Have you already gone through the 20 weeks? I read your other questions and couldn’t quite tell. Like many training related things, it depends. Like you, my speed decreases quite a bit when I get to uphills, and know that strength is my limiter. I spend several weeks with general strength and then max before doing ME. I personally wouldn’t add onto the 12 weeks of Me but that’s where the art comes in. You could spend more time before ME if you feel there’s more to be gained there, but at a certain point, having a higher max strength won’t necessarily make you faster. Assuming you increase your max strength enough in the 8 weeks (which is certainly easy to assume), you could then do ME, and then transfer that specific strength to zone 3 interval workouts on hills. By that point you’ll have developed your aerobic and strength capacities to be able to handle the load and see big gains. The other piece of this is technique, and if you have poor technique you may use more strength than necessary, so establishing proper neuromuscular connections with efficient movement uphill is also good to keep in mind in the base phase. Clear as mud?
Extending the TFTNA plan
December 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm #47938ian_gunn1Participant
I have asked this question 3 times now, and all the coaches have skirted round it.
In TFTNA there is a 20 week base period. Strength wise this is split in to 8 weeks of Max Strength, and 12 weeks of ME. If you have more than 20 weeks how best to allocate the extra time? More Max Strength or more ME?
If it is too difficult a question then just say so!
Hoping for some guidance this time
InactiveAnonymous on December 7, 2020 at 1:28 pm #47948
Alison, thanks for your thoughts
I have done the General Strength, and am currently 5 weeks in to the 8 weeks of Max Strength laid out in TFTNA, and trying to decide whether to extend that, or go in to an extended ME period. I have until August next year before my next priority objective. I think I have in the past (this is my second time through the plan) spent too much time and emphasis walking in the hills, cycling and running (things I enjoy) and not enough with the weights (which I enjoy much less). But am trying this time to do a better job of doing what is best, not being distracted so much by what I enjoy. So I am collecting ideas and researching, and thought it made sense to ask here too.
I am also researching undulating periodisation, thinking of having a period of mixing Max and ME, before moving fully in to ME. I know this is considered a more advanced strength periodisation regime, and isn’t mentioned in TFTNA (which is why I haven’t mentioned it on here before). Unfortunately most of the stuff I have found on it combines Max Strength with Hypertrophy, rather than combining Max with ME, because most of the strength research is done by lifters, not endurance athletes.
I fully understand ‘it depends’, no one here can say with certainty what is best for someone they don’t know, and only I can make the decision. Just looking to tap in to some of the wisdom on here to help inform that decision. Thanks for your thoughts
UA made some shifts in how they present things in the TFTUA, example adding Capacity and Utilization discussion, and having a bigger build your own menu options for structuring ‘base’, ‘intensity’, ‘specific’ and ‘rest’ weeks/meso/micro cycles. However, they also decreased the emphasis on gym based MaxS workouts. I find both books compliment each other well, and would highly recommend TFTUA in addition to TFTNA. To your point, TFTUA does much more explicitly put mixed MaxS and ME options into base training.
An excerpt from TFTUA is available on Training Peaks website with discussion on Capacity vs Utilization training, for some reason this forum not letting me link to it. Google ‘Uphill Athlete Capacity Training’ and look for the Training Peaks article.
CAPACITY TRAINING: TRAINING THAT IMPROVES THE LONG TERM PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL OF THE ATHLETE. CAPACITY TRAINING IS COMMONLY PRIORITIZED DURING THE BASE PERIOD. THIS TRAINING ACTS TO IMPROVE THE FUNDAMENTAL QUALITIES NEED TO SUPPORT THE EVENT ITSELF AND UTILIZATION TRAINING. AS SUCH IS OFTEN NOT SPORT SPECIFIC.
UTILIZATION TRAINING: TRAINING THAT IMPROVES THE NEAR TERM PERFORMANCE RESULTS OF THE ATHLETE. UTILIZATION TRAINING IS COMMONLY PRIORITIZED DURING THE BUILD-UP TO THE COMPETITION PERIOD OR THE TARGETED EVENT. THIS TRAINING MODELS THE SPECIFIC DEMANDS OF THE EVENT YOU ARE TRAINING FOR.
I’m training according to the Uphill Athlete book, but I have not read New Alpinism.
What is Max Strength in relation to General Strength? I’ve been operating under the assumption that, once I start the base period, I’ll complete cycles of General, Specific, and ME training. Where does Max fit into this?InactiveAnonymous on December 9, 2020 at 7:46 am #48046
Max strength is good to do after general strength and before ME. It raises your overall strength by recruiting more muscle fibers so that when you start muscular endurance, you’ll have a higher ceiling of strength which will help you get more out of the specific strength work, as well as not get as fatigued from it. Specifically, max strength uses higher weight and lower reps.
Having now read the article Aaron pointed me too, I am not really sure how relevant it is to the question I asked. But thank you Aaron for providing the info, it has at least expanded my knowledge of another way of looking at different types of training.
I understand I think the theory behind the two new categories of Capacity Training and Utilisation Training. It seems to me they better fit competition type sports but don’t translate as well to alpinism, treking or mountaineering where the event is longer but the pace slower and not a race (except in emergency). As the article itself says “For long duration events, over three hours, the Aerobic Capacity and Aerobic Utilization Training are essentially the same because most of the event will be competed at speeds below the Lactate Threshold and nearer to the Aerobic Threshold”. Strength training is only mentioned in the context of Capacity Training, and not at all under Utilisation training. My question above and elsewhere on here was essentially ‘more Max Strength or more ME’ in the context of the approach in TFTNA, the answer elsewhere being to do “more Capacity Training but leave ME as is”!
Perhaps the emphasis in Uphill Athlete has now migrated to TFTUA so questions tend to get answered with that newer book and approach in mind.
Thinking back to your answer Alison, It is difficult for me to decide if I will gain more from extra Max S or more from extra ME. Obviously it isn’t a straightforward, easy question. I have enough time to do more of both, so I think I will probably do that. But I have read elsewhere of the need in strength training to vary the exercises if you want to make gains over a longer period. So in my extended Max S period I will change the exercises. Still contemplating a period of mixed Max S and ME as per undulating periodisation when applied to pure strength training. Thanks again for your thoughts.
You are right that the approach of presentation shifted slightly between the books, partly I understand to the authors learnings on the first book, and partly the differences in running and ski mountaineering (particularly skimo racing end).
TFTNA emphasized several distinct strength phases, with a very clear gym based MaxS component.
TFTUA put the gym focused strength work into a general strength class with three phases, moving from what I would call remdial to foundation to lower rep higher load max strengthish light(?). Then it moved into sport specific strength in which this category they included gym based ME as well as outdoor sport specific MaxS like work such as hill sprints and hill bounding, and outdoor ME work such as weighted hill climbs and Z3 hill intervals. TFTUA also shifted approach in building macro, meso and micro cycles in more of a here are all the key ingredients, sample recipes and sample menus across the progressions for different sports. It presents generalized progressions through ‘base’, ‘intensity’, ‘specific’, ‘rest’ and ‘goal’ weeks, with recommendations on weekly approaches to specific workouts in each phase type. Particularly relevant to your question is that it shows early base weeks as including both ME and ~MaxS workouts such as hill sprints and hill bounding.
So….I find both books complimentary, as are the various strength articles on this site such as the strength series. Also, I have one training plan (Mike Foote Big Vert) and it is really helpful to to see a 20 week progression laid out with all the logic explained in and consistent with the TFTUA. I recommend getting both, esp if you are mixing mountain running as a key goal along with alpine climbing.
Personally, over the last 5 yrs I am gravitating to a progression focused initially on ski mountaineering, then switching to mountain running: roughly Sept/Oct Transition and General Strength phase, Nov/Dec gym based MaxS focus with increasing aerobic volume, Jan to March bringing in 1x weekly gym ME and 1x weekly outdoor MaxS ski/hill bounding, then April a running transition increasing running volume gently with a short drop on the ME work and a refresh of the gym MaxS, then May to June back into gym ME and full running focus. My peaks are ski mountaineering goals in March/April, then mountain running goals in July to early Aug with Aug being more a just have fun month less structured time with late Aug/early Sept the yearly rest transition.
UA shifted approaches (not the substance, just how it is presented) on strength training between the two books. TFTNA includes distinct general strength (GS), max strength (MaxS) and Muscular Endurance (ME) periods, with a gym and sport specific treatments. TFTUA frames the general strength as a 3 step process, moving from what I might characterize remedial, then to foundations (~15 rep), then to a harder phase with 6 reps and increasing weight loading (which if taken to heavy loading gets close to the MaxS protocols which are in the 4-5 rep range of ~85-90%1repmax). Following this general strength phase then the focus is on gym ME progressions, and sport specific strength work such as hill sprints and hill bounding (sport specific MaxS). TFTUA does not make reference to MaxS in the same way TFTNA does. However, TFTUA presents a very good build your own menu approach to planning meso and macro cycles, with specific progression of strength approaches including recommendations for mix of ME and sport specific MaxS in earlier base periods (whereas TFTNA seperates them in more distinct blocks).
Both books are complimentary and recommended. However, similar theory can be found in UA articles. For some reason I can’t link them but these are the URLs:
This Kis article covers the MaxS protocol more explicitly:
See also this pre-season ski touring article which presents a typical MaxS protocol, both gym and sport specific:
See also this forum thread:
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