Healthy Eating while Celebrating the Holidays in Style!

The Holidays, Eating, Training, Dysfunctional Families, and Tips to Survive!

 

I was just kidding in the title of this post when I listed dysfunctional families.  I come from a large family and if you put a tent over us at the holidays you would have a circus.  So I can’t help you that much there.  Although, I know you have to detach from the stress or it will impact the rest of the items listed.

I am going to break this post into two sections.  One is strategy and one is tactics.

So many clients come to me with the fear of blowing all the hard work with eating and exercising during the holidays.  It does not have to be that hard if you develop a strategy that shores up your defenses to all the things that make the holidays difficult.

Strategy:

* You have to put in a little preparation on the front end.  Go buy the nuts, and healthy snacks you like.  Find a good exercise venue.

* Look at the holidays as an opportunity to stay true to yourself.  Change your perspective from one of panic and fear to challenge and opportunity.

* You have to put a huge amount of value on the work you have done in the past.  Too many people do not value all the effort they have put forth in the past and therefore are ok with allowing it to slip away.

* Do not let anyone else diminish what you have done.  Be prepared for Comments like ?Health Freak? ?Why can?t you just eat real food?, ?Relax and take a break?, ?At your age you have to take it easier?, or ?Why can?t you just skip it for a few days.?

* Do not let the comments above offend you, or put you in a position of defending yourself.  You have to understand that until others have walked the path of great health and energy like you, they do not know what they are missing.

* Recognize that you will be out of your element and you will have slips.  Just try to minimize the size of the slip.

* Crab people.  I heard a story that crab fisherman take the live crabs they catch and just throw them in a bucket without a lid.  They can do this because if one of the crabs tries to climb out of the bucket the other crabs will just pull them back in.  Be on the lookout for the crab people.  They are disappointed in themselves for not having the motivation and commitment that you have to your health and consciously or unconsciously want to pull you back into the bucket.

* Do not crab yourself.  It is easy to diminish the value of what you have done and give yourself an out to have a cheat day, week, and month.  ?I will get back on track after the holidays?   Prepare for these moments and remind yourself of what you have already accomplished and where you are going.

Tactics:

* Go everywhere full!  Eat well when you can control what goes in your mouth.  Stock up on some nuts, and if possible go to the store and add some of the snacks you want.  These will help bridge the gap.  If you are full you will make better choices.

* Intermittent Fasts: There is nothing wrong with not eating for a 12 hour window.  Fasts are something that are good for you from time to time.

* Do not beat your chest about how you eat!  Do not tell people what you won?t eat, tell them that you do not like a food.  They cannot argue with your personal tastes, but they will fight you to the bitter end if you say you won?t eat something.  I know you are proud of the changes you have made in your eating, but do not expect others to understand why you do not eat the fried snickers.

* Overeat the good stuff.   Lots of Turkey, veggies, salad, etc.  Have small amounts of the rest.  This also diminishes the pressure to explain why you won?t eat a plateful of mashed potatoes and stuffing.  Enjoy the taste but fill up on the better choices.

* Stay Full!!  Continue to eat your nuts etc. during the day to stop you from reaching for another bite of pie.

Schedule your Exercise:  Get out from the carping about what the crazy uncle did and get outside.  Try to find a partner and get out to walk, hike, run, sprint, etc.  If not make sure you schedule a time every day to do something.  Establish the time the day before based on all of the other festivities.  Remember, 30 min can be all you need.

This should put you in a good spot to be successful during the craziness of the holidays!

Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!

Jacques DeVore, CSCS

President, Titan Sports Performance and Sirens & Titans Fitness

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Sport is War!  Are you ready for the battle?

 

At Titan Sports Performance and Physical Therapy we have trained some of the best athletes in the world and through this training have a window into what are some of the most important ingredients to make a champion.   

This Blog is devoted to evaluating what goes into the training of a world class athlete and also what lessons can be learned from these experiences and our study of human performance.

At Titan we categorize the ingredients of peak athletic performance into the following categories.   Each of these categories has an important role in sport and in life.

  1. Character and Integrity
  2. Discipline
  3. Attitude, Motivation, Desire
  4. Long term  training strategy
  5. Biomechanical integrity
  6. Functional Movement integrity
  7. Functional Power
  8. Maximum Sustained functional power
  9. Sports specific Cardiovascular fitness
  10. Short term training tactics
  11. Recovery , Nutrition, Structured Rest
  12. Genetic and Epigenetic influences

These 12 broad categories are individually important and collectively necessary to produce championship levels of performance.   I believe the ingredients above are in order of importance.   Oftentimes the first three categories are overlooked today.   Ask any coach and they will tell you that you can have all the genetic gifts in the world and that without the right mental approach you will not reach the pinnacle of performance or life.

I will be discussing these subjects in an order that I think is the easiest to understand and will help someone develop a strategy for realizing the maximum of an athlete’s genetic potential.

With that in mind let’s introduce the concept of genetics (genome) and how you influence those genetics through training to elicit an adaptation that supports performance in a sport.  (epigenetic)

How can training result in a positive expression for sport in the genes that you have inherited?  How important is this?

To be continued…….

J

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What You Need to Know About Overload/Adaptation if you want Success in Fitness and Weight Loss:

We have regular educational meetings for the trainers at Sirens & Titans.  The objective is to bring new ideas and further the education of the staff.  Our most recent meeting discussed overload and adaptation and how to optimize this concept for maximum sustained power.  We were focused on the concept as it applies during a workout, but it warrants a further review of the entire concept. 

Most people’s perception of training is very simplistic.  For example: People think if they start training for a marathon that their heart and lungs get stronger because they are performing more work and this mechanical work results in the cardio system getting physically stronger.  In other words the adaptation (improvement) in running comes because of the heavy breathing and increased beating of the heart.  What really occurs is that once you have an overload in work output over and above the norm your homeostasis is disturbed.  This results in messages being sent to the DNA in the cell.  In many cases this results in an immediate change at the genetic level.  If this disruption is repeated over and over again then eventually the adaptation becomes the new norm.  So in simple terms, going back to my first example of marathon training, the adaptation (improvement) is a result of the stress on the body which results in a message being sent through a signaling pathway to your genes.  This signal is what results in a change in your ability to better deliver and carry oxygen to your legs and run faster. 

At Sirens and Titans I coach many members on body composition and weight loss.  What most people do not realize is that what goes in your mouth will result in an adaptation as well.  If you have been nutritionally stressing your body by poor choices for a number of years then in order to make change you have to have a change in your homeostasis.  It is no different than the change in homeostasis that exercise places on the body.   So if you look at nutrition in a similar fashion you will realize that eating can be a stimulus (good or bad) which sends a message through a pathway to your DNA and results in an adaptation.  Gaining weight is the body’s adaptation to a stimulus that is a result of what and how much you eat.  The problem is that most people realize that to train for a marathon will take many months and to become really proficient will take years.  Unfortunately, most people do not look at weight loss in a similar fashion.  If your current homeostasis has been in place for years, then making a change in your body that is permanent will take some regular and consistent attention to your eating. 

So let’s go back to exercise and see what we can do to shape the resulting adaptations.  I will come back to the weight loss side of the equation.

As a coach it is important to determine what adaptation you are trying to achieve.

At Sirens and Titans we start this process by determining what are the strengths and weaknesses of our athlete and how they apply to their particular sport.  We are determining the athlete’s current homeostasis across the spectrum of fitness.   In the weight loss industry most would refer to this homeostasis as a fat set point.  This fat set point is the composition your body has most comfortably established.   In other words what is the current homeostasis?    As an athlete and coach it is important to revisit this idea because it is a dynamic concept that is constantly changing.  This change takes place on both an inter and intra seasonal level.  In other words, season to season changes as well as changes during the season training. 

So this brings me back to the in service we recently had with our trainers.  At Sirens and Titans we establish primary objectives for each of our workouts.  I instruct the trainers that we have a primary objective so we know what is most important for the athlete to walk away with from this particular workout.  In other words what is the most important training stimulus we are attempting to generate during the workout?   I consider the workout a success if we are able to generate a training stimulus that perfectly matches the adaptation we have determined is most important to this athlete at this point in time.

 

Here is where it gets tricky.  What if your stimulus objective in a workout is the heaviest 3 rep dead lift the athlete can execute?  The athlete starts the workout feeling kind of crappy and the performance is not where we want it.  If the trainer continues the workout at a suboptimal performance level then the stimulus being produced is not enough to send a message through the pathway to the gene that results in an increase in strength. This is what I call no man’s land training.  The stimulus is not hard enough for an overload or disruption of homeostasis but hard enough to tax the athlete so that subsequent workouts are impacted negatively.  The better decision would have been to change the current training stimulus in the workout that would have allowed the athlete to revisit the initial overload objective in the shortest period of time in the future.  This is typically where the start of overtraining an athlete begins.  Most athletes and individuals spend way too much time in no man’s land training. 

I always say that what a great strength coach really gives an athlete is time.  In other words the athlete is fitter sooner in their careers so the diminishing asset of age has less impact on their reaching their highest levels of performance when they are chronologically most capable of great performance.

So now you have the simple version of overload/adaptation. It is important to identify the appropriate stressors for performance gain it is also important to look at how to speed the adaptation.

Nutrition is a huge contributor, not only from a long term perspective but also in accomplishing appropriate stimulus during a workout.  Try to understand where your body performs optimally and what you eat before during and after a workout.  Athletes can easily articulate to you max lifts for most exercises in the gym, 100 meter times, 40 yds. etc.  However, try asking them the macro and micro nutrient composition of breakfast and most will have a blank stare.  POOR NUTRITION IS A STRESS.  You should keep a food journal until you know how it impacts your performance. 

Knowing your primary objective helps you to create a workout environment that best reflects the desired adaptation.  Is today a strength day, anaerobic fitness day, aerobic day, and how do those different workouts impact your adaptation objectives.  Is the workout conflicting with your performance goals both short term and long term?  What is the specific sport and how does your program design impact the performance objectives of the sport.

In addition more and more science both in weight loss and sports performance is looking at sleep, daily life stress, arousal before and after a workout, and of course nutrition.  All of these stresses send messages to your genes that will impact or shape the adaptation. 

So if you want the most effective and fastest adaptation for both fitness and weight loss, understand that everything you do impacts this process.

Remember:

Stimulus > Message Sent>Signaling Pathway>Genetic Expression>Adaptation.

You can control a large part of this equation to give you the quickest and most desirable result.

 

 

 Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!

Jacques DeVore, CSCS

President Titan Sports Performance and Sirens and Titans Fitness

http://www.titansb.com   http://www.sirensandtitansfitness.com

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Dear International Olympic Committee (IOC), Why I support Wrestling in the Olympics!

 

jd 1974

I have been thinking a lot about wrestling lately because of the recent decision of the IOC to eliminate the sport from the Olympics.  It made me want to write a little about my experience and the impact the sport had on my life.

Wrestling as a Life Sport

The photo (go ahead and laugh) above was taken right before I had my first match and first defeat as a wrestler many years ago. I was a sophomore in high school.    I remember the lesson as if it was yesterday! 

Wrestling is what I call a “life sport”.  Like life, if you decide to quit you will probably get beat up and eventually pinned.  In most sports the humiliation is spread around.  In wrestling you have to be willing to risk being humiliated individually in front of friends and family.  Ask anyone you know who earned something meaningful and they will most likely tell you they had to risk great loss and humiliation to realize that success.   I think that too often today this lesson is muted so that people do not have to deal with the reality and the risk of losing and possible humiliation.  The value of competitive sport for life comes from embracing these lessons, not pretending they do not exist.

Wrestling is unique, as it does not allow for the muting of these lessons. In wrestling self-esteem is earned and risked; not given!  To be successful takes discipline, sacrifice, and in many cases toiling in obscurity for not much more than the nobility that comes from being in the battle and not getting pinned.  Wrestlers recognize the value that comes from the struggle and carry that value into the rest of their lives.  I was lucky that I found wrestling.  I hope other young men and women get lucky and find this sport as I did.

Where the lessons started

I attended a 3 year high school so when I became a sophomore I was just taking PE classes.  I wanted to play football, but the coach said I was too skinny and I would most likely get hurt.  This coach’s decision was a big disappointment at the time.  Someone mentioned wrestling to me so I went in and met the coach and told him I was interested in wrestling.  He told me that they had already been practicing and had the first match that week.  If I wanted to wrestle, I had to come to practice and “wrestle off” for the 98lb weight class position.   I would have to challenge the current wrestler occupying the varsity spot.  This was a match in order to wrestle the match. 

I weighed all of about 85 lbs. soaking wet, and stood about 5’ 6”.  I had no clue about competitive wrestling other than wrestling around in the yard. 

I was nervous to wrestle off a boy named Duke who was the current varsity wrestler.  He was a muscular kid and I was nervous.   Even his name was intimidating!   I just went out there like the Tasmanian devil and much to my surprise ended up beating him for the varsity spot.  I was pretty excited, but had no idea what was in store for me.  Be careful what you wish for! 

I Get My Butt Kicked (over and over again):

Two nights later I had my first match. They put the mat in the cafeteria as the gym had a basketball game going on and basketball was always the priority sport.  There had to be only about 25 spectators including my teammates.   I was given a uniform, borrowed some shoes, knee pads, and headgear and went out to meet a kid who was a senior and one of the best wrestlers in the state of California in my weight class.  He was built like a gorilla and pinned me in the first period.    My teammates and coaches were yelling out advice from the side of the mat; however all I know was that in a very short time, like a slow motion car crash,   I was on my back looking up at the lights and it was over.  I went to the center of the mat and we shook hands and then they raised his hand. This was my first match and the first loss in my wrestling career.  

The next three matches were more of the same humiliation.  I was pinned in all three. I was angry that I was that bad.  I was wondering if this was the sport for me.  Quitting definitely crossed my mind.

The Payoff

Then like a shot between the eyes the first of many lessons of wrestling was delivered.  Its genesis was the humiliation of losing by being pinned.  I started thinking of what being pinned really meant.  I realized that even though I had no idea what I was doing; getting pinned was quitting.  People always pay lip service to not quitting, but wrestling is one of the few sports that really reinforce the ideal and clearly demonstrates the consequences.  Wrestling matches can end in seconds if your opponent can dominate you and hold your shoulders to the mat and pin you.  No points needed just total domination by your opponent on the mat.   I vowed at that moment to do everything I could to not be pinned again.  I figured that no matter how bad someone beat me in points I was not going to let them pin me.

I worked on strengthening my neck and learned how to fight like hell off my back.  I actually started looking forward to not letting someone pin me.   I would regularly get my head handed to me that first year but I would finish the match with a smile on my face and respect from my opponent.  Both of us knew that he beat me, but we also knew he could not pin me.  Slowly but surely I got better.   I was never pinned again and finally got good enough to go through the season undefeated in my senior year and went on to wrestle at UC Davis.    

Wrestling gave me some of the biggest lessons of my life.  Everyone gets beat, but only by giving up can someone pin you.  I draw on these lessons regularly in my life today.

Many of my closest friends (you guys know who you are) today are guys that were thrown in this crucible with me.  We endured hard practices, cutting weight, training hour after hour so we could put at risk our self-esteem for the whole world to witness.   We tested our bodies and our wills weekly on a mat.  It was absolutely glorious to suffer with these guys.  We shared the glory, defeats and sacrifices of this special sport and special time in our lives.       

These same wrestlers, a long way from their last match, now deal with the ups and downs of life and family with the nobility of wrestlers, and they are all safe in the knowledge that they can handle anything that is thrown at them.  It is a wonderful fraternity of boys who carried the lessons of wrestling into their lives as men.

This fraternity belongs to anyone who has stepped onto a mat, shaken hands, and squared off with an opponent.  The greatest thing about this sport is that it does not matter whether you are an Olympic champion or lost every match you ever wrestled the lessons are the same.   Even the most decorated wrestlers must walk the same path.

There is an acknowledgement and respect that is shared between wrestlers.  When someone tells me they wrestled we both know we are part of this special group of people who were privileged to compete in this sport.   There is no other sport quite like it!  If you were lucky enough to wrestle you know what I am talking about.  If you were not lucky enough, I can guarantee that your life has been positively impacted by this sport directly or indirectly.  It is obvious that the IOC does not recognize this sport for its true contribution. 

IOC 

I have read a lot recently about wrestling and the International Olympic Committee’s decision to cut it out of the 2020 Olympics.  This is a tragedy for a sport that contributes so much to both young and old throughout the world.  Wrestling has passed the test of time and earned its place in the Olympics.

In today’s world we exalt entrepreneurs and visionaries.  Young people are told to follow their dreams; however few recognize the work that is involved in realizing that dream.  They also do not realize that getting pinned may also be part of what realizing that dream requires.  Wrestlers understand this concept.  I think that somewhere in our recent history these lessons have become much less accessible.

Wrestlers are the entrepreneurs of the sporting world.  Most never get much recognition, take huge risk, and toil long hours to build something that is meaningful to them.  Win, lose, or draw the lessons are carried forward.    Wrestling is a noble sport and I hope the groundswell of support for wrestling brings this great “life sport” back to the Olympics. 

You can go to Keep Wrestling in the Olympics on Facebook to find out more and support this great sport. 

 

Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!

Jacques DeVore, CSCS

President Titan Sports Performance and Sirens Fitness

http://www.titansb.com  http://www.sirensfitness.wordpress.com

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How Do You Speed Adaptation and Fitness Gains? The Impact of Non-training Stress on Your Recovery and Fitness:

 

 

Overload/ adaptation!  We all have a pretty good understanding of what that means.  However, it gets complicated.  If we exercise over the norm our body will make an adaptation that will allow us to perform the exercise at a higher level of output.  It seems pretty simple.  As strength and conditioning coach’s at Titan and Sirens www.titansb.com, www.sirensfitness.wordpress.com   we spend a ton of time determining which stimulus will lead to the most appropriate adaptation.  Lots of factors go into the development of the stimulus strategy and a lot of science is called upon if you want effective adaptations and fitness gains.

 

There is an unending amount of science available about this process.  However, the human body is dynamic.  Some athletes handle the adaptation to stress differently.  Age, genetics, athletic maturity, and a myriad of other factors impact the speed of adaptation and subsequent fitness gain.

 

I have been coaching Dave Zabriskie, a professional cyclist on the Garmin Sharp Team, this season on the bike, in the gym and also with his eating. I am able to control all of his training but the outside stress in life is sometimes more difficult to control and can really sabotage gains.  Overseas travel, time zones, different food available, altitude, etc.  All of these factors have to be factored into the equation.  The difference between winning and losing at his level of competition is so small that speed of recovery and outside stress is a really important factor to consider.  So I have to look at stress outside of training stress and integrate that into his training program.  Life gets in the way!

I know training in my own life is compromised greatly by the stress that is going on in my real life outside of training.  Mental stress can be one of your greatest hurdles in your recovery.  Your cortisol level jumps with mental stress, testosterone drops and recovery slows.  This outside stress impacts many aspects of physiology for the weekend warrior, someone trying to lose weight, as well as the professional athlete.

 

In my last blog entry I discussed progressions.  Progressions are of great importance in creating the appropriate stimulus for effective adaptation. The other side of the coin is the ability to unload stress in your life to speed the recovery from training and speed up your ability to perform at higher and higher levels of outputs.

 

Different athletes have different stress responses.   Keeping track of macro and micro nutrients, sleep quality, weight gain or loss, outside stress, resting heart rates are all helpful methods to identify when outside stress may be impacting recovery.   I try to get all my athletes to keep track of these indicators year over year in a training journal and food journal.  This helps to identify how you deal with stress in different scenarios.  Having this information can help tremendously in developing effective training strategies and recovery tactics.  Managing your life stress can really increase your performance and fitness.

 

I have also found that stress really impacts weight gain and loss when someone is trying to change their body composition.

So pay attention to your stress outside of your training.  If you have plateaued, are stuck in a rut, pay attention to your life stress outside of your training stress.   It will make the effort you put out in training pay much greater rewards.

 

Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!

Jacques DeVore, CSCS

President Titan Sports Performance and Sirens Fitness

http://www.titansb.com   www.sirensfitness.wordpress.com

 

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What is the real secret to getting fitter faster!

 

I am the type of person that probably has a touch of ADD.  I get bored very quickly and like change in my life.  I believe that change is very healthy and if you have a great attitude towards change you will be able to grow as a person.

I have recently been evaluating our training to see where change could improve the results to our athletes.  Progressions in exercises are not dissimilar to changes in life.   If your goal as an athlete is to improve your performance then the progression of changes in your workouts is one of the most important parts of training.  However, most people focus on the workout itself and what I call the entertainment value of a workout.  I see people being disappointed if they do the same workout 2 times in a row.  They do not see the value of changes in volume and intensity.    Typically the uninitiated will judge the value of a workout by their perceived level of effort.    There is a time and a place for this type of workout, but typically it is not the way to make great strides in improving your fitness.  Different areas of fitness build a foundation to truly great performance.

Let’s spend a moment on discussing progression in your training.  Let’s take an exercise example and look at some of the variations that will illicit different physiological responses.

A deadlift is a great exercise, and I personally really like the hex bar deadlift.  The exercise movement is a multi-joint exercise that enlists the entire body to execute correctly.  We can change this exercise on multiple levels.  We can have a low rep heavy weight version warming up with lots of rest between sets and going heavy with 1-3 reps.  We can have less weight and more reps, 5 sets of 8 reps.  We can have 15 reps sets 3 to 4 times which lowers the intensity but increases the volume dramatically.   We can shorten the rest between sets.  We can execute the lift with a partial recovery so the athlete is taxed differently.  We could execute super compensation where we execute the lift 3-4 days in a row with lesser and lesser volume while maintaining the intensity.  This would be followed by a longer than normal rest until the next lift to create a monster overload.    You need to look at the primary objective from week to week as well as day to day.  Increases in the volume or intensity of this exercise are where great gains can be made.  If someone does not pay attention to these progressions an athlete spends a lot of time without any significant gains in fitness.    There are a number of different progressions and loads based on what we are trying to accomplish with the athlete.  Most athletes do not pay that much attention to this and dramatically slow their increase in fitness because they do not spend enough time or do not know how to progress the athlete.  The different progressions support each other to reach higher and higher levels of fitness.

I believe understanding this and what type of progression fits the athlete’s maturity and sport is where you will see the biggest impact on your improvement.  I will get much greater gains in fitness with 4 basic exercises and proper progression, than a myriad of “interesting exercises” with poor progression.

Most training does not do an effective job of making the appropriate change in a workout to obtain the quickest and most effective results in fitness because it is more focused on being interesting instead of effective.

If you do not pay attention to progression you will waste the most precious commodity an athlete possesses which is time.  I have always been able to get rapid gains from some of the most gifted and fit athletes by creating a detailed and well thought out progression.

In the 1960s the eastern bloc countries evaluated progressions in macro cycles that spanned 10 years to insure the highest level of performance.  These books have been translated into English and it is amazing the time spent on this concept.

If you want performance gains at the most rapid rate you better be paying lots of your attention to this concept.  In aerobic sports this concept is called a periodization and coaches focus much greater attention to the volume and intensity of training than in the power sports.  .  They look at short term (micro cycles) vs. longer term (macro cycles) to progress the athlete to a desired result.

In the power sports not near as much time is spent on this concept to the detriment of most athletes.  At Titan we pay close attention to this concept and I review the athlete’s progressions to make sure we are making changes most effectively.  Most strength coaches make progressions on the fly with not thoughtful strategy.  This is an ineffective method.

Do not waste your most precious commodity of time!  Pay attention to your progressions!!

Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!

Jacques DeVore, CSCS

President Titan Sports Performance and Sirens Fitness

www.titansb.com   www.sirensfitness.wordpress.com

 

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What everyone should know if you want to increase strength and power for your particular sport

In previous blog entries I have discussed how strength and power are necessary components of any sport. All sports have an X factor of power needed to perform at an optimum level. This performance is also influenced by bio-mechanical issues as well as cardiovascular capabilities. We will only be discussing strength and power training in this entry not maximum sustained power.
What is strength? Strength in its simplest form is your ability to generate a force. If you put your hands against a wall and push as hard has you can you are generating a maximum force. The greater the force production the slower is the velocity of movement. If the wall starts to move when you are pushing against it your force production diminishes as the wall moves. The faster the movement the less force is being produced.

Therefore maximum strength is dependent not only on your ability to generate a force, but also the direction of the force, velocity, and the time you have to generate the force. Being late to the punch can be painful. When I talk about direction I am referring more too concentric vs. eccentric vs. isometric movements. In other words are you performing negatives lifts (eccentric) positive (concentric) or a hold (isometric).

All of these different directions influence the force that is being produced. When velocity is lower force production can be increased and when velocity is high force production diminishes. There is an optimum level where velocity and force production come together to obtain maximum power.

A golfer looks at club head speed, tennis player at the speed of the racket. As the speed increases the ball travels longer or faster. In golf, speed of the club is based on the back swing which creates an eccentric load on the muscles engaged and then a concentric muscle action as the club approaches the ball. The club speed in influenced by a number of different factors. One of the main factors in the absolute speed of the club is the change from eccentric to concentric when the swing goes from back swing to forward swing. This also applies to tennis when changing from back swing to fore swing. If the muscles involved in the swing have a high speed contraction with maximum force the racket will be accelerating at a greater rate. If the transition is slower the racket will be producing less power because the velocity during the time of transition until hitting the ball is not as rapid. So one must evaluate what the necessary force and velocity is needed to generate the optimum power. This force comes up from the ground through the feet and into the kinetic chain of movement. Now, what can make golf and tennis so difficult is the athlete must be able to regulate the power with a high degree of accuracy in order to adjust for different distances and placement. It is one thing to give it all you can, but a completely different skill to be able to fine tune the power. In golf different clubs help in this process. If not you would only need one club. Of course executing at a percentage of maximum power multiple times is what will win games.

In cycling the direction is all concentric. There is not a negative or isometric hold. The cyclist can determine power output by shifting the gear to create greater force production. The cyclist will determine at what velocity and amount of force is warranted. The cyclist recognizes that if too many matches are burned early on they will not be able to call upon that power when it may be needed most. So cycling becomes a game of conservation of energy and not just going hard to impress.

Rate of Force Development (RFD) is an important concept in sport and where a lot of time is spent when developing training strategy. If you think about the physics of moving a mass then a greater RFD would produce greater movement of a mass. In sport that mass is your body in multi-directions. This translates into better first step, vertical jump, lateral movement and ability to produce power. Most of this power comes from the hips and your ground force reaction.

So how does understanding this help you with your training? If you understand the basic concepts of force production, RFD and how it applies to your sport you can better develop a strategy that will produce the greatest improvement in your strength and conditioning.

So a number of questions have to be answered when developing the strategy for training an athlete. What is the baseline of RFD and maximum force production? This will dictate the overload in the training and where time should be spent. Overload can be looked at in the volume of work, intensity of work and how often is the work being completed.

Where is the greatest inefficiency in addressing maximum force production and RFD? Is the gap in production of power laterally, forward, backward, up? When we talk about sport specific what are the speeds of force production necessary to win at the elite level of a particular sport? Is the velocity needed more after an initial movement or from a velocity of zero? This concept is as important as understanding the different planes of power needed.
For example, at Titan we will utilize a Versa pulley to help us develop power in a horizontal plane. This plane of movement is common in sport but harder to get proper loading because of the direction of movement and gravity.

So strength and power are a major component of your training, but first you must understand what it really means to your sport before developing your training strategy and tactics.

Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!
Jacques DeVore, CSCS
President Titan Sports Performance and Sirens Fitness
www.titansb.com www.sirensfitness.wordpress.com

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