Home Baseball Content Strength and Conditioning Programs: Understanding the Absolute Strength to Absolute Speed Continuum

Strength and Conditioning Programs: Understanding the Absolute Strength to Absolute Speed Continuum

Written on August 25, 2010 at 3:23 am, by Eric Cressey

A few questions from one of our pro baseball guys inspired me to create this video “tutorial” on how to develop power.  It starts general, and progresses to specific.  Think about how it applies to YOUR sport and your training history.

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20 Responses to “Strength and Conditioning Programs: Understanding the Absolute Strength to Absolute Speed Continuum”

  1. mike Says:

    Love the video tutorials! Hope to see more of these from you.

  2. Andy Says:

    Great explanation on the continuum. It brings home the importance of where the athlete needs to focus his/her attention.

  3. Vicki Says:

    Fantastic video! Now I just need to figure out how to apply this to hockey training.

  4. Mike Arone Says:

    Great tutorial. It makes so much more sense when you can see it visually and where tweaks need to be made to enhance overall performance.



  5. Jacob Parece Says:

    Great video, it better helped me understand my own training at CresseyPerformance.

  6. Anthony Mychal Says:

    Eric, you mention that high schoolers excel well because they spend too much time in the absolute speed end of the spectrum. Do you feel that it is more of their time in that zone as opposed to them being almost completely untrained in the maximal strength zone?

  7. J.B. Says:

    I was just going to write about this very thing as a follow up to a post on “what plyometrics aren’t”.. I hope you don’t mind me linking to this.

  8. Eric Cressey Says:

    JB, no problem. Feel free. Thanks!

  9. Eric Cressey Says:


    It’s definitely a bit of both – but by that same token, you will see some high school kids who are pretty strong “naturally” – whether it’s because of genetics, working on a farm, or something else.

  10. Chris Says:

    Awesome Eric. Where does power fall on the continuum? I’m assuming you work on raw power in the middle of the continuum?

    So for example, football players would emphasize the power cleans, hang cleans, med ball throws for pushing, etc?

    For the everyday individual who wants to maintain optimal mechanics into old age, I believe it was in one of Cosgrove’s books that he noted, “power” is the most important attribute to maintain in a fitness program. How would you do this with the non-athlete?

  11. Danny McLarty Says:

    Living here in the Bay area, I hear many of the sports radio talk show hosts asking why Tim Lincecum has lost so much velocity. Each time one of those guys brings it up, I want to yell through the radio, “he’s WAY too far to the right on the strength-speed continuum! Get him in the weight room this off-season and you’ll see him get a few MPH back!” Think they’d know what I would be talking about if I were to bring up the strength-speed continuum? Ha! 🙂

  12. Sham Says:

    EC, nice video & you cover a lot in there. BTW, is it out of convenience trainers put two things together which in reality don’t exist? for example, how can we say speed strength when both the qualities are different by their own nature? speed strength, strength speed, speed endurance, strength endurance… i can go on. don’t we have our athletes do totally different things in each phase towards peaking by varying loads? so while one takes a back seat, the other takes over. this whole jargon can get as complicated as the periodization book we all have read. (at least to me) cheers

  13. Louise Letson Says:

    Hi Eric, as usual great information! Just thinking, would this continuum apply for swimmers? Swimming is part of the school curriculum (just like maths) in Australia and so I deal with a lot of swimmers.

  14. Dave Nazarian Says:

    I just KNOW that you mis-spoke when you were talking about a “power lifter… decides to become an athlete” (around the 2-3 minute mark of the video). I’m sure you consider yourself an athlete, even with a 600+ DL!
    Rock on…

  15. Doug Kent Says:

    Very informative. I wish I had known and applied this type of knowledge when I was younger. Also, you inspired me to focus on my deadlift, and I’m starting to love it. Looking forward to seeing more of these types of videos. Great work.

  16. Matthew White Says:

    Hi Eric,

    For one of your athletes who has focused on the absolute speed end of the spectrum what would a typical training session look like for them in terms of the type of movements. Do you periodize and concentrate on absolute strength then speed-strength then strength speed over time? Or do you combine the modalities into one session and start off with your power movements and move into the absolute strength afterwards? Just curious as to how you would do this most effectively.



  17. Scott Umberger Says:

    Though this is 101 for anyone that knows anything about performance training, you did one hell of a job explaining it. I had my older athletes watch the video to “get it”. They now have a much better understanding of why we do Max Effort, Med Ball, Weight Vest, and Speed Work. Now that they are at the end of a realization phase(hockey players with dry land training) I could see the light bulb going off! Thanks Eric!

  18. Carson Boddicker Says:

    How does the emphasis/theme of your program change from week to week or month to month based on this continuum?

    Carson Boddicker

  19. John Says:

    Great post Eric!

    I think this really show why a lot of athletes need to spend more time lifting weights and less time running.

    Especially since some of this kids play baseball, basketball or lacrosse ALL YEAR. They don’t get a break and they never truly get a chance to focus on just getting stronger.

  20. AllPros Says:

    Great video Eric. Very educational.

    Strength + Speed = Power!

    Way to put it all together!

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