“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
This video clip from Mike Young, of Elite Track, is admittedly above and beyond the concern of the everyday TTP fitness enthusiast, however, it is highly interesting stuff for all the training geeks out there (and I proudly include myself in that category 🙂 And there is a take-home message here for the everyday guys and gals as well: namely, concentrate the bulk of your training around the peak anaerobic power-based modalities. Why? Because the body’s retained proficiency in this modality is rather short-lived, as compared to gains made the strength modality. In other words, the power-production gains realized in your training will dissipate much quicker than your strength gains.
Now obviously this clip is geared towards upper-level athletes and their coaches, but that doesn’t mean that we mere mortals and 9-to-5 stiffs of the world can’t glean something of use from the presentation. In a nutshell, what Mike is saying is what I’ve already stated above — it is worth repeating, though: you’ll maintain your strength gains for much longer than you will your power gains. This is of course assuming that you’ve built a solid strength base to begin with. So what does this mean, vis-a-vis, the structure of our overall training plan? Quite simply this: you’ll want to incorporate more power-oriented sessions within your overall workout plan (i.e., more instances of power-oriented work in relation to instances of strength-dominant work).
This finding is nothing new to me, or to the strength and conditioning community in general, although it is nice to see “horse sense” corroborated by properly performed science. I love to see “old timer” wisdom validated like this.
Getting back for a moment to vertical jump testing, I know that if I hit a stretch of not working out (rare), or a protracted strength-oriented stretch (more common), I know it’ll quickly show in a decreased vertical jump performance, even though I might have bagged some good strength gains over the stretch. I can go for long periods without doing significant strength work, however (assuming I’m still doing power-oriented work) and my strength numbers will not suffer. From what I’ve seen, this is pretty much and across-the-board phenomenon, with both “sprint” and “strength” oriented athletes equally affected.
This lends credit to the old football recruiting maxim of “recruit speed and train strength”.