T Nation

Strength & Speed Programme

I play a fairly physical field sport, unique to my home country. I was trying to work out a programme for strength and speed - and was looking for any tips or advice people might have.
I’m 5’11" and around 168 lbs. I’m constantly battling to put on a bit of weight and take two whey shakes a day - amn’t really interested in taking any other form of supplement.
I’m limited to two days weight training a week between a match on Sunday and light training Tuesdays and hard training Wednesdays (with some circuits and plyometrics). These three days can’t be avoided.
I do Monday and Thursday as weight days.
As warm-up both days, I do 2 mile run at between 13:30 and 15 min.
Then on Day 1 (Legs and Back): I do Squats, Lunges, One-Leg Squats, Calf Raises, Leg Curls, Chins, a combo of two Rowing Exercises. 3 x 10 of each.
On Day 2 (Arms, Shoulders, Chest): I do Benching (Normal, Incline, Decline), all with barbell, Between Bench Dips, Normal Dips, reverse and normal curls, military presses, shrugs.
I fit abs in both days as well and some plyometrics occasionally on my leg/back day. Getting decent results - just wondering if I’m doing anything wrong or could I do something better. Can’t change my schedule.

I have seen in other posts here, a two day Westside-like split, using ME Bench and DE Squat on one day and DE Bench and ME Squat on the other.
That gives you the speed and strength work synergy in a two/week workout schedule.

For speed do more work targeting the posterior chain,(glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors). Joe DeFrancos website details many excercises for that purpose. My son started following his advice and made tremendous gains in strength and speed very quickly.

Your training program is as good as most and better than some. Although tweaking your program will give you slightly better results the number one factor in putting on weight is eating! Eat. Then eat some more.

Forget the 2 mile run for a warm up, wasted energy and wasting muscle. Warm up using skipping, body wieght squats ect. If you are looking to put on weight that must be your focus, you are doing enough energy system work during the week. Also get rid of your arm exercises, wasted energy.



What are the goals of your program? Do you want to add mass? Decrease body fat? Improve sprint time? Without knowing your goals it’s impossible to really critique your program.

A few things I would suggest:

  1. If you are playing in an explosive sport, your really need to work on your posterior chain strength/development. I like the lunges and single-leg squats, but you also need to develop the glutes, hams and spinal erectors to a high degree. Not only will this make you faster and more explosive, but help to prevent many knee injuries as well.

  2. Your lack of upper back work is a concern as well. I’m not sure how much shoulder/upper body involvement there is in your sport, but you have the upper back work buried at the end of your first workout. If you are going to set-up your cycles like this, I would add in more upper back/posterior chain work at the end of your workouts, and then flip-flop on the next cycle to give these areas emphasis. So it may like look this:

Day 1
Deads/Power Cleans
Bulgarian Squats
Glute Hams
Single Leg Calf Raise

Still getting some uniltaral work, but getting stronger on the back side as well.

Day 2
Chest supported rows
Incline Close grips
Rope pulls to face
Single Arm Military
Beach muscles

This way you are getting stronger but still promoting muscle balance and working to keep yourself injury free.

Stay strong

Is there an off-season in the sport that you are involved in, if there is, how long is it, becausse i’m currently on a twelve week program that would be great for you, because , judging by what you said, we’re about the same size, and I’m getting amazing results with it. let me, know about the length of the off-season, then I’ll post the program.

         Good luck,

I have an off-season from late August until December so I could definitely try a 12-week programme.
Definitely seems like I need to do more hamstring work but I have had lower back problems before and am a bit worried about deadlifts - I find by the time I get enough weight on board, I start to feel it in my back.
I’m very fast already and have good leg strength despite the lack of ham work so when I say I’m looking to do a speed/strength programme, I mean a programme I’m not losing any speed on while gaining mass/strength.
What I really need a boost on most of all is better upper body strength for shouldering/holding people off etc.
As I said, it’s not that my current efforts are a failure - more looking for some good advice on what better I can do.

Trust me, you need to hit posteior chain hard. I was in the same position as you were and my quads were so strong, I blew out both of my hammies during 40 yard dash testing. I couldnt walk for a week after that. I thought leg curls was good enough back then but apparently not. I was pretty fast too without developed hammies or lower back even though i could squat 405 for 6 reps. I guess you could say that i was quad dominant runner but when i try to reach top end speed, that’s when it fell apart. You need really strong hammies to keep you going at top end speed. I found that it’s a lot easier for me to balance or change direction with stronger lower back. I used to stumble forward if i get tripped up or lose balance because my lower back wasn’t strong enough to pick my upperbody up quick enough. That’s what doing good mornings or reverse hypers are for. Glute ham raise w/ bench is probably best for developing hammies for top end speed.

You need to do a needs analysis or at least tell us which sport and position you play, so I can assist.

If this is your in-session then put you?re lifting on the back burner in other words put it in maintenance.

Any sign of that twelve-week off-season programme?

So I’m now heading in to my off-season and over the past couple of months, I’ve switched in to a three day split. I’ve put on another 9lbs, bringing me to 177 at 5’11", which I’m very happy with. My routine (usually five days of the week) for the Summer has been:
Day 1: Match (with light swim later in evening)
Day 2: 5k run (23-24 mins). Then upper body and arms. Varying combination of Bench Press (all forms at some point incline, normal, decline, BB & DB). Flies. Dips. Tricep Extensions. Between bench dips and some curls at the end. Lower body plyometrics.
Day 3: 1 or 2 mile warm-up run. 8x200m sprint. Then shoulders and back. Chin-ups, rows on two different hammer iso machines, military press (standing, sitting, BB & DB), lat raises, back extension and abs.
Day 4: Game-specific training. Sprints, body weight exercise circuits, ordinary ball drills.
Day 5: 1 or 2 mile warm-up run. Then legs: Squats, Lunges, one-leg squats, Leg Curls, Calf Raises. Also do upper-body plyos and some med ball catch training on leg day.
More and more, I’ve been doing 5x5 on the main lifts - bench and squat and 3x10 on the others.
Can’t really do good mornings or dead lifts because of long-standing problems with lower back. Have no access to glute-ham raise machine. Any suggestions on a good off-season programme.

Are you going to tell us which sport it is you play or do we have to guess?

I am going for Kabaddi.
Seriously mate we need to know more about position etc, etc to be of better help to you.

Gaelic Football. Don’t know what Kabbadi is. Was trying not to confuse the issue because 99.9 % online here won’t know anything about the game.

Good sport,have seen some of the matches on channel 4 when they show the Gaelic games so I understand where you are coming from.

Regarding the 5k runs that you go on,I would change that to an interval type run. You can still do it over the 5k if you want to.Include plenty of Sprints,Jogging and recovery walks.Try and mimic playing conditions as much as possible.

I would look to include at least one Max Effort day and one Dynamic effort day per week for the lower body.
Try the Box Squat I have a lot of various different athletes perform this exercise and we are getting great results from it.

You say that you have lower back problems but without knowing the reasons behind it it is difficult to help on this one.
What I can say is that most of the guys I work with had back problems because of weak backs.To a man they are now able to perform Good Mornings,Hyperextensions,Bridge exercises without any problems.
These are some of the exercises I have used to get that area stronger.

I would get a sled as well this is great for the posterior chain and recovery.I would rather you drag a sled for 10-15mins before a workout than go for a 1-2 mile warm up run. You will find the sled to be more beneficial.

On your upper body days I would not do multiple sets on the Bench in incline decline BB and Dumbell. Try the floor press it is an excellent exercise.
The same goes for the amount of Shoulder work that you are doing. Pick one exercise for the shoulders and one for the Rotator cuff.