Friday, October 30, 2009

My Nutrition

For the last few years now, nutrition has become very important to me because I realized how significant a role it plays not only in body comp but recovery and performance. I am by no way a Nutrition Nazi and I do like to have fun on the weekends but I take it very seriously and am thankful for the following products and plans that have helped me along the way.

Precision Nutrition
I picked this up four years ago and have never looked back. Why? Because its simple and it WORKS. Most know that Dr. Berardi is always keeping ahead of the game and has brought the concept of nutrient timing to the forefront of sports nutrition. He has also saved me with his numerous tips and preparation strategies. This is a plan that is also being continually updated and has the best nutrition forums ever. It is by no means a "diet". It has defiantly become part of a lifestyle since I purchased it.

Surge PWO Recovery
When it comes to PWO recovery this would be my preferred choice. There are numerous products with they 2:1 carb/protein ration but the deciding factor for me was the taste and the reputation of the company. It also isn't too pricey.

100% Whey
I usually have a couple of scoops of protein powder a day especially since I am always on the go with classes. I have absolutely no preference with what I get either. I have gotten the high price brands and the low price brands and body comp, recovery, and somewhat taste are similar. I usually go with the cheapest price from Sam's. I think EAS makes a 5# bag for $30!!

I also take some other various supplements like Vit. D, Fish oils, Creatine, and me pre workout drink of choice, 2 cups of coffee.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Exercise Sequencing

For the many things that go into setting up a training stage for an athlete one of the most important aspects of all is knowing the preferred physical state of training modalities. This would be in regard to what can be developed under certain states of fatigue.

Fatigue Level: Well Rested
Maximal Speed, Explosive Strength, Max strength (1-3 rep).
Why:These exercises require appropriate neural outputs that are not available in fatigued athletes. They will not respond well to these exercises if fatigued due to inhibitory output from the CNS. If the athlete is fatigued they will be unable to respond well and will get little out of these modalities when compared to well rested.

Fatigue Level: Very Fatigued
Aerobic Endurance, Technique Perfection, Strength Endurance, Flexibility
Why:These modalities require sustained efforts regardless of fatigue so they should be continued as long as possible. You can perfect already learned technique to enhance training economy in a fatigued state. Flexibility is advantageous while fatigued due to its cool down and recovery properties.

Fatigue Level: Moderate
Anaerobic/glycoltic capacity, aerobic Power, Maximal strength hypertrophy
Why:For the capacity work a lot of it depends on the duration of the exercise up to or close to maximum O2 uptake levels. Fatigue is expected and often planned. For hypertrophy depends on rate of catabolism or amount of degraded protein. This makes it so that a lot of effort is required making the last loads of these exercises performed in a fatigued but not exhausted level

As you can see it is not advisable to partake in various types of conditioning and strength modalities with out know the compatibility of each. It is very important to know the physical state in which you are in so that you are able to develop a quality to its full potential.

Zatsiorski, V. Science and Practice of Sports Training. 1995
Issurin, V. Block Periodization. 2008.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Working with Injured Athletes

For the duration of the season, we of course have our handful of injuries. Currently I have set aside Tuesday and Thursday mornings strictly for them. Putting this time aside has made it easy to be very individual with these guys. Some are out for a couple weeks and a few for the year but no matter they always show either a serious asymmetry or poor/weak strength in very specific area which can be strengthened as much as possible before return to play. So far those that have returned haven't had to come back which is great and they continue there workouts but, it is those that are done for the year that need more than strengthening and ROM work.

One of the hardest things when your hurt is the fact that can't do what they love doing. There is always a denial, followed by some sort of depressed feelings, and hopefully acceptance occurs quickly. But, the emotional state of the injured athlete can hold you back if you ignore it.
Set them up for success
When someone is hurt they obviously lost something they did very well. It may be kicking, throwing, jumping whatever. So in setting them up for success, you might want to add in a lift or movement you know that will improve quickly. Make them aware of any increase in strength or ROM. This will make them feel like they re making progress. Attack something that is there weakest point whether its a flexibility or strength issue just hammer it so they notice great improvement.

Be real With Them
It seems like every time we have a workout they always spend at least the beginning of the workout or some of the rest periods talking about what they used to be able to do. "before I was hurt..." "I wish I could do _____ again" and so forth. Many of these guys weren't cleared to workout for a month, some were hurt coming in and hadn't lifted in longer periods of time. You have to explain the facts that they loose certain qualities that were previously well developed. If they are really interested in why explain the physiology and what qualities will be first to go, the residuals they lost and need back, and they effects of they asymmetry built due to compensating during there injuries. They just need to know that it's normal not to be where they were at.

Set Goals
This is something that is huge and almost automatic. Every player has said to me usually day one that I hope to be back at this date or I want to be able to do this by that date. This is a great time to talk with them about some legitimate goals and explain how if they are serious about them that they have to be consistent. That is where the previous stuff comes into play where you can track progress toward goals and make sure they are realistic. Of course you need short term goals and long term goals so making sue they are achieving something on a regular basis but while still striving for the ultimate achievement.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Review

Block Periodizationby by Vladimir Issurin

I got this a while back and as I design my training blocks this book is one I have paged through every time. It is easily one of the more detailed and comprehensive books on this style of athletic development which is brought to us over seas. It gives straight-forward and obvious reasons for the superiority of this style of training when preparing an athlete for competitions and gives pure and tested science for all of them.

Summary: This book takes you from terminology to structuring. It explains the reasons behind how to set up training stages by showing you the advantages of supercompensation. It gives the reasons for monitoring and why certain emotional and physical qualities can be positive or negative transfer. It is filled with great case studies for almost every training modality presented. Includes a great chapter on altitude training and the science behind the popular technique.

Interesting Facts: A couple important things that this book does a great job explaining is the importance of non-conflicting energy systems. Issurin explains why some dominent modalities are not compatible with others. One other great thing about this book is the sources. There are some great references that I have taken a big interest in form reading this book.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mini Cycle Straight from HELL!!!!

I am approaching the last week of my current maximum strength block which is going well. My weights are getting better and I am sure progress will continue in the upcoming block which I'll be starting after this weeks upcoming restorative type week. In week 3 I approached the time in which I had to maintain the residual previously developed in my aerobic blocks. Needless to say I was glad when that mini-cycle was in the books.

Day 1
Floor Press-5x3 @ 255, 285,290,300, 285
CG Band Push up-3x12 @ Green Band SS 1 arm row-4x12@80
Bilateral PNF D2 Flexion
Side lying ext rot

Day 2
Speed Squat-5x5sec@ hit RPE of 10 at 250
Bulgarian SS- 4x8 @185
GHR-4x8 GHR Pulsing-3x20

Day 3
Tempo Push Up-4 series of 3x 60/60. pk HR=142
Heavy Pull Up- 5x3@ 45+ BW 1 arm face pull-3x12 @70
Grappler Anti-Rot-3x12

Day 4
Front Squat-5x3 @275, 315, 340, 355, 360
Tempo Squat-4 series of 3x 60/60. pk HR=147
1 leg Hip Thrust-3x10@2 chains
Ab Rollouts

My floor Press 3RM is up about 5 pounds from personal best. My Front Squat 3 RM is about where it was before injury. So far This was the most difficult block in terms of recovery but by no means was it intolerable. My speed squat went up a lot this week. I was able to lift in the mid morning hours all week due to mid term break which allowed for awesome sleep quality. Resting HR is floating around the 60's right now which is way up but was expected.
More good news...HAWKS take 8th Straight!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Limited Resources

There are many times when you are traveling and you don't have a barbell in sight. Or when you are working out at a facility that just does not do it for you in terms of lack of equipment/poundage. The worst is the unpredictable factor being the weather. You should always have an option B. Here are a few of my past B options that still got the job done.

Option A: was Hill Sprints
Limiting factor: was the rain
Option B: Stair sprints. Stair sprints would be a great option for replacing hill sprints. The benefit of a consistent incline and being able to still sprint. If you need more resistance throw on a 10 # vest and go at it. All you have o do is find a local gym or if you house has steps of reasonable length.
Option A: 1 arm DB rows with 85 #
Limiting Factor: Only 60# DB's
Option B1 (long term): Buy Adjustable DB. These were one of my best purchases I have made. I was in a weight room with only 60 # of DB weight and got these form EliteFTS which allowed me to load them with more weight then I could dream of using.
Option B2 (Short Term): Use a EZ curl bar. This was something I could of gotten by with but since I was in a long term situation I bought the adjustable DB's. This did work well after you find the Center of gravity.

Option A: Lift Heavy weight
Limiting Factor: No Spotter
Option B: Change lift. Lifting without a spotter isn't always bad if you are doing some dynamic effort work or repetition work where you know where to cut it off and still get a great workout in. But lifting maximally without a spotter is asking for injury. But there are safe movements that a spotter really can't do much anyways. Here are a few safe alternatives for the basic Maximal movements.
Squat=Anderson Front Squat
Bench=Pin Press
None: If this is going to be a one time occurrence, drop the ego and work on some weak areas this day. It will pay off in the long run, you won't do something dumb without a spotter, and you and get back at it in no time with heavy work.
Option A: Weight Vest
Limiting factor: Don't have one
Option B: Back pack. I used this before I had a weight vest and it worked great for me or things like chins, short sprints, and jumps. Take a SMALL back pack and put a small blanket on the bottom. Place a durable object on top for desired weight and place a blanket over top. Without the padding the object/weight will bump against you uncomfortably. The pack that worked best for me was a smaller back pack I got with a pair of sports shoes pictured here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Cut Above the Rest

Great Read
Article Link

This article is a great example of the benefits of developing fast twitch capacity for football. Hill Sprints are something that are extremely beneficial and in a sense "old school". But in the last few decades this type of sprinting was replaced with over speed work, insanely high intense intervals, and extremely heavy sled/prowler work. Most of this requiring the athlete to not be able to feel legs or vomit. Funny how in the first year of incorporating this type of ESD the Forty-Niners are describing how great of shape they are in and how much they feel it has attributed to a fantastic start compared to prior years. Hey...if its good enough for the likes of Walter Payton and Jerry Rice then maybe its something worth looking into.

A good way to take advantage of some of this conditioning is to first find a hill. The best being around a 10 degree incline or so. The sprints should be around 6 seconds maximum followed by around 30-40 second rest before you repeat. Gradually build your way up staying under threshold.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Power Clean Progression

One of the most important aspects of football is of course power and explosiveness. There are so many ways to develop this quality ranging from plyometrics, dynamic effort method, and Olympic lifts.
For our Olympic lift for football I have utilized the power clean. One of the first things I did was find a method to get them to be able to perform this complex lift with out having to "think" about too many little details in regards to form. This past Summer I attended a Conference at the University of Louisville. Here Strength Coach Joe Kenn demonstrated a very smooth progression he used to get his athletes to clean with decent form using three simple cues: Push, Jump, Punch.
The Push cue would be telling your legs to "push" through the floor to bring the weight off the ground. This motion is identical to a deadlift so many of the same rules apply in regards to feet placement and technique (neutral spine, suction cup feet, stay tight...).
The Jump is about as simple as it gets. As the bar approaches the knee caps all that should be going through your head is trying to jump through the roof. In this action your body should achieve triple extension. This meaning hips, knees, and ankles fully extended which would be very similar to a max vertical jump.
The punch is the indicator reminding the athlete to punch through the bar when ready to catch. This should be quick so that you can focus immediately on absorbing the force of the weight with your legs as quickly as possible.
To progress the team I used a sequence of lifts to gradually teach them portion of the power clean. I took a bottom up approach unlike the Olympic style top down mainly because that's how I learned it. The first lift was a simple explosive hip extension exercise, a explosive RDL to shrug. This is a great way to teach basic hip extension in the same explosive manner used in the power clean but in a much more controllable manner. Then I moved them to a Jump shrug from the ground. Constantly reinforcing the push and jump portion of the lift as well as triple extension. I followed that with a high pull from the floor then brought it to a full clean. This was 6 week process. Here are a few videos of one of the athletes going from the jump shrug, to the high pull, and then into a full clean. Sorry for the formatting they are sideways...

Above is the second progression to the Power Clean the Jump Shrug. Emphasizing "PUSH" and as the weight gets to the knees "JUMP".

Here is the third progression the High Pull. The arm action is unloaded and sets them up for the catch phase.

Here is the finished product. In terms of position of the body when in the catch phase preferably I would like them in sort of a quarter squat wanting them to work on absorbing force as much as possible.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ending the week STRONG

Day 4
Plyos-Jump Rope, 1 leg dot drill-various patterns on one leg x3
1A) Speed Bench-5x5 sec@ 135, 155, 165, 175, 185, 195, 225, 205
2A)Heavy Pull Up-4x3 @ 45 +BW
2B)NG DB Military-3x8@ 75
3A)1 arm face pull-3x12 @ 60 3B)Grappler Anti-Rotation-3x12@ 25#plate

Day 5
1A)Power Clean- 3x5@225, 255, 275 1B)Bound to box-3x3
2A)Squat w/ safety bar-4x5@255, 275, 315, 335
3A)BB Hip Thrust- 4x5@225, 255, 275, 305 3B) Ab Roll outs-3x12

This week was very challenging in terms of Readiness to train. Sleep quality was very poor due to late night studying(midterms this week). Other than that I was satisfied with my squat. I was at that weight this summer but for 3 reps and my power clean is getting back to where it was before my injury. Over all I have a good feeling about how this block is going and as my ankle feels better my lifts and power keep climbing. I have been very militant with mobility work and rehab this week and it paid off because although sleep quality was poor, I still kept my heart rate from climbing too much. At the beginning of the week it was still at 51 but has gone up slightly to 54/55 which is a jump but not to the point of needing to back off. Primary upper/lower exercises switch next week to Floor Press and Front Squat. This weekend will involve lots of regeneration and HAWKEYE FOOTBALL!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gearing up for gameday!

The football team has been off to a great start. Currently 5-1 and closing in fast on the post season. One reason for the teams great success is the incredible work ethic. One thing i have found is some SERIOUS weak glutes and poor activation. Here are a couple of exercises from this mornings workout that are sure to fix them up.

Here is a video of a Single Leg Hip Thrust. I will start them off with a bilateral variation first and then go to this from there. The athletes really like these an find them very challenging.

Here is a great activation drill from Glute Medius. I really like this one because it does not allow flexion at the hip because the athlete is instructed to push against the wall with heel.

A Classic yet great activation exercise for activation, the X-band walk.

So there you have it. A few of the things we did today to get them doing what they do best. I am looking forward to loading them up in the off season but for now the volume is fairly low and special considerations are taken in account for the trauma caused by games and practice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My workout..MAX STRENGTH!!

I'm not going to lie, I love lifting heavy. So going from Tempo work and sweating more profusely than ever before (Tempo squats left puddles!!) I am glad to be "stuck" in this max strength focused block. The only bad part about these last couple weeks was that mid terms have hit hard and so have the test. So sleep quality is a little down but, my heart rate continues to stay pretty low (51-53 avg.) I have hit the recovery hard recently getting in my fair share of long duration stretches, foam rolling, and some trigger point work.

Week 2
Day 1
Plyos: Low to high box jumps 3x5
1A:1 Board press-4x5 @275,285,295,305,315
2A:CG Band Push up-3x12 @ Green Band
2B:1 arm SS row-4x10 @ 75/85
3B:Bilateral PNF D2 flexion
3C:Sidelying Ext Rotation

Day 2
Plyos: 1 Leg Med ball chest pass-3x15, Side Tosses-3x15
1A:Speed Squats- 5 in 5 sec @ 135, 155, 175, 185, 205, 225x2, 205x1
2A:BB Bulgarian SS: 3x8 @ 185
3A:GHR-3x10 @ 10
3B:GHR Pulsing-3x20 @35

Day 3
Recovery work
Various Mobility and Activation Drills, Low intensity Circuit

Day 4/5:Will post when complete

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interesting Reads

Been pretty busy lately. With midterms coming to an end and working with a couple athletes on a individual basis has filled up a majority of time. I plan on posting my progress on my new block tomorrow or by the end of the week. But here are some things I have read over the last few days that I thought were interesting reads and thought provoking.

Fundamentals of the Theory and Adaptation of Sports Training - SE Pavlov
This Article gives a great picture of what adaptation is and how important of a role physiology plays in planning sports training. Mind the syntax due to the translation.

Dispelling the Glute Myth -

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Realization....What is it?

The realization block is commonly known as the (pre-competition phase) which means it is the final block in any particular training stage. The purpose is to put on the best performance possible within a given range of fitness (Zatsiorski, 1995). Following the very fatiguing transmutation block which accumulates a certain high level of fatigue should lead seamlessly into the realization block meant to eliminate this fatigue so that all the residual effects come together and "peak" at the end of you training stage. So the first aim is to provide and facilitate restoration and ultimately attain a supercompensation state at time of competition (Issurin, 2008).
This block can last anywhere from 7 days to 2 weeks depending on time of year (longer toward late season). Major characteristics of this block would be to monitor athletes emotional tension. Leading into competition emotional stress can have a negative impact on recovery. Exercises should be as sport specific as possible. You should perform simulation of athletes required performances as indicators of athlete performance. This is very important not only as indicators but for athletes readiness as competition approaches. Workload reduction highly depends on the length of your realization block. If it is shorter it would require a quick reduction in workload to attain supercompensation state. If it is longer block, as in a couple weeks, avoidance of de-training is paramount so maintaining loads or gradual reduction is recommended. With reduction in workload nutrition will need to be closely monitored as well. Adjustments should be made to accommodate the lower energy expenditure.
In conclusion, the realization block is key in bringing the previous blocks components and using its residual effects to attain peak performance. The most important quality to recognize is the elimination of fatigue. All the components of the BPC will ensure your athlete is at peak fitness levels to ensure best performance.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Transmutation mesocycle...what is it?

So now that you have this great base or foundation of skills that was developed in the prior block, it is now time to use those increased capacities to develop more specific abilities. The goal of this block is to "transform" the increased non-specific fitness into specific preparedness (Zatsiorski 1995). This would include conditioning, exercises, and technique closer to what would be needed in your sport. You wold also want to include sport specific trails or contest to track progress.

As previously mentioned targeted abilities should be more specialized. This is also a time when intensity will pick up and volume as well. This will be the most fatiguing block in which restorative means should be of high importance. fatigue produced by highly concentrated workloads approaches the upper limits in 3-4 weeks and the residual effect of the preceding mesocycle will decrease after one month (Issurin 2008). This would require a mini-block to be included in this time frame to maintain the aerobic strength component previously developed.

While developing improving on more specific techno-tactical work some fatigue will be allowed because it will be performed in slightly fatigued state in competition. The skills developed should include max strength, special endurance, and proper technique.

Things to keep in mind when monitoring training is how the body will respond from this higher workload. Increased HR, decrease in body weight, general fatigue increase, sleep disturbance. Over training can be attained in this mesocycle if these responses aren't monitored. An increase of resting HR by 5 or more BPM in 3-5 days is a strong indicator you may want to reduce loads (Burke 1990). Restorative message, nutrition, stretching, cooling down are paramount in this block.

Following this block would be the most specific portion of training called realization. Here you will develop the skills in which you will use in sport while obtaining supercompensation from all your training residuals.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Accumulation mesocycle...what is it?

If you are familiar with the current block periodization concept, you will know that there are three basic phases. Accumulation, Transmutation, and Realization. A great general explanation of BPC is that the training workloads are concentrated down to one or two qualities to be developed. This is to produce sufficient stimulus needed to allow adaptation of an advanced athlete. Each block or mesocycle is sequenced to develop a specific ability based of the residual effect of the preceding block, allowing you to focus on new qualities while maintaining others. Now lets get into the Accumulation phase.

Accumulation mesocycles/blocks are to enhance the athlete's potential, that is to improve basic motor abilities, as well as basic technique. . (Zatsiorski 1995) This compared to others is usually done with high volumes and relatively lower intensity. In a majority of sports this would imply that a primary focus of your training would be to enhance aerobic capacities and maximal strength. Usually this is the longest block as well it has the longest residual, it mainly depends on the athletes needs and time available before competition. With this logic it follows that an increase in sports results upon entering competitive exercise (transmutation) because of the level achieved in general preparation. (Bondarchuk 2007)

Results of Accumulation block due to its ability to expand the aerobic capacities would be lower heart rate, improved sleep quality, increased parasympathetic state, increased endurance. As stated before the expanded capacities will allow for more room to develop the following block.

Some things to avoid is exercises over anaerobic threshold. High intense glycolitic exercise cause profound metabolic response and hormonal shift that can last 2 or 3 days. (Viru 1995) This is one of the training qualities that would conflict with aerobic EST and therefore should be avoided.

Following the Accumulation Block, you would follow with transmutation. This is where the benefits of your expanded capacities will pay off as you use them to develop into more specific qualities to your sport.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Block 2 Complete!

My training the last couple of months or so have been primarily focused on enhancing potential of my oxidative capacities and localized muscle endurance while maintaining strength and power. So far all has gone great and the results prove it.
All taken upon waking up:
Peak HR- 60
Low HR-51
This has been a great and practical indicator of eccentric cardiac hypertrophy. Following this week I will begin my next block with Max strength being the main focus. I am planning on great increases in numbers and will post my results ever couple weeks to track progress. Some other qualities I will address is increasing FT capacity and introduction of speed strength. I will maintain the aerobic/endurance components by a mini-block as well.