Train Sane for the New Year

Suddenly everywhere we look the workouts have gone insane. What’s that all about? Anyone who has read my stuff regularly, knows that I believe in hard work. However, just because a workout is named something that sounds tough, and or gets you out of breath, does not mean it is a smart or viable way to train long term.

The truth is the number one type of exercise we can do for our health is strength training, And the number one reason folks don’t feel that they can workout is lack of time. With this in mind,why choose a program that says you need to confuse your muscles and workout 5 – 6 – or 7 days per week for an hour or more? The truth is that anyone from the elite athlete to the un-fit office worker can get all they need from two or three well thought out 30 or 45 minute workouts per week.

What’s that saying about a fool and his money? I’ve noticed that the “insane” workout folks are now trying to sell agility ladders and other tools to make folks more athletic etc. Don’t fall for the hype. Unless you want to be a world champion at using the agility ladder, don’t bother buying or using one. No matter what anyone tells you, it will not give you better footwork for your chosen sport.

If you are a soocer player, what do you think will be more beneficial:

A: 30 minutes of agility ladder drills.

B: 30 minutes of extra time spent practicing skills with a soocer ball for improved ball mastery?

Let’s talk science for a moment.

1. 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.

2. Straight-ahead sprinting and change-of-direction agility drills elicit a “plyometric” (stretch-shortening) effect. Therefore, whenever you’re sprinting and doing agilities, your doing plyometrics. No need to spend an inordinate amount of time jumping on and off boxes.


3.  Speed gadgets and gimmicks such as parachutes, rubber tubing, sleds, weighted vests, and the like are nothing exceptional. They by themselves will not make you “run like the wind” after their use. They can be used
for variety in a conditioning program (repeated use can create fatigue), but that’s about it. It is a fact that running with weight or against resistance alters running mechanics from those used in unweighted sprinting you’ll experience during a game (sport-specific). Therefore, keep your running both sport and energy system-specific by replicating the situations / runs you’ll face in competition.

To find out how intelligent athletes train, check out this article from last August: Strength Training for Athletes

So to sum up, it’s not about feeling tired, sweating profusely or earning a T-shirt…It’s about consistent and progressive hard work on brief, intense, and infrequent programs designed to support your goals.

Remember Train Smart, Win easy.

Pau for Now.
TAKU

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THE IMPORTANCE OF STRENGTH TRAINING DURING MENOPAUSE

By TAKU

At Hybrid fitness we recommend brief, intense, infrequent strength training workouts as the foundation of a total fitness program. This style of training is safe efficient and effective for everyone.

Often women will avoid strength training with weights for fear of bulking up or sometimes because they just don’t realize the benefits to be gained. With this in mind I offer the following information with regards to the many benfits of strength training before and during menopause:

Reverse Genetic Markers of Aging –It’s a generally established medical fact that the benefits of brief effective strength training are a practical fountain of youth. Strength training delivers the health benefits that no other form of exercise will.

 

Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis – As we age our bones naturally get more porous and less dense. That makes them more brittle and prone to breaking. Brief effective strength training reverses this process and adds density to bones.

Improves Cholesterol Profile – Brief effective strength training exercise lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. These are two key markers of heart disease that are improved by Brief effective strength training exercise.

Positively Impact Hormone Profiles – Brief effective strength training causes your body to produce more of its own, natural growth hormone. Increased HGH is known to boost libido, improve your sleep, improve memory and decrease the wrinkles in your skin!

 

Boost Metabolism and Increase Fat Loss – Adding muscle to your body increases your Basal Metabolic Rate which means you will naturally burn more calories and lose fat 24 hours a day. Adding just 5 pounds of new muscle will burn off 20 to 30 pounds of fat annually.

 

More Energy – Having more muscle means that every activity throughout the day is less taxing. That means having extra energy left over to enjoy life more.

Look Better – Strength training changes the composition of your body in two very positive ways. It increases lean body mass and decreases fat. In short, strength training makes you look younger and more fit.

Positive effects on depression – Regular strength training exercise improves cognitive function, enhances mood and promotes daytime alertness and restful sleep. Brief effective strength training will increase endorphin levels which are the bodies’ natural pain relievers.

A high intensity, no momentum workout program is the safest and most effective means to achieve muscle strength and endurance, reduced body fat, higher metabolism, increased bone mineral density, and improved cardiovascular fitness.

Now imagine getting all those benefits by performing perhaps one or two brief, effective strength training workouts a week. The point is that greater strength equals greater health. Now is the time for you to become your best. So what are you waiting for, get started on your strength training program today.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

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.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

Overcoming Procrastination

According to a study published by University of Calgary Professor Piers Steel in the Psychological Bulletin, 26 percent of Americans think of themselves as chronic procrastinators. Should we be surprised? We truly have many weapons of mass destruction when it comes to killing time. If we are not watching TV, we have You Tube. When that gets tiresome, we Google up anything we can imagine. When we leave our home or office, we have cell phones, iPods and BlackBerrys to distract us. According to Professor Steel, “It’s easier to procrastinate now than ever before. We have so many more temptations. It’s never been harder to be self-disciplined in all of history than it is now.”

In addition to temptations, I believe we procrastinate because of Too Much Information (TMI) and misplaced fears. I will get to TMI a bit later, but let’s talk about misplaced fears…

In the ten + years that I have been a Personal Fitness Trainer, I have worked with a couple of thousand people who have asked me various questions about my experience in losing almost 200 pounds. The top two questions are:

“Did you have a bunch of loose skin after you lost the weight?

“How long did it take you to lose all that weight?”

Notice that NONE of these questions actually pertains to how I lost the weight rather they reveal the fears of the person asking the question. My standard response to the skin question is for the person to worry about saving his/her own skin first. Loose skin is a minor problem compared to an early death. When I tell someone that it took me four years to lose all my weight, I often hear, “I can’t wait that long!” To that I reply, “If you don’t start now, where will you be in four years?”

TMI is also a common cause for procrastination. People often tell me that they won’t do aerobic exercise because they just bought a heart rate monitor and they aren’t sure at which heart rate zone they should be exercising. (See my website http://www.xbigman.com/faqs/faq_05.html for a short discussion of heart rate zones).

Do you recognize a pattern here? Our misplaced fears and TMI are causing us to put the cart before the horse. We need to be the horse and gallop into action.

I procrastinated myself into a 368 pound body more than 16 years ago. With each “wait,” I gained more weight. I could feel my life flowing out and my body shutting down. What finally gave me the courage to act was the realization that any move I made would be an improvement over what I was not doing.

Mark before the transformation

I bought a stationary exercise bike and struggled to ride it for two minutes. Rather than get discouraged and procrastinate, I got back on the bike and rode it the next day. Each additional minute I could ride was an immediate triumph that fueled my determination. That simple action of riding a bike for two minutes led to a four-year campaign to reclaim my life and gain an even better life.

A few years back, on February 12, I celebrated my 50th birthday and I was truly thankful that I took that two-minute ride. That ride let me stick around long enough to find a beautiful wife, have two beautiful daughters and find my calling as a Personal Fitness Trainer. I am just getting warmed up. I know there are other people out there that are desperately seeking the courage to start their own ride and find the joy that I have been able to find. To these people I say if I can do it, anyone can!

Mark finishing Florida Triathlon

If you are one of these people who struggle to get started, remember that any small step is a step in the right direction. Doing nothing will always get you nothing.

Here are a few suggestions to get started:

Get a check-up from your doctor.

Once your doctor has cleared you for exercise, get started now!

Exercise can take many forms and does not have to be at a gym.

Walk rather than ride a car (or park farther away so that you can walk).

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Start keeping a food journal listing what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat and what you are doing while you eat. (A dietary log can be found in the “Downloads” section of hybridfitness.tv)

This information will help you discover triggers to overeating and what I call “leaks.” A leak is consistent consumption of high caloric, low-nutrition foods and beverages. A classic leak is sodas and alcohol. A person who gives up one soda or alcoholic beverage per day can actually lose approximately ten pounds in one year.

That’s it for now. I have yet another AARP application to turn down!

To Victory!

Mark “XBigMan” Davis

“It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Abraham Lincoln (Abe and Mark share the same birthday).

TAKU’s Note: Thanks to my friend and colleague Mark “X-BIG MAN” Davis for sharing some of his experience with us here at Hybrid Fitness. I know that procrastination is something I fight with every week.  Now turn off the computer and GET TO IT!!

© 2006-2009 HybridFitness.tv. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.

Functional Training

By Jesse Cannone CFT, CPRS, CSPN

In the past few years I’ve seen a huge transition in the fitness industry. More and more people are using functional training and some argue it’s the only way to train. The purpose of this article is to give people an understanding of what functional training is and what it does and does not do.

First, let’s look at what functional actually means:

Functional – Func.tion.al

1. capable of operating or functioning

2. capable of serving the purpose for whit it was intended

(Webster’s Encyclopedia 2nd Edition, 1996)

Based on that definition, you can draw many conclusions as to what is functional. Depending upon who you ask, you will most likely get a diverse variety of responses as to what is functional. All human movement is a combination of various functions. Human movement cannot take place without muscular function. According to the functional training “experts”, functional training uses bands, balls, free-weights, and plyometric exercises in an attempt to condition the body in an unstable environment. Many of the experts feel that performing exercises that mimic activities or specific skills is the most effective way to train, regardless of ones goal.

What is the safest, most efficient and effective way to optimize human performance?

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Factors Affecting Human Performance

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In order to maximize human performance, you must have a good understanding of what affects performance. The factors that play the greatest role in performance are:

* Power (strength and speed)

* Agility (flexibility/mobility/stability)

* Cardiovascular and respiratory conditioning

* Sport Skill (neuromuscular coordination and efficiency

* Genetic Potential

Let’s take a look at each factor and determine which training methods are going to deliver optimal results. By optimal results, I mean the greatest amount of improvement, with the least amount of risk and in the shortest amount of time.

Power

Power = Force x Distance / Time

Power can be increased three ways:

1. Increase Force (Strength)

2. Increase Speed

3. Increase Distance (flexibility / range of motion)

1. Increase Force (Strength)

What is the most effective method of increasing strength and/or muscle tissue? In my opinion, High Intensity Strength Training is the most productive, safe and time efficient approach available. I am not stating that one set of each exercise is the best choice. My definition of High Intensity Training is: training to momentary muscular failure, with brief and infrequent workouts in which all variables are prescribed based on the individuals: goals, age, current fitness level, fiber types, personal preference and past experience.

The purpose of strength training is to increase strength and lean body mass, NOT for training a specific skill or movement – that’s called practice! People strength train for many reasons and there are many methods that work. For years, many trainers and coaches have had their clients and athletes perform Olympic lifts because they feel it will transfer over into the performance of their skill.

Numerous studies have shown that the neurological transfer of skills is not optimal unless the skill is practiced EXACTLY as it is performed in competition. Therefore, performing power cleans because you play football is NOT optimal. Performing power-cleans will only get you better at performing power-cleans! Focus on increasing strength and lean body mass and practice your skill exactly as it is performed during competition.

2. Increase Speed

Increasing the speed at which a skill is performed is another great way to improve power. Speed is primarily predetermined by the individual’s genetic make up. However, that does not mean that you cannot improve speed by practicing the skill EXACTLY as it is performed in competition. A great deal of focus should be placed on perfecting the technique. By practicing the skill in this manner, you will improve neuromuscular efficiency, which will result in faster and more accurate performance.

3. Increase Distance (flexibility / range of motion)

Increasing flexibility is another way to improve power. By increasing flexibility, you increase the distance that force is applied which results in an increase in power.

The safest and most effective method to increase flexibility is by performing full range of motion exercises and incorporating a sound stretching routine.

Agility

Improving ones agility is another way of optimizing performance. Agility drills should be SPECIFIC to the activity or event. For example, having someone do plyometric jumps off of boxes is NOT specific to someone who plays basketball! Yes, a basketball player jumps, but not off of boxes. Having the athlete practice jumping from the floor would be much more specific to their sport. Always ask yourself, “What is the goal?” “Is what I’m doing going to give me the outcome I desire?” “Is it optimal?”

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Conditioning

Increasing cardio/respiratory output and endurance is another factor that has a major impact on performance. This topic is one of such importance that it is beyond the scope of this article. In general, if you increase the individual’s cardiovascular and respiratory output and endurance, there will be a corresponding increase in performance.

Cardiovascular training should also be specifically geared towards improving the individuals conditioning in the metabolic pathway in which they compete or perform. For example, someone who plays tennis should primarily train at a slow to moderate pace and incorporate bursts of high intensity effort. Interval training would be a good choice for this individual. Keep the training specific to the individual.

Sport Skill

This is an area in which there is a lot of confusion among many athletes, coaches and trainers. Skill acquisition and strength levels are two completely different things. Therefore, they should be trained separately and with different methods. In order to optimize the performance of a specific skill or movement, it needs to be practiced EXACTLY as it is performed in competition. It has been shown that each activity or movement has its own neuromuscular pathway and that just because a movement is similar does NOT mean there will be a positive transfer or carryover of skill.

In order to maximize performance, the individual should attempt to perfect their movement or skill with endless hours of practice. The goal of practice should be to improve the technique, accuracy and increase the speed at which the skill can be performed. This topic was addressed earlier in the section titles “Increase Force.”

Genetic Potential

This is the factor that I have found to have the greatest impact on human performance. Genetic potential is something many people overlook. Regardless of what methods of training I use, I will never be a world-class marathoner. I can train twice a week or I can train 5 hours a day, it sill won’t change the fact that my body wasn’t designed to excel at endurance activities. I hear of too many coaches and trainers having people follow dangerous training programs in an attempt to drastically improve their performance. This is not to say that you cannot improve performance. When training yourself or a competitive athlete, always set realistic goals. As stated earlier, the best thing to do is utilize the most effective methods available and work hard!

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Differences Between Functional Training & Machine Based Training

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Most, if not all of the so-called functional exercises fail to supply constant and variable resistance. Most quality machines supply constant tension and variable resistance based on the strength curve of the particular muscle and track proper joint function.

For example, compare dumbbell bicep curls on a Swiss ball to a bicep curl on a quality machine (such as Hammer Strength.) While performing the dumbbell curl, there is no tension on the biceps in the bottom or top positions. The resistance is greatest when the dumbbell is perpendicular to the floor. The amount of stimulus is also decreased due to the fact that the individual must balance his/her self on the ball.

While using a machine, there is constant tension on the biceps and the amount of tension varies during the exercise based on the strength curve of the biceps muscle. Which is going to make the individual stronger? Which is going to stimulate more muscle fibers in the biceps?

In my opinion, machine based training is by far superior if the goal is to increase strength and/or muscle tissue. Keep in mind that more muscle equates to a faster, stronger and better athlete, providing they practice their specific skill(s) or movement(s).

This is not to say that functional exercises serve no purpose. There are benefits to functional exercise; just not as many as some people are lead to believe. Exercise selection and the training methods used should be based on the individual’s goals. Instances where functional training may be effective would be in individuals who need to improve balance, stability and neuromuscular coordination. Below is a chart that shows the differences between Functional Training and Machine Based Training.

 

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Conclusion

———————————————————–

Functional training obviously has some benefit and can be a great addition to a well-designed strength program. However, I personally feel it should never take the place of a structured strength training routine. I recommend using a combination approach, which utilizes machines, free-weights, bodyweight, balls, bands and anything that is going to deliver the desired results.

Always remember that training for strength and/or increases in muscle tissue and training for skill are two completely different things. When designing or assessing a training program, the following questions should be asked: What is the goal? Is it time efficient? Is it safe? Is it delivering the desired results? Is it optimal?

References

1. Schmidt, R.A: Motor Learning and Performance -> From Principles to Practice. Human Kinetics Books; Champaign, IL 1991

2. Bryzcki, Matt: A Practical Approach to Strength Training, Masters Press; Indianapolis, IN 1995

3. Magil, R: Motor Learning – Concepts and Application, 4th Edition, C. Brown Publishing, Madison, WI 1993

4. Chek, Paul: What is Functional Exercise? (Article), C.H.E.K Institute

5. Calais-Germaine, Blandine: Anatomy of Movement, Easterland Press, Seattle, WA 1993

6. Tortora, Gerard, J: Principles of Human Anatomy, 5th Edition, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY 1989

7. Stein, Alan: Improving Athletic Power (Article), Hard Training Newsletter

8. Manny, Ken: Skill Development: An Open and Closed Case (Article) www.naturalstrength.com

9. Kielbaso, Jim: Ploys – My Story (Article) www.cyberpump.com

TAKU’s NOTE : About the Author

Article written by certified fitness trainer and best-selling author, Jesse Cannone. For more great fitness articles be sure to visit Jesse’s website http://www.gethealthyandfit.com

© 2006-2009 HybridFitness.tv. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.

Strength Training for Athletes

BY TAKU

Primary Goals of the Hybrid Fitness Strength & Conditioning Program:

 

1.    Reduce the likelihood and severity of injury – Keeping athletes healthy and on the field of play is imperative to the success of a team. Thus, the primary goal of all strength and conditioning programs should be injury prevention. This goal includes both reducing the likelihood and severity of injury occurring during athletic performance and also eliminating injuries occurring in the weight room. A strength training program must emphasize areas that are prone to injury as a result of competing in any number of athletic endeavors. Performing potentially dangerous exercises in the weight room to prepare for potentially dangerous activities in competition is like banging your head against a wall to prepare for a concussion.

2.    Stimulate positive physiological adaptations – Physiological changes resulting from a proper strength training regimen include an improvement in strength and the ability to produce force, improved power / explosive capacity, achievement and maintenance of a functional range of motion, and an improvement in body composition.

3.    Improve confidence and mental toughness – An extremely valuable byproduct of strength training is improved confidence and mental toughness. Intense workouts will expand an athlete’s tolerance for physical discomfort. Most athletes who pride themselves in proper strength training will compete harder because they have invested time and energy to physically prepare for competition.

Our program has been prepared to meet the following objectives:

  • Increase and maintain functional range of motion
  • Increase and maintain total body strength levels for improved performance and reduced likelihood of serious injury
  • Increase functional muscular mass – which will enhance your ability for greater power output
  • Keep your percentage of body fat at an acceptable and efficient level
  • Improve muscular endurance
  • Improve your cardiovascular / cardiopulmonary efficiency
  • Improve your quickness and speed
  • Make you mentally and physically tougher
  • Prepare you to win

Muscular Strength / Power

Function Dictates Prescription:

The function of a particular muscle structure dictates what exercise will be performed to target that muscle structure. This means that we must first think about the role or purpose of a given muscle before we can decide what exercise we will use to train it.

Muscle Groups

It is important to understand the major muscle groups of the body, what they do, and how we can train them. We will break the body up it to the following groups:

Neck.

Shoulders.

Chest.

Back.

Arms.

Legs.

Midsection.

The exercises performed can be grouped into the following:

Multijoint Lower body – ex. Squat, Dead-lift, Leg Press

a. push – ex. Bench Press, OH Press, Dips

b. pull – ex. Rows, Chin-ups, Recline pulls

Single joint – ex. Arm Curls & Extensions, etc

Progressive Overload

The physiological basis for any resistance training program is the overload principle. The overload principle states that a system must be stressed beyond its current capacity in order to stimulate a physiological response… that response is an increase in muscular strength and size. The goal should be to use moreresistance or perform more repetitions each time you strength train. The overload principle is the single most important part of a resistance training program.Without overload, a resistance training program is of little or no value. Our goal is to safely and efficiently facilitate overload.

Intensity

Intensity of exercise is the most controllable factor in any resistance training program. Despite what the majority of the population believes, magical set rep schemes, barbells and one repetition maxes have little or nothing to do with obtaining results. Training with a high level of intensity is what stimulates results. A trainee cannot control how he / she will respond to a resistance training program; that response is controlled by genetics. There is no evidence to suggest that low reps with high weight will produce muscular size and strength and high reps with low weight will produce toned muscles. This is a common assumption with no scientific backing.

Brief and Infrequent

Because high intensity exercise is so demanding on the physiological systems of the body, only small amounts can be tolerated. Only a limited amount of exercises can be performed in a workout and only a limited amount of workouts should be performed per week. An excess of volume will cause over training and will lead to little or no results. Because of these facts, our training sessions last only 15-45 minutes and are performed only one, two or three times per week*.

*Volume prescriptions are based on the idividual athlete, sport and in-season / off-season demands pf athletic training.

How Many Sets?

In the past we assumed that the number of sets you performed determined whether or not you produced the best results. Through experience we’ve learned it’s not how many sets you perform. The key is how you perform each set. You can gain strength completing one set or ten sets. It’s also possible to gain no strength regardless of how many sets you perform. Do to our hectic lives, and over-loaded work schedules, most non-professional athletes barely have enough energy to recover from the stress of the daily grind, let alone have time to squeeze in a workout. Your goal as a Strength coach must be to have your athletes perform as few sets as possible while stimulating maximum gains. It must be a priority to eliminate non-productive exercise. Once you have warmed up, why perform a set that is not designed to increase or maintain your current level of strength?

Repetition Performance

The prescribed protocol will often dictate how the repetitions for a set are to be performed. However, there are some performance techniques that are common to all repetitions regardless of the protocol. Always change directions from concentric to eccentric in a smooth fashion allowing the muscles to do the work, not momentum. Never jerk or throw a weight. When a weight is jerked or thrown, momentum is incorporated to move the resistance. When momentum is used the load is taken off of the muscles and less muscle fibers are recruited thus limiting the degree of overload.

Never twist or torque body when performing a rep. The athlete should be instructed to maintain proper positioning, posture, and form. If a protocol does not dictate a specific rep speed, rep speed should be as follows. Raise weight under control taking approximately 3-5 seconds; pause in the contracted position; lower weight at the same speed as the raising of the weight. If in doubt, move slower, never faster. Never sacrifice form for more reps or more resistance. It is not the amount of weight or the number of repetitions performed that matters; it is how the repetitions are performed that matters.

Explosive Training

None of the workouts we will be using contain traditional “explosive” exercises. It is important to understand why we do not implement these exercises. A traditional explosive lift, such as the power clean, does little if anything to build strength, does nothing to develop speed or explosiveness, and is extremely dangerous. Explosive lifts incorporate momentum… when momentum is used to throw a weight, the load is taken off the skeletal muscle, thus, reducing fiber recruitment. In order to develop speed and explosiveness, an individual must train in a slow manner that allows the muscles to raise and lower the resistance… thus leading to fatigue of the targeted muscular structure and leading to the recruitment of more fast twitch muscle fibers.

Specificity

Skills are specific. They do not transfer. Do not attempt to mimic a skill performed on the field in the weight room. Throwing a weighted baseball is a far different skill then throwing a conventional baseball. As soon as you add resistance to a skill it becomes a new skill. A different neuromuscular pattern is recruited. In his text, Introduction to Motor Behavior: A Neuropsychological Approach, author George Sage states, “Practice of nonspecific coordination or quickening tasks will not transfer to sport specific skills.”

Example of a Strength Training Program

All workouts include both warm-up and cool-down activities as well as neck, grip and mid-section work.

BASIC FULL-BODY PROGRAM:

  1. Leg Press or Squat 15-20
  2. Leg Extensions or lunge 8-12
  3. Leg Curls or “triple threat” 8-12  (leg curl may be Prone, Seated or Standing)
  4. Calf Raise 8-12 Barbell, Dumbbell, Machine, (Seated or standing)
  5. Chest press 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  6. Push-up
  7. Back Row 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  8. Shoulder Press 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  9. Chin-ups / Reverse Grip Pull downs 8-12
  10. Dead Lift 12-15 Dumbbell, machine, Trap Bar, or straight bar.
  11. Dips / Triceps Extensions 8-12 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.
  12. Bicep Curls 6-10 Dumbbell, machine, or straight bar.

Thats it. Brief Intense, Infrequent. Remember your goal as a strength coach is to prepare your athletes as best you can while doing no harm. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

Product Review: “ A Practical Approach To Strength Training”

“ A Practical Approach To Strength Training”
4th edition by Matt Brzycki
In the 70’s I was training with Arthur Jones at the Quonset Hut at Deland High School . I had met Arthur (“Art” at the time) at the Teen Age Mr. America Contest held in York Pa. After much urging and prodding by Arthur I started making the trip up to Deland and Lake Helen , Florida 1-3 times a week. I was living in Winter Haven , Florida and it wasn’t a short drive. I had an opportunity to go to work for Arthur on the ground floor of the new Nautilus operation. I chose, instead, to go to work elsewhere. I went as often as I could and became friends with many of the people that came and went. With Arthur’s recommendation I started working for POLK Jr. College ( Now POLK College ) as a Strength Coach using a full line of new Nautilus and some Universal equipment. I wasn’t able to go up and train as often once I started with PJC but felt I had what I needed to train well. As time went on Nautilus grew and then exploded! Nautilus was everywhere and was killing the competition.
Fast forward a few years and I had gotten busy and Arthur was really busy. We had less contact, except for a phone conversation now and then. I had fallen out of the loop. I got a computer and started looking around for training info. Fortunately “Cyberpump” was one of the sites I found. On Cyberpump were many articles by Matt Brzycki. I printed everything by him I could find, also everything by Dr. Ken. What they were writing about was what I remembered when I was going to Deland. My interest in “High Intensity Training” had peaked again. On a vacation to Naples , Florida , I took a stack of articles to read by the pool. While reading the articles I found out about the first edition of “A Practical Approach.” I dropped everything and went looking for a bookstore. I found the book and went back to the Ritz Carlton and immersed myself in this book. I was hooked. During this time I was asked to write some articles about my experience with Arthur. I called him and asked his permission and he said “Do what you want.” That is how I got involved with sharing my “HIT” experience, Matt along with Dr. Ken, were the catalyst. Thank you Cyberpump and Bill Piche.
 
About “A Practical Approach” 4th edition
I thought the first edition was good but this new one is far better. It has much, much more information on many more subjects, with up to date, current information. It is now a complete manual on Strength Training and Conditioning, on several methods, levels, and subjects. Like the title says it’s “A Practical Approach.” Matt has a great deal of experience as a competitor, Coach, Trainer, and speaker, years of it. We first met at a Tampa Bay Bucs Clinic, where he was one of the main speakers. We both got bored at the same time and met in the lobby and had a nice talk.  He reads all the research and unlike me, actually understands it. Combined with all this experience and all his contacts in the Strength Community, we are the ones that benefit, anytime Matt starts writing.
From the Inside Flap:
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements
1 Basic Anatomy and Muscular Function
2 The Physiological Basis of Physical Training
3 Genetics and Strength Potential
4 Strength Training
5 Strength Training for Females
6 Strength Training for Youths
7 Strength Training for Older Adults
8 Free-Weight Exercises
9 Machine Exercises
10 Manual-Resistance Exercises
11 Designing and Varying the Strength Program
12 Rehabilitative Training
13 Flexibility Training
14 Aerobic Training
15 Anaerobic Training
16 Metabolic Training
17 Power Training
18 Skill Training
19 Nutritional Training
20 Nutritional Supplements
21 Nutritional Quackery
22 Weight Management
23 A Primer on Steroids
24 Strength and Fitness Q&A
Appendix A: Summary of Free-Weight Exercises
Appendix B: Summary of Machine Exercises
Appendix C: Summary of Manual-Resistance Exercises
Chapters 18 through 23 were very much of interest to me as well as Chapter 3. I really enjoyed this book!
From Matt:
In 1984, I started writing articles for magazines. After a while, my plan was to write articles such that I could later re-write them as chapters and then organize them into a book. By 1988, I had stockpiled enough articles to form the backbone of a book. Around the middle of the year, I sent a book publisher a proposal for A Practical Approach to Strength Training. I soon learned that getting an article accepted for publication in a magazine was much easier than a book. My first five proposals to publishers were rejected. In late January 1989, I sent out one more proposal. I decided that if it resulted in a sixth rejection letter, there would be no more attempts. The proposal was accepted and, as they say, the rest is history. In 1991, I wrote a second edition which wasn’t much of a change from the first edition. For the most part, I re-wrote some of the content, corrected a few mistakes and added a little new material but, again, it wasn’t much of a change. Although the first two editions sold nicely and were generally well accepted, they were criticized by some for being too anecdotal without much in the way of scientific support. In 1994, I decided to answer the critics with a third edition that focused on the relevant research. That edition – published in 1995 – was quite different from the first two. For one thing, the third edition was much larger, in format as well as content, going from 7 x 10 and about 40,000 words to 8.5 x 11 and about 90,000 words. Second, there was a greater emphasis on research. Unfortunately, the book was so research-based that it was somewhat difficult to read.
A lot has happened in the industry since that third edition came out 17 years ago. So I had nearly two decades of catching up to do. One of the great things about working at a university – at least from my perspective – is free, on-line access to dozens of peer-reviewed journals. Having this type of research literally at my fingertips was a tremendous help in doing the fourth edition.
This new edition has given me the opportunity to fill in the gap, so to speak, with everything that’s gone on in the fitness industry during the past 20 years or so. It has also allowed me to revise old content, add new content and correct what I thought was a huge shortcoming of the third edition and that was the writing style. This fourth edition is a much easier read with a more conversational and less “militant” tone yet still has a strong reliance on the scientific research. And despite what the title suggests, this book goes way beyond strength training; it’s really more of an all-around fitness book.
Matt, you did what you set out to do. Well done. Thanks!
TAKU’s NOTE: I have several copies of Matt’s book (3rd edition), and it is one of my favorites. Like Jim, I am a big fan of Matt’s work and have read everything of his I can get my hands on. He is a masterful writer with an excellent grasp on the intricate workings of Evidence based strength and conditioning protocols. I am really looking forward to picking up a copy of this book.