Workout Wisdom

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When planning a training protocol, one must take into account the value of work administered in terms of function and time. Devising appropriate working brackets is essential for all athletes in every sport, since the end product of performance enhancement is reliant upon proper work. Work is categorized into response anaerobic, reserve anaerobic, response aerobic, and reserve anaerobic depending upon the duration of the working stimulus. Contrary to what the popular opinion is on the matter, working brackets are highly individual, and training results are guaranteed to be of strong magnitude and reciprocation only if the proper work is performed with the proper degree of fatigue and a commensurate frequency scale. It is not that each working bracket only relies on one neuro-energetical element, but it is the concentration(%) of such reliance that allows us to breakdown work into these four categories. One common confusion in the United States deals with the 'size principle' of motor unit activation. This theory is more appropriate to energetical means and not fibre type activation. We will also investigate working modalities in this article that will allow you to ensure that your working stimulus is not only of proper duration but also of appropriate speed, tension, and force.

The anaerobic response window reaches a threshold typically at 4.5 seconds. The variance depends upon training background, load, speed of movement, and current level of function in relation to fatigue. Individual determination requires a test to be constructed. For speed athletes this could be a sprint, and strength athletes this can be the lifting of near maximal to maximal loads. A sprinter would need to set up infrared lasers at 10 metre increments from the starting line. The number of lasers required depends on the level of anaerobic response endurance of the athlete, but an analysis of a 100 metres is generally a good starting point. Even olympic sprinters reach a threshold at 80 metres, but this is because of poor training not because this is the true limitation of human anaerobic response threshold. The test requires the sprinter to maintain maximum speed for the duration of the run. The breakdown analysis of 10 metre sprint times will display exactly when this particular athlete reached their threshold as the interval times will start to decay. Maurice Green had a best 10 metre time, after the acceleration phase, of 0.83 seconds and dropped to 0.87 seconds at the 80 metre mark in the past olympic games. This shows that his threshold at that time was proximal 7.5 seconds, not being able to maintain this intensity for the entire race duration. His competitors dropped off even more significantly and this was evident to anyone that watched the race, as he seemed to accelerate after 60 metres when, in fact, most of his competition reached their threshold at this point which lead to an illusion of this speed enhancement late in the race. It is this point of deceleration, as modest as it may be, that exonifies your particular limitation of anaerobic response work. For strength athletes, they will either time a highly motivated 1RM, such as a contest lift, or an unmotivated, training 2RM. The motivational repetition is a better indicator of the athletes threshold in this regard, and represents the magnitude of time that they have to complete a lift, as neuro-energetical and neuro-psychological levels drop off after this point in time. As stated earlier, a typical duration of strain will last 4.5 seconds before the lifter either completes the repetition or concedes a failed attempt to complete the lift. Don't let this time bracket be your personal indicator, as I have coached athletes that could work in this bracket for only 2.5 seconds to as much as 9.5 seconds. This is why a working bracket for one athlete will fail to be appropriate for another athlete, especially as the variance between athletes is significant.
The next bracket of work is referred to as the anaerobic reserve threshold. The test to determine this threshold is structured around one element, how long can the athlete maintain submaximal effort work at maximal speed? Take 51-53% of your 1RM on any particular lift and time the duration to which you can oscillate the weight at 20 degrees above and below the sticking point of this lift, at a rate that is as fast as possible for the given instant. The test isn't to see when speed is lost but rather to recognize when failure is reached, determined by a rested pause of any sort at the top or bottom of the lift. The typical range for athletes is 28-33 seconds. Scientific research has validated this finding of ours in a recent study conducted on olympic 400 metre sprinters to determine the point at which work switched from dominantly anaerobic to aerobic. Even though the findings varied for each athlete, the mean test score was similar to our finding that we realized over two decades ago in practical research.
Aerobic athletes concern themselves with the two windows above this anaerobic reserve threshold, but for speed or strength athletes it is not as important. However, the adjacent window is common to switch from aerobic response to aerobic reserve work at a mean threshold of 70 seconds. This gives us three brackets of work; anaerobic response, anaerobic reserve, and aerobic response. An open value rep speed will generally be at an average of 2.5 seconds per rep, and one may either use this to transfer these times into rep brackets or may spend more personal research and determine exactly the rate of bar speed for each working bracket. Upon this finding you can attach percent values to each rep in each bracket to assist in determing drop off margins. Anaerobic response holds a 4-6% value per rep, anaerobic reserve is given a 3% value, and aerobic response is allocated a 1% margin value per rep. This information is critical for the training process, as fatigue and frequency must be tabulated accordingly and cannot be given random or generalized values based on indirect research(lack of personal evaluation). The same is true for volume management and so forth, but the starting point deals with setting up brackets of work for you personally, allocating percent values for each repetition which will be used in fatigue assessment and frequency programming, and then the concepts of volume and capacity of work to which it pertains may be scrutinized.
After the personal working brackets have been constructed, one must know what type of work must be regarded to yield the results that they seek. Work may be considered everything from psychological to physiological, and combinations of such. However, in training we usually address work in classifications of speed, tension, and force. Tension work is a training modality that stresses friction adaptablity and contractile growth of the sarcomeres, capacity of work and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, and technique perfection. Force is also a training modality but is used to create a trigger response of the neuromuscular system, increase duration of available overcoming work due to the heightened ability to stabilize imposing force rapidly, and illicit a hypertrophic response of the elastic elements of the contractile system, such as fascia and tendons. Speed work is used more as an evaluatory method to locate force or tension deficits, assess injury susceptibility, and monitor stability of the neuromuscular firing system. These basic projections may be expanded to cover specific movements in specific sports, such as increasing turnover rate in sprinters with force work. This analysis varies greatly to conventional training practice in the States, as training is typically assessed under speed of movement characteristics and not functional responses. One common fallacy is with sprinters and the utilization of 'overspeed' devices or 'high speed treadmills'. The objective of this work is to increase stride rate and frequency with a commensurate increase in stride length but fails miserably. One must understand that high speed treadmills evolved from horse racing, training these animals indoors on specially designed treadmills during poor weather on training days and during weather conditions related to seasonal changes. The use is only in existence because it is better to work on maintaining working capacity than excluding work entirely, and the fact that they always return to the track after the indoor winter training program slower than when they began this treadmill work is a strong indicator to not expand it's use for athletes that have access to superior means and fair weather conditions year round. Increasing stride length has to do with dynamic flexibility, not static, and the rate of turnover is directly related to ground contact time, which is associated with the ability to rapidly stabilize force and upon absorption, react strongly against this imposing demand. Training with high speed devices should not be used to increase performance at all, but rather it should only be used as an assessment tool to determine force and/or tension deficits. This is one example, and the extrapolations are infinite depending upon the sport and circumstance.
Selecting the appropriate neuro-energetical brackets of work should be of primary attentions to serious athletes, and the only way to ensure proper work, regardless of the training modality, is through a personalized establishment of these fluctuatory thresholds. This information can be used to train all athletes in all sports, it is just a matter of selecting appropriate working conditions of time and function and bringing it all together in harmony with an appropriate rotation of biorhythmic cycling commensuration. The neglect to observe these aformentioned factors will result in stagnation, or even worse it will result in injury. This was the case on two occasions with Maurice Green in the past few years, not to mention Michael Johnson, and anyone that has gone through the rehabilitation process can tell you that it is more challenging than the training process. It is a waste of training time, will hinder performance capacity in the long run, and should be avoided at all costs. These are some of the precautions we take to not only set up individualized workout programs for our elite athletes but to keep our athletes injury free in the training environment and in their respective sporting competitions, as we have successfully done with every athlete we have worked with in the past 14 years.

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