Truth Not Trends: CONDITIONING

1. Because of the specificity of energy demands, varied muscle contraction dynamics and general body stress and fatigue, playing and practicing your sport should be a priority when it comes to physical preparation. As they did in the good ole days, you CAN play yourself into shape. It’s “sport-specific”
and still true today. That stated, following a sensibly-designed conditioning program can further prepare one for the rigors of competition provided it “fits” with all strength training activities and practice sessions and does not over-stress the body’s recovery systems.

2. Like strength training, a legitimate conditioning activity must a) create an overload on the (energy) system(s), b) allow adequate recovery / adaptation time, c) be progressive relative to the variables of running intensity, volume, distance and bout work / recovery times and d) be performed on a regular basis.

3. All other factors being equal, running speed can be improved if one a) gets stronger, b) stays lean and c) practices the skills of running.

4. Purported “speed drills” that do not replicate exact sprinting body mechanics (same speed, muscle contractions, angles of force output, etc.) may not transfer to improve speed. Again, the principle of specificity states that to become proficient in any activity, the activity itself must me practiced exactly. Anything “almost” or “close” is NOT exact. Therefore, general drills such as high knees, skips, bounds, box jumps, or other slower-moving actions (relative to all-out sprinting speed) can be used, but more as a part of a dynamic warm-up routine.

5. Being in good condition is also a part of a sound speed-enhancement program. Simply put, if you’re fatigued you cannot run at your maximum speed potential.

6. Straight-line sprinting ability does not correlate to lateral or backward agility or the ability to react and change directions based game / contest situations.

7. All energy systems – ATP-PC (immediate), Lactic Acid (short term-high power) and Aerobic (long term-lower power) – are activated at the onset of any activity. What determines which system is relied upon the most is the intensity and length of the activity.

8. You don’t have to jog for 30-45 minutes or keep the heart rate in the “aerobic zone” to ultimately burn body fat. Shorter, higher intensity lactate threshold work actually gets you more bang for the buck, since it burns a lot of calories. Also, post-exercise fatty acid mobilization from the adipose (fat) tissue is accelerated after demanding, high intensity work.

9. One can improve lactate threshold and VO2 max with a variety of training regimens: short and long intervals, fartlek runs and continuous runs using various running speeds, distances, volumes and work-to-rest ratios.
10. Genetics also play a role in conditioning: those endowed with a high percentage of the slow / type 1 muscle fibers may possess better endurance and recover faster than those with more quicker-to-fatigue fast / type 2 fibers. On the other hand, predominantly fast/type 2 people may run relatively faster but take longer to recover between bouts, all other factors being equal.

TAKU’s NOTE: This weeks article courteousy of my friend Tom Kelso.




1. For muscle to grow and become stronger, it must be exposed to an overload stress. INTENSITY of effort is the key.

2. Muscle will adapt to the stress if given enough time to recover. Adequate RECOVERY time between workouts is the key.

3. For further adaptation (improvement), greater overload stresses must be applied. PROGRESSION of overload is the key.

4. To improve further, or maintain current ability, the overload stress must occur regularly. CONSISTENCY in training is the key.
Power Squat Pro Machine
5. Creating high tension in the muscle fibers and working to momentary muscular failure involves the greatest amount of relative muscle tissue. Effort (working to fatigue) and using good form (controlled movement with no bouncing or jerking) are important here. If in doubt, slow it down and aim for maximum repetitions (safely).

6. Muscle overload can be applied with a variety of tools: barbells, dumbbells, machines, manually applied resistance, body weight, sand bags, etc. Anything that can create high tension in the muscles can be used.

7. A variety of exercise prescriptions can be used provided muscle overload occurs, such as heavy resistances / few repetitions, lighter resistances / more repetitions, minimal exercise bouts (i.e., 1 to 3 sets per muscle group) and / or varied rest time between sets and exercises (i.e., 30 seconds to 3:00+).

8. No matter the speed of movement used, muscle fibers are recruited in a fixed order: slow twitch / type 1 –> intermediate / type 2 –> fast twitch / type 2A –> fast twitch / type 2B & 2C. Generally speaking, if the demand is low, the slow/type 1 fibers are called upon. As the demand for EFFORT increases, the higher threshold, fast / type 2 fibers are called upon.

9. There is no skill transfer from a weight room exercise to a totally different athletic skill done in competition. The principle of specificity clearly states that for a positive transfer to occur, exactness in a number of factors must be present. The fact is, no weight room exercise exactly replicates any sport skill (other than the sports of weightlifting and power lifting). That is why one should practice his / her sport skills separately, then generally improve total-body weight room strength.

10. Although anyone can alter their strength, muscle size and body composition via strength training, their genetic endowment effects the magnitude of potential gains in the weight room. Those blessed with a high percentage of the slow / type 1 muscle fibers may not develop large muscles or great strength. Likewise, those who more easily get bigger and super-strong most likely possess a greater volume of the larger, more powerful type 2 fibers. Also, longer arms / legs and unfavorable muscle origins and insertions hinder great strength demonstration. Ultra-strong humans – male or female – usually have exceptional body leverages to allow for this.

TAKU’s NOTE: This weeks article courteousy of my friend Tom Kelso.





1. The bottom line: if the total number of calories consumed is less than the number used to support basal metabolism, thermo-genesis and activity energy demands, weight LOSS will occur. Likewise, weight GAIN will occur if calories consumed exceeds energy demands.

2. Due to their various functions within the body, the time-proven breakdown of the daily recommended percentages of the three macronutrients – carbohydrates (40-55%), proteins (20-30%) and fats (25-30%) – is still reasonable advice.

3. You can’t go wrong if these are on your grocery list: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high-fiber foods, skinless chicken and fish, lean red meat and anything low in saturated fat, high fructose corn syrup, white flour and sodium. Attempt to emphasize complex carbohydrates over simple sugars and go for lean, unsaturated proteins over high-fat proteins.

4. Nothing beats plain old water. 70% of your body is water. Drink periodically to stay hydrated. It’s literally free, for Pete’s sake.

5. Eat breakfast! If you skip it, then eat lunch at noon, you will have gone 12 -16 hours without food from the previous day! Skipping breakfast slows your metabolism, lowers your energy level, hinders muscle weight gain for those attempting to build muscle and encourages binge-eating later in the day.

6. Excessive alcohol consumption = dehydration, increased fat storage, lower strength levels and a greater risk of a D.U.I. None of those options are attractive.

7. Pre- and post-exercise feeding: pre-exercise = complex carbs + low in fat. Post-exercise = simple carbs + protein.

8. If you are attempting to lose body fat, a) strength train regularly (to keep metabolically expensive muscle), b) eat fewer calories spread out over 5 to 6 feedings each day (speeds metabolism and creates a calorie deficit) and c) be disciplined not to eat if feeling hungry between feedings (indicates your tapping fat storage sites).

9. 5 minutes of bad eating can negate 30 minutes of traditional exercise. 6 x chocolate chip cookies = 300 calories. 150 lb. man jogging at 10 miles/hour pace for 30 minutes = approximately 300 calories burned above BMR. Message: if you spend time “working out,” be disciplined in your eating.

10. More bang for the buck: try circuit strength training. Rather than plod away at a low-level for 30, 45 or 60 minutes on a treadmill, elliptical machine or running track, a more time-efficient 20-30 minute strength training circuit will not only use more calories per unit of time, it will also increase calorie consumption post-exercise due to a greater recovery demand placed on the body. Physically demanding circuit strength training is the total package: more muscle contractions = more energy expended, more muscle fibers overloaded = better muscle tone / strength, and the higher the intensity of work = the greater the demand placed on the cardio-vascular system.

TAKU’s NOTE: This weeks article courteousy of my friend Tom Kelso.




What am I doing right now!


It’s the age of Facebook and twiiter. People are constantly updating us on the minutia of their lives. I realized that it’s been a while since I talked about what my workout program looks like at the moment so I thought I would take a minute to fill you all in.


These are still the basic guidelines I follow when setting up a training plan. With this in mind I’ll fill you in on what I am doing right now.

I train three days per week Monday – Wednesday – Friday. I alternate between a strength training day and a conditioning day (although in truth there is carryover in each direction with the the training that I do).  Because I am alternating I end up doing three strength workouts and three conditioning workouts every two weeks. If week one is Strength – Conditioning – Strength, then week two will be Conditioning – Strength – Conditioning.

On the strength days I set my GymBoss for 20 minutes and see how many cycles of push – pull – legs, I can get done. Some days I may just choose three exercises and repeat the TRI-SET as many times as I can in the 20 minute block. More often, I cycle through varied movements in each TRI-SET, always choosing a Push, a Pull, and a Leg exercises in each sequence. I do any and all warm-up stuff before I start the timer.

Once the timer starts I proceed to do a single, all-out work set of each exercise. I train to positive (concentric) failure on each work set. I track reps as well as TUT. I always do as many perfect reps as possible but do have target Rep /TUT ranges in mind. For most upper body exercise I am shooting for about 4-6 reps and a TUT of 40-60 seconds. For most lower body exercises I shoot for 6-9 reps and a TUT of about 60-90 seconds. For hips, ABs & low-back I may do slightly higher reps shooting for 8-12 reps and 80-120 seconds of TUT.

Ultimately I get what I get,  always doing as many perfect reps as possible. If I get a few more or a few less than the goal, I don’t sweat it too much.

Example Strength Series:

Clean Dead-lift & Shrug

Bench Press

Leg Curl / Stiff Legged Dead-lift
Incline Press
Recline Pull

For my Conditioning days I most often select a set time or distance and attempt to either cover that set distance in less time, or go further in the same amount of time from workout to workout. Currently I use the Versa-Climber as my conditioning tool and I see how far I can climb in 20 minutes.

Well there you have it. Pretty simple really. Using this basic template you could spin-off workouts with endless variety depending on what tools you have available. You could also keep it super simple and just do Push-ups or dips, Single-Leg Squats or lunges, and chin-ups or recline pulls for strength. On conditioning day you could just choose running and either see how fast you can cover a set distance like three miles, or how many 100 yards sprints you can get done in 20 minutes.

Now…Get to it!