Maximum Sustained Power Training or MSP
There’s a gym in West LA called Sirens and Titans that is run by a very special trainer named Jacques LeVore. This trainer isn’t the only reason to go to the gym – all of the staff are amazing and impressive – but he’s the main reason I made an investment. He developed a form of strength training for endurance athletes called Maximum Sustained Power Training or MSP Training. I included it in my Primal Endurance book a few years ago to give committed endurance athletes the opportunity not only to incorporate strength training without compromising their endurance performance, but to actively improve it.
MSP training is an effective way to train for anyone looking to get stronger longer and generate more electricity. If you want to play with your kids and keep up with them, hop and hide and tag on the trampoline and throw them in the air, MSP can help you maintain your intensity. If you want to play pickup basketball or sports, MSP will keep you going until the end. And yes, if you want to dominate the local 10k, or run a marathon or triathlon, you need to do weight training, and maximal sustained weight training is a great way to do it.
Why strength training as an endurance athlete?
It builds better bones. Stronger, denser bones are better able to withstand the forces of running, cycling, and other forms of endurance activity.
It builds elastic joints. Lifting weights develops connective tissues and joints in ways that basic endurance training cannot. Stronger joints and connective tissues mean you can walk longer without injuring yourself.
It improves the shape. The stronger you are, the better at maintaining proper form and technique over long distances. Breaking down forms not only slows down your performance. It also increases your risk of injury.
It increases performance. The stronger you are, the more power you can generate on the bike, on hills and on the track. That means faster times.
These are all good reasons to train in the weight room, and they also apply to people who are not endurance athletes. Of course; that goes without saying, even without words.
How to Perform Maximum Sustained Power Training
Here’s how to do it. Let’s say you do the deadlift.
Figure out your maximum of five reps for an elevator.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to ramp up your max 5 reps to a respectable number. If you can only deadlift 100 reps for 5 reps, try pushing it up to 150 or 200 pounds. Or more. It all depends on where you start.
When you have a maximum of five reps, use that weight for your first MSP workout.
Lift for 3-4 repetitions.
Let rest for 30 seconds.
Lift for 2 repetitions.
Lift for 2.
Repeat this as many times as possible without making mistakes.
You can do this with something like one too Vertical jump. Do 3-4 repetitions of maximum height jumps, rest, repeat, and stop as soon as the height you can jump is noticeably lower than when you started.
Avoiding mistakes is key. Always stop just before failure. Each rep should feel fresh and clean and quick. You don’t fight. You move a relatively heavy weight quickly and almost effortlessly. They don’t put any strain on your central nervous system. You don’t burn a ton of calories. You leave a lot in the tank. Once you feel like you are failing or slowing down significantly, it’s time to stop.
Endurance athletes who try to do strength training like a CrossFitter or do one and a half hours of high volume, high intensity training in the weight room are almost always overtrained. It’s just too exhausting. Very difficult to recover and still ride on the track or on a bike.
Just as proper low-level aerobic activity often feels “too easy”, MSP training may not feel like “hard workout”. You will not be drained afterwards. You will know that you lifted, but you will not run funny. There won’t be much pain the next day. That is normal. This is expected.
MSP training is also a great option for the elderly who want to stimulate strength development and bone density without overwhelming their bodies. It’s a relatively quick way to exercise – it doesn’t take hours in the gym. You can even structure MSP sets as small micro workouts throughout the day.
Now I would like to hear from you. Have you ever done Maximum Sustained Power Training? Will you? Let me know how it worked for you.
Take care of yourselves.
About the author
Mark Sisson is the founder of Marks Daily Apple, godfather of the Primal Food and Lifestyle movement, and the New York Times best-selling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, which describes how he combines the keto diet with a pristine lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of numerous other books, including The Primal Blueprint, which is credited with the growth of the Primal / Paleo movement in 2009. After three decades of researching and educating people about why food is the key component in achieving optimal wellbeing, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real food company, the Primal / Paleo, Keto and Whole30 friendly kitchen staples manufactures.
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