a good post about a good book for all the cyclists.
Month: October 2012
Superior Training Tactics
There are so many fitness fads these days it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all, but it’s my profession, after all and I’m going to go through a number of the more popular ones after talking about why these fads and scams keep coming back.
Over the last 30 years, the general exercising public and competitive athletes have been on separate training trajectories. Prior to the 1980s, most athletes didn’t spend a lot of time in the gym lifting weights. Tennis players played tennis, did tennis drills on the court to practice strokes, footwork, and techniques, and maybe did some cardio work to improve aerobic capacity, but none hit the weight room. They were afraid it would make them bulky, slower, less agile, and muscle-bound. Basketball and baseball players followed the same logic. So did track and field runners. a marathoner ran miles and sprinters did wind sprints and middle distance sprints. Maybe shot putters lifted weights as that has a strong strength component, but that’s about it. NFL linemen, linebackers, and running backs always lifted weights, but the “finesse” positions of Quarterback, wide receiver, corner backs, punters and kickers, almost certainly did not.
Meanwhile, the gym industry started its major growth faze, with Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s rising star leading the way, picking up the baton Jack LaLanne started with in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
These men were about physical fitness and; LaLanne especially; physical health and well-being. They might’ve performed athletic events (Schwarzenegger was a competitive power lifter before he became a body building champion, and LaLanne performed feats of strength and athleticism to highlight what physical fitness made possible. Interestingly, when Arnold was 19 he participated in a publicity strength challenge against 54-year-old LaLanne and LaLanne kicked Arnold’s ass!
Unfortunately, there were few female icons involved at this stage. LaLanne tailored his pioneering TV show to housewives, and did frequently showcase his wife. As a matter of fact the most popular professional female body builder of the 1970s and early 1980s was Rachel McLish, but the vast majority of female gym goers thought she was way to muscular and unfeminine to be considered a role model. To male body builders, she was hotter than a Playboy Playmate.
I think today, she would be almost considered perfect. Back then, most women recoiled in horror at her overly muscular physique! Click on her picture to see even more of this “unfeminine” woman (I always thought she was a true ideal)
Getting back to the point, with these two men as the inspiration, Americans started going to the gym in increasing numbers and lifted weights. Around this time another pioneer, Dr. Kenneth Cooper (Cooper Aerobics Center)of the US Air force published studies he did on servicemen showing the benefits and importance of cardiovascular fitness. He is called the father of Aerobics, and in fact coined the term “Aerobics” in the first place. A number of books by runners came out and the running boom began. This was all serious training. Logging long hours doing miles of running and hitting the gym to lift serious weights (subjective to the individual, of course) and this was work.
The problem was, most people don’t want to do hard physical work, and like any business, the fitness industry wanted to make more money, and that required more bodies in the gym. How do you make grueling, dedicated hard work fun?
Enter the age of recreational fitness, and STEP™ and Jazzercize™ were its first and second offspring. Originally, step was a very good workout, and very aerobic, as the choreography was simple and required very little skill to master. You made it harder by increasing the number of risers, and by moving faster. But slowly, creative impulses and waning attendance demanded change to keep the masses coming back. Choreography became more dance like (fun), more complicated, and required increasing levels of skill to perform without pause. Eventually, as much of the class time was spent watching and learning intricate choreography as actually moving vigorously. The class would be standing still the instructor breaking down the moves in slow motion, then having the class perform the single move back repeatedly, then learning another step, and so on, as if they were getting ready to put on a dance show. Half the hour is spent doing nothing physical at all, and steps had to be much lower to perform the complicated choreography.
Moving forward in time, athletes and their coaches started realizing that being physically stronger enhanced just about every athletic endeavor, and they slowly but surely incorporated traditional strength training into all their routines. Even the best swimmers now spend hours every week lifting weights to get physically stronger.
Meanwhile, in the consumer health club, men were dropping out of organized group fitness classes faster than raindrops fall during a tropical storm, and everyone who remained noticed they weren’t losing weight anymore. The public, looking at their athletic heroes, noticed how hard the athletes bodies looked and concluded it was all that athletic training that the athletes did, and group exercise classes got a second wind. Members started participating in all kinds of sports conditioning type classes; boxing, kickboxing, cardio kick boxing, sports conditioning, yoga, ballet workouts, P90X™, Crossfit™, TRX™; while the athletes themselves spent ever greater time lifting boring old weights. Click on either Crossfit or P90X above to read a journal article about the research, but here’s the conclusion of the study:
“In summary, though ECPs (extreme conditioning programs) such as CrossFit and P90X are very popular, this popularity does not appear to be warranted. There is little evidence from peer-reviewed studies that ECPs are safe and/or effective, particularly when compared to established training programs documented to improve military task performance. Though much more research needs to be conducted, ECPs do not seem, at this time, to represent training programs likely to improve military readiness.” by Guy Leahy, Med, CSCS,*D
Club members aren’t looking any fitter, by and large, but are, according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning and the Journal of the American Medical Association dealing much higher frequencies of exercise related injuries. Athletic Performance has nothing to do with health, and everything to do with winning at all costs. Is this your goal? Is this important to you? Have you even thought about it?
Ask yourself why you go to the gym. Is it to get healthy, fit and strong, and to improve your appearance? Is it to improve your athletic performance in competitive or recreational sports? Is it recreational for you, in and of itself? All are valid, as far as I’m concerned, but you must be willing to match your reason to your method.
If you’re trying to get healthy, fit, and strong to improve the quality of your life, be careful about’ training athletically! You will get hurt. Repeatedly. and 10, 15, or 20 years later you will feel every one of those injuries for the rest of your days. If you’re training because you’re a recreational or competitive athlete, make sure you pick a training style that transfers well to your sport of choice, and lift weights to enhance your physical abilities and reduce your risk of injury because you have a strong musculoskeletal foundation that can better withstand the stresses of athletics. If going to the gym is, in fact, your favorite form of recreation and entertainment, in and of itself, make sure you have a daily plan that minimizes your risk of injury so that you can continue for the long-term. Overtraining and improper form from overly complicated skill drills will have you convalescing at home far to frequently otherwise.
NYTimes.com: Why Women Can’t Do Pull-Ups
This is one of the good articles. It’s actually accurate. I myself have helped train 5 women over 28 years to be able to perform a pull up. Sadly, that’s a statistic I’m proud of, since I know the extreme disadvantages women have in upper body strength. Anyway, read and enjoy.
Advanced Heart Rate Training for muscular conditioning
I gave a workshop to some trainers today. I showed them the following training technique, and thought some of my blog followers might find it challenging and rewarding to try. Some of my current and recent clients have gone through differing versions of it, and they should feel free to give their honest appraisal if they are paying attention to all my blog posts. You know who you are, out there…
So when reading this, remember that wherever I write client, that would refer to YOU. Feel free to ask questions, and if any trainers want to use it I just ask that you credit me and refer those clients to my blog.
Advanced Heart Rate Training for MusculoSkeletal Conditioning
- What is it?
A. Results Oriented Training
- Get a heart rate monitor: Stop guessing if the client is working out hard
- Get the de-conditioned client in shape first, then add athletics/athletic movements
- Build the client up slowly
B. Determining where to start
- Discover true resting heart rate and exercise zones using Karvonen formula (220 – age – RHR x 60% & 85%, adding RHR back in to both ranges)
- Don’t forget about Rate of Perceived Exertion, especially with beginners
- The truth about max heart rate: (it’s not really age predicted; get a stress test to determine your true max heart rate)
- It is helpful if you do strength assessments beforehand to determine starting points in major exercises
- How to begin
A. Have the client wear a heart rate monitor for the entire session
- Warm up the client to get them to 60% THRZ
- Focus on major muscle groups and compound (multi-joint) movements. Set up a Circuit of weight lifting activities, always alternating lower and upper muscle groups, or opposing muscle groups, one after the other (4 or more exercises strung together; the more activities, the greater the overall intensity becomes). Don’t add too many exercises to the circuit as the time between body parts is resting the muscle(s), and too much rest is counter productive
- Monitoring heart rate, push the client through the circuit until their heart rate (or perceived exertion) hits or just exceeds 85% of max, allow recovery until 60% THRZ is approached (do not allow the client to fall below 60%)
- For the de-conditioned individual, rate of perceived exertion might take initial precedence, as their tolerance to intensity might be lower
- For the conditioned client, you can eventually push well above 85% THRZ, and you can manipulate their low-end to higher percentages as their tolerance improves. Continue to ask how they feel; perceived exertion is never ignored
B. Never sacrifice form for speed. We are not training competitive athletes, and this is not an athletic or recreational event
- Our clients are mostly out of shape and/or middle-aged
- Allow water breaks as needed
- If doing multiple circuits start more complex movements and add less complex movements to subsequent circuits as fatigue sets in
- Don’t be afraid to improvise and modify on the go if the client is having trouble with a movement or the club gets busy and equipment becomes un-available (know your movement exercises and the closest equivalents if you have to modify)
- Keep it simple. Train what you really know. Don’t pretend to be an expert. Brain surgeons don’t perform heart surgery, orthopedic surgeons don’t perform brain surgery, and I don’t teach boxing (because I’m not a boxer). Stay within your knowledge base and make your clients work.
- This protocol will radically improve cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity.
- It will promote extreme weight loss (if diet is under control)
- It will promote intense muscular conditioning, developing lean muscular physiques
- This routine follows the GAS principle (general adaptation syndrome). It improves general overall fitness (muscular conditioning, aerobic and cardiovascular capacity) but does not improve specific activities like running or cycling (SAID principle: specific adaptation to imposed demands).
- This program is an exercise protocol, not an athletic event or recreational activity. Know the difference.
a. It is meant to improve the body’s ability to tolerate those activities. Tennis players strength and cardio train. Football players strength and cardio train. Baseball players and hockey players and soccer players and basketball players and olympic gymnasts all strength and cardio train.
b. If you want to train like an athlete, you can’t cherry pick. Weight and cardio training will reduce your risk of getting an injury from athletic training. And don’t complain when you get hurt while doing athletic training, even if you do the prerequisite and requisite strength and cardio training. Athletic training is a very high risk activity.
Here is a sample routine to follow:
Squats/Pull Ups or Bent over dumbbell rows/walking lunges or jump lunges/ push ups
4-6 sets, 10-20 reps each exercise, done in sequence with no or minimal rest time between exercises, except as indicated by a heart rate monitor and staying within 60-85% TMHR (theoretical max heart rate). If the high target zone is exceeded, allow rest to occur without allowing HR to drop below 60% (resume at 65%). Pick up the circuit where you left off, and continue until the next rest is required.
By Scott Salbo, AHRT systems™
Physio-Active Response Training (PART™)
Let’s get back to work outs
One of my favorite exercise blogs is by Nick Tumminello. I’ve taken a number of workshops given by him at various fitness conferences and enjoy his down to earth no-nonsense approach. He makes it clear what we, as trainers, are often not doing what we are supposed to be doing: getting our clients in better physical shape and condition. Instead, we follow gimmicks and fads in the mistaken attempt to entertain our clients. I’ve often looked around my gym and wondered are we recreational camp counselors for adults or physical exercise specialists? I suppose each individual trainer has to decide for themselves, but i don’t think most realize there is any difference, just like most gym goers don’t give much thought to what they are trying to accomplish by going to the gym in the first place. It’s all just becoming another form of entertainment. I always worked out for three reasons:
1) Be attractive to members of the opposite sex
2) Improve my athletic performance in a number of sports
3) Improve my sense of self-esteem
The idea of exercising, in and of itself, as a form of entertainment, never made sense to me. I wanted to get in the most intense workout I could tolerate to get the eventual results I was aiming for in the shortest amount of time necessary and then go out and do something like play basketball, racquetball, or go rock climbing. The only reason I’d hang out in a gym any longer than necessary would be if I was flirting with someone!
I digress. The reason I wanted to remind you about Nick Tumminello is because he wrote a really good piece on the common exercise mistake of resting too long between sets. You should read it here.
Don’t forget, your methods have to match your goals every time you train. If you keep changing your routine, or your training protocols, you’ll never get anywhere with your fitness goals.
More Lance Armstrong…
Why is it the once every other year report that upwards of 60% of high school students in top-tier schools like Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Staten Island Tech, and Townsend Harris, as well as approximately 50% of Medical school students, law school students, engineering and hard science students in top-tier universities, all use Ritalin, either without a prescription or based on a phony diagnosis and prescription, simply to boost their ability to concentrate, focus, and retain crammed in information with superhuman ability, fails to generate any of the moral outrage in the public or political arenas that professional athletic steroid users do?
Competitive parents shop around for psychiatrists who will actually diagnose their healthy children because they know these drugs will give their kids a competitive edge scholastically. The AMA has labelled this phenomenon as an epidemic in America in their Medical Journals! So to readers who are concerned about young children being given performance enhancing drugs at an early age I remind you, the top students in this country are already getting them, for academic enhancement! Young children are receiving brain steroids (what psychiatrists call Ritalin among themselves), even though it is equally illegal and a psychiatrist can lose their license if caught giving bogus prescriptions. But who’s checking? Where is the outrage? Why don’t we care as much? Cause it’s not entertainment? Because we don’t make heroes of academic achievers and then take perverse pleasure in tearing them down after building them up? Hypocrites, every one of you, for attacking Lance, or Barry Bonds, or Alex Rodriguez, Marion Jones, or whoever else gets caught up in this ridiculous witch hunt to protect the illusion of some form of American purity that really never existed.
My point is, since we can obviously never truly know if an athlete is “clean” or not, we need to make sure there is at least informed consent; that they aren’t being given drugs without their knowledge or without being told of any possible short or long-term side affects.
And for anyone thinking that special tracks and footwear aren’t the same kind of cheating, keep in mind that unless you are considered a top candidate to medal, you don’t get the customized footwear made for you, and if you’re from a poor country chances are you never got a chance to train on a multi-million dollar track that closely mimics the conditions you will run in during the Olympics. That means that your timing and even your running gate will be thrown off dramatically. You have no chance.
We are a nation of cheats; it’s called innovation in some circles. Make it as safe as possible for the athletes and get on with the games.
Lance, the USADA, and YOU
Lance cheated? Oh my. Wake the f#*k up.
The problem I have of stripping Armstrong is simply this: If you read the conclusions of USADA against Armstrong as far as they’ve been published, they make the testing polices of The IOC and ICU seem ludicrous and idiotically easy to get around, to the point of almost willful blindness. The details of the testimony against Armstrong are like something out of the movie Animal House when Bluto and D-Day steal and copy exam answers. If it’s that juvenilely easy to beat the tests, we have absolutely no way of knowing if any rider in the past 30 years was clean. Simply having taken the tests and passing them is meaningless, apparently.
Much was made of Armstrong’s apparent misstatement that he passed over 500 tests during his career, when “in fact” he only took 260 tests (and passed them all). Excuse me, but my wife has yelled at me “thousands of times” (according to her) in a single day to put my coffee cups in the dishwasher (it was only 373 times according to my independent analysis). All the Athletes are dirty, and anyone who believes otherwise is living in the same world where the earth is only 6000 years old.
Landis got caught, and in a pique of jealous rage implicated the greatest champion of his generation. Call it what it is, the drug generation, and its never going to be possible to put that jennie back in the bottle. Same in baseball, basketball, and football. When the home run totals fall to 1980 levels; when star NFL and NBA players are hurt more than healthy, when track and field athletes in the Olympics stop breaking records and revert to speeds of the Edwin Moses and Prefontaine levels; the fans will start losing interest, and the owners and powers will look the other way and let the next generation of athletes do what’s necessary to bring the fans back, and then stab those same athletes in the back when they are no longer perceived as necessary. This is your fault, fans. And yours, media. You are all hypocrites.
Can anyone even define cheating? The London Olympic committee bragged that it created “the fastest track in Olympic history”. They spent over $20,000,000 to create a track that would actually spring athletes foreword and higher, so their runs would be faster and jumps would be greater. This isn’t cheating? Nike, Adidas, and Reebok invest millions in custom foot ware for the top contenders to improve their chances of winning, and improve the athletes value as an endorser. Michael Phelps wears a $300,000 body suit that creates the most friction free surface for gliding through the water. He didn’t buy this. It was given to him. Nigerians don’t have access to this, and neither did Michael Spitz, the 1970’s Olympic swimming champion who was considered the greatest swimmer of all time until Phelps shattered his medal records.
Without drugs, naked in a swimming pool, who would be faster, Spitz or Phelps? Without drugs, naked and barefoot on a sweltering track, who would be faster, Jessie Owens or Carl Lewis (yes, he was drugged up like crazy, everything but steroids). I’d bet of Spitz and Owens every freaking time!
Article: Space Jump Success: Baumgartner Leaps From 24-Mile Altitude
Just cool stuff. Imagine putting this intensity into you’re weekly workouts!
Space Jump Success: Baumgartner Leaps From 24-Mile Altitude
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“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer