JC's Musings

featured musing

Jumping Inside Jumps

Do you know what type of vertical jump force plate signal is shown in the diagram? It is a countermovement jump (CMJ). Do you know what the numbers mean? They represent different phases of the countermovement jump.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Longer And Stronger Muscles

Shifting optimum length (SOPL) of muscle, can be a goal of training if your clients/athletes have short and/or weak muscles. That is, you’re trying to make the muscles stronger at longer lengths. This is particularly important in those who suffer from recurrent muscle strain injuries.

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FLY WHEEL
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Strength at Long Muscle Lengths

Just circling around to a previous post, where I asked were there any benefits to flywheel training over free weight training given the information on gravitational dead spots?Some of you thought cable machines provided a similar overload to the flywheel. Does it?

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FLY WHEEL

Flywheel Concentrics

How does concentric flywheel resistance training (FRT) differ to traditional resistance training (TRT)? We often think that the advantage of FRT is in the eccentric phase, but it may also be in the concentric phase. One of the things you notice is that with FRT the concentric effort and therefore forces are relatively high throughout the motion...

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
Online Resources and Courses

Movement Screening

Do you screen landing ability? The drop landing can be used as a functional movement-screening tool. This assessment was developed by Noyes et al., (2005) with the goal to devise a simple video graphic test that would measure the distance between the hips, knees and ankles in the frontal plane. Previous authors had reported that approximately 60% of non-contact injuries occurred during landing from a jump.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Wearable Resistance Where?

So, where does wearable resistance (WR) fit in the periodised plan? This is a FAQ. Short answer, anywhere. You can combine WR (combination training) with your general/maximal strength training which tends to be high force-low velocity training. This means you can overload high velocity, more specific movements in the general strength phase if you so wish.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS
FLY WHEEL

Flying Strength

I am interested if anybody using flywheel technology feels that it engages the core more so than traditional strength training for certain exercises? When I am performing front, lateral and rear shoulder raises, using the Exerfly rack mount flywheel the activation of the core sure feels that way. I am thinking you brace more with that transition from the concentric to eccentric phases.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
TRAINING INSIGHTS
FLY WHEEL

Flywheel Training for Rehabilitation

Do you think fly wheel training would be useful in musculoskeletal rehabilitation? I think it could be better than many forms of resistance as the overload provided is directly related to the force production capability of your injured/non-injured limbs. That is, the energy stored in the flywheel and returned during the eccentric contraction is equal to that which you put into it during the concentric phase. Less in, less out!

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Concentrics and Injury Resistance

Did you think that eccentric muscle actions were the only contraction types that could shift the optimum length (SOPL) of muscle (see picture)? Net effect longer and stronger muscles.

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FLY WHEEL

Flywheel Resistance Training - Muscle Soreness?

Having a chat with Carmen Bott a week or so back and we were comparing notes on our Exerfly flywheel systems, and she observed that she had never got muscle soreness using it. This got me reflecting had I experienced muscle soreness with my rack mount, and I hadn’t. Now admittedly we both resistance train, but some of the exercises we were using we were doing for the first time. Still no muscle soreness?

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Partial vs Full ROM Mechanics

What do you think are the mechanical advantages of a short drop squat (SDS - 5.7 cm) vs a full (FS) squat? I've been chatting with Rolf Ohman about this and a big thanks to him for sharing his findings from 4 sets of 5 reps at 90 kg bilaterally.

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FLY WHEEL

Flywheel Muscle Soreness or Lack of Explained

In a previous post the question was asked, do you get muscle soreness using flywheel resistance training (FRT) and if not, why? A few of us had observed very little soreness when FRT, even with the introduction of new exercises.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Jumping Inside Jumps

Do you know what type of vertical jump force plate signal is shown in the diagram? It is a countermovement jump (CMJ). Do you know what the numbers mean? They represent different phases of the countermovement jump.

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FLY WHEEL

Last Call on Flywheel Muscle Soreness

Continuing on from previous posts, I was interested in whether muscle soreness from flywheel resistance training (FRT) had been documented in clinical populations? A quick scoping of the literature found...

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Isometrics Insights

Can you spot the difference that can make a 40-80 kg different to an isometric dead start concentric only contraction?

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
Online Resources and Courses

Titin, Eccentrics, Stiffness, Injury

So what has titin got to do with eccentrics, stiffness and injury? Let me explain... During eccentric or lengthening contractions, some sarcomeres within muscle fibres are thought to stretch to greater lengths, these sites structurally weaker due to the amount of actin and myosin overlap, and hence the muscle is more susceptible to injury at these sites/lengths.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
Online Resources and Courses

Sliding filament theory out – Winding filament theory in?

Last call on titin. I have been talking to this titin molecule over the last couple of posts and will put this discussion to bed after sharing this with you.Some of the latest research says that titin has a huge role in active force production, the winding filament theory (WFT) suggested a better explanation of muscle function than the sliding filament theory (SFT).

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FLY WHEEL
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Flywheel Pros

I’d like to thank Josh Naterman for taking time to expand his thoughts in a very articulate and knowledgeable manner, about the potential benefits of flywheel resistance training (FRT). Concepts around impulse, rubber based resistance training (RBRT) and traditional resistance training (TRT) such as cables were discussed.

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED
Online Resources and Courses

Moving Backwards for Forward Strengthening

I’m a big fan of having a healthy dose of moving backwards in your days, some of the acute benefits to backward motion (BM) listed on the slide. One of the things I’ve found most fascinating is that there is very little elastic storage and utilisation in BM. So, if you want to preferentially target the contractile component and minimise the contribution of the passive (mysial) and series (tendon) elastic components during dynamic cyclic movement, then this should be part of your exercise menu.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Titin the Big Player

How much do you know about titin? Here is a couple of quick facts. First it is the largest protein known in the human body – aptly named from the Latin word meaning strong or giant. Second it provides ~90- 95% of endosarcomeric (within sarcomere) passive force and is a big player in terms of muscle function, mechanics, functional and sporting performance.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
FLY WHEEL

Gravitational Dead Spots

What is a gravitational dead spot? In terms of strength training, I am using the term to refer to the zone where the effects of gravity are minimal on the load and therefore the involved muscles.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Landing Preparation Training

So, are you up to speed with all the landing ground reaction forces (GRF) that your athlete’s experience and therefore should be prepared to handle? Previously, I mentioned the vertical GRF, and these are the forces that you should understand as they have the additive effect of your mass, how high you jump and the effect of gravity combining to provide a substantial musculotendinous overload on landing. You will note that the vertical GRF (A) sometimes has two peaks which indicates a toe (F1) heel (F2) landing pattern. Shorter rise times or steeper slopes to these peaks is indicative of greater stress on the musculoskeletal tissues.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Passive Muscle Tension and Fluid Volume

I didn’t know changes in intramuscular fluid volume could influence force and velocity of contraction to the magnitude they do. I have been updating my Optimising Strength and Power course and found this article by Sleboda et al (2019) fascinating...

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Isometrics and Muscle Length

Which press-up produced a net vertical force of 575 vs. 856 N on the force plates shown in the diagram?Did you say A = 856 N and B = 575 N?Could you use the diagram in the middle to explain the differences?

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Screening

So where does movement screening (MS) fit and how does it differ to musculoskeletal screening? My bead on things is shown in the diagram, MS is the place you should start prior to any musculoskeletal testing and physical capacity testing.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Jump-Landings

What do you see in the figure? A countermovement jump (CMJ) vertical ground reaction force signal, the various phases of the CMJ and the propulsive and landing forces associated with the jump landings.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Bad Posture Is Ideal?

What are your thoughts on “ideal” posture? Just completed a resource on movement screening (https://lnkd.in/gaY9c8wX) and why this is such a great place to start with a client and/or athlete. Prior to the movement screening, getting a snapshot of a person’s static posture is usually insightful in that often it is a window to their dynamic movement. For example, if you observe femoral or tibial torsion during a static assessment, it most likely influences gait in some manner.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

When Bad is Good...

I am wondering where you stand on this one. Following on from the previous post on posture, there are a whole heap of athletic postures that would be classified far from “ideal”. These postural derivations observed in athletes, however, appear to be advantageous to the production and application of force for their sport. For example, tibial torsion and hyper extended knees for swimming, lordosis for field and track sports requiring speed, etc.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
FLY WHEEL

Fly In And Out

Here's one observation from a newbie with Exerfly rack flywheel technology (see picture). You just can't cheat that eccentric phase during flywheel training! It catches up with you at some stage! That is, you have to arrest or brake the angular momentum (flywheel mass x angular velocity) some time/displacement during the movement.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Torque Steadiness

Big shout out to Scot Morrison who educated me on this topic of torque or force steadiness. I showed this countermovement jump signal in a previous post of an ACL injured athlete, who after 12 months still had this atypical jagged signal in the unweighting phase of the jump, both bilaterally and unilaterally in both legs, as shown in the boxed region in the Figure on the left. When you magnify a force signal you will see it fluctuating around an average value, the standard deviation of which can be used as a measure of steadiness. However, the normal force signal during the unweighting phase is typically smooth as in the Figure on the right.

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Supramaximal Accentuated Eccentric Loading

What are some of the big differences between lengthening (eccentric) and shortening (concentric) contractions? In mechanical terms, certainly the force-velocity characteristics differ markedly, where eccentric forces are greater (supramaximal) than a concentric 1RM or maximum voluntary isometric (zero velocity) contraction (MVIC) and can be produced independent of velocity as shown in the figure.

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Concentric Force-Velocity Relationship

Have you heard of viscosity or viscoelastic properties of muscle? How does it affect or explain the concentric force-velocity relationship (CFVR)? Does it affect the “feel” and function of a muscle? Can you change it to improve force and velocity capability acutely and/or longitudinally?

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Running Resisted Part 3

In a previous post I discussed how we can use limb loaded resistance to increase the inertia of the limb whilst running and therefore provide additional resistance and hence a sport specific strength stimulus. Let’s take this a step further.

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Eccentrics, Concentrics and Isometrics Unpacked

Mechanical loading or lack of, drives physiological adaptation. Let’s look at this initially with a disuse, inactivity, injury or immobilisation lens. What happens when you can’t get stress (force) or strain (length) into a tissue?

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Multidirectional Jumping Asymmetry

Can you remember what those Venn diagrams mean from your school days? Let’s try and make some sense of the figure. Hewit et al (2012) looked at the jump performance of a National Under 21 netball team. Some results from this study are detailed in the table, which shows the R2 or shared variance the tests have with each other...

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FLY WHEEL

Why Fly?

As with any form of resistance training you need to know its benefits and limitations, flywheel resistance training (FRT) is no different. The best thing you can do if you haven’t already, is get on a device and give it a go. If you don’t have access then the things you would likely notice are...

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How to Assess Elastic Asymmetry

What’s going on in that diagram? What has that got to do with assessing elastic asymmetry? Well the signals are of a squat jump (SJ) and a countermovement jump (CMJ), which you can use to provide insight into active force capability from the contractile component (CC) and passive or elastic force capability from the parallel (PEC – mysial tissues) and series elastic components (SEC - tendon).

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Using Inertia for Improving Running Strength

So what's inertia and can you use it for rehab and/or to simply get stronger for running? Inertia is the resistance of a body to change in motion and is a function of mass. For example, if 400 grams is placed on the calf as in the runner in the picture, then the inertia of the calf and leg has been increased as the limb is 400 gm heavier and therefore requires more muscular effort to accelerate and decelerate.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Bilateral Deficit – Bilateral Facilitation

Can somebody help here? Jordan Troester, Director of Performance and Sport Science at University of Oregon shared this observation. When isometric squat assessing their athletes, he typically finds that the single leg peak forces (PF) in the diagram (see Figures B and C ), were at least 80% of double leg PF (see Figure A), sometimes even between 90-100%. In the example on the slide, unilateral isometric PF is ~83% of bilateral PF. Have you seen similar results? Why is that?

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Asymmetry Insights

How good is your understanding re. slow vs fast stretch-shorten cycle (SSC) performance i.e. coupled eccentric-concentric contractions as in typical human motion? Do you know what sort of jumps assess slow and fast SSC performance? Would you expect the interlimb asymmetry between limbs for both types of jumps be similar?

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Fibre Type and Function

The diagram depicts three different motor units (motorneuron and the muscle fibres it innervates), that have very different force capability as shown by the twitch responses and fatigue curves. Broadly speaking they are representative of three muscle fibre types – one slow and two fast that are known by a multitude of names.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Shaping and Shifting Muscle

Muscular tension is produced by both force generation (active tension) and stretch (passive tension), and when these two are combined there may be an additive effect. When muscles are actively contracting, they can produce force either while shortening, lengthening, or remaining at a constant length (isometric). In all cases, greater mechanical loading can increase cross-sectional area (CSA) irrespective of contraction type, thereby confirming the key role of muscular tension.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
FLY WHEEL

Flying Wheels

We’ve just entered a partnership with Exerfly a flywheel technology company here in NZ. I know a little about flywheel technology, which I will share with you. However, I am hoping also that you share with me how you've been implementing this technology as part of your practice, as I know there are 100s of research articles in this area and many of you will have been using the technology for several years.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Asymmetry Insights

What are you looking at in the diagram?? It is the force-time signal from a force plate of the jump phase of a countermovement jump (CMJ), one of the most common jumps used to quantify asymmetry by practitioners.Which signal do you think is of an athlete who was cleared to return to play 12 months previously, after ACL repair and rehabilitation?

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED
WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Strength Train Whilst You Run!

Force (mass x acceleration) capability in runners is typically developed via traditional resistance training methods where mass is emphasised, athletes overcoming large loads on bars. A consequence of such loading is that movement velocities and accelerations are slow/small. Conversely, force capability in runners can be developed in athletes by emphasising velocity and acceleration of movement, therefore moving light loads/masses quickly.

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Muscle Architecture and Movement

How is your knowledge around the effects of muscle architecture on force and function? Do you know how to train to change architecture? Muscle architecture typically refers to muscle thickness (MT), pennation angle (PA) and fascicle length (FL), an ultrasound image of the vasti musculature showing two of these design parameters.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Intermuscular Co-ordination

Intra- and intermuscular co-ordination refer to the neural factors that you can focus training on to improve force and power, whether it be for injury resistance/rehab or sporting performance. Intramuscular or within muscle factors such as motor unit recruitment, firing frequency, synchronisation and reflex activity, respond well to heavy non-specific strength training.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Interpreting Interlimb Asymmetry

There is not much to interpreting an interlimb asymmetry, right? You just look at the value to see the percent difference between limbs. Is it that simple? How do you know that the asymmetry is real or meaningful? Does any of the picture on the slide make sense to you?

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Are All Hip Extension Exercises Created Equal?

This is one of the early studies that I did with Bret Contreras that really opened my eyes to how different hip extension exercises target the strengthening of muscle at different lengths.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Core Strengthening

If you were to do a sit up, which loading pattern would overload and strengthen the core more A or B? Both vests have 800 grams of additional weight on them. I'm picking most of you would've chosen B. But can you give the reason?

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Eccentric Loading of Tissues

Do you know what's happening in the diagram? This model can tell you so much about physiology, mechanics, musculotendinous function, assessment and programming, for injured and healthy muscle. But let’s start at the beginning.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Infrared thermography (IRT) in Rehab and Performance

Have you heard of IRT? A couple years back when visiting Texas, I came across Skylar Richards the then sport scientist with FC Dallas, who showed me how he was using this technology to provide insight into injury risk and quality of recovery strategies. I found it fascinating, and am wondering if many of you use it?

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED
WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Muscle Strategy Change With Increasing Speed

Have you ever wondered how stride length and stride frequency, and associated muscular strategies change with increasing running speed? Check out this open access article by Dorn et al. (https://lnkd.in/gMb7ZbWx ) for the details. In summary, as shown in the graph, more of the speed increase at lower speeds is due to stride length, whereas high speed running is due to greater stride frequency increases.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Asymmetry Thresholds

Just been putting this free resource together about limb asymmetry and thought I’d share bits of it with you. The first area I thought I’d take on is what is considered a threshold of interlimb asymmetry that is worrisome to the practitioner.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Asymmetry Pre-Planning

Do you put much pre-planning into your asymmetry assessments? A good place to start is the why? Are you assessing asymmetry to: drive better movement and sporting performance; reduce likelihood of injury; and/or, monitor your rehab efficacy? That is the easy part.

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED

Backward Motion

What do you think are some of the benefits to backward motion (BM)? On the slide are listed some of the acute benefits. One of the things I found most fascinating was that there is very little elastic storage and utilisation in BM. So, if you want to preferentially target the contractile component and minimise the contribution of the passive (mysial) and series (tendon) elastic components during dynamic cyclic movement, then this should be part of your exercise menu.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Addressing Asymmetry

What are you seeing in the two diagrams? The belly or bigger/heavier part of the wearable resistance (WR) is oriented either medially or laterally. So not only can you make a limb heavier for movement specific strength training, but you can also orient the load in a manner to produce subtle turning forces around the joint as in the medial and lateral loading, producing internal and external rotation.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Calculating Interlimb Asymmetry

Do you know how to calculate asymmetry between limbs? Are there multiple methods? How comparable are the different methods? Is there one method better than others?

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
POWER

Eccentric Quasi-Isometrics (EQI)

In the photo you can see Mel Siff’s classification of types of muscle action. Of interest is the use of quasi-isometrics and in particular EQI muscle actions. An EQI is where you maintain a specific joint-angle against a submaximal load for as long as possible; as fatigue accumulates, an eccentric contraction occurs while you attempt to resist muscle lengthening through the prescribed range of motion.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Training Adaptation

Chris Beardsley just posted on phase potentiation and interference, which I found thought provoking. Basically, the terminology refers to how one block of training can potentiate or interfere with a subsequent block of training. Chris cited research how balance training before strength training interfered with rate of force development (RFD) adaptations and strength training before balance training interfered with both RFD and strength adaptation.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Core Strength Training

What are you seeing in these diagrams? The same amount of load (1.2 kg/2.7 lbs) but arranged differently around the midline. Well, we’re playing with rotational inertia again but it is around the longitudinal axis (LA) the blue line on the figure. Remember the formula for rotational inertia – I = mr2, the resistance to angular motion a function of mass (m) and how far the mass is from the axis of rotation (r).

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Getting Primed!

This priming area has been the subject of a great deal of interest in terms of getting that pre-competition edge for your athletes. Have you integrated video into your warm-up 15 minutes prior to competition? If not, this may interest you.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Mechanotherapy and Tissue Repair For Physiotherapists

What’s mechanotherapy? This article by Khan and Scott (2009) “Mechanotherpay: how physical therapists’ prescription of exercise promotes tissue repair,” makes an interesting read...

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

The Big Three

What do you think are the big three mechanical variables that drive most tissue adaptation?Force-Length-Velocity. That is, muscles generate force depending on their force-velocity and length-tension properties. This is why the force-velocity and length tension relationships are so important to understand.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Eccentrics

Do you think eccentrics just that little bit different to isometrics and concentrics physiologically? All these contraction types are modulated by the same contractile machinery, so there should be no difference. Or is there?

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Isometric Exercise Zone

What’s an Isometric Exercise Zone? Check this free Exercise Zone out and you will understand. Basically it is part of a Block Course I just released on Isometrics, Concentrics and Eccentrics. The resources I develop have a Masterclass, Assessment Zone and Exercise Zone per topic, so this free resource shared provides information and movies into the different types of isometric training and programming considerations.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Rest Redistribution vs Cluster Set Training

So, what's the difference between cluster set (CS) training and rest redistribution (RR) training? During CS training additional intra-set rest periods are added alongside standard inter-set rest periods, the net effect a longer session. RR training on the other hand redistributes the total rest time (see figure), shifting it to include shorter but more frequent rest times, the net effect a same length session.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Foaming For More Volume

More on more mechanical loading in a session. Hot off the press is this open access article by Santana et al. (2021) (https://lnkd.in/gDzH6AC) who found that foam rolling between sets increased total training volume of a leg extension exercise. They compared agonist foam rolling (AFR), antagonist (ANTFR), combined agonist and antagonist (A/ANTFR) with a traditional control (TP).

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Strengthen muscle without strengthening muscle

What tissue do you think the picture is showing? It’s an electron micrograph of the connective tissue found around the muscle fibres, which collectively are called the mysial tissues or intramuscular fascia. The muscle fibres have been removed via acid digestion.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Overload Your Running

What determines changes in neural and metabolic loading/effort? Usually a change in mechanical loading. Let’s take the findings of Matt Brown from PSG Football Club in a previous post where he found an increase in electrical/neural activity of the muscle (EMG) during high speed running, by simply moving the same light weight further away from his knee on a calf sleeve (see picture).

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

More Mechanical Load

If mechanical load is such a driver of signalling and tissue remodelling (mechanotransduction), how can we get more load into a session? Previously, I suggested a whole lot of ways we could use the interset rest period to add mechanical stress to your training session e.g. vibration, isometrics, etc. What about ways within the set (intraset) structure? Cluster training provides a great option to increase the mechanical load of a session and we began looking at this in 2003.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Smart Strengthening

See what you think...An anonymous female competitive runner (5 km – 17.27; 10 Km – 36.12) and physiotherapist recently adopted wearable resistance (WR) into her training. She wanted to see if some WR specific drills and strengthening prior to her 2 x tempo sessions/week affected performance in any manner. The only changes to her program were these WR exercises as part of her warm-up

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Enhancing High Performance

Most enlightening chat with Richard Young PhD a couple of days back. One part of the conversation that really resonated was when he gave me insight into what his role mostly involves when he gets called into high performing environments i.e. businesses and sporting organisations.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Is Your Toolbox Full?

How many “tools” do you use to train muscle? Pneumatics, chains, flywheel, free weights, body weight, electrostimulation, etc. I bet there is no shortage of tools in your toolbox. I was chatting with Grigoras Diaconescugrig about flywheel technology and how he uses it, “as an integrated part of training with more traditional methods … they must co-exist together … depending on what adaptation I target from training I chose my tools.”

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED

Load-Velocity Relationship

Previously I mentioned a little about resisted speed training (RST) and how the application of load has changed over the years. If you want to have a great read in this area I direct you to the work of Micheál Cahill who just completed a PhD on the topic. It's packed with interesting findings and practical applications.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Corticosteroids and Connective Tissue

Remember the three component model I posted previously. It’s back! I’ve found the three component model fascinating for many years, as it provides insight into those tissues that are important for force production and transmission. The parallel and series elastic components of the model are representative of the mysial (epimysium, perimysium and endomysium) and tendinous structures respectively, and these and other structures are collectively known as connective tissue.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Get More Electrical

Matt Brown Academy Sport Scientist with Paris St Germain Football Club shared some interesting findings re. load and load placement with wearable resistance (WR) during high-speed running. They compared different calf sleeve loads (0.75 and 1.5% Body mass - BM) and placements (proximal and distal calf) on running mechanics and the electrical activity (EMG) of muscle.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Eccentrics for Propulsion

What have the two shaded regions in the diagrams have in common? Previously I talked about the many faces of eccentrics and specifically mentioned, supramaximal accentuated eccentric loading (#1). You can also classify and emphasise submaximal accentuated eccentric loading (SubAEL). It is submaximal in that the loads used are less than concentric 1RM i.e. the loading is determined by concentric strength.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Eccentrics and Flywheels

How does a flywheel provide both sub- and supra-maximal accentuated eccentric loading (AEL)?Let’s delve into a little mechanics.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Improving Change of Direction

Sean Miller a Senior Performance Coach at ATH in Texas reached out and reported weekly improvements in his 5-0-5 times with the use of wearable resistance (WR) calf sleeves. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. He asked for some suggestions. For me that means time to experiment.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Connective Tissue and Function

Have you noticed as we age we typically lose our springiness and we start becoming stiffer? One of the major reasons for this is the change in the quality of our connective tissues. In young people the structure of this tissue is typically a two directional lattice arrangement. However, with aging and/or disuse the connective tissue architecture takes on a more haphazard and multidirectional arrangement as stylised in the figure adapted from Schleip, 2012.

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Resisted Speed Training

How has your understanding and application of resisted speed training (RST) changed over the years? For me it is around the application of load. RST was one of my first areas of research, and in the late 1990s we thought that using loads greater than 10% body mass (BM) was a “no go” as anything heavier would disrupt sprint technique chronically.

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
TRAINING INSIGHTS
WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Assessment-Solution Connect

Barrie Jennings introduced me to this foot pod technology from Plantiga (https://www.plantiga.com). The last time I played with such technology was with Zephyr insoles in 2006, and the Plantiga AI-power wearable sensor insoles and particularly the analytics have come a long way since then. This technology has changed the way Barrie programs dramatically, the foot signature of the athletes, guiding his programming in a more granular manner.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Shifting Optimum Length

What’s happening in the picture? Well it is a torque-angle curve from an isokinetic dynamometer and you can see a shift in length and strength after a training intervention i.e. the muscle of interest got longer and stronger.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Return to Play

Can you help explain this? Athlete A had a left foot navicular stress fracture nearly 4 yrs ago. Recently Plantiga shoe pods identified a movement compensation where less force (up to 18%) was produced in left foot strike during running i.e. asymmetrical force production. Strengthening interventions were implemented over six months – but ~11% asymmetry remained.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Concentrating on Concentrics

All human movement is different mixtures of force and velocity, and their relationship to each other and contribution to human movement depends on whether the contractions are eccentric, isometric or concentric. This relationship between contractions can be shown as a force-velocity curve, the concentric force velocity curve shown on the slide.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
ACCELERATION AND SPEED

The Future of Fast is Light

This wearable resistance (WR) has piqued my interest for around seven years now as it is a form of strength training that not much was known about seven years back. There was a heap of research in the 1980’s and 1990s then it went dead. I think it went dead because the wearables were ill fitting and in some cases dangerous. So the Lila Exogen (WR) was a god send as far as I was concerned, as resisted sprint training with sleds and vests has always been a research passion.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Optimising Transference

So what's this “dynamic correspondence” all about? Well it was coined by Yuri Verkoshansky to denote the ability of prescribed exercises and/or training programs to improve sporting performance. We know it as transference and a lot of our focus is finding exercises that optimise strength and power transference to the activity/sport of interest.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Concentric Training

I asked previously what was the significance of the concentric force-velocity relationship? What sports are predominantly concentric? Well some sports that come to mind are cycling, rowing, kayaking and swimming, where there is very little storage and utilisation of elastic energy. In these sports your concentric strength and concentric training would seem more specific than other forms of training.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Concentrics and Muscle Growth

Before moving out of concentrics and into eccentrics, I asked this question previously. Does concentric only training afford any advantages over other training? Did anything come to mind? Hopefully if you've been reading the posts, then the utility of concentrics for developing the contractile component of muscle and training concentric dominant sports such as cycling, rowing and the like, would have become clearer.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Lengthening Contractions

I’ve just released a block course on isometrics, concentrics and eccentrics. Undoubtedly the hardest module to get together was the eccentrics, due to the share volume of material in this area and the many applications of this contraction type. In fact, I can remember at one time in our Research Institute, we had six students completing PhDs on various aspects of eccentric training and adaptation.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Supramaximal Accentuated Eccentric Loading

Do you know much about the region shaded on the force-velocity curve in the diagram? It is the eccentric force-velocity curve and it has a couple of differences to the concentric force velocity curve, namely: 1) To develop eccentric strength you should be using loads greater than your concentric 1RM or maximum voluntary isometric contraction – thus the term supramaximal accentuated eccentric loading (SAEL); and, 2) unlike concentrics you can generate large forces independent of velocity.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Rate of Force Development and Maximal Force

I was chatting with Danny Lum, Lead S&C at the Singapore Institute of Sport who has just completed his PhD on isometrics. We discussed some of his findings using isometrics to improve sporting performance...

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Isometric Strength Gains Better Than Dynamic

This isometrics topic has resulted in a “treasure trove” of conversations, which I thank you all for. Armin Paravlic a researcher in the Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, kindly brought my attention to another interesting outcome of isometrics.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS
ACCELERATION AND SPEED

Smart Training - Concurrent Training

Previously I talked of the smart training needed to retain fitness qualities over the course of a season. Too often in my career I was called in halfway through a season to offer advice as teams began losing games, where they would have normally won them. This looked especially bad on the S&C Coach if they were losing games in the last quarter of a game, because invariably people attribute the loss to fitness.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Kohnstamm Phenomenon

Do you know the Kohnstamm phenomenon (KP)? I bet you do! You know when you stand in a door and you position your arms against the door jambs and then push into the jambs for about 30-60 seconds. What happens when you step out?

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Understanding Contractions

Recently I’ve spent a little time unpacking isometrics (Region 2), which aligned with the isometrics module I have released. Over the next few posts, I’d like to unpack some other regions of the force-velocity curve, namely regions 1 and 3.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
ACCELERATION AND SPEED

Arm Loading and Sprinting

Note the wearable resistance (WR) on the arms. Do you think just putting it on can make you faster? What about longitudinal training adaptations? Is it better for acceleration or max velocity adaptation?

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

High Intensity Intermittent Training

Are you or your athletes exercising too hard, too often? Good friend Peter Mellow brought this article from the NY Times, “Too Much High-Intensity Exercise May be Bad For Your Health”, to my attention. Basically the article cited research that reported people who worked out strenuously every day developed sudden and severe declines in the function of their mitochondria, and emergent signs of blood sugar dysfunction. This is noteworthy as the mitochondria are the energy generators found in every cell of your body.

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED
WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Forearm Loading for Sprinting

Just following up on the post on the arm swing and bringing a little wearable resistance (WR) into the movement now. I have been involved in three peer reviewed articles looking at the effects of forearm loading in sprinting.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Have You Got It Right?

This is a bit of an adjunct to the “HITTers Beware” post. Thanks Karsten Jensen for sharing the quote of strength coach Charles Staley who said that, “Most athletes are more addicted to the fatigue a workout produces than to the results a workout produces.” It resonated and calls of “less is more” and “train smart, not hard” bounced around my grey matter.

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