What’s in your Program?

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No matter the goal the variables below are a must in your training program.

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Here are some of the most common terms in S&C defined.

Volume
This is how much work you have done or about to do for a specific exercise, session, block, or year. It is usually defined as sets and reps for a specific exercise, group of muscles, or session. Weight/tonnage is also factored in. For example, if you Deadlift 100kg 5 times, the volume for that set is 500kg. If you do that for 5 sets, the Volume/Tonnage would be 2500kg.

Intensity
This is defined as the amount of weight you can lift in relation to your 1-rep max (The maximum weight you can lift on a particular exercise). E.g. If you can Squat 100kg for your 1-rep max, and you lift 75kg for your first set, the intensity for that set is 75%.

This is an essential component to program design and implementation. Without this data you are exercising and not training.

Tempo
This describes the timing of three different phases of a lift/rep. Eccentric, Amortisation, and Concentric phases. This is expressed as three numbers.
E.g. 4-1-2. To perform a squat with this tempo, you would lower yourself to the bottom of the squat over 4 seconds, pause for 1 second in the bottom of the squat, and then stand up for 1 second.

Absolute Strength
This is the maximum amount of force that your muscles and produce in single contraction under involuntary conditions. It is extremely difficult to achieve in normal settings, including 1-rep max attempts. Absolute strength usually appears in life or death situations.

Maximum Strength
This is the amount of force your muscles can produce under voluntary conditions. This is most commonly measured through 1 rep max testing.

Relative Strength
This is the maximum amount of force your muscles can produce under voluntary conditions in relation to your body mass. E.g. you have two athletes. One weight 85kg the other weighs 77kg. The 85kg athlete can squat 200kg, the 77kg athlete can squat 190kg.

The 85kg athlete can more weight showing that they have more maximal strength (squatting 2.35 times their bodyweight) whereas the 77kg athlete squat 2.47 times their body weight, producing more force relative to their body weight.

Rate of Force Development
The speed you can reach max strength/force production. The faster your RFD, the more powerful you are. This is crucial to almost every sport.

 

Note: Obviously these may not always be present in every training session but these are some foundations that training is built upon.

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LAB REPORT-365 #66 Importance of Weak-Point Training

🎓 📝 LAB REPORT-365 📝 🎓
#66 Importance of Weak-Point Training

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While the majority of good strength programming is developed around the 3 main lifts – squat, bench and deadlift – the importance of incorporating weak-point training into yours or your athlete / client’s programming cannot be ignored. What exactly do we mean when we refer to weak-point training? As coaches we should be screening our athletes or clients in the main movements before we develop any sort of program, in order to identify movement or form deficiencies and what is causing them. Once these deficiencies have been identified, we can incorporate specific movements or exercises to strengthen the weak areas to help counter these problems – this is what is known as weak-point training.

The initial screening can be done in multiple ways, but should include at the very least the squat, bench and deadlift, with the weight dependent on the experience level of the athlete or client. A beginner with no lifting experience may complete reps with a broomstick initially, moving up gradually to a 5RM; while an advanced athlete may comfortably begin with the bar, and move to a 1RM. Regardless, it is encouraged to increase the load to the point where a) your athlete or client is working at a relatively high intensity, and b) there is some form break-down, as it is only at this point that you are able to identify true weak areas. Note – do not push your athlete or client to complete form breakdown where they are unable to even move the weight, as for an initial screening this is both dangerous and a pointless exercise for what you are trying to achieve.

Once you have completed the screening and identified these weak areas, you can then develop a program that includes relevant accessory work to target such areas. For example, if you noticed a loss of thoracic tightness during the deadlift (upper back rounding) you may include some pendlay rows to help address this. While each athlete or client will have specific individual needs and weaknesses, you will no doubt see a common trend amongst a lot of people (particularly posterior chain weakness); as such, having a ‘bank’ of accessory exercises for specific areas and muscle groups to draw upon as needed is important for effective programming.

In summary:

* Always screen your athletes or clients to identify weak-points, regardless of their experience or training age;

* Develop custom programs for each client specific to their needs or weaknesses if you truly want them to progress in strength;

* Most importantly – continue to monitor your athlete or client, and constantly review their main movements for progress in existing weak-points and to also identify any new areas that need attention.

Weak-point training is a constant process, and will need to evolve as the athlete or client’s overall strength increases and different / new problem areas pop-up.

– Callum

LAB REPORT-365 #65 TRAINING AGE AND WHAT YOUR HOLIDAY IS DOING TO YOUR PROGRESS

🎓 📝 LAB REPORT-365 📝 🎓
#65 TRAINING AGE AND WHAT YOUR HOLIDAY IS DOING TO YOUR PROGRESS
Lift Like Jess- Strength Performance Coach

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Most of us have probably experienced this struggle along our fitness journey. We’ve gone on holidays, came back to training and pretty much sucked. This is called DETRAINING or DECONDITIONING and it is frustrating as hell. I’ve experienced this many times in the first couple years of my career so here’s some facts to help you make an informed decision about the breaks you take!

Many physiological changes start to happen once you stop exercising. Your hearts ability to move blood more efficiently begins to decrease as does your muscles improved ability to utilize oxygen and your body’s ability to metabolize carbs for energy (decrease in fitness). You’ll start to loose gains in muscle fibre size as well as other neuromuscular adaptions (strength and hypertrophy). Any improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar that were brought on by training will begin to disappear also.

How quickly detraining happens once you stop exercising depends on many factors such as age, how fit you are, how long you’ve been training, what type of training you had been doing and at what level. This is referred to as your “training age”. People who train intensely and have been quite fit/strong for a number of years will experience a much slower process of overall decline in comparison to someone with a younger training age.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, not training for as little as two weeks can cause complete detraining in some individuals. It can take up to 8 months for people with a higher training age. Most people saw a decline in fitness before strength. How quickly this happens varies from person to person. I’ve seen people that had been training for almost a year, at a recreational level, completely detrain after a 5 week holiday with no exercise and a fair bit of alcohol consumption. I’ve also seen clients that have been training less than a year come back after 5 weeks with noticeable fitness losses and only small strength losses.

The moral of the story is if you’re new on your fitness journey, plan to include some sort of exercise on your holidays if you want to minimize the effects of detraining. The longer you’ve been at it the less you’ll lose. It seems like it takes forever to make these strength and fitness gains and no time at all to lose it. Really, in the first few years, it’s true. Once you’ve put in your miles and converted to a healthy, active lifestyle for a couple of years you will start to reap the benefits more and more and actually NEED the breaks from training whereas people with a younger fitness age generally aren’t lifting at a high enough intensity or frequency to require deloading or breaks from training. Just to clarify, I’m not saying deloading needs to take the form of a flat out break from training but that is another topic. What I am saying is if your goal is to get super fit/strong and maintain it then you better be willing to put in the work. Particularly in the first couple years!

Lift Like Jess- Strength Performance Coach

LAB REPORT-365 #64 Sleep is for the weak (and the strong).

🎓 📝 LAB REPORT-365 📝 🎓
#64 Sleep is for the weak (and the strong).

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Proper training and nutrition are two well-known requirements to achieving athletic success. A key aspect of exercise often overlooked is SLEEP! Believe it or not sleep is essential to effective training and many say we should consider sleep as important as an actual workout. Muscle growth, fat burning ability and athletic performance are all diminished by sleep deprivation.

We know that muscles do not grow during a workout, but during the repair that occurs throughout the recovery period. Recovery doesn’t just involve a simple post- workout protein shake. After a workout, your muscles need rest to repair. Specifically, you (and your muscles) need sleep! A proper nights sleep is vital in muscle development and in order gain strength – largely due to the fact that growth hormone (GH) is released naturally during sleep. Although the production of this hormone declines with age, it is still present in adults and 50% to 70% of daily GH secretion occurs during the deepest sleep cycle. Depriving the body of sleep means that this opportunity for growth is lost.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember that you can have too much of a good thing – and oversleeping has its downsides too, such as drowsiness. So exactly how much sleep is the right amount? Studies have found that in adults, between 7 – 9 hours of sleep optimises the benefits of your z’s and promotes the natural production of GH. Additional benefits of a good night’s sleep include improved cognitive function (focus and attentiveness), regulation of ghrelin and leptin hormones (improved appetite control), and improved memory. With the right amount of z’s, you can get more of these!

E-Dawg (Elvin)

LAB REPORT-365 #63 Running: One of the most misunderstood skills in human movement.

🎓 📝 LAB REPORT-365 📝 🎓
#63 Running: One of the most misunderstood skills in human movement.

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Part Three: Executing Mechanics

Leading on from the first two parts of running mechanics we now need to look at how to use the laws of nature to have the most efficient and beneficial running technique.

The four key areas here are:

Translation / forward lean
Hamstring / pulling mechanics
Landing / foot strike
Transitioning from one leg to the other

1: Translation / forward lean, always maintaining running posture (see part two) we shift or lean our center of mass forward (this comes from ankle only) until we “fall”. This will create forward momentum as gravity is acting on our body and we have two options; fall on our face, or step forwards. I cannot emphasis enough that the lean MUST come from the ankles only and not break at the hip etc as that will lead to poor form / mechanics and increase the chance of injury. Note, the lean shouldn’t be excessive, basically the greater the lean the faster you’ll need to run / catch yourself from falling face first.

2: Hamstring / pulling mechanics, in running posture the hamstring should pull the heel until it is level with the knee of the opposite leg. The foot should be relaxed. This will not change with running speed, apart from the height the foot is pulled too. Fo example sprinting the heel will be pulled to the butt with the hamstring vs a slow jog the heel will only be pulled to just below the knee. Note, if you are fatiguing in your hip flexors youre pull with those and not hamstrings, this is a big issue for runners and a main reason they have poor posture and no bum development.

3: Landing / foot strike, feet must land straight and stay that way if you cannot do this you have a restriction, your arch should support this, and if you have shoes because you have bad arches you’ve been lied to because you need to fix your arches not buy fancy shoes.
You should land on the ball of your foot, heel touch and rebound. This applies the muscle elasticity principle we spoke about in part one. Upon landing the foot should not pronate excessively (roll inwards) as this is a weakness and will lead to a chronic injury, nor should the knee shift inwards through the landing or take off phase as this tells us you have a lack of stability and again are getting closer to injury and this is why strength training should be a stable in your running diet.

4: Transitioning from leg to another, should be done with little vertical and lateral movement. We shouldn’t drop in height very much nor should we move laterally excessively. Posture should stay intact the way time and forward lean should be maintained, the moment we become weightless is when both feet leave the ground as we translate forwards then repeat our landing mechanics as mentioned above.

NOTE: changing technique will take some time and will cause quite a different response initially with soreness and volume and intensity need to be managed closely. I recommend look at a post referring to changing the paradigm of endurance training I wrote earlier in the year or message me for further guideance.

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Cam Burnside – B.App.Sci (HONS)