Elite Strength Coaches Use This Framework: Applying Transient and Residual Training Principles

Sep 10, 2022

Photo Credit: Remastered Studio/Pixabay

By: Danielle Abel, MSN, FNMS, CSCS(c)

You wanna be a top-level strength coach, right? Cool, if you aren't already, you'll want to ensure that you understand and can apply the concepts of transient and residual training adaptations. 

Peaking Abilities & Adaptations

When you can apply these principles, you're able to help athletes develop their abilities and adaptations at just the right time. Essentially you want to help them peak athletic traits at the most advantageous time, based upon their needs, goals, and sport. 

For example, speed is a very transient training trait. When you stop training it, it goes away fairly quickly. Now some coaches have the mindset that athlete's with speed needs should be training speed year round - but this approach limits athlete's ability to enhance other training adaptations like muscular size or strength. 

It might be helpful to think about reverse engineering your programming and training to help you determine what qualities need to be peaked at what time. From here, you can better determine what training would be most helpful leading up to peaking needs.

Spiraling, as it's called in the curriculum design world (developed by Jerome Bruner - 1960), helps you to be able to logically organize your training so that it fits together in one large cohesive unit.

It might be helpful to think about a finished puzzle. After the puzzle is assembled, you can pull out strategic pieces of the puzzle to show how the puzzle fits together in a sequential format to produce one large end product from a variety of smaller subunits. 

This concept can be applied to training as well - if an athlete has a goal to maximize strength for example, you wouldn't want to focus on strength year round knowing that give or take 5 days, maximal strength is peaked at the 30 day mark. 

Duration of Residual Training Effects

The following data and information comes from Table 2.4: Duration of Residual Training Effects (RTE) for Different Motor Abilities from Cal Dietz & Matt Van Dyke's book "Triphasic Training: A High School Strength and Conditioning Manual."

 This table might help you visualize motor abilities together to see how they compare and contrast with one another. Additionally, the table highlights what's actually occurring on a physiological level for you as well. 

Practical Application

For a speed athlete, you'll want to maximize their abilities within 5 days of a scheduled event, give or take 3 days. For example, a sprinter would want their speed to peak at or around 5-8 days from their race.

So for programming, you'd want to organize your training so that volume is high months and weeks out from their event. As time goes on, the volume should continue to drop and should be significantly reduced 5-8 days before their event.

If the volume is low and intensity is high (mostly training speed & power) the athlete will be less fatigued than if volume & intensity were both kept high. 

If you're working with a powerlifter, on the other hand, you'll have a bit more time to play with. Maximal strength peaks at around the 30 day mark, give or take 5 days. Meaning strength has a greater residual effect than speed.

So in this case, your program design ideally should be organized and scheduled to produce maximal power within 30 days of a scheduled meet. Volume should drop 30-35 days prior to a scheduled event, allowing the athlete to focus on developing strength with low volume, high-intensity movements (singles, doubles, etc.). 

Keep in mind that individual athlete and sport specific needs will dictate how you organize training, periodization, and progression techniques; there isn't "one best way" to design programs. 

Support & Courses Available

Ready for even more support? Our Program Design 101 Course teaches you exactly how to organize an annual training plan using CSCS program design principles and provides sport-specific examples, and even includes done for you programming templates by phase. Click the link here to check it out.


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