By William Knowles
I was recently reading some articles on T-Nation.com and happened upon this one that I found very interesting. For those who don’t know, T-Nation provides intelligent information regarding training and nutrition. Most of the articles on the website are geared towards powerlifters and bodybuilders, but some of the principles can be modified and included for athletes as well.
The article I mentioned before was titled, “Six Weeks to Superhero: How I Build Muscle and Strip Off Fat – Fast!” and was written by the well-respected trainer Christian Thibaudeau. You can read the article by clicking here. I found this interesting because it discusses workouts that I have been experimenting with myself the past few months. Basically, the idea revolves around taking strength-speed supersets and enlarging them. So a workout might consist of five exercises performed in a circuit (with some rest), while moving from the most overload to slightly less overload and finally to no excess load while focusing primarily on explosion. This can be extremely useful for athletes to include in their strength training program due to the CNS activation and power development these types of workouts can produce.
Essentially, Thibaudeau is encouraging athletes to train through different loading principles in the same workout, therefore, incorporating both maximum power and strength with explosion. Looking at Thibaudeau’s sample workout, the rack lockout has more overload for the upper body than the bench press which is in turn heavier than the speed bench which has more weight than the med ball toss and finally the bodyweight plyo push ups. As the exercise changes to allow greater speed in the lift, the athlete is training his body to use his strength for explosion. The activation of the nervous and muscular systems this type of training produces also has great muscle building benefits.
The main issue I have with the manner in which Thibaudeau builds his sample workouts is the lack of direct back work and what I deem to be too much pressing for long-term shoulder health. It should be noted that Christian Thibaudeau was not designing this article for athletes. He was focusing primarily on the muscle growth for bodybuilders and functionality for powerlifters, which is much different than training for an athlete who might need to throw or values fantastic range of motion in the upper body. However, the principles are well put together and very effective. It was good to see that other very successful trainers have been using similar philosophies as my own to see results.