JC's Musings

featured musing

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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featured musing

Strength Development

I’ve always liked Jimmy Radcliffe’s model of strength development and it provides one way of periodising your strength training. I’ve adapted it a little, and it goes something like this. To improve athleticism, you should progress these strength qualities.

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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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Online Resources and Courses

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

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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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Athlete Health

Just want to follow up on this athlete fit but unhealthy focus, and ask you these questions? How good is your exercise prescription? How good is your rest and recovery prescription?

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Overloading Multiplanar Movement

As intimated in a previous post change of direction (COD) ability is fundamental to success in many sports. Rydsa et al. (2020) stated that top class football players perform ~600, 0 to 90o turns in a match. That’s a lot! The ability to decelerate, turn, and reaccelerate would seem very important in soccer at least.

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED

Running backwards to go faster forwards

This PhD with Aaron Uthoff has challenged, changed and progressed my S&C big time, so much so that I have a healthy dose of backward motion in my every day activity – more to come on that one. So where did the motivation for this PhD come from? First, from an article by Cavagna et al (2012) and the real interesting observation that there was very little elastic storage and utilisation in backward motion. Second, Aaron and I were doing some yardwork (scrubbing gorse) and we were pulling a tarpaulin of gorse cuttings to the burn pile and we played with towing the tarp forwards and backwards. Very different feeling in terms of muscle activation and fatigue. So, the PhD began.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Backward Motion – Knee Health

It was great to hear some of the thoughts on backward running, especially Gary Foley’s on how backward running “brings great delight to your quads.” I'd like to take this backward motion a little further. When you begin reading about the benefits of backward motion, you will understand there are many, but the one I'd like to spend a little time on is knee health. Backward motion is often prescribed to reduce the mechanical stress on the knee e.g. patellofemoral joint compressive forces.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Chronotype

Chronotyping is the expression of the circadian rhythm into three categories: morning (M-type), evening (E-type) and neither (N-type).

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Isometrics

Have you noticed the resurgence in isometrics in assessment and programming? I’ve released a course on isometrics and the length tension relationship, and it had me thinking how my practice has evolved over time, from having little time for isometrics mainly because of my focus on specificity, to now truly understanding it’s value, thanks to a couple of my PhD students.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Not All Steps Are Created Equal

I’m the first to admit I keep an eye on the step count on my smartwatch. I keep it real though as I hardly ever reach 10,000 steps, however, I know not every step is created equal. For example, I do a lot of hill work and in fact I do a lot of backward incline stepping in my day, as mentioned previously. Or your steps with a pack or bag, those steps are not the same as your unloaded walk. And so on….

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Periodisation a Flexible Tactic

Had a great chat to Karsten Jensen a few days back about all and sundry. A topic of mutual interest was this flexible periodisation, a particular area of passion for Karsten. Some things I really liked about his approach were these...

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STRENGTH AND FORCE

Eccentric Quasi-isometrics

Have you heard of, or tried eccentric-quasi isometric (EQI) strength training? An EQI is when an athlete maintains a specific joint-angle against a submaximal load for as long as possible (isometric contraction); as fatigue accumulates, slow lengthening of the muscle occurs (eccentric contraction) = EQI.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
STRENGTH AND FORCE

Isometric Training - 30 in Thirty

I had a great conversation with Brad last week and came away thinking he is “Mr Isometrics” given his specialisation and passion in this area. We chatted about the program and the energetics of it, blood occlusion, and other such things. Basically as the name suggests you perform 30 exercises in 30 minutes. Each exercise you maximally contract for 45seconds and then transition to the next exercise in 15 seconds.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Concurrent Training

Can you train strength and endurance at the same time? The dilemma for many coaches is how to implement strength and endurance training concurrently for runners or running type sports. Traditionally, strength and endurance training sessions have been performed independently, meaning that one method occurs prior to the other and those sessions could be separated by minutes, hours and/or days. Typically the longer between bouts the better, due to the interference principle affecting specific adaptation. Does it need to be that way?

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POWER

Optimal Power Training

Making much sense of the graph? In a previous musing "Effects of rebound, ballistics and load on power output" I showed some power outputs (PO) from a bench press where the load that optimised PO was around 60% 1RM regardless of technique. The data on this graph is for a seated row of Olympic rowers.

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POWER

Ballistics

What are you seeing in the figure of the stylised force and velocity curves of a concentric bench press (Press) and concentric bench press throw (Ballistic) at light loads (15-45% 1RM), with % displacement on the y-axis?

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Change of Direction Training

Did you know a professional soccer player performs approximately 700 changes of direction (COD) per competitive match? COD ability for soccer and many sports is critical for success. So how do you improve COD ability in a sport specific, multi-planar way?

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POWER

Velocity Enhancement

As you know power is the product of force and velocity. So, finding loading and training methods to optimise force or velocity, whilst not negatively affecting the other, seems a smart approach to optimising power output. Over the last couple of posts the effects of rebound/stretch-shorten cycle (SSC) and ballistics/throwing on loading have been discussed.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Lumbosacral Forces and Running Velocity

I'm thinking if you are interested in running and injury you might find this worth a quick read. Nic Simpson shared this article with me this morning, which I found fascinating. Sado, et al., (2019) looked at the lumbosacral torques [lateral flexion (LF), extension (E) and axial rotation (AR)] at different running velocities.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Strength & Power Testing Easy! Not Really.

Do you believe to manage something, you need to measure and monitor it? I've just finished writing a module on strength and power assessment and want to share some reflections. Assessing the strength of athletes you work with is one of the most fundamental skills we need to master and would seem a relatively simple task. However, there is quite a bit to capturing data that is accurate and reliable.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Better Assessment

Understanding how you eliminate the “noise” in your assessments, will go a long way to truly help you understand the effects of your training and having confidence in any claims you make. This was the topic of a recent conversation with Alex Ross, Performance and Sport Science Manager at the New York Mets.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Close Those Windows

In a previous post I talked about the effect of muscle temperature on performance testing and how extended warm-ups can mitigate the effects of diurnal variation on power output. Let’s take this one step further, the importance of temperature in performance is supported by loads of data from heating and cooling experiments, which have demonstrated that maximal anaerobic power declines by 5 % for every 1 ° C drop in muscle temperature.

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ACCELERATION AND SPEED

Youth Athletic Development Edition

Those of you that are interested in youth athletic development, might be interested in the Journal of Science in Sport and Exercise, “Youth and Exercise: Training Young Athletes” edition. It is open access and has 10 articles in it ranging from aerobic and anaerobic fitness to more qualitative coach-oriented articles.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS
WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Motor Control

I’ve posted on this topic before, the gist being that we should provide the athlete movement variability, as a means of injury resistance. For example, perhaps the perfect squat technique may not be the best option for a player and rather we introduce multiplanar squats, unilateral squat derivations, perturb the athlete whilst squatting, etc., to better prepare players for the many movement challenges encountered in their sport.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Tactical Metabolic Training

Getting out on the track and doing intervals and the like, though providing central/peripheral physiological adaptation, seems to be becoming less relevant and utilised in sport. This makes sense, unless you are a runner, as motion in most sport is typified by discontinuous multiplanar motion, performed at a variety of velocities and accelerations.

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POWER
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Maximising Propulsion, Minimising Landing Forces

Thought I’d share this one with you. No doubt many of you have used something similar or have used box jump derivations. Stair work was one way I got a little more propulsive overload into my athletes without increasing the landing forces.

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POWER

Effects of Rebound, Ballistics & Load on Power Output

This was one of my first published studies in my PhD, way back when. It helped me to understand power production (PP) to better effect...

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POWER
INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION

Are Jump-landing Rates The Problem?

I've been talking about reducing the magnitude of the peak landing vertical ground reaction forces (VGRF) as a means to reduce impact injuries associated with jump training. Another important factor to consider is the loading rates. In addition to the peak VGRF, how quickly these peak forces occur after impact with the ground, can give an indication of the mechanical stress applied to the body.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Arm Loading to Increase Calorie Burn During Walking

Something a little bit different... Just finished a Master’s thesis with Robert Grant where we were looking at the influence of wearable resistance (WR) on energy expenditure (EE) during walking. Many of us who are relatively sedentary don’t have time to get 10,000 steps in a day (i.e. ~1.5 hours of walking), so we were interested in putting WR (2 and 4% body mass) on the calf or lower arms to see if we could boost the EE in a shorter time period.

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Landing Overload And Underload

I have been flip-flopping between giving ideas how you can reduce or increase the landing GRF, depending on what the outcomes from your training you want. I have always enjoyed what elastic/rubber based resistance (RBR) offers as a training tool and in the context of jump-landing training it has a lot to offer...

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Drop Landings

Some great ideas about how to overload the landing phase from Chris Brandner using unilateral landing and John Mikula using aqua-training. Another variation of drop landings to enhance the vertical eccentric overload is by simply adding wearable resistance (WR) to you or your athletes.

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STRENGTH AND FORCE
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Eccentric Braking Forces

I’ve been talking a little about emphasising the propulsive overload whilst reducing landing overload. However, your landing, braking or eccentric forces shouldn’t be avoided, and in fact you may want to emphasise them. For example, you should emphasise the landing or vertical eccentric braking forces as they are thought to be critical pre-requisites to safe plyometric or jump training.

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POWER
WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Propulsive Overload, Not Landing Overload

Can we overload the propulsive phase of the jump without overloading the landing phase? For sure. I would like to share with you how wearable resistance (WR) does this. It is not that intuitive as you would think as soon as you add load to a person the ground reaction forces (GRF) on landing would naturally be greater as the athlete is heavier. This is not the case. Why?

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INJURY RESISTANCE AND PREVENTION
TRAINING INSIGHTS

Jump Training

Do you use any movement competency assessments before you implement jump training? Is bilateral and unilateral squat competency a pre-requisite to jump training? Should athletes be able to squat 1.5 times their body weight before plyometrics? Is balance important?

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POWER

Monitoring Power Endurance

So, this power endurance, though a little bit of an oxymoron from a true strength and conditioning perspective, seems like a quality that is worth keeping an eye on. One way I used to monitor this quality is shown in the top panel. I used to attach the linear position transducer to the bar and find the maximum power (Pmax) associated with a particular exercise/load.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Open and Closed Kinetic Chain Overload: A Two for One

As you know there are two kinds of kinetic chain exercises. Open kinetic chain (OKC) exercises, are movements where the hand and the foot are usually free/not fixed, these type of exercises usually better at isolating muscles e.g. knee extension. In a closed kinetic chain (CKC) exercise, the distal segments are usually fixed or stationary, and tend to be more functional movements e.g. squat.

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TRAINING INSIGHTS

Proficiency

Independent of a stack of softer skills, I have had this guiding belief over my teaching career that trainers and practitioners need to know why they do what they do, and be very proficient in understanding and implementing the following...

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POWER

Power Endurance

What do you think of this “go to strategy” that I used way back when I was training netball and rugby athletes? Both sets of athletes benefited from strength endurance, strength and speed strength/power. You didn’t want your teams losing games in the last minutes (looked bad on the S&C coach) so strength endurance was important, but players that were powerful were potential game winners. What was needed was power endurance. How do we train that?

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Increasing Mass – Momentum

Unloaded and loaded (2.8% body mass) golf shots were compared in five female golfers (average handicap 4). The players were loaded on the trail side as shown in the diagram. They performed five loaded and five unloaded shots in a random order. The loaded condition resulted in significant increases in...

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Striking, Stroking, Throwing - Faster and Further

I don’t know if this is legal but thought I’d run this past you. According to the principle of transfer of momentum (mass x velocity), the momentum we generate in our body will transfer to the ball, as in a golf stroke for example i.e. the golf ball now has momentum. Given that the golf ball (or any ball) has a given mass then it's the velocity of the ball (and then flight distance) that is affected by the momentum transfer from the player.

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WEARABLE RESISTANCE

Periodising Wearable Resistance

Where does wearable resistance (WR) fit in the periodised plan? 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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