How many of you have worked with or would like to work with baseball players? Eric Cressey is a strength coach that works exclusively with baseball players and has become a guru for their programs. In this article, he discusses his views on rotator cuff strengthening, program adaptation, and why he chooses not to put certain types of exercise into a program. He goes on to talk about specifics in Part 2 as well. Check it out.
Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training
This week's strength and conditioning article comes out of the sports research site: Sports Science. This article discusses the research on endurance athletes training from the last thirty years and investigates the findings.
Elite endurance athletes training prescriptions can be a complicated task. There are many schools of thought on what the "best" combination of training variables are to induce optimal performance. What was unique about this article was they specifically looked at the role of HIIT in an endurance training program.
Below are the overall conclusions of the plethora of research that was analyzed in this study. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety (with a pot of coffee brewing- 22 pages!!) so that you can review some of the history of endurance running research, as well as the training percentages and units discussed. The information is sound and will make you question the importance of HIIT training in an endurance athletes training program.
- There is reasonable evidence that an ~80:20 ratio of low to high intensity training (HIT) gives excellent long-term results among endurance athletes training daily.
- Low intensity (typically below 2 mM blood lactate), longer duration training is effective in stimulating physiological adaptations and should not be viewed as wasted training time.
- Over a broad range, increases in total training volume correlate well with improvements in physiological variables and performance.
- HIT should be a part of the training program of all exercisers and endurance athletes. However, about two training sessions per week using this modality seems to be sufficient for achieving performance gains with-
out inducing excessive stress.
- The effects of HIT on physiology and performance are fairly rapid, but rapid plateau effects are seen as well. To avoid premature stagnation and ensure long-term development, training volume should increase sys- tematically as well.
- When already well-trained athletes markedly intensify training with more HIT over 12 to ~45 wk, the impact is equivocal.
- In athletes with an established endurance base and tolerance for relatively high training loads, intensification of training may yield small performance gains at acceptable risk.
- An established endurance base built from reasonably high volumes of training may be an important precondition for tolerating and responding well to a substantial increase in training intensity over the short term.
- Elite athletes achieve periodization of train- ing with reductions in total volume, and modest increases in volume of training above the lactate threshold. An overall polarization of training intensity characterizes the transition from preparation to competition mesocycles. The basic intensity distribution remains similar throughout the year.
I will leave you with a question to ponder: If we are to exclusively include HIIT (at least 2x/wk as suggested in article) into an elite endurance runners program, how do we manage potential for injuries (think tendonopathy and other "overuse" injuries? Do we also need to include strengthening into endurance runners programs? How do we balance HIIT, strengthening, and running? Thoughts?
What are training percentages and how do I use them? Training percentages vary depending on one's training goals and frequency. However, many people get confused with load and volume when trying to sort out training percentages. First and foremost one must establish a 1RM to properly implement training percentages into a program. In this article, the author breaks down an easy way to begin implementing training percentages into a program depending on whether your goal is max strength, speed strength, or explosive strength. Additionally, ways to discover a 1RM without pure max testing is discussed. Ultimately, the best way to establish a 1RM is to test it properly and a way to do that is documented. Training percentages can be much more complex then what is detailed in the article but this is a good starting point for understanding why training percentages are important for an effective training regimen.
Postactivation Potentiation or PAP has been a technique that has been researched and thrown around in strength/conditioning circles for quite some time now. In this blog post by Bret Contreras, respected strength coach and co-author of "The strength of evidence podcast" does a very nice job of summing up all the recent evidence and includes additional posts from other respected strength coaches like Charles Poliquin.
So what is PAP before you read the post? Well, I quote:
"The underlying principle surrounding PAP is that prior heavy loading induces a high degree of central nervous system stimulation, resulting in greater motor unit recruitment and force, which can last from five-to-thirty minutes (Chiu, Fry, Weiss, et al., 2003; Rixon, Lamont, & Bemden, 2007)"
For example, one might perform a heavy resistance exercise such as squats, followed up by a vertical jump. It is thought that the vertical jump would be increased due to the increased muscle activation and CNS activity from the heavy squat.
Typically, there are two theories for how PAP works. One theory involves an increase in a phosphate for the synthesis of ATP of myosin regulatory light chains, which are proteins of muscle contraction, during a MVC. Essentially what this does is allows actin and myosin binding to be more active due to calcium irons released, which as we know leads to enhanced force production of muscle. When a max voluntary contraction occurs, there is greater muscle activation which means a greater time calcium ions are in the sarcoplasm and therefore the greater the phosphorylation of myosin light chains. What's this all mean? Faster rates of tension and contraction rates.
The other theory involves the H-Reflex, short for Hoffman Reflex. This reflex is basically the spinal reflex extracted by the group 1a afferent muscle nerves becoming excited. The group 1a afferent muscle nerves are special nerves conducting impulses to muscle. What is believed is that the H-reflex is enhanced with PAP. This means the rate and efficiency of nerve muscles is greater.