Monday, November 22, 2010

Why each training session should have a Primary Training Objective:

At Titanwe not only look at the long term strategy of the training based on a well developed evaluation of the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses, we also spend a lot of time on the tactics of each training session.  The long term or grand strategy evaluates the long term objective of the athlete for the off season training and beyond.  If someone is not an athlete we like to create seasons for them.  This allows them to “peak” at different points in the year and give them psychological breaks from training year round. 

Each individual training session is another rung in the fitness ladder.  In order to make the next step up in fitness, each of these sessions must be developed in a thoughtful manner.  At Titan we have Primary Objectives for each training session.  The Primary Objective may be lower body strength, power, stability etc.  The Primary Objective may be active recovery.  The point is that if you do not have a Primary Objective you may want to look at incorporating this concept into your workout.  The Primary Objective of a workout allows our training staff to focus on one area of training that is the most important part of the grand strategy for that day and choreograph a workout accordingly. This will improve performance and move the athlete forward at the most rapid rate possible.   The Primary Objective must be dynamic.  In other words, if the Primary Objective was to obtain an overload in lower body power utilizing plyometric exercises, and the athlete was not able to perform at a level that produced the overloads necessary, we would need to change the session and revisit the Primary Objective.  We would determine what factors are impacting the athlete’s inability to perform at the expected level.  We would  determine if it is the intensity of the exercise being too great, maybe the rest between reps and sets is not long enough, volume may be too great etc. There are a number of factors that may be in play.   Typically, the lack of performance  is driven by recovery time or some exigent factor (a cold about to come on) . We would then make adjustments to accommodate the athletes lack of performance and not blindly complete a particular session.  We would reschedule this session into the future and evaluate why the performance was not at the level we expected making the necessary adjustments.    

Time is the real enemy of an athlete who wants to compete at the highest level.  Establishing Primary Objectives for each workout insures that workouts are not wasted or contributing to overtraining. 

Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!

Jacques DeVore, CSCS

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why do we perform high force activity on legs prior to training for lower body power?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a talented basketball player about the "Whys". My last blog entry discussed this concept and I gave him the example of how we will train legs with high force production exercises prior to leg power workouts and he asked “Why?”  

I told him that it is based on  the principle of Post Activation Potentiation or PAP.  As athletes become fitter and fitter it becomes harder to get overloads when training.  PAP helps to increase the ability of an athlete to produce greater amounts of power in exercises subsequently to a high force activity. 
Most of the research has revolved around jumping.  The act of jumping is a good measurement of power production in an athlete’s lower body.   The research looked at performing hack squats at 90% of the athlete’s one repetition prior to jumping.  Subsequently the ability to jump was increased when the intervention was utilized. This also has validity in a number of other power exercises. The optimum time between the heavy lift and the power exercise seemed to be around 12 minutes.(Andy V. Khamoui, MS, CSCS, Edward Jo, MS, CSCS,and Lee E. Brown, EdD, CSCS,*D, FNSCA )  At Titan  we utilize this science in training the body for many different types of power production training.

Keep this idea in mind the next time you perform your plyometric workouts both for upper body and lower body exercises. The practical application of the science allows a strength coach to experiment with different types of loads and rest dependent on the athlete and the part of the body you are training. 
Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!

Jacques DeVore, CSCS