General &Max Strength, Hill Sprint-Bounding. Anaerobic Endurance.

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  • #28238

    Hello. I’m kind of confused about the Max Strength mentioned in the TFTUA book. I understand the general strength workouts mentioned in the book, as well as the ME workout(indoor- outdoor) But it mentions on page 266 at the review “Use the max strength in the early base period twice per week. In the final stages of preparation use the ME program..”

    Does the max strength refer to the Hill Sprint-Bounding Workout?

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    Aaron on #28261

    I am very interested in this too, the TFTNA took a much more direct approach on Max Strength than TFTUA both in naming as a category and in gym based programming. My understanding based on reading both books:

    Max strength is largely a neurological stimulus to increase recruitment of motor units. It can be trained via gym and sport specific methods. Gym methods focus on ~4 movements that are most sport specific pulled from general strength routines. 4-6 reps with weight at 80% 1 rep max, 4-6 sets, enough rest between sets to fully recover. TFTNA is very clear on these. TFTUA I believe merges the gym based transition (addressing defficienies), general strength and max strength (to simplify?) into Chapter 7 where the max strength show up as the ‘stage 3’ workouts.

    I believe as you note on page 266, max strength is referring to the z5 sport specific methods :early phase of short duration max effort hill sprints (~8-10 sec). As these hill sprint progressions move up in time (and slightly lower in max effort/speed) the effect becomes more metabolic (zone 4). Also shorter duration hill bounding.

    This represents getting gym based ‘stage 3’ MaxS into the transition phase, with sport specific maxS in the early base. Based on my life, seasons and training plan I tend to pull more gym based MaxS into the early base for ski touring and extend the general strength ‘phase 2’ through the whole transition.

    My only minor criticism of TFTUA is this exact topic, I appreciated the TFTNA differentiation of general strength, max strength and muscular endurance categories. TFTUA however added more nuance and options for the ME as well as the hill bounding/moose hoofing etc options. I love having both books.

    exarchoste on #28281

    Thanks Aaron.

    I’m aware of the TFTNA book but i haven’t read it my self.

    You said that “these hill sprint progressions move up in time (and slightly lower in max effort/speed) the effect becomes more metabolic (zone 4).” Is that what the book TFTUA is referring to at page 183 Anaerobic Endurance? It mentions there, two popular intervals for this type of training.

    My interest is in Mountain-Trail running so i want to focus on the workouts that are more specific to that. I’m starting my base phase next week so i would also like to ask some other questions on that. I hope that you or some other person will be able ton answer.

    Can runners use the bounding variation instead of sprints for the hill (sprint/bounding) workout?

    Aaron on #28355

    Take anything I say as coming from someone learning all this too and trying to synthesize it, happy to be corrected.

    Re-reading the general and max strength on page 266 I am seeing this referring to the gym based workouts. As I noted above the stage 3 appears to be the max strength component, but that is a touch confusing as page 266 seems to be the only place max strength is mentioned, though emphasized as distinct in TFTNA. In TFTNA both gym based and the sport specific 10 sec hill sprint progressions (reps/sets, not time) are categorized as max strength.

    On pg 266 Z4 and Z5 are listed separately. Z5 mentions hill sprints as sport specific strength at 10-30 sec. However, page 183 discusses Anaerobic Endurance as to two general classes of interval training, one based on 2 min intervals and one based on 20-30 sec intervals, which include both the Z4 and Z5 listed on page 266. 10 sec hill sprints/bounding is also found under anaerobic intervals starting and on page 180 the first paragraph clearly describes the training effect in early intervals as neurological recruiting more fast twitch motor units.

    Obviously all these are on a continuum of stimulus with some overlap of training effect. My takeaway is:
    -hill sprints/bounding is a form of sport specific max strength and anaerobic interval
    -the farther you move past 10 sec the more of an anaerobic endurance/metabolic stimulus is created
    -max strength is emphasized in base and intensity phases, moving from gym based towards sport specific methods. If using hill sprints for this effect keep them to 10 sec and increase the number of reps/sets as outline on page 182.
    -past 10 sec the anaerobic stimulus overtakes the neurological/max strength stimulus and should be reserved only for specificity phases of training, and even then in better trained athletes with more base or multiple yearly cycles under their belt. The mike foote plan progression increases # reps and time from 15 sec in increments up to 2 min.

    As an aside, I consider my self transitioning from beginner to intermediate, and did only a portion of the progressions in the Mike Foote plan this year — namely no longer anaerobic intervals. I did however carry the 10 sec hill sprints and bounding through later phases of training where more advanced athletes might switch to longer intervals. I found these workouts really fun and energizing.

    Regarding your last question, the phrasing of the Strength entry in the Intensity week on page 295 suggests runners can do either hill sprints or bounding, but that ski mountaineers would benefit more from hill bounding.

    I found this podcast to be very helpful and entirely consistent with UA advice.

    Aaron on #28359

    One observation about the grade/incline and sprint time recommendations in the podcast transcript

    Basically, you start with the notion of 30 seconds flat or at a slight decline and then subtract 1 second for every 1% rise in incline. 30 seconds for zero, 25 seconds for 5% incline, 20 seconds for 10% incline, 15 seconds for 15% incline.

    …you can see how it aligns with the 10 sec UA recommendation on steep grades.

    exarchoste on #28384

    Thank you Aaron for trying and analysing all these details. I read the “economy” article you sent me. I very nice analysis and a good read indeed. I saved it and i’m going to keep for reference.

    I noticed too that on page 266 it mentions “Hill Sprint/Hill Bounding” at Anaerobic Capacity: Z5.
    So in a way still the term “Max Strength” on page 266 for me remains kind of confusing. It could also be referring to the “Stage 3” general strength program or maybe the “Muscular Endurance Program?

    Anonymous on #28406

    Thanks, guys. Sorry for the confusion. Scott J. is traveling right now, but I think I know where the confusion came from. I believe that the max strength reference on p.266 of TftUA is a typo that made it through from an earlier draft. As @aaron said, TftNA goes into more detail on max strength protocols.

    I think the reasoning in TftUA was that it’s hard to get outdoor athletes in the gym, so what type of strength work are they most likely to do? Max strength work can really only be done in a gym (and should be done with technical instruction to avoid injury), but hill sprints and bounding are a decent substitute, especially for athletes that are new to this type of work.

    (@aaron: Thanks for the detailed responses!)

    kurej.tomas on #30300

    Hi. First thanks for the great books TFTNA and TFTUA.
    I´m in the Base Period and started the gym Max Strength circuit workout (page 227 TFTNA). In the book it´s written that I should spend on the Max Strength at least 8 weeks. Does my four exercises stay the same in those 8 weeks, or can I change them after 4 weeks to some other exercises? Thanks

    Anonymous on #30312


    Keep the exercises the same for the full 8 weeks (and only 8 weeks). These are exercises that are designed to build general strength for mountaineering. They support the harder ME work that follows.


    kurej.tomas on #30451

    Thank you, after 8 weeks strength I will follows with ME work.

    chiquetetekik on #35419

    Hi everyone:
    After reading all questions, I don’t understand the difference of general strenght, max strenght and specific strenght. I’ve finished the transition period with a general strenght rutine, and now I question: It’s correct for runners and skimo racers to include max strength based in TFTNA in the first eight weeks of the base period and continue with the progression of muscular endurance? Or it’s better to do specific strenght directly? When I would to start with Hill Sprints?

    Aaron on #35509

    This article does good job of explaining general strength, max strength and muscular endurance:

    I understand sport specific strength to be general type of training that can be adapted to achieve either of the type of stimulus desired from max strength or muscular endurance that most closely mimics the sport (uphill sprinting, bounding etc). This is differentiated from gym based approaches that are also used in general strength, max strength or muscular strength.

    I have heard Scott explain here that they purposely did not emphasize gym based max strength in TFTUA. The steep uphill sprints and ski bounding are examples of approaches that achieve neuromuscular stimulus of the type that the gym based max strength workouts also achieve and are described in the TFTNA.

    The Mike Foote Big Vert plan has ‘hill sprints for specific strength’ starting in week 1 IF the athlete passes basic functional strength tests similar as is described in TFTUA. If those are not passed they prescribe a general strength ‘Functional Runner Strength for remedial hip strengthening’ routine to follow before starting the hill sprints.

    giacomo muneratti on #39951

    I have done my transition period, and now I would like to start with the base period. I should focus on max strength, but due to the covid emergency, I have to stay at home.
    Is there any possibility to train max strength at home without any weight, or at least a backpack full of water?


    Aaron on #39955

    I feel like I’ve had good success using a babackpack full of sand augmented by dumbbells in 20/25/30/35. Varying combos of these for squats, step up’s, Romanian split squats (?is that what they are called… One leg elevated on bench behind and lunging?). These are my 3 max strength movements plus weighted pushups for running and ski mountaineering.

    Anonymous on #39965

    What @aaron said!

    Aaron on #39966

    And if you don’t know what a babackpack is well you’re obviously not in the club…. Typo of course 😉

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