Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good Intention/Bad Idea

I did an assessment on a guy a couple days ago that was a total mess. He had terrible neck pain and stiffness and he was a postural nightmare. He told me what he does with his trainer, which consisted of 60min. of working out.

Not a 60min. personal training session. But, 60min. of working out! 60min. of non-stop exercise.

When I asked what they did as far as stretching and flexibility goes and if they do anything to address his soft tissue (foam rolling, etc), he told me that all that stuff is “up to him to do on his own.” He said his trainer wants him to get a full 60min. of the workout, so they don’t really have time to do the “other stuff.”

Well, it isn’t my job to police other trainers and “expose them,” nor do I care to do it! I tried to explain to the gentlemen the type of situation it seems that his trainer is in. A lot of times in these chain gyms, trainers feel that if a person is paying for a 60min. workout, they should get a 60min., butt kicking, beat you into submission workout, and nothing less. The other stuff (stretching, soft tissue work, mobility exercises, etc) is not as important because that is not what you are paying for. I let him know that he needs to tell his trainer that being pain free is part of his goal of overall health, as it should be! I mean seriously, who cares if they look great if they have chronic pain?

Also, realistically, who needs to be doing a full 60min. of non-stop weight training anyways? I would think you could be more efficient than that.

Anyway, the point is that when you are working with someone really take the time to analyze what his or her problem areas are. Then, take the time to develop a good program, which aims to correct some of these problem areas. Be efficient in your program set up, and make sure to include the necessary components that are going to be needed to correct these problems (whether that is flexibility work, mobility exercises, or soft-tissue work, is up to you to decide. Usually it is a combination of all of them.). Being a healthy person is more than just losing some body fat and looking good at the beach. It is also about feeling good, moving well and being pain free. Whether you are training for a sport, or training for the game of life, everyone deserves to operate at his or her highest potential.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Knuckleheads in The News!

Too many eggs are risky?

Too many eggs can kill you?

These are the questions that I have been seeing after this article,, was posted on WebMD last week. The article was reporting on a study of 21,300 male doctors, followed for 20 years after the age of 54. Each year the men reported their egg consumption, physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, consumption of vegetables and breakfast cereal, diabetes, high blood pressure, and use of asprin. “Participants weren't asked to change their diets. The typical participant reported eating one egg per week. Older, heavier, less active men who smoked, had high cholesterol, and had a history of diabetes and high blood pressure tended to eat more eggs.”

The study went on to conclude, “Even after adjusting for other risk factors, men who reported eating seven or more eggs per week were 23% more likely to die of any cause during the study; the risk rose among those with diabetes.
But egg consumption wasn't linked to increased risk of heart attacks or strokes, even among men who ate more than seven eggs per week.”

I haven’t seen the entire study, but after reading this article, there are several things I would question about the study, as it wreaks of stupidity:

1) How did they adjust for “other risk factors” when interpreting the results of this study.

2) Participants were not asked to change their diets. So that begs the question, “What else were they eating?” People are notorious for under-reporting their calories in studies where diet is not controlled for. It sounds like, from the article, that these individuals were not the “healthiest” of subjects to begin with either.

3) The participants reported their physical activity. While people are notorious for UNDER reporting their caloric intake, they are also notorious for OVER reporting their physical activity. Subjects typically say that get more activity/exercise than they really do and they over estimate the amount of calories burned during their workouts.

4) Older, heavier, less active men who smoked, had high cholesterol, and had a history of diabetes and high blood pressure tended to eat more eggs. I wonder if most of the subjects that this line is refering too were also made up the 5169 deaths counted by the researchers during the follow-up period. Honestly, I don’t know where the researchers were going with that statement. Was the idea to draw some sort of obtuse connection between fat people who smoke and have other health risks and egg consumption? How could you even conduct a study on people that are this unhealthy and come to the conclusion that only ONE of the things they are doing (or not doing) is what killed them?

5) The article also states, “But egg consumption wasn't linked to increased risk of heart attacks or strokes, even among men who ate more than seven eggs per week.” So, then what killed the men that led the researchers to conclude it was egg consumption? Maybe the men died of old age, or it was just their time to go. I just don’t get how they concluded that egg consumption was risky, when they were looking at people who were already out of shape, deconditioned, had other health risks, smoked, didn’t control for their diet and didn’t have some sort of exercise regime to follow. To then go on and say that the egg consumption did not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke (even amongst the men who ate higher amounts of eggs), what the heck were the people dying of?

As you can see, there seems to be some loop holes in this study. The sad part is that authors report on stuff like this and people read it and get scared. Pull up any health article on an internet news page (, google news, etc) or look at any health article in your daily news paper and you will be bombarded with articles from authors (most of whom have no idea about how research is conducted and no background in the health/science field) saying that “recent research states (insert some stupid new trend).” The problem is that the authors don’t understand the research any more than the general population who reads their article in the latest publication and yet, they are ones reporting on it! Like the blind leading the blind, these kinds of articles leave people asking lots of questions and being more confused and losing direction with their diet/health and wellness programs. It’s unfortunate, but the American media is doing a great job of helping people stay un-fit.

Question everything you read,


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Strongman Contest in Garden City Long Island (NY)

Ther Professional Performance Athletic Center ( in Garden City Long Island will be hosting the first of 2 strongman events this summer on June 7th.

The details can be found here:

For those that don't know, the Professional Performance Athletic Center is a state of the art sports performance facility. The best way I could describe it is "an athlete's playground." If you don't go to compete in the contest, I highly suggest you get down there and check the place out. If you are an athlete (high school, college, pro) or a weekend warrior looking to enhance your performance in the game of life, this is the place to do it! Aside from the amazing equipment, indoor sprint track and turf field, the staff is well educated and brings a wealth of experience to the table.

Check it out!!


Friday, April 11, 2008

Skill Based Games vs. Technical/Tactical Training Part 2

The reason I posted yesterday’s study was two-fold. First, to give everyone another idea to think about when preparing training for their athletes; and second, to help give some coaches ideas to break up the monotony of training.

If you read the study (for those that emailed in and requested it) or even just the abstract, it is pretty easy to see what is going on. Basically, the researchers took a group of junior elite volleyball players and put them into two groups. One group performed training that was regimented and instructional. Their training had to do enhancing the technical aspects of the sport by taking rep after rep of a number of drills. The other group performed more skill based games, which allowed them to interact in athletic ways, rely on quick decision making, as they would in a game situation, and execute movements in response to what the other people in the game where doing. The volleyball players’ performance was then tested to see which group had the greatest improvements. The girls in the instructional group showed significantly greater improvements in all measurements of skill as well as spike jump and speed. The girls in the skill based game group showed improvements in vertical jump, spike jump, speed, agility, upper body muscular power, and estimated maximal aerobic power. This led the researchers to conclude that a combination of both skill based games and instructional training are needed to elicit the greatest performance benefits from junior elite volleyball players.

One-thing kids hate, is sitting there and taking rep after rep of some technical drill. While I will be the first to say that drilling technique is crucial to the development of an athlete, I will also say that at a young age, this can be overkill. Aside from the fact that athletes these days specialize in sports at way to young of an age, most kids want to have fun and being out there and getting harped on about technique sometimes can get old real fast. I think this study is excellent at showing us that there is a lot of merit to allowing kids to play games that enhance their skills. In volleyball, soccer, basketball or hockey, it can be something as simple as three-on-three. Just letting the kids play and interact in between the technical aspects of training can help them develop their skills by putting into play some of the things they have learned in their technical training, while also giving them an idea of how to think on their feet and help them get “game ready.” Other games that work really well are things like tag, or freeze tag and dodge ball. These games help teach kids athletic movements and agility, while getting them away from the things they do everyday (sometimes year round) in practice.

One way you could use this information is by having a few days of the week devoted to technical and instructional practice and then a few days of the week devoted to athletic or skill based games. These games, aside from what I have said above, are also great for conditioning as they get the kids up and moving and can be used in place of a regular conditioning practice that you may have scheduled. Another way may be to have the kids spend some of the practice doing technical training and then the other part of the practice doing skill based games, basically trying to implement what they have learned. For example, doing some skill work for basketball for half the practice and then breaking them down to play 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 to try and use some of the new ideas they acquired during the technical training, while developing their ability to think on their feet in game like situations.

However you use the info in this study is up to you; but, when you are planning practice, just remember that you can have all the technique in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it in a game situation or can’t call on it when the time is right, you probably will have a hard time getting to the next level of play. So, don’t neglect the importance of allowing kids to develop sports skills (and enhance conditioning) with other types of games.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Skill Based Games vs. Technical/Tactical Training

A study recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, looked at skill based games vs. instructional training in a strength and conditioning program for junior volleyball players.

Below is the abstract for your review (please email me if you would like a full copy of the text). Tomorrow I will comment on this study and talk a little bit about how we can apply this to training athletes (especially youth athletes) as a means to enhance conditioning/work capacity and hopefully prevent some of the overtraining and injuries we are seeing from year round specialization in today's youth sports programs.


If you would liek the full text or have questions/comments regarding training please shoot me an email at

Do Skill-Based Conditioning Games Offer a Specific Training Stimulus for Junior Elite Volleyball Players?

Gabbett, Tim J, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 22(2):509-517, March 2008.

This study investigated the specificity of skill-based conditioning games and compared the effectiveness of skill-based conditioning games and instructional training for improving physical fitness and skill in junior elite volleyball players.

Methods: Twenty-five junior volleyball players (mean age +/- SE, 15.6 +/- 0.1 years) participated in this study. Heart rate data were collected on all players during the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships. After the competition, players were randomly allocated into a skill-based conditioning games group (n = 12) or an instructional training group (n = 13). Each player participated in a 12-week training program that included 3 organized court training sessions per week.

Results: No significant differences (P > 0.05) were detected between competition and skill-based conditioning games for the percentage of time spent in low-intensity, moderate-intensity, and high-intensity activities. Skill-based conditioning games induced improvements in vertical jump, spike jump, speed, agility, upper-body muscular power, and estimated maximal aerobic power, whereas technical instruction improved only spike jump and speed. Conversely, instructional training induced meaningful improvements in all measurements of skill, whereas improvements in technical skill after skill-based conditioning games were uncommon and typically small.

Conclusions: The results of this study show that skill-based conditioning games offer a specific training stimulus to simulate the physiological demands of competition in junior elite volleyball players. Although the improvements in physical fitness after training were greater with skill-based conditioning games, instructional training resulted in greater improvements in technical skill in these athletes. These findings suggest that a combination of instructional training and skill-based conditioning games is likely to confer the greatest improvements in fitness and skill in junior elite volleyball players.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Over the past few entries, we looked at some research on cardio. Some of it applied to athletes and some of it (yesterday's entry) applied to more general population clients. So, how do we bring this all together? How do we set up our training so that we are efficient and not wasting time on things that we don't need to do?

Cardio and Fat Loss

If we are talking about fat loss, I think the biggest place people go wrong is that they try and do too much in the face of a massive caloric deficit. In order to lose weight/body fat, we lower calories. This in turn inhibits our ability to recover from strenuous exercise. Coincidently, people also try and do MORE exercise than they previously did (during a period where they were eating more and able to better recover from the higher amounts of work). I hear it all the time, people have their resistance training program set up as either something like an upper/lower/off/upper/lower/off/off split and they also throw in high intensity interval-training 3x's a week. Even better, some people will opt to train total body 3x's a week (so working out the legs 3x's a week) and then they will perform their high intensity interval-training on the in-between days. The problem with this is that they are over-training the heck out of their lower body and inducing high amounts of fatigue (again, during a caloric deficit, when they can not recover from it). Now, I am not opposed to interval training and I am not opposed to the training splits outlined above.

One thing that you need to consider is that you have to leave time for recovery. The best way to do that is to program your strenuous training on the same day and then recovery training or active rest on the off days. Since I will assume that most don't have the time to perform AM and PM, I will lay out two different training splits (from above) and add the cardio and the weight training on the same day:

Option 1 (upper/lower)
Day1- upper body/steady cardio
Day2- lower body/high intensity intervals*
Day3- off or low intensity activity
Day4- upper body/steady state cardio
Day5- lower body/high intensity intervals*
Day6- low intensity activity or off
Day7- OFF

*Don't run or do anything that takes coordination here. After lifting legs, there is a lot of fatigue and the possibility of injury is too great. Instead, opt for something like the rowing machine, the versa climber, the bike or an elliptical trainer. If you have the option of performing AM cardio, you can do some running there. The other option would be to do your sprinting before leg training and then perform a low volume leg workout. Again, with the later option, care must be taken as the lower extremity is fatigued from running.*

Option 2 (total body workouts)
Day1- total body resistance training/intervals*
Day2- moderate intensity cardio
Day3- total body resistance training/intervals*
Day4- moderate intensity cardio
Day5- total body resistance training/intervals*
Day6- moderate intensity cardio
Day7- off

*Like the above situation, you would not want to perform hard sprinting or something that deals with lots of coordination (agility training) at the end of a workout where you have just trained your legs hard. If agility and speed work (running) are something you need to work on, you could manipulate two of the total body days to have lower intensity/lower volume leg work and perform the speed and agility work on those days. While the 3rd day could be a more high intensity leg workout and intervals on a piece of equipment that is not the treadmill.

One other idea for your interval work, before I move on. You don’t have to perform your interval work on a piece of equipment. You can use body weight exercises (body weight squats, jumping jacks, hill climbers, squat thrusts, push ups, etc.) instead, and often they give you a nice change of pace from sitting on a bike and chunking out 15-20min. of 30sec hard:30sec easy.

Cardio and Athletics

Cardio for athletes is a bit different (as evident by the 2 studies I had recently posted). You don’t want to waste time performing long/slow duration cardio when there are other things that need to be focused. However, as stated above, you run the risk of overtraining if all you ever do is weight train and perform hard intervals. Your body needs to rest. There are a few ways to make things work.

1)Tempo training- Tempo training is a great way to get your cardiovascular work done while not having to jog for 60min. As well, tempo training can be extremely valuable for working on things like technique. I like to think of tempo training as just less intensive intervals. You aren’t going all out during the work interval, but you aren’t just plopping along and taking it easy either. If I had to put a number on it, I would say around 75% intensity. This can be something like going out to the track and running the straights and walking the turns (or whatever distance you would like to use. You an also go for time instead, run for 60sec:Jog for 60sec). The rest intervals don’t have to be jogs or runs either. You can perform your tempo run and then perform body weight calisthenics or abdominal/core circuits for equal or double the amount of time you ran your tempo interval for (1-2 units of rest for every 1 unit of work).

2)Circuits- Circuits can also be helpful in giving the athlete a break from intensive training, while having them improve work capacity and other adaptations that take place from this sort of training. I don’t do circuit training in the typical manner. Usually, I use body weight movements for circuit training, and focus on a combination of core exercises, body weight exercises that work on areas that need improvement or areas that are typically injured in the athletes given sport, and some stretches for tight muscles. Basically, we are doing some corrective work with the circuit. The time interval that I use for circuits is usually something like 40-45sec. continuous work followed by 15-20sec. rest (to get ready for the next movement. This method can also be used for clients just starting out who are de-conditioned and need to work on overall health. You can start with 30sec work: 30sec rest and slowly progress up to 45sec work: 15sec rest as they increase their level of fitness) and I repeat the circuit for the desired amount of time.

An example would look something like this:

45sec work: 15sec rest
Repeat 5x’s (6 movements x 1min. per movement x 5 rounds = 30min total)
1b)YTA (3 reps of each; keep repeating the sequence for the entire 45sec)
1c)lunge matrix (3 reps on each leg in all three planes, keep repeating for
1d)Side to side tube walking (5 steps to the right/5 steps to the left back-and-
forth for 45sec)
1e)Active hip flexor stretch right leg
1d)active hip flexor stretch left leg

3)Active rest- sometimes the athletes just need active rest from hard training. In this instance, I like to go for the easy cardio and typically do it in a cross-training fashion that gets them away from what they typically do (IE, if they are a runner, they may perform active rest in the pool, or on the rowing machine or the elliptical).

Here are a few options as far as training splits go:

Option 1 (upper/lower)
Day1- speed and agility/low volume leg work
Day2- Tempo work/upper body training
Day3- off or active rest or low intensity body weight circuits
Day4- speed and agility/low volume leg work
Day5- Tempo work/upper body training
Day6- off or active rest or low intensity body weight circuits
Day7- OFF

Option 2 (total body)

Day1- speed and agility/Total body training
Day2- tempo work
Day3- speed and agility/total body training
Day4- tempo work or body weight circuits
Day5- speed and agility/total body training
Day6- off or circuits
Day7- OFF

Obviously there are a lot of ways to make it work and split it up. I will say that for Option 2 (total body), you need to be careful about leg work and speed and agility work in the same day. You may not do all your speed and agility work on the training day, opting to place it the day after lifting (and potentially after a day where the legs where not trained as hard). This would take some sequencing of the workouts as far as what is focused on (upper or lower body) and to what intensity, in order to make it work and do speed work on the in-between days. Your situation may be different, so it is tough for me to be totally concrete about what you may do. Evaluate the position you are in and what will work best for you. An example of what I am talking about may look something like this (an example of lifting twice a week):

Day1- heavy upper body day/lighter lower body day
Day2- speed and agility work
Day3- Heavy lower body day/lighter upper body work
Day4- tempos or circuits
Day5- Speed and agility
Day6- tempos or circuits

Other than that, with athletes; don’t waste time! You need to be efficient with your programming to help the athletes get what they want from their training. If it is a hard training day (and the athlete is mentally and physically prepared for it) then train hard! If it is a day that is active rest, then rest.

Hope that gives you some ideas.


Got questions? In the Phoenix area and want info on training prices/packages? Need help with your program?


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fat Burning Zone?

I know we always say, “there is no such thing as the fat burning zone.” This was an interesting study that was recently published and I thought I would share it with those who read my blog:

Endurance training and obesity: effect on substrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Michelle C. Venables, Asker E. Jeukendrup, Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Mar;40(3):495-502.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus are disease states associated with hallmark features such as insulin resistance and an impaired ability to oxidize lipids. It has recently been reported that an optimal exercise intensity for fat oxidation (FATmax) exists; we hypothesize that continuous exercise training at this specific intensity can lead to greater improvements in fat oxidation and insulin sensitivity than a eucaloric interval training program.

Methods: In a counterbalanced, crossover design, eight sedentary, obese, but otherwise healthy male participants performed two 4-wk blocks of endurance training, either at a predetermined intensity eliciting maximal fat oxidation (TPCON) or at 5-min intervals of ± 20% FATmax (TPINT). During the week preceding the exercise training and 48 h after the final exercise bout, an OGTT, test, steady-state exercise, and measurements of body composition were undertaken. Diet was controlled the day before all trials (50% carbohydrate, 35% fat, and 15% protein; ∼2900 kcal·d−1). Variables were compared using two-way repeated-measures analyses of variance.

It was shown that fat oxidation rates were increased by 44% after TPCON (0.24 ± 0.01 vs 0.35 ± 0.03 g·min−1, P < 0.05) but not after TPINT, and the whole-body insulin sensitivity index was increased by 27% after TPCON (P < 0.05). These changes occurred despite no change in body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist to hip ratio (WHR), percent body fat (%BF), or .

A continuous exercise training protocol that can elicit high rates of fat oxidation increases the contribution of fat to substrate oxidation during exercise and can significantly increase insulin sensitivity compared with a eucaloric interval protocol.

Pretty interesting study; I will say a few things:

1) They weren’t looking at fat loss in this study. They were looking to see which protocol (the interval method or the steady state method) elicited the greatest amount of fat oxidation and the greatest increase in insulin sensitivity.
2) The subjects were not athletes by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, they were obese males (who had no major health issues; other than the fact that they were obese). So, this may not apply to your athletic clients. However, those of you who are working with over-weight/obese individuals who need to improve overall health may be able to extract some useful information from this study with regard to programming their cardiovascular exercise (especially at the beginning of an exercise program, when they are very de-conditioned and unable to tolerate high amounts of work).
3) The intensity for the interval-training group was hardly what you would classify as “intense,” 65% of Vo2max. Where as other studies showing greater benefits in the high intensity interval-training group used much higher intensities. Again, this probably will not apply to your athletes.

So what can we take from this study:

1) According to the study, there may very well be a fat burning zone. It would be hard however, to take this study and apply it to healthy athletic people.
2) While they weren’t looking at fat loss in this study (which has been looked at in other studies comparing interval training and steady state cardio), they were looking at markers of overall health (fat oxidation during exercise and improvements in insulin sensitivity).
3) The study showed that the steady state group showed significantly greater improvements than the interval group in all of the tests in question. So, there is some benefit of regular cardiovascular work, despite what the “just do HIIT and don’t ever do steady state because it will make you fat and make you lose muscles and decrease testosterone” camp says.

How does steady state cardio fit into our training programs? That is the million-dollar question, and I will get to that this week.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Do Hockey Players Need Aerobic Fitness? Relation Between Vo2max and Fatigue During High Intensity Intermittent Skating.

Do Hockey Players Need Aerobic Fitness? Relation Between Vo2max and Fatigue During High Intensity Intermittent Skating.

Carey DG, Drake MM, Pliego GJ, Raymond RL J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Aug;21(3):963-6.

Purpose: The primary objective of this study was to assess the relationship between aerobic capacity, as measured by the VO(2)max test, and recovery from high-intensity intermittent exercise.

Eleven female collegiate hockey players agreed to participate. Subjects skated 5 1-lap intervals around the hockey rink at maximal intensity with a 30-second recovery period between skates. The VO(2)max test was performed on a motor-driven treadmill after a modified Bruce protocol. A fatigue index was calculated by measuring the total increase in skate time from trial 1 to trial 5. This fatigue index was then correlated to VO(2)max.

Results: This correlation coefficient (-0.422) was not significant (p > 0.05) and indicated that only 17.8% of the variance in VO(2)max could be explained by the fatigue index. It was concluded that ability to recover from high-intensity intermittent exercise is not related to aerobic capacity.

Coaches and trainers probably do not need to include aerobic training in their practices, because the high-intensity interval training commonly seen in hockey training also improves aerobic capacity, as reflected in the high VO(2)max values of these subjects.

My Comments:

Another study looking at aerobic exercise and its possible conflict when added to a strength and conditioning program for athletes in a power sport. Consistent with other studies, stating that interval training can increase Vo2max, the authors have concluded that time spent in training may better be served by doing things that are more specific to the sport (IE, interval training specific to the work to rest ratio of hockey).

I do agree that interval training is helpful for sports performance and can benefit your athletes greatly. The big question really is; where does aerobic training fit into sports conditioning? Should it be used at all? I mean clearly, we are seeing studies showing that athletes are getting a tremendous bang for their buck performing interval work. Why would anyone spend time doing regular, moderate intensity, steady-state cardio? The answer to that lies in the amount of stress and fatigue that is gained by high intensity interval training and heavy resistance training. How many days a week can an athlete keep something like that up before burn out happens?

Part of the problem is that research is great for what it is. It gives us information that we can hopefully take and apply to a group of people we are working with. It suggests statistical significance and helps us to make conclusions about the training programs that we use with our athletes. I am all for being evidence based and I always try and seek out research to support the things that I do. However, there are limitations to research, the main one being, what happens in the lab and what happens in the gym are not always the same thing and the environments can sometimes be hard to recreate. As well, those that are conducting research are researchers and not necessarily the ones that are out working with athletes, so their interpretation of what works may not always be the best for your situation. As a coach you need to learn to read your athletes, and understand when to “push” and when to “hold back,” depending on the feedback that athlete is giving you that day about how they are feeling (verbally) and the feedback the athlete is giving you that day by observing how they are performing (visually) and then adjusting. Just something to think about. That said, research is extremely valuable and it is important to be evidenced based and not just work on conjecture or “something someone told you.” To many coaches read research (often times out of context from the population they are working with) and use it to support their ideas (even if it is out of context). When they are then called on their B.S., they like to say that what they do is “real world,” and that is all that is important. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You are either evidenced based or you are not. Only quoting research when it supports what you are saying (again even if it is out of context) and failing to recognize research that disagrees with you is silly.

I am going to continue talking about cardio over the next few entries and touch on ideas of aerobic training and how it can work in an overall program (when used properly). Also, I will be posting a very interesting study that just came across my desk regarding “the fat burning zone”……GASP!

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Research: Noncompatibility of Power and Endurance Training Among College Baseball Players

Rhea M, Oliverson J, Marshall G, Peterson M, Kenn J, Ayllón FN , Noncompatibility of Power and Endurance Training Among College Baseball Players, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research:Volume 22(1)January 2008pp 230-234

Purpose: Exercise professionals seeking to develop evidence-based training programs rely on several training principles demonstrated through research and professional experience. In an effort to further research examining these principles, an investigation was designed and completed to evaluate the compatibility of cardiovascular endurance and neuromuscular power training.

Methods: Sixteen Division-I collegiate baseball players were divided into two training groups with lower body power measured before and after their college playing season. The two groups differed in training in that one group performed moderate- to high-intense cardiovascular endurance training 3-4 days per week throughout the season, while the other group participated in speed/speed endurance training.

Results: A significant difference between groups (P < .05) was identified in the change in lower body power during the baseball season. During the season, the endurance training group decreased an average of 39.50 ± 128.03 watts while the speed group improved an average of 210.63 ± 168.96 watts.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that moderate- to high-intense cardiovascular endurance and neuromuscular power training do not appear to be compatible when performed simultaneously. For baseball players, athletes who rely heavily on power and speed, conventional baseball conditioning involving significant amounts of cardiovascular endurance training should be altered to include more speed/power interval training.

My Comments:

Basically another study looking at the potential effects that aerobic exercise can have on a training program for athletes in power sports.
Both of the groups performed their regular periodized weight-lifting routines (2-3x’s a week), which consisted of compound free weight movements (squats, power cleans, step ups, lunges, etc.), as well as plyometric movements like resisted jumps, hurdle jumps and bounding). The only area that the two groups different was in their metabolic conditioning program; one group performing moderate to high intensity jogging (12-18 on the Borg RPE scale) 3-4x’s a week for 20-60min. (the average being 45 minutes); while the other performed a sprint protocol of 10-30 sprints, 15-60 meters in length, with 10-60 seconds rest between sets, performed 3x’s a week.
As the results say, the group that performed the more endurance based program tested lower in power output when compared to the group that performed the more anaerobic sprint program at the end of their 18-week season.
I don’t think aerobic exercise is bad. I think that it has its place in a program, and during an 18-week competitive season is probably not the best place to emphasize it (ie 3-4x’s a week/20-60min). I think that aerobic exercise can be helpful for recovery, following intense training or competition; as well as in the off-season when the athlete is trying to raise work capacity and reach a higher level of fitness (and all the adaptations that go along with increasing aerobic capacity).

I don’t particularly like jogging and lean more towards tempo runs and/or circuit training (body weight circuits or calisthenics) as a means of conditioning in the off-season (Although some jogging isn’t going to kill you. Would I do it 3-4x’s week….probably not).

Over the next couple entries, I will post some more research that I have been reading, and talk more about cardiovascular work and using it within your overall training program. I will give some ideas as to how I have been using it (for myself and others) on days in-between my main training days and hopefully it will give you some ideas for your own training or those you are working with.

In Other News….

I am currently on spring break for two weeks before my next semester begins. I have been in school what seems like forever, and I have to say, every-time I go on spring break, I am always disappointed because it is not like my first spring break. You know, that spring break where you head out to some hot, sunny, beach like destination with your friends, get drunk and hit on girls. Now it is more like, “Spring Break. Work more, study more, etc.” Well, it isn’t all that bad. I do get to exercise more (and I am well-rested when I do it, which is great!!). The thing that I learned today as I went in to do my conditioning was that stretching after your workout feels pretty damn good! I advocate it to my clients all the time and we stretch after our training sessions, but rarely do I take the time to do it for myself; “Do as I say, not as I do.” Today I took the time, and it felt great! So, lesson of the day: Stretch, It Feels Good.