 reps or 4-5 x 3 reps or 5 x 2 reps vary rep ranges
Bench Press 3 x 8
Bent Over Row 3 x 8

Day 3

Power Cleans Or Hang Power Cleans 3-5 x 3-5
Deadlift 3-4 x 5 reps or 4-5 x 3 reps or 5 x 2 reps vary rep ranges
Military Press 3 x 8
Weighted Pullups 3 x 8

Day 5

Power Snatches Or Hang Power Snathces 3-5 x 3-5
Squat Jumps (bodyweight only) 5 x 5 reps
Bench Press 3 x 8
Bent Over Row 3 x 8

On days 4 & 6 do conditioning, sprints, running or bike based on 30 -400 metre distance.

So based on the above I am doing just one plyo session. Will this be enough to improve and is this exercise a good choice? I am conscious I dont want to start at a high level and overtrain?

My other option is:

Option 2

Day 1

Full Back Squat 3-4 x 5 reps or 4-5 x 3 reps or 5 x 2 reps vary rep ranges
Power Snatches Or Hang Power Snathces 3-5 x 3-5
Squat Jumps (bodyweight only) 4 x 5 reps max effort

Day 2

A1 Bench Press 3 x 8
A2 Bent Over Row 3 x 8
B1 Plyo Press up 3 x 8
B2 Rope Pull 3 x 30 seconds

Day 4

Deadlift 3-4 x 5 reps or 4-5 x 3 reps or 5 x 2 reps vary rep ranges
Power Cleans Or Hang Power Cleans 3-5 x 3-5
Standing Long Jumps (bodyweight only) 4 x 5 reps max effort

Day 5

A1 Military Press 3 x 8
A2 Weighted Pullups 3 x 8
B1 Medicine Ball throw 3 x 8
B2 Sledgehammer 3 x 30 seconds

On days 3 & 6 do conditioning, sprints, running or bike based on 30 -400 metre distance.

On this basis I am doing 2 plyo sessions for lower body (with a continuum ideaolgy) and including 2 plyo sessions for upper body as a bonus.

In your view please can you confirm which variation would be more productive and help me achieve my goals?

Would the two plyo sessions be better and are the exercises suggested and volumes/intensities ok?

Alternatively if you have any other suggestions/tweaks which are better than both of the above I am open to any guidance.

Finally, just on another topic, I have been full squatting (rock bottom and hips down and forward, similiar to the bottom of a snatch position) for years and still have very good form.

I have never half squatted as I don’t believe in it and am a bit of a purest.

Over the years I have improved my strength, but not as much as some of my training partners who do more of a bodybuilding/powerlifting height squat.

Granted, I have better balanced legs and their higher poundages dont carryover to olympic lifts and even it seems the deadlift, but is my committment to full squatting effecting my potential strength gains and even power output and vertical jump? Or should I stick to full squatting?

Thanks very much for any advice and guidance and your time in reading my detailed post

Chris Roberts