Rob Creighton wants to know if it is a good idea to do heavy squats and deadlifts on consecutive days? Should you man up and do it or be smart? Here’s what I think:
The big thing to remember in our sport is that speed and power are THE big goals, not maximal strength (the only exception for me here is the front row who do need maximal strength more than other abilities for the set piece). So for me we have to prioritise those abilities and train them as often as we can throughout the week. Strength is important but plays a supportive role to these abilities- it isn’t the star of the show.
What we know from Charlie Francis and other track coaches is that the Central Nervous System (CNS) is the driving factor behind speed and power expression and development, and that we have to be at or close to our best (95% of better) to train with sufficient intensity to trigger adapation. We also know that the CNS requires a minimum of 48-72 hours to recover until maximal speed/strength/power work can be performed again. Over a 7 day week with one match that gives us two opportunities for high CNS stress work (typically Tuesday and Thursday).
So in answer to your question, will performing squats and deadlifts on consecutive days harm progress? My hunch is yes. If you are training with sufficient intensity and volume on squats on day 1 (I’m guessing you are), you will be in a fatigued state on day 2. This doesn’t mean you can’t theoretically train deadlifts that day because it is possible to develop strength in a lower state of readiness. However think of the impact this will have on speed and power development.
Performing deadlifts on the second day will push you into a deeper state of fatigue which means speed and power work will be ruled out on at least that day and the next (maybe another day too). By the time you’d have recovered, it would be time to prep for the next game again and speed and power training just wouldn’t be suitable. In all likelihood if you are training heavy on the deadlifts too, you will start to create a level of fatigue that might not be gone by game day, which is bad news. So you can see that by training heavy on consecutive days the training isn’t as productive and high quality speed and power work can’t be performed as frequently.
If I were you, I’d take a leaf out of Charlie Francis book: look to consolidate your most stressful activities on to the same training days. That way you can allocate days within the plan to alternating days of CNS stress and CNS recovery. If you REALL Y want to perform squats and deadlifts in the same programme, perform them on the same days with at least 2-3 days between sessions were you perform similar work. I would lean towards picking only either squats or deadlifts as they are both general exercises but high stress activities and largely train the same movement patterns albeit in differing degrees. My advice is to decide which exercise fits better in your programme and go only with that.