S.P.I.C.E. things up

A common question that comes up with coaches and athletes is how do I make sure my strength and conditioning program is “sports specific”? There are only three things you need to think about improving.

  • Force enhancement via strength training
  • Energy system improvement via sport-related conditioning runs or drills
  • Skill improvement via sport-specific skill training

The development of muscular strength is the general progression of increasing the muscle’s ability to produce force. Sports skill development, on the other hand, is the specific learning of how to best coordinate and apply these forces.

In other words, strength is a non-specific adaptation developed in the weight room whereas sports skills are a specific adaptation developed through guided practice on “the field”.* As a result, a powerful athlete is developed physically in the weight room, which by a separate process is developed mechanically on “the field”.*

Unless you are competing as a power-lifter, Olympic style weight lifter etc, anything you do in the weight room will have zero direct transfer to what you are doing on “the field” of play.*

With the above in mind, here is a simple formula to keep your training on the right track.

Key points to remember too S.P.I.C.E. things up

1. Strength train in order to reduce injury, and resist fatigue in the safest method possible.

2. Practice your skills

3. Improve flexibility- perform a proper stretching routine to increase range of motion around a joint

4. Condition the energy systems used to play your sport (running intervals, cardiovascular exercises and speed training)

5. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water to ensure the body has the proper amount of nutrients in order to grow stronger.

 

These five basic concepts will go a long way in keeping your training simple, safe, and focused on success.

PAU for NOW

TAKU 

TAKU’s NOTE: *(“The field” implies any athletic playing space the wrestling mat, tennis court, Fighting cage, boxing ring etc.)

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: ONE WORLD FUTBOL

By TAKU

This week I want to shine the spotlight on a wonderful product I recently discovered. ONE WORLD FUTBOL. No matter if you call it Soccer, Futbol or Football, it is truly the worlds game.One World Futbol is on a a mission to bring the sport of Futbol to the world in a brand new way.

The One World Futbol is a nearly indestructible ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat—even when punctured multiple times. Whether for use on the street, at the beach, at home or on the roughest landscapes in the world, the One World Futbol will last for years.

Soccer has been my favorite sport to play for years, and the thought of having a ball that never wears out and never needs a pump seemed like a great idea to me….I purchased one of these unique balls as soon as I heard about them. True to it’s description it feels and plays much like a regular ball yet is virtually indestructible. When I take it to the park with me, people marvel as I show them its ability to be completely crushed, and then instantly re-inflate itself. (see it in action around the :25 sec mark of this video)

If you love soccer or if you simply want to support a wonderful cause, buy or help to donate one of these balls today!!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

MMA STRENGTH 101

By TAKU

Performance enhancement is the product of practicing the skills involved in the sport, strengthening the muscles and preparing the appropriate energy systems. This basic strength program for MMA was designed to strengthen the entire body as one functional unit in the safest manner possible thus improving performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

There are a variety of approaches and schools of thought on strength and conditioning, and the methods I recommend are just one approach. I have already developed a basic Combat Sports conditioning program (see TAKU’s Intervals). This article is going to focus only on the “strength” portion of the athletes overall Strength and Conditioning preparation.

Remember, these are recommendations for a basic strength training program for MMA. This approach may at first appear far too simple. However, for most athletes (even those who are considered “advanced) sticking with the basics as a foundation to build from, is usually best. I hope you will give these ideas a try before you dismiss them. I of course encourage athletes and coaches to keep an active mind in determining what works best for them; in other words if it does not seem to work, find out what does and do it.

The best way to truly know what is working is to keep very accurate records of all program variables as well as the athletes response to how these variable are manipulated. Some of the program variables that should be tracked regularly include; volume, frequency, intensity, and duration of training bouts. The athlete’s response to the training variables is tracked by monitoring closely for both physiological and psychological signs of over training* which may include but are not limited to: a decreased eagerness to train, a decrease in performance, a gradual increase in muscular soreness from training session to training session, as well as an increased resting heart rate.

With that being stated, I recommend a low-volume high-intensity approach to strength training for the MMA athlete. The first program I recommend is for an athlete who is in training, but is in an off-season mode; It is an abbreviated training’ method that requires the athlete to perform brief, intense exercises infrequently.

Off-Season Training

Day 1:

Rep cadence = 3-5 seconds up / 3-5 seconds down

Rest = 90 sec between sets

Exercise – Sets – Reps

    1. Squats 3 x 5
    1. 4-Way Neck 2 (each direction.) x 6-10
    1. Bench 3 x 5
    1. Barbell / Machine Row 3 x 5
    1. Barbell / Machine Military Press 3 x 5

Dynamic AB series (2 sets each)

    1. Torture Twist
    1. GHD raise

Day 2: (3-5 days after Day 1)

Rep cadence = 3-5 seconds up / 3-5 seconds down

Rest = 90 sec between sets

    1. Hex Bar / Barbell / Hammer Deadlifts 3 x 5
    1. 4-Way Neck 2 (each direction) x 6-10
    1. Chins or weighted chins 3 x 5
    1. Dips or weighted dips 3 x 5
    1. Curls 3 x 5

Static Abs series: (2 sets each- 30 second timed hold)

    1. Hanging knee / leg raise
    1. Resisted Rotation
    1. Back Extension

The “In-season” program is used for the athlete who is within 6-8 weeks of a fight. This routine is very low-volume, thus allowing for maximal efficiency so that an athlete will be able to maintain strength while allowing time to condition for the demands of an up-coming fight.

Pre-Fight (In Season) Training

Workout 1

Exercise Sets Reps**

    1. Hex Bar / Barbell / Hammer Deadlifts 1 x 5-8
    1. Weighted Dips 1 x 6-10

Static Abs series: (2 sets each- 30 second timed hold)

    1. Hanging knee / leg raise
    1. Resisted Rotation
    1. Back Extension

5-7 Days Later: Workout 2

Exercise Sets Reps

    1. Squats 1 x 8-15
    1. Weighted Chins 1 6-10

Dynamic AB series (2 sets each)

    1. Torture Twist
    1. GHD raise

If the recommended exercise can not be performed due to equipment limitations, contact me for alternatives.

*See my article on over training for more information on this important topic.

**Reps recommended are guidelines however all work sets should be taken to a point of volitional fatigue. If the recommended rep range is far exceeded, increase weight by 5-10% next session.
PAU fir NOW

TAKU

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

Fartlek Training

By TAKU

What comes around goes around

Fartlek, meaning Speed Play, is a form of training that has been around for many years. Fartlek training was developed in the 1930s by Swedish coach Gosta Holmer (1891-1983). It was designed for the Swedish cross-country teams that had been thrashed throughout the 1920s by Paavo Nurmi and the Finns. Holmer’s plan used a faster-than-race pace and concentrated on both speed and endurance training.

Fartlek training is essentially a form of Interval Training performed in an informal, unstructured manner. Fartlek sessions should ideally be done outside over natural terrain such as golf courses, trails or rolling fields.

Because of it’s free-style nature and emphasis on fun, outdoor runs, Fartlek training can be psychologically stimulating in a positive manner. When properly executed Fartlek training has the ability to develop both general and specific endurance for a broad array of athletes including those participating in field games such as soccer, field hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, lacrosse, and rugby league, as it develops aerobic and anaerobic capacities which are both used in these sports.

When implementing Fartlek sessions the pace should alternate between fast and slow with an emphasis on fast running. Outdoor Fartlek sessions are an excellent change of pace after being forced indoors during winter months or by bouts of inclement weather. Depending on how and when you cycle Fartlek runs into your current training regimen they may also act as a great form of active recovery.

When designing a Fartlek training session you are limited only by your imagination and the terrain you have access to. Remember Fartlek is a free style form of training. Look at it as structured improvisation. Do not worry too much about the exact order of exercises or distances that you run. Just be sure to challenge yourself and work hard.

Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise. Below I have outlined just one example of the variety of exercises that could be included in a 2 – mile Fartlek session:

  • Jog or jump rope for 5- 10 minutes as a warm-up.
  • Do 5-6 minutes of brisk calisthenics covering all major muscle groups.*
  • Run a half mile at a fast, steady pace (about 75% max speed).
  • Jog a quarter-mile.
  • Perform three to four acceleration sprints of 150 yards (jog 50 yards, stride 50 yards, sprint 50 yards) walk 50 yards after each.
  • Do four to six sprints of 20-50 yards, jogging 50 yards between each one.
  • Jog a quarter-mile as a warm-down.
  • Stretch all major muscle groups

*Example of calisthenic circuit: 30 seconds on 15 seconds off.

  • Walking Lunges
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Sit-ups
  • Burpees
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Alternating back raise
  • Hamstring Bridges
  • T-stability push-ups

So there you have it, a simple and flexible system which practically guarantees that you will never get bored. Give Fartlek training a try and I am sure you will see and feel the fitness benefits while enjoying some time outdoors with nature.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

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

Philosophy

By Mark Asanovich

Like the game of football, strength training, in and of itself is simple to understand, maximal efforts will yield maximal results. Like football, strength training IS NOT SIMPLE TO DO! Like football, strength training is a coaching reality. Like football, players that are coached in the weight room will develop better results from what is inspected rather than what is expected. Therefore, whether on the football field or in the weight room, success begins with coaches who are committed to roll up their sleeves and individually supervise, teach, and expect proper execution of the fundamentals.

The cornerstone of our program has, and will always be to coach reps, rather than merely count reps. It is this commitment to coaching every player, every rep of every set that ensures sound, sensible, safe and systematic progress. Together, with the support of the head coach and his coaching staff, this commitment to individualized supervision in the weight room is the single most determining dynamic that facilitates maximal results both during the off-season and in-season.

In regards to the strength training protocols and/or equipment utilized, research clearly verifies that there is no one method/modality that is significantly more effective than another. That is not to say, however, that all methods are safe and/or efficient. Executing strength-training exercises ballistically under load is not only unproductive but also predispose lifters to orthopedic dangers. In addition, given the new CBA four hour/day off-season rules, brief, intense strength training protocols are a more efficient use of time in light of the increased demands of off-season film study/field sessions with coaches.

The primary consideration for the strength coach, therefore, is not WHAT equipment or protocol is used, but rather HOW it is used and HOW HARD it is used. Subsequently, it is important to offer both multi-set and single-set alternatives within the strength training routines. This provides the player the opportunity to take ownership in his choice of training equipment and appeases any psychological attachment that he may have to a specific workout preference. Regardless of the set –rep protocol, the criteria that must guide program administration should always be:

Is it prudent?

Is it productive?

Is it practical?

Is it purposeful?

The perception is that all NFL players‘ strength train. The reality is that most players‘ strength train incorrectly and/or at sub maximal levels of intensity. Consequently, the edge has not necessarily been WHAT to do – but HOW do it!

TAKU’s NOTE: This week features another excellent article from Mark Asanovich.

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

KNOW YOUR PAIN

By JIM SCHMITZ

US OLYMPIC TEAM WEIGHTLIFTING COACH, 1980, 88, & 92

All strength and power athletes know there is “good pain and bad pain” and I’m sure any athlete that pushes their body to it’s max also understands that.  When I start a beginner in weightlifting I always tell them to expect a fair amount of discomfort.  They may want to call it pain, but I tell them weightlifting is just uncomfortable to various parts of the body at times.  I’m just trying to let them know that there is pain in weightlifting and in any physical activity that you want to excel in.   The “good pain” is basically soreness while the “bad pain” is usually an injury.

So, what is good about pain?  Well, there are many good things about pain, number one, it is a warning that something might be going wrong with your body which could lead to a serious injury.  Number two, it tells you when you aren’t in shape for certain activities.  Number three, it tells you when you are ready to resume an activity.  Number four, it tells you that you are doing your activity incorrectly.  Number five, it tells you when you are overtraining.  Number six, it tells you an old injury isn’t healed or if it is being re-injured.

What’s bad about pain?  Well, it means you are injured and can’t perform to your ability or at all and that’s our worst situation.

So, what’s this about “good pain and bad pain”?  It takes experience to know the difference, but the sooner you learn the difference and understand it the better you will be able to push yourself to your limits.  The “good pain” is the yellow cautionary light that tells you to stop or back off what you are doing so as not to do serious damage.  When you feel the “good pain” you back off your exercise or workout and let your body adapt to the stress you’ve put on it.  Maybe it’s just a few minutes or a day or two or you lighten up your training for a few workouts.

Also, there is the “good pain” or soreness after a maximum lift, workout or competition where your muscles, joints, and body in general feels beat.  This type of pain feels good because you know you pushed your body to it’s limit and maybe a little beyond and you feel good because of accomplishment.  You walk around feeling the soreness or pain and it feels good because it reminds you of your successful maximum performance.

The “bad pain” is an injury that hurts a lot and means you won’t be able to perform your lifts for awhile or maybe longer.   It might be a flair up of an old injury, which will be a set back in your program.  It is usually accompanied by sharp pain, swelling and is sensitive to touch,  “Bad pain” at its worst is a serious injury, a tissue tear.  If after 2 to 3 days you are still feeling what you think is “good pain”, it may be “bad pain”, get it checked out.

That’s why we say “it hurts good”, meaning we have some pain and soreness, but it is the result of a good workout or competition and that it isn’t an injury that will sideline us.   Usually after a great lift, workout, or competition you feel so good you don’t feel any pain.   That’s why I always ask my lifters after a competition or maximum workout,  “how do you fee, do you hurt good”?  Know your pain!

TAKU’s NOTE: Jim Schmitz has been an Olympic weightlifting coach since 1968, and during that time coached 10 Olympians. He’s written a book and developed a DVD on weightliting, and does coaching clinics and seminars. You can connect with Jim to learn more about Olympic weightlifting via his website at physiquemagnifique.com.