Life coach extraordinaire Dan John loves the “Litvinov workout” (as do I). Charles Poliquin, though, apparently thinks the whole Litvinov idea is ludicrous. Two at-the-top-of-their-game, highly respected strength and conditioning coaches (and toss one crazy Physical Culturalist into the mix for shits-and-giggles) , two polar-opposite points of view on Litvinov-like protocols. So damn, who to believe?
Andy Deas recently posted a fine article (But Mike Boyle Said the Squat was Dead?), in which he addresses the issue of unwavering acceptance of delivered-from-on-high, “guru” proclamations. What we need to consider in this particular instance of John (and TTP) vs Poliquin, folks, is context.
Consider the diverse client base of each of these fine coaches. Poliquin works mainly with Olympic level athletes — think bobsledders, skiers and the like — as opposed to Dan John, who works primarilly with the high school athlete, the Highland Games crowd; CrossFit enthusiasts. Two very different trainee bases, two very different sets of overall needs, goals, skill-sets, metabolic conditioning requirements and, well, you get the picture. And, not surprisingly, two drastically different takes on the same exercise protocol.
Again, this points to my assertion that programming has to be an n=1 affair; at the very least (and, as in the case with S&C coaches who must work in a group setting) programming has to match the n=1 requirements of the particular sport. Dan John deals with athletes who face a very high degree of unknowns/variables in their sport; in comparison, Poliquin’s athletes face much less in the way of the unknown/variable factor. Think of the demands placed on a football player, versus those placed, for example, on a bobsledder, and you can easily see why each coach feels the way he does (and passionately so!) about the Litvinov workout.
Bottom line? If a Litvinov-like workout suits your athletic needs or fitness goals, then by all means utilize it. At its essence, the Litvinov is simply a hardcore bout of GPP (general physical preparedness), no more, no less. There is no particular magic with a front squat/400 meter pairing (other than the fact that it’s brutal!); I’ve paired tire flips and sprints for an effective, challenging, and downright fun-as-hell workout. And make no mistake about it, I still hold Charles Poliquin’s opinion with the highest degree of respect. In this particular instance, though, I have to respectfully disagree with Charles’ across-the-board disapproval of “the Litvinov”.
As an example of the n=1 approach to programming, consider how S&C coach Joe DeFranco utilizes a Litvinov-like approach (focusing primarily on the alactic anaerobic energy system) in the training of Houston Texans linebacker, Brian Cushing, here. I’m curious as to what Charles would have to say about this particular method of training; seems pretty spot-on to me.
Delivering and receiving information via electronic formats such as blogs, bulletin boards and the like is fantastic for the immediate spread of information — the drawback, of course, is that the medium discourages the full development of well-rounded ideas; pros and cons of an idea or stance cannot be fully parsed-out. It’s up to the reader, then, to do that parsing himself, to ask the critical “but…” and “what if…” questions. Neglect the very important step of asking “in what context is this statement being made?” at your own peril.
Now I’m quite sure that Charles would disapprove of the following workout as well, but it suits my needs just fine; not only that, but it is concise and, well, quite a bit of fun. A little Friday afternoon frolic to kick-off this past weekend:
power snatch: 115 x 5; 135 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3
in a super-set with
ab wheel roll-outs (on toes, slight knee touch at full extension): bw x 8 for each of 7 rounds
Then on to a superset of the following –
btn push-press: 165 x 7; 185 x 6; 195 x 4
semi-supinated pull-ups: bw+45 lbs x 6, 6, 6