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Underground secrets to faster running, opinions?

Latest post: Decathlete2000, Aug 07, 2016
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Posted: Sep 24, 2008
So, has anybody read Underground Secrets to £aster Running, an article by Barry Ross, the man who coached Allyson £elix to 22.11 over 200m as a junior?

It basically says that training to get big muscles and gain weight is useless mass and to train £or mass speci£ic £orce (stronger but lighter). It suggests never li£ting more than 5 reps in weights and always taking 5 mins in between sets so no lactic acid is produced. All this is meant to mean a much stronger athlete with no extra weight, there£ore a much better power/weight ratio.

All this sounds good i£ you are a sprinter but how would it work in Decathlon training? It would bene£it the jumps/running events but how much would it take away £rom the throws? It also says to vary the reps you li£t o£ten with no particular periodisation eg. 3x 5 reps monday

2x 3 and 2x2 wednesday and 2x2 then attempt a new maximum on thursday. Winter or summer? Can this work?

I am considering trying it, I like the extra strength with Less mass but the lack o£ structure worries me, what does evryone think?
Posted: Sep 29, 2008
Hello Tommy boy,

This is actually not an underground secret!! almost everyone in the U.S and Europe is doing it...the 3x10 and 4 x 8 module is overrated...even decathletes have to implement that just because it has to do with relative and absolute strength throughout the year. It is a very smart way to get what you want out of any weightlifting session. You lift weights just to get stronger, right? Therefore you do not need to waste any time/energy in the weightroom. In a decathlon training time management is the most important factor to compile your annual schedule. So you better be ready to use the weightroom the right way. I know athletes and coaches that still use 3x10 in every exercise in the weightroom even during olympic movements. This is wrong. It only produces overuse syndrome and injuries; and yes you can do your hypertrophy cycle by using only 5x5...just think outside the box.

As for your concern about the throws, just check the personal bests of the top decathletes and you will see that they do not seem to be that strong but at the same time they can throw 16m in the shot, 55m in the discus and 70m in the's training is all about quality, precision, density, and most importantly work on your Relative Strength. Try to fight gravity by having a "smart body" that can accelerate, throw or jump...

and do not forget "needs analysis". Everything must lie under the rule or law of individuality.


Posted: Sep 29, 2008
Tommy Boy,

I have not used this specific program but I lost twenty pounds last year and scored 700 points more.

I am 6'1" or 1.86 or so and I used to way 205-210 pounds and I could lift tons of weight in the weight room. However when it cae to the track I suffered. I droppped my body weiht in about 5 months or something like that and I lost only about ten pounds in the cleans and olympic lifts and droppped no weight in my squat max. I did however go from benching 320 to 275.

My decathlon score went from 6512 to 7253.

I had a personal best in each throwinng event and overall threw much farther than i ever had in decathlons in all three throws.

my one hundred PR went from 11.35 to 11.12 and my 400 went from 51.82s to 50.45, oh yeah not to mention my high jump went from 1.94 to 2.01 so I think this model helps in that being light and still explosive is much better than being just big and strong I have experienced this first hand.
Posted: Sep 29, 2008
Hello Tommy Boy,

I read it and I can assure you that it works.

Petros´ comments and B.J.´s experience are a good clue about its application to our loved multievent.


Posted: Sep 29, 2008
Thanks guys, good advice. I am certainly reassured by that and especially by your 700pts pb B.J. The events I most need to improve are LJ, HJ,JT and DT so I hope this will bene£it that. So Petros, do you think that 5x5 is suitable £or general conditioning and a£ter that mixing sessions up and constantly going £or increases in maximum? This will a£ter all make you stronger in the most time e££icient way.

Posted: Sep 29, 2008
There is obviously some give and take here. I would say that you can get stronger without getting bigger, and that is the key. Why in the world would a decathlete be focused on his Bench Press PR is beyond me, I cannot make sense of that, but as far as heavy weight lifting, this is not the main focus of any real athlete. Never during a decathlon are we statically trying to lift a huge amount of weight, it is all an active moving or exploding of mainly our own body's mass, and then sometimes an implement that is only a small percentage of our own body mass. This is why full body Olympic Lifts and their respective PR's etc should be more of a focus in the weight room. I thought that my PR's of over 145kg (315 lbs) in the power clean was well above average for decathletes, until I worked out with Tom Pappas, Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee, and the other US decathletes, and then I saw that I was really just about equal with them in this category. In my personal opinion, the previous posters on the topic are right on, but for someone that is just starting out in the weightroom, they need to do higher reps, just simply for working on form and technique. When it gets to the point where you know what you are doing, a small muscle group exercise like the bench press (compared to olympic lifts) or other similar exercises should not be done with a focus on max weight or mass gain with higher reps(as stated above), but should be focused on connecting the weaker points of the body to the absolutely necessary stronger then an OX core center of mass in the decathlete. Because once again the whole of the decathlon is the correct active application of force, and controlling and guiding our center of mass and the biggest mass we have going for us is our own body, I would much rather have 5lbs in my core (center of mass) than huge arms. What does 5lbs of mass on your upper body help you if it is not connected to your legs and hence the ground through a strengthened core? We especially in the decathlon have to be concerned with "usable" weight. Anything not necessary is just slowing you down. My Bench Press Max has always been lower than my Power Clean Max. In fact my bench press max has for a long time now been lower than my Clean and Jerk Max, and with a 16.61m shot PR, I would say that this is further evidence that it is more important that we can use what we have, than add more and hope we can control it. Controlling what you have is always better than adding extra weight to the wrong areas. If my hips and core can get the shot moving faster than you then it really doesn't matter how much better of a BP max or how much more you weigh than me, because I just made that shot weightless with core strength and using what I have.
Posted: Sep 30, 2008
Thanks Ryan I agree 100 percent. I was always so focused on bench and it always killed me when I stopped focusing on that it helped me lose weight and like I said above lost 45 pounds on my bench but my throws increased tremendously and alot of other events as well.

How is training going? If you have started yet?
Posted: Oct 05, 2008
I agree totally with everything being said here. I am probably the skinniest/lightest person doing the decathlon. Decathlon is about being fast, powerful, and technical. You do not need to look like a football player. Just make sure your lifting with purpose and direction. Just doing lifts won't make you any better in the event, but connecting the right lifts with your training program will......good luck
Posted: Oct 06, 2008
I think one should train scientifically inline with explosion an power. However you have to train for your body type. When I was just doing sprints, I weighed 185 and was competitive at around 10.18. Now that I am making the leap to decathlon at 225 my 100m time has stayed in the range of 10.1 to 10.29. I figure if I get down to 175 then I would probably be competitive in the sprints again, but I havent weighed that small since highschool. I bench 430 and I don't train upper body often as I used to since I played football. I will say it has slowed my 400m time down to 48.1 after my pr of 47.5. My former training partner from college gold medalist Angelo Taylor taught my alot about the 400. at anyrate, I will try some of these methods to increase my throws.
Posted: Oct 07, 2008
wow what is you pr in the decathlon? your sprints are amazing
Posted: Oct 07, 2008
I appreciate it, no hand times all accutrack, I will compete alot more this upcoming season, I want the world to know Im out there. I was mainly a sprinter, but found losing the weight caused me to lose too much power, and the ladies didnt like it!lol So I like staying at 200 downside for me are my jumping events aren't spectacular, and I'm nervous on the hurdles and pole vault. 2 events you need a tremendous core strength for in my opinion. I'm going to be training with former NFL safety Aneas Williams and my family friend Muna Lee this season, overall athletics, My once I become balanced there is no reason why I can't be competitive in the Decathlon, I have only competed in 2 major meets, in college I only did 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x400. I took some years off to raise my son, still in excellent shape though at 28.
Posted: Oct 07, 2008
I scored 7337 between 7500 last season, in missouri. pretty shaby for my expectations but they this is the old man event.
Posted: Oct 07, 2008
Wouldn't it be nice to put a decathlon meet together against other sport athletes, and see who is truly the greatest athlete.
Posted: Oct 08, 2008
hey i agree 100 percent i would like to see some of the so called worlds greatest athletes compete in the decathlon. its funny cause after the shot put it would be over and they have no idea what its like doing all the events on the second day after the first. they just see the events and think "oh man i could do that". like it easy or something.
Posted: Nov 16, 2008
A couple of us started throwing around the idea of hosting an early season (maybe December) Quad Test meet (30m, SLJ, OH Shot, Triple Bound). It'd be right after football season for most and before a lot of winter season sports really kick into gear. We figured we could make it a decathletes versus the world type thing in which we could get some guys from a range of sports to come in and challenge the decs.

Anybody interested?
Posted: Aug 07, 2016
@Ryan Harlan
So we should do only snatch, clean and jerk in teh 5x5 set/repetition ange plus core/hip work in the gym?
Nothing else?
What are your favourite core and hip exercises?
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