Showing posts with label STRENGTH & CONDITIONING. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STRENGTH & CONDITIONING. Show all posts

Speed Development Using Reactive Strength and Explosive Strength

>> July 06, 2017

In many sports, not only you need a high level of maximal strength but you need to also ensure the strength that you have can be utilized as effectively as possible, and this is even crucial when it comes to track sprinting.

No matter how strong you're, if you can't apply it to your sports, that does not count. The most important is whether it can help you to become a better athlete.

We have consistently observed a wide majority of sprinters that considered maximal strength as a way to go, use it to develop the fundamental to sprint faster. This is certainly true since higher force production is important in any high-speed and power events. Given that there are basically two general ways to improve your force production (increase mass lifted, and increase the ability to move it), strength development is a must.

Certainly, strength is the vehicle for sprinting. But fast sprinting needs more than maximal strength. The actions that occur during sprinting is not slow nor normal, but very fast one and also repetitive. Fast movement requires reflexive ground contact, rapid stretching and shortening of muscles (stretch-shortening cycle), well-coordinated movements, and stability of the action itself. This can ensure a good and consistent execution of sprint movements. Therefore reactive strength and explosive strength comes to mind. Hence, a more specific strength development is necessary.

The primary difference between reactive strength and explosive strength is how the movement is performed.
  • Reactive strength - exercises which specifically involve brief contact with the ground such as bounding, ankle hops, and jump over hurdles.
  • Explosive strength - exercise that implemented with vigorous actions such as during jump exercises. For example, box jump. The rapid extension of joints such as the knees and hips during box jump is the element of explosiveness. Power clean, snatch, and medicine ball slams are among others.
In one complete movement, the reactive component may precede the explosive component. As a whole, both contribute significantly to a fast movement such as sprinting.

Vertical and horizontal forces
The movement that you choose can play a significant role in how the forces are oriented and developed. The vertical and horizontal force production can determine how fast and how far the body is moved and propelled. A greater force applied on the ground (say within the 0.10s contact phase) propels the body to a greater distance while spending less time in the air through an effective utilization of the cyclic coordinated movement. Considering these can help optimize the sprinting specific skills. Forward jump is an example of horizontal force development and any vertical jumps or tasks should develop the vertical forces. Both are required in sprint running.

So the principle of fast sprinting is not limited to this, but for this time around we will try to address both reactive strength and explosive strength, therefore, here are some important points in coaching: 
  • High power output during the contact phase
  • Spend less time on the ground
  • Better use of strength shortening cycle 
Strength programming for speed
This is not a complicated task to do but the challenge is how do we incorporate them into a structured training program, which incorporates the technical (track workout) and physical development. We will see how the program can be implemented. We will use only some selected but appropriate exercises for linear sprints (but none are hamstring specific exercise). 

Maximal strength
Back squat, 4 sets x 4-6 reps x 85-90% 1RM
Bench press, 4 sets x 4-6 reps x 85-90% 1RM
Bulgarian squat, 4 sets x 4-6 reps ES x 40-45% 1RM

Reactive strength
Pogo jump (lightweight), 5 sets x 8 reps, 1-min rest between set
30-40cm drop jump, 3 sets x 6-10 reps, 10s rest between rep, 1-3 mins rest between sets
12" 6 mini-hurdle jumps, 4 sets, 1-min rest between sets

Explosive strength
1A Clean pull, 4 sets x 3-6 reps x 80% 1RM
1B Jump squat, 4 sets x 3-6 reps x 20kg
2A Split snatch, 4 x 3-6 reps x 50% 1RM
2B Standing long jump, 3 sets x 6 reps
3A Accentuated box jump, 3 sets x 6 reps
Rest between reps = 30 secs, rest between sets = 3-min

Choice of exercises for weekly program (microcycle)

Day 1 Speed Strength session
Number of exercises = 6-8
Sets = 3-5
Reps = 3-8
Load intensity = bodyweight - 40% 1RM
*Can use high load for the first exercise for potentiation purpose (e.g. 70-80% 1RM)
  • Clean Pulls
  • KB swing
  • Snatch 
  • Box jump
  • Step Ups
  • Lunge jump
Day 2 Strength Speed session

Number of exercises = 5-8
Sets = 3-5
Reps = 3-6
Load intensity = 60-80% 1RM
*Can be alternated with a short, high-speed exercise to stimulate speed contraction
  • Power clean
  • Power push-ups
  • Bulgarian squat
  • Ravers
  • Bench pulls
  • SM calf raise
Day 3 Maximal Strengths session
Number of exercises = 4-6
Sets = 3-6
Reps = 2-6
Load intensity = 85-95% 1RM
  • Back squat
  • Bench press
  • Deadlift
  • Weighted pull-up
Configuration of strength training
How do we organize strength session in weekly or monthly? based on objective or type of strength qualities? There are no hard rules but the following may be applicable:

a) Given 12 strength and power sessions or slots available in a month: 
  • Max strength = 5 sessions
  • Strength-speed = 3 sessions
  • Speed-strength = 4 sessions
Week 1: max strength, speed-strength, max strength 
Week 2: max strength, speed-strength, max strength
Week 3: strength-speed, speed-strength, max-strength
Week 4: strength-speed, speed-strength, strength-speed

b) This can also be arranged this way (objective => speed):
Week 1: max strength, speed-strength, max strength 
Week 2: speed-strength, strength-speed, max strength
Week 3: speed-strength, strength-speed, max strength
Week 4: speed-strength, strength-speed, max strength

c) To be arranged this way when you have only two sessions (competition phase) in a week:
Week 1: speed-strength, max strength
Week 2: speed-strength, strength-speed
Week 3: speed-strength, max strength
Week 4: speed-strength, speed-strength


The Roles of a Performance Scientist in Elite Sports

>> April 09, 2017

The primary roles of performance scientist are to help athletes and coaches optimizing sports performance, by understanding a wide range of factors that contribute to performance enhancement (or even decrement). 

Such roles usually facilitated by a multidisciplinary sports science (e.g., applied physiology, biomechanics, biochemistry, psychology,  motor control, data science, among others) and use of technologies.

In short, a performance scientist is a major expert in sports science and sports performance. Of note, a performance scientist may be distinctive from a  high-performance manager, an individual usually  manage and oversee the high-performance program and development for a particular or a group of sports.

Both performance scientist and high-performance manager are seen synonymous due to several concurrent roles that they might be required to do. For example, in some institutions, the same person, e.g. head of sports, may have to carry out all the roles needed to be done by different individuals.

Regardless of the above, athletes require the best support from the different area of sports performance (training, monitoring, performance issues, etc.) in order to maximize  performance. This is where a performance scientist can play his/her roles to support athletes.

Think about this ...

In a major competition, you might have observed athletes who were unable to get out of blocks smoothly, could not accelerate properly, unable to maintain good  technique throughout competition, lacking of speed endurance and 'dies' towards the end, not being explosive and powerful enough, no physical capacity compete with others, lost by one hundred of a second to an opponent in major games and missing the gold medal, multiple mistakes, obvious difference in body composition, lack of movement coordination, recurrent injury, and so on.

Here, a performance scientist can play an important role here. But how?

First, a performance scientist will look into aspects that can be optimized, modified, or addressed. Thus, all the available information will be used to determine "what needs to be done." This can be achieved through a series of physical, physiological, psychological, and biomechanical assessments – body composition, strength, power, speed endurance, stride length, and frequency, etc., or assessments of performance during a competition.

This is usually done by a high-performance team (of sports scientists) led by the performance scientist, which involves strength and conditioning specialist, physiologist, biomechanist, nutritionist, psychologist, physiotherapist, physician, etc. in conjunction with the coaching staff, technical director, and manager (see Figure). Information or viewpoints from these experts or scientists can help a performance scientist to develop a more objective, fruitful and "well supported" work plan.

A group of scientist and medical personnel will then work in parallel based on the work plan that has been developed earlier. This integrative way of working with athletes can provide a better understanding of performance, more objective, effective, transparent process in terms of working strategy, which can also eliminate intervention bias (e.g. typical question; does he needs more physical or mental training?).

An integrated approach is different from the classical multidisciplinary methods, which involves experts of different sports science and medical areas who are working with one athlete at the same time, but they work according to what they feel would work purely from the perspective of their own field. Another typical multidisciplinary approach is when a group of scientists (different field) works together during the beginning of a programme (e.g. talent identification or sports science services) but makes their own directions when explaining their findings or making a recommendation. This is not more helpful for people (i.e. coaches) to have a good intervention strategy.

Structure of the high-performance team
Note that in this Figure, performance scientist (who is an expert in sports science and performance) is grouped together with technical coach (as well as chief coach and technical director) who is an expert in sports-specific performance, and also sports/team manager who involves in the management aspect of athletes.

Work plan and intervention ideas

The work plan is used to guide the intervention process using an integrated approach. This includes, for examples, what to do in terms of strength training (by strength and conditioning specialist, and how a nutritionist can support this intervention), what exercises to choose for specific muscle strengthening (by strength and conditioning specialist, and how a biomechanist can provide insight on athlete's gait and motor coordination/technique), and how a group of three scientists (of different expertise) works together to provide a training recommendation as a result of their physiological (strength and power), biomechanical (i.e. kinetic and kinematic), and motor coordination assessments (i.e. technique).

Further, this is extended to ... a) how a biomechanist and skill acquisition expert can work together to improve an athlete's skills ... b) how a psychologist can incorporate a mental rehearsal skill to help improve motor coordination and behavioral performance (i.e. motor control)  ...c) how athletes can benefit from a combination of tactical insights (i.e. by performance analyst) and skills to deal with pressure (i.e. by a psychologist) to improve on decision making and strategy/tactical.

During a competition (e.g. sprinting start), experts will observe and assess athletes to provide related information such as changes in the angular displacement of joints, motor coordination or technical accuracy, as well as the behavioral aspects (e.g. anxiety and emotional); and how this information is used for intervention by both strength and conditioning specialist and technical coach; and monitored over time by the aforesaid sports scientists to see if athletes have improved.
Illustration of an integrated approach for a fitness assessment programme and how to explain the data and intervention strategy to the coaching staff. Of note, the intervention strategy here is based on the information (e.g. gaps or weaknesses) from the physiological and kinematic tests. In addition, the overall recommendation includes supplement intake and diet plan to support the main intervention. This is one of the various examples.

Having said that, successful athletes rely not upon only good support. Before we even think about high-performance support, the biggest gains that athletes can have are actually from their discipline, motivation, training consistency, if being free injury, have access to proper recovery, have nutritious meals, and so on.

Athletes must have a positive mindset and belief that would steer them to become better athletes, but we can't deny that a good coach can help to facilitate the process. A good practice environment (people and facility), proper management, good support services, sports science, and medicine are essential in high-performance sports.


Fast Sprinting Tips

>> March 10, 2017


The net work-done at hips increase when the speed increases.

In other words, the contribution of hip strength and power are more crucial towards the maximal speed phase.

The net energy-absorbed by quadriceps and hamstring increases when the speed increases.
*Quads at the initial swing, and hamstrings at the terminal swing (a specific type of contraction here - isometrics).

This gives you an important idea for a practical application in the weight room.

To bridge the gap (science-practical) a little bit, see below.

Strength your hamstring with isometric type exercise, rather than eccentric all the times.

Increase the ability of the hip flexors and extensors to produce force, and also increase the ability of the hams and quads (knee flex/extend) to absorb the forces that are produced from hips.

What are the exercises to use?
Squat, hip thrust, kettlebell swing, clean are among others.

These are some important keys for better sprint performance, in contrast to the popular belief that quadriceps strength is the only or primary focus of sprint training.

These notes are also important for injury perspective.


The Trend Through the Years in Sprints

>> February 15, 2017

Sprinting has grown immensely. The first winner of the Olympics did not run faster than 12.0 hand-time.

Four years later at the 1900 Olympics, two men have equaled the world record of 10.8 (hand-timed), which they achieved during the heats.

Both the winners of the 1932 and 1936 Olympics have recorded 10.3h.

In the 1960s, 10.3 hand-timed in men's 100m means you are world-class.

In the 1960s and 1970s, if you wish to run the 100m in less than 10s, altitude was a must. The idea was deemed very crucially during that time. Hence, a good selection of racing venues would be necessary.

Ben Johnson won a 100m bronze in the 1984 Olympics with a time of 10.24s. What is a 10.24s at present?

In the 1990s 10.1 electric means world-class.

Actually, you won't find so many athletes who could achieve a sub-10.10, and if you did, these athletes must be well renowned already.

To run the 100m in 2000 Olympics, you would just need a 10.38s result. Before the year 2000s, there were only 20+ sprinters who have run sub-10s.

As indicated in the All-Time best for the 100m as of 2003, there were less than 40 sprinters who have done sub-10s.

Ten years later on the lists, more than 100 sprinters listed to have broken the 10s barrier.

Asafa Powell alone has totaled more than 100 races in under 10s.

Bolt, Gay, Blake, Powell, Gatlin have run 9.58, 9.69, 9.69, 9.72, and 9.74s, respectively.

A 10.12s is the current Olympic and Worlds standard.

I was tempted to "document" the trend of changes through the years that might be relevant to this evolution. Here we go.

Before the 1980's - Complete genetics
  • Most sprinters in the past were "born sprinters", which means they would rely upon the genetics for their successes. 
  • The various limitations and limited high-performance culture did not allow them to train under the most effective environment and system that are available today.
  • Some athletes did benefit from better coaching from the great coaches in the past.

1980s - Strength and muscles
  • Because of the understanding that muscles that you would build could help generate higher force and power.
  • The use of steroid facilitated this practice.
  • "To run fast in sprints, you must develop muscles" (kind of mindset).
  • Anyone running sub-10s was linked to steroids.

1990s - Strength and power
  • Some good coaches started to realize it is the ability to maximize power output that matters than how much strength you have. 
  • A combination of muscles (strength) and power was thought to be essential.
  • Lack of understanding regarding the environment factor, that bigger athlete can deal better whenever the race is against the winds (headwinds).
  • Many people confused between strength and power during these days (unable to differentiate).
  • To break 10s in the 100m, you must develop muscles (kind of mindset).
  • 9.90 seconds was the limit of human performance, otherwise steroid (kind of mindset).
The early 2000s - Power
  • It was thought that fast turnover or cadence of legs is more crucial than having big muscles.
  • Tim Montgomery who broke WR in 9.78s in 2002, helped "confirmed" this belief.
  • Human now can run sub-9.85 but it must be under a highly favorable condition, otherwise, that must be associated with steroids (kind of mindset)
The late 2000s - Rate of force development
  • People started to think more critically, it is how much force you can produce in a short amount of time that could help you to run faster.
  • Sprinters in these days are generally not bigger in muscle sizing than those in the 1990s and 1980s.
2010s - Orientation of the force application
  • Marginal gains sort of thing - small things that can make a difference.
  • It's not only force and power, but it is how do you use it to make you a better sprinter.
  • The technique of force application can determine how properly and effectively the body can be propelled forward.
  • Efficiency in terms of using your "fuel" (strength and power) to "drive" quicker and faster.


Designing a Test Battery for Pole Vault

>> February 06, 2017

The main goal of pole vaulting is to jump over a crossbar with the help of a pole. The direction of a complete pole vault movement changes from horizontal to vertical. Here, pole vaulters produce forces, velocities, and energies during run-up and take-off, and also exerts force and strain energy on the pole to influence/control the trajectory (flight/curve).

There are four main phases in the pole vault, a) run-up, b) take off, c) pole bending, and d) pole straightening, which occurs in a continuous chain. The phases consider the ‘energy exchange’ between the vaulter and the pole.

The torques (i.e. forces) applied to the pole during take-off/plant have a direct influence on the final performance because it increases the bend and thus the strain energy stored in the pole.

Hence, higher forces applied allows a higher pole grip while being able to get the pole vertical prior to clearance.

Pole Vault Testing
Assessment is an integral part of any training programme. It is crucial to consider the specific element of sports when designing training programme because the demands vary greatly from one discipline/event to another. Such consideration can help one to determine appropriate tests as well. The suggested tests for pole vault is as outlined (see below). These can be done once prior to, and after each training block, or 3-4 times a year.

In addition, weekly or monthly monitoring programme can also be done using some of the tests, for examples, the countermovement jump and power push up are excellent tools for monitoring the athlete’s current fitness/power level.

Shoulder rotation test
Sit and reach modified
Back hyperextension
Power clean
Half squat
Hexagon deadlift
Incline press   
Hand grip test
10kg or 20kg (male) max pull up
Long jump (10-12 steps)
Squat jump     
Countermovement jump
Drop jump (30cm)
Bench throw
Power push up (force plate)
5-second pull up for repetition
4-kg med ball backward throw
30 m sprint (standing and three points)

The lists above are not meant to be done altogether, but these are the possible choices in a test battery for pole vault. You can decide which ones and how many tests that are required. For an idea, most probably you will need 3-4 strength tests and 4-5 power tests.


How to structure Daily Undulating Periodization?

>> May 03, 2016

Periodization is a systematic approach to optimize training through the manipulation of volume and intensity. Although daily undulating periodization has shown enhanced efficacy among other periodization schemes for strength development in trained individuals, no studies have investigated programming variations within the daily undulating periodizaton framework.

Hypertrophy training is characterized by sessions of high volume of exercise, a condition is shown to result in heightened muscle damage and compromised neuromuscular performance for up to 48-hour postexercise. This can negatively affect the next scheduled session of strength development. Therefore, instead of the typical Hypertrophy => Strength => Power configuration, why don't try this configuration: Hypertrophy => Power => Strength.

Modified daily undulating periodization model produces greater performance than a traditional configuration in powerlifters.

Compared two 2 types of daily undulating periodization on 1RM strength.They utilized 18 male powerlifters (college level) aged ~21 years in their 6 weeks study.

  • Mean percent increases in Hypertrophy => Strength => Power configuration were 7.93% and 6.70% for squat and deadlift, respectively.
  • For Hypertrophy => Power => Strength configuration, the mean percent increases were 10% in the squat and 7% in the deadlift.
  • For bench press, HPS increased 1RM by 8% (133kg to 144kg), which was significantly greater than the 2% increase exhibited by HSP (130kg to 133kg). 
  • Secondary - no difference among groups or resting change in testosterone and cortisol levels was observed.

The following configuration of daily undulating periodization: Hypertrophy => Power => Strength is superior to the configuration of Hypertrophy => Strength => Power.



Can Women Sprint or Run Faster than Men? Yes!

>> January 23, 2016

In early 1990's, scientists (Whip & Ward) said women will perform better than men in all running events by 2050.

Another scientist claimed that in 150 years (around 2150), a woman will run just slower than 8 seconds at 100m and it would be quick enough to beat the winning time of men's 100m at the Olympics.

So these are the two examples of the extreme conclusion derived from the results of the model that they used, linear regression. By using the same model, you can predict that humans will eventually run the 200m in 2 seconds. Historical trends are important but they are not guaranteed to continue into the future.

World record holders at 100m, Usain Bolt and Florence Griffith-Joyner

One possible reason to see such data that women will do better than men could be because of the "performance revolution" or higher rate of improvement seen in women's sports performances in the 1980s and 1990s after women's sports have grown in popularity and participation in 1960s and 1970s. They did not get the same opportunity as men in the past. In other words, women "started late."

But current opinion suggests that the world records have reached 99% of the human performance limits that can be reached within one generation.

It has also been reported that the gender gap in the Olympic sports performance has been stable or unchanged since the early 1980s.

Sprinting velocity is a product stride "length" and "frequency". But in maximal velocity sprinting, the "frequency" (foot's contact per second) can be more relevant than the "length". Ben Johnson would produce similar steps (46.5) (stride length) to run 10.44 (1983) and 9.79 (1988) at 100m. The "frequency" can be influenced by the ground contact time that is determined by the speed of contraction (of muscle fibers contractile properties).

To run 8 seconds in 100m would require a huge (double?) change of muscle fibers (the contractile properties) that will influence the force generating capacity, which will then determine the production of the required (huge) amount of power. This increment (i.e. double) may be possible with a significant increase in muscle mass. If Usain Bolt weighs 94kg (and 9.58s in 100m), this 8-second female sprinter would actually sprint with a body mass of >100kg. The average body mass of the women's 100m Olympic finalists is about 56kg, almost half of it.

In the elite level, even with a highly systematic training provided to athletes, the muscle fibers are nearly unaltered or altered very very little.

Men are apparently more powerful than women because of muscle mass (greater). This is because men have ~10 times higher testosterone concentration than women.

Because we are probably near to "upper end" of human performance limits, for sprint and running (to limit the scope of this discussion), women can surely run faster than men athletes, but the fastest men athletes will always superior to the fastest women athletes.

Women performance at a high level will not match those of men!.


Dietmar Schmidtbleicher on Interference Effects of Concurrent Training

>> January 11, 2016

Strength and power expert, Prof Dr.Dr. Dietmar Schmidtbleicher has been invited for a 2-hour discussion regarding sports conditioning-related topics with a small group of strength and conditioning coaches in January 2016.

For a record, the German scientist has published ~480 scientific journals and articles since the late 1970s when he started with his research studies. One of the topics we discussed was interference effects of concurrent training.

Schmidtbleicher during NSCA conference in Orlando
Concurrent training is a structure of training combining endurance (aerobic) and strength training during a single training session. This structure is usually applied by coaches to reduce the number of training sessions that the athletes have to do in a week, as well as to obtain a certain mileage goal of running endurance for a particular week.

Hence, they have athletes to perform aerobic endurance first and then followed by strength session with the conditioning coach. Despite these reasons, the structure may not be the best training arrangement according to Schmidtbleicher.

One example of arrangement that has been used by coaches is to have athletes to perform endurance training such as long slow distance for 10km, and followed by weight training (e.g. 3 sets x 10 reps bench press) after some period of recovery (~20 mins).

The first point that highlighted by Schmidtbleicher sounds like this, “neuromuscular condition is good if you’re not fatigue”. The neuromuscular system is certainly at best for performing many athletic movements during "fresh" condition.

In contrary, it can be a problem for athletes to execute a sound technique of strength exercises when they are in a state of fatigue. Thus, Schmidtbeicher suggests the athletes perform running endurance and strength training, not at the same session.

by Hawley (2009), A Physiol Nutr Metab

One reason for "splitting" the two types of training can be justified when we look at the “interference theory” which explains the “competing effects” occur at cellular level associated with performance of aerobic endurance and strength training simultaneously at the same session.

The activation of enzymes (i.e. AMPK) important for the process of energy production (i.e. mitochondrial production) in aerobic endurance are not compatible, and in fact can possibly impedes the enzymes (mTORC1) that should be activated during strength training to regulate the protein synthesis (for cell growth).

This “blocking” of the signaling pathways could minimize the adaptation of training. Threfore, athletes may not get an optimal benefit during concurrent training that is structured as above.

Moreover, long-term performance of high volume or intensity of concurrent training may promote overreaching (while getting minimal training gain), which can possibly put athletes into the state of overtraining.

Nevertheless, it is still important to scrutinize or make an in-depth inspection on this topic. We may want to look further at the dose-response relationship, specific objective (body composition et.?), type of endurance training (running, walking, cycling, swimming?), type of strength training (hypertrophy, strength, power), training structure for optimal training adaptation (lesser interference effect) while maintaining sports-specific requirement (for endurance-strength sports), and current research looking at these variables on the magnitude of interference effects from concurrent training. This allows one to ascertain if the aerobic endurance and strength training can be performed together at some degrees.

From existing information (e.g. Wilson et al., 2012, JSCR), what we already know is that concurrent training can affect power production. If one has to do concurrent training, he/she must choose endurance modality that specific to his/her sports in order to avoid the occurrence of competing adaptations. For sports requiring strength and power, it is suggested to perform endurance activity at a higher intensity (e.g. 10 x 100m @ ~70%), rather than the 20-40 mins of a slow jog.


Whole Body Vibration for Sports Performance - Does it Works?

>> January 02, 2016

Russian scientists have examined the application of "vibration" for performances, such as strength and power quality. It dates back to 1970's and more research on vibration were published subsequently in 1980's and 1990's such as those of Nazarov and Spivak (1987), Issurin (1994, 1997 etc.), Bosco (1998 etc). Issurin's 1994 work was the first study of vibration in athletic performance (strength, power, and flexibility) that was published in English. Unlike the current practice, he actually used vibration to specific parts of the body.

Most of the studies that were published after 2000 reported positive benefits following vibration exposure (e.g. using the Whole Body Vibration, WBV). However, WBV is not invariably favorable and appears to depend on fitness level and the WBV variables (will be discussed).

Recreational / untrained subjects
There appear to be some benefits of WBV to this group. Most probably they are more responsive to the intensity of WBV, which resulted in an increased muscle activation. In the last 10 years, enhancement of jump performance, sprint ability, change of direction, flexibility, and balance have been reported following exposure of WBV.

Elite athletes
The effect of WBV on elite athletes is not conclusive. The most frequently cited reasons for the insignificant results following exposure of WBV is "insufficient stimulus" and "dampening effect." The stimulus of WBV comes from one or more of the WBV variables such as intensity, duration etc. (will be discussed). Dampening effect is associated with internal and external factors. The internal factor related to athlete's fitness level, basically, the fitter you're the more stimulus is needed. The external factor may be related to an accessory that can possibly weaken the vibration signals such as your shoes.

Application of Whole Body Vibration.
There are a few variables to consider, primarily the amplitude, frequency, volume, and recovery.

  • Amplitude - as determined by displacement (peak to peak distance, in mm) of the wave-like shape (sinusoidal) that is produced by vibration device. The amplitude can determine the "up and down" of movement.
  • Frequency - number or rate of the wave produced in a minute. In layman's, given 50 Hz vs 40 Hz of frequency, 50 Hz vibration can "shake you" a bit more than the 40 Hz. 
  • Volume - this is the duration of exercise. In literature, 30s of WBV with an appropriate set of amplitude and frequency can elevate performance (e.g. jumps). Most of the studies used 30s to 2 minutes of total duration for warm up application, and this can be longer when WBV applied as training mean.
  • Recovery - rest between WBV exposure (e.g. set 1, set 2 and so on) and also recovery between last WBV to the performance. Rest between exposure is around 1:1 work to rest ration and the recovery before performance is at least 1 minute.
The physiology of vibration
Vibration can produce wave and energy. During the WBV exposure, the body is "accelerated" or "shaken" because of the amplitude and frequency of vibration. This will give a stimulus primarily from the activation of receptors, the muscle spindles. Activation of muscle spindles enabled reflex potentiation or a better recruitment of motor units. This effect can also be seen in other athletic activities such as plyometrics, dynamic warm up, and so on. The enhancement of neuromuscular recruitment results in improvement of neuromuscular excitability that is crucial for athletic performance.


What is Reactive Strength Performance?

>> July 26, 2015

The ability to change quickly from eccentric to concentric is one quality that can distinguish between the better and the best athletes. This is called reactive strength. Because eccentric is basically "lengthening" action and concentric is "shortening," reactive strength, therefore, represents the ability to utilize the stretch-shortening cycle or plyometrics.

Dietmar Schmidtbleicher once told me that definition of strength qualities are not invariably consistent, despite "a consensus has been reached" during several conference meetings with his American and European colleagues such as William Kraemer, Steven Fleck, and Keijo Hakkinen. Despite the different terms being used to describe muscle actions, they are intended for the same matter, and fundamentally similar when it comes to actual "practical".

Broadly, reactive strength performance considers two components;
  1. Time (duration)
  2. Force (effort)
It is crucial to ask how much forces one can produce in a restricted time, in which movements are likely to occur. For examples, top sprinters' contact time is ~0.08s during the maximal speed, and the take-off in long jump event is ~0.15s. The total force one can generate within these short periods can determine the outcome of ensuing actions, including reactivity performance and forward (or upward) displacement.

It also clarifies why the  take-off phase during the long jump is vital for attaining the long jump distance (displacement) due to the time to be spent for generation of a large sum of take-off forces (combined with speed from the run-up).

Logically, a high force generation during a contact phase is concomitant with increased ground contact time, and vice versa. This can be good, or bad, its depend... For example, in long jump, the penultimate (take-off) contact leads to braking action, but in turn, creates a larger impulse that promotes higher forward force propulsion that assist the launch the body forward.

This force generation ability will contribute to maximal sprinting performance as well, but not to the extent of the take-off phase during long jump that appears to be counterproductive for sprinting due to braking action. Braking action as low as 0.02 seconds (e.g. 0.10s to 0.12s during each ground contact, 20%) will largely affect sprinting performance, by reducing sprinting velocity.

Hence, optimal contact time during a specific context (~0.08s for maximal-velocity phase, or ~0.15s long jump take-off) is the key. Keep in mind that a higher force generation combined with optimal contacts can promote a better performance. In short, these context-specific actions are related to reactive strength and explosive strength qualities.

Reactive strength is different from explosive strength

It can be confusing if one wishes to distinguish between the two as both have similar characteristics, and even occurs almost concurrently. Take a look at different definitions and examples.

Definition 1 (point 1: similar)
  • Reactive strength - ability to produce a high amount of force in a minimal time.
  • Explosive strength - ability to produce a high amount of force in a minimal time.
Definition 2 (point 2: the difference between reactive- vs explosive-strength)
  • Reactive strength - ability to effectively utilize the stretch-shortening cycle in a minimal time upon impact on the ground.
  • Explosive strength - ability to generate a higher rise in force production in a minimal time, once a movement has started.

Example 1 - different exercise
  • Drop jump exercise (reactive strength)
    Reactive strength - multiple hurdle jumps 
  • Explosive strength - box jump (onto a box)

Example 2 - same exercise 
  • Reactive strength - landing phase of the drop countermovement jump 
  • Explosive strength - extension phase of the drop countermovement jump
Example 3 - during long jump
  • Reactive strength - the take-off action, a fast stretch shortening cycle 
  • Explosive strength - the rapid flexions and extensions of muscles involved
Regardless of definitions, both strength qualities are crucial and they can be the major part (performance determinants) of any high-speed, repetitive, and powerful movements such as sprinting, change of direction, and quickness.

Reactive strength is also linked to Rate of Force Development (RFD), which has been explained earlier.


Strength Training and Testing for Middle and Long Distance Runners

>> February 13, 2015

"Middle and long distance runners cannot perform strength training" is the common perception among athletes and coaches. The perception is due to the belief that the weights they would lift can increase unnecessary muscle mass, which in turn will make one slow.

The main focus of strength training in runners is to develop muscular endurance. Also, having certain levels of strength and power can be advantageous. Multiple studies have shown that resistance-based training can increase speed, running time, running economy, and coordination.

It is understood that as a coach or runner, you might probably need some elucidations regarding strength training suitable for middle or long distance runners?

Endurance athletes would benefit from strength training, with advantageous in neural, running form, and injury resistant (apart from the listed above). Note that from the neural adaptation perspective, improvement in the Rate of Force Development (RFD) can improve running performance.

RFD is how quickly you apply force into the ground/track. Improved RFD can be shown by the "decrease" of ground contact time during each stride. Shorter contact times means shorter total time you spend on the ground, which will contribute to your overall running time. Middle distance runners spends 0.17-0.23 seconds on each ground contact. A decrement of 0.01 per contact will contribute significantly to a higher running speed, and total running time. This reason is why the sprinters are faster (less ground contact time). Just like the sprinters, running form deteriorates over time during high intensity exercise due to fatigue. The stronger you are, the better the level of muscular endurance (with right training intervention), the longer you can hold the "neutral/good" running form. These adaptations contribute to a more efficient running biomechanics (e.g. leg swing, posture alignment), force transfer, and therefore improve running economy (which can increase the time to exhaustion).

So, the key of strength training is "correct implementation". The main obstacle is that you are not sure how to do it. If the strength session continuously disrupts your endurance sessions, you may want to decrease your strength training volume (as you may not got it right in the first place?). But bear in mind, just like track training, the strength training is highly individual. Below is a general guideline for exercise progression.

  • Movement function. The goal is to improve movement pattern, coordination, balance, and basic strength. Duration 4-6 weeks. 
  • General muscular endurance. Bodyweight circuits is a good structure of training during this phase. Exercises such as duck walk (with band), single leg deadlift (band), arabesque rotation, and burpees can be used. Duration 4-6 weeks.
  • Strength endurance. With or no weights, high repetition (12-18 reps), moderate movement's speed, shorter rest interval. Duration 4-6 weeks.
  • Muscular strength. Must target the specific muscles used for running. Limit the main exercises per session, 2-3 exercises, plus other (3-5) auxiliary exercises and core stability. Exercise example, half squat at 85% of 1RM performed 4-5 times (not to failure). Duration 4 weeks.
  • Power and power endurance. Repetitive exercises. Late pre-competition and early competition phase. Complex training can be a good choice. For example, 6 reps (with 70% 1RM weight) of bench press, followed by 6 reps med ball slam; 6 reps of lunge (weight), followed by 3 reps box jump and 3 reps drop jump.
  • Reactive or elastic strength. Exercises with light equipment such as medicine ball. Plyometrics exercises such as bounding, jump over hurdles, tuck jump, pogo jumps, and other single- and double leg hopping will be the choices. Total ground contact should be around 120 - 60 (decreasing) per session. This is performed during the competition phase. One or a maximum of twice sessions per week.
  • Explosive strength. Also known or defined as RFD (rate of force development), which can be developed with light (less than 30% of 1RM), medium, or heavy (more than 70% of 1RM) weights / equipment. In practical setting, explosive strength-type workout is performed in the same session with the power / power endurance exercises (e.g. complex training).
Running is a type of movement that involve slow stretch shortening cycle. It is therefore important for athletes to perform elastic strength-type exercises such as plyometrics and other bodyweight-based exercises.

However, one should take note that basic strength level must be sufficient before implementation of those training.

Also, there is the need to go for with heavy weights. Bear in mind that this is the only another time for you (runner) to experience the very high motor unit recruitment after the one during actual race. Hence, nervous system must be stressed for such purposes via the performance of strength training, i.e. 85% of 1RM (= 6RM) weight to be performed for 4-5 times, that is nearly to failure (but not to failure).

Below are examples of resistance-based training for runners (800m and up to marathon).

a) Bodyweight exercise (circuit) - early-season workout for experienced and highly-trained runners
  • Push up (30s) + squat (30s) ... rest interval 15s ... repeat 2 times.
  • Rest 1-min
  • Lunge (30s) + hip thrust ( 30s) ... rest interval 15s ... repeat 2 times.
  • Rest 1-min
  • Box step up (30s) + dips (30s) ... rest interval 15s ... repeat 2 times.
  • Rest 1-min
  • Split jump (30s) + dynamic plank (30s) ... rest interval 15s ... repeat times.
  • Rest 1-min
  • Leg up/raise for core (30s) + toe taps (30s) ... rest interval 5s ... repeat 2 times.
  • Rest 4-6 minutes. Repeat the whole protocol 1-2 more times.
b) Circuit training (combined light equipment and bodyweights)
  • SET 1 (30sec on, 15sec off, repeat 2 times (after 4-min rest)
  • Balance - Arabesque rotation
  • Lower and upper body - Stationary lunge and twist (2-5kg)
  • Upper body - Dumbbell bench press (5-15kg)
  • Lower body - Nordic hamstring curl
  • Lower body - Donkey whips
  • SET 2 (30sec on, 15sec off, repeat 2 times (after 4-min rest)
  • Lower body - Squat (20-40kg)
  • Upper body - Triceps push down (5-15kg)
  • Lower body - Hip flexion 
  • Whole body - Mountaineers
  • Lower body - Body crawl
c) Conventional and specific strength exercise - general guideline for exercise selection
  • Whole body - Power clean, snatch, suspended push up, TRX knee tucks. 
  • Upper body - Incline and bench press, bench pull, triceps pushdown, standing cable pull, rowing (variation), chin up, lateral pulldown.
  • Lower body - Squat (variation), lunges (variation), step up, hip flexion and extension, romanian deadlift, dynamic (multi) calf exercises*, hamstring curl (variation), hip thrust, abductors and adductors, donkey kicks (band).
  • Core stability - plank variation, swiss ball exchange, mountaineers, back extension, V-up, leg lift, dead bug, Russian twist.
  • Dynamic calf exercise - jump in place, pogo jump, ankle taps, X-jump, ladder drills (variation), hexagon jumps, quarter squat toe raise, farmers toes walk, eccentric heel drop (straight and bent knee). Note that all hop/jump performed at low height (less than 20cm).
d) Maximal strength - general guidelines
  • 2-3 sets of 5 reps of 85% 1RM, 3-5 rest between set, or alternate lower and upper body after 2-3 min rest; Can be 3 sets of 3 reps at 90% 1RM. Number of exercise per session can be 2-3, but it's not wrong with 5 exercises if you don't have any additional non-max strength exercises.
  • Duration around 4 weeks (ideally pre-competition); if your season is yearly long, although not continuously 8 total weeks is ideal; it is not uncommon to see 1-2 weeks of max strength session (1 session per week) in the middle of two important meets separated 6 weeks during competition phase.
  • Lower body - deadlift or sumo deadlift.
  • Lower body - 1/3 squat (upper part of lower body) - can be progressed from full squat, parallel squat, or half squat in a periodized plan, although these are done for different objectives (e.g. Olympic barbell full squat that emphasizes/aims at general conditioning).
  • Lower body - exercises such as calf raise from split leg or quarter lunge position (lower part of lower body) is seen as "more specific" to the sports.
  • Upper body - exercises such as bench pull, bench press, bent over row, and standing cable pull can be the choices.
For conventional strength or gym-based exercise, the goal should be to achieve sufficient strength "level" and "higher" neuromuscular coordination for the runners to be able to safely perform the more elastic strength activities (e.g. plyometrics).

During early season, conditioning sessions can be performed three times, 2 gym-based and 1 session of bodyweight circuit. One or two (maximum) sessions per week during pre- and competition phase.

Meanwhile, there are several reasons for strength assessment. Just like other sports, test results can help for monitoring progress, training feedback, and so on. However, the selection of tests is crucial. A coach should consider specificity aspect in regards to the type of muscular actions such as the type of movement, the pattern of movement, and muscle involvement (recruitment) when selecting the tests.

Tests such as half squat, incline press, and standing hip flexors can be considered by coaches in developing fitness tests for runners. The details and other assessments are as follows;

Strength. Tests should assess the ability of muscle to produce force specific to movement pattern and muscle recruitment in running.
  • Half squat
  • Bench pull / press
*note - refer 1RM procedure at the end.

Strength endurance. Tests should assess the ability of muscle to repetitively produce force specific to  movement pattern and muscle recruitment in running.
  • Split cycle jump.
Muscular ability (power). The tests should attempt to assess the ability of muscle to use the stretch shortening cycle (repetitively).
  • Vertical jump
  • Horizontal jump
  • Repetitive jump (or vertical or horizontal jumps)
Power (in watt). The tests should provide higher accuracy and less measurement error (compared with the above), and they should provide more detailed information, i.e. ground contact, rate of the rise of force (force development) and so on. Performed on force plateform or contact mat.
  • Countermovement jump
  • Drop jump (30cm)
  • Repetitive jump
  • Reactive Strength Index (RSI) 
Speed. Used to assess sprint acceleration and maximal velocity. The max velocity can be used for maximal sprinting speed reference (highest velocity can be performed at maximal sprinting).
  • 30 metres sprint or 50m speed (max velocity). Can be 80m sprint with first 30m and next 50m splits.
Speed endurance.
  • 400 metres run.
  • 60 seconds all-out.
  • 3 x 300 metres test. First test done at 80%, next two at 95-100%. Rest interval about 10-min. Key: Examine the decrements in times (in %). Lactate concentration can be also analysed.

  • For 1500m - 4 x 1-minute all out run, 2-min rest between runs. Examine the total distance covered.
  • For 10km - 4 x 2.4 km all out run, 2-min rest between runs, then 400m all-out sprint.
  • Ideally, lactate concentration at pre-, intermediate, and post of each run should be analysed.
  • 2-min plank hold
  • 12-level core stabilization
  • 60sec elbow plank (level 1), 60sec elbow plank hover, 60sec straight arm plank, by 60sec straight arm hover, and finally (level 5) 60sec straight arm side hover with wide leg (wide pushup grip)
1 RM procedure.
100% of maximum means the end of upper limit. Specifically, only 1 repetition (1RM) can be lifted successfully and attempt for the next lift (2nd) will be fail. According to NSCA, 90% of 1RM means one can lift just 4 reps (next one will fail). Further, 85% means 6 times, 80% means 8 times, 75% means 10 times, 70% means 12 times, and 65% means 15 times. Understanding this concept can facilitate the process of 1RM determination. Briefly, following is the procedure;
  • Warm up set - 50% of expected 1RM - lift 10 times.
  • 1st set - 70% of expected 1RM - lift 5 times
  • 2nd set - 80% of expected 1RM - lift 3 times
  • 3rd set - 90% of expected 1RM - lift 1-2 times (at this point make sure you have more clear idea about your maximum weight can be lifted, so you should know how much should increase)
  • Increase weight 2.5kg to 5kg for upper body, 5kg to 10km for lowerbody.
  • After determination of weight to be lifted, attempt maximum repetition you can do. If you lift one, means that's is your 1RM, if you lift 2 or 3 or 4 reps means 2RM or 3RM, or 4RM, respectively. You can now predict your 1RM (2RM must plus 2.5kg, R3M must plus 5kg, and son on. It should be 5kg increment per rep for lower body).
  • Done.
Research and coaching practice indicates that strength training can increase endurance running performance. Quality of training should determine the results and outcomes. Up to three conditioning or gym session can be conducted during early season, and and the number of session to be reduced during competition phase. Physical strength can also have benefits from injury prevention standpoint.


What is Rate of Force Development?

>> October 08, 2014

In short, Rate of Force Development (RFD) is the maximal rate of rise in muscle force, which is the speed of force production, or how quickly you can reach peak levels of force.

Look at these situations.

How fast can you move from 0.00 m to 3.00 m distance? ... The time taken can be heavily dependent on your RFD.

How quick can you jump from one point (position) to another point? Note that we are not talking about jump height or distance, but "how quick" ... That is depend on your RFD as well.

How good you are at the execution of "weak or slowest" part of an explosive activity, e.g. initial part of a sprint race (which is the slowest right?) ... Depend on your RFD.

There are many movements that occur very quickly, i.e. below 200 milliseconds. Ground contact in elite sprinters is around 0.100 s, javelin throw release takes about 0.180 s, and so on. These movements are largely influenced by your "ability", or the more specific term is "RFD".

Further enlightenment.

In a sprint race ...
a) your toughest opponent and yourself reacted very quickly (both at 0.13 s)
b) but he makes a gap very quickly
c) about 20 metres into the race, you found he was a metre in front
d) you managed to catch him at the end
e) both crosses the finish line together, you won by 0.001
... regardless the story of your race, he was superior than you at the start. How was it happen? he has a more efficient force application (because he has higher rate of force development) which ensured faster ground contact times at each step.

RED - World class sprinter
BLACK - National class sprinter
BLUE - University class sprinter

The World class sprinter (figure above) is able produce high amount of force within 200 milliseconds, compared to both National and University sprinters. As a result, he (world class) has the capacity to explode and will produce a gap in the next a few metres. We can also say that the national sprinter (black dot) will be slightly ahead of the university sprinter in the next metres because he is able to produce higher force (at the start of movement, in this case 200 ms) than the university sprinter.

How do you measure Rate of Force Development?

This is not as simple as measuring your 1RM bench press. You need to have an extra careful with the method of  measurement of RFD, including instruction (to ask performer to contract "as fast as possible" (during a 5-sec max voluntary contraction test) . Measurement is highly sensitive. When you use the isometric mid-thigh pull (with force plateform), the sampling rate can influence the "actual illustration" of force-time curve (the change in force with time). Thus, a sampling frequency of at least 500 hz may be required. However you can always have alternative. Field test such as movement time assessment can be applied, for instance the 5 m sprint time (although not that accurate, but still is very helpful). Other assessment such as bounding test can give a more representation for activities involving fast stretch shortening cycle (i.e. below 250 ms). Following is the illustration of 30 m bounding test.

1. Ready position on a box (30cm or 40cm).
2. Start by landing on the pre-determined start line (slightly in front, 50cm, of the box).
3. The time must start from first touch, stopped when body crosses line.
4. Determine the number of contact. If the last step involved only "half" step, you can say 0.5 (or 0.2 or 0.8 depend on your judgement).
5. Divide the number of contact with the time.
6. The higher ratio means the better.

The most important to remember in the bounding test is "consistency of measurement". You can also use electronic timing gate to reduce measurement errors, thus increases test sensitivity. Weight bag throw and vertical jump may also be used for RFD assessment. They have quite strong correlation with RFD value from the mid-thigh pull.

Final thought (but no way a final wrap-up of this particular topic!)

You can be very strong ... but this is not the quality that determine how quick you can move, or how fast you can accelerate ... it is how do you use the strength to move, sprint, jump or throw faster. Strength is the ability to produce force. Muscular strength must be further trained in order to become more powerful ... so one of the keys is to develop the explosive strength.

Explosive strength training ... the use of light to moderate equipment/tool or means (e.g. weightlifting snatch, plyometric, throwing exercises).

RFD assessment via the mid-thigh pull can also be used for training monitoring, diagnosis of muscular preparedness, fitness management, and so on.

Regardless of assessment means, please pay attention on consistency and test sensitivity.


Plyometric Volume and Training Surface on Explosive Strength

>> May 11, 2014

TITLE: effects of plyometric training volume and training surface on explosive strength

-seven (7) weeks

-twenty nine (29), male (adolescent)

Assigned into four groups:
G1 - Control
G2 - (moderate volume): 780 jumps
G3 - (moderate volume): 780 jumps on hard surface (on wood gym floor)
G4 - (high volume): 1,560 jumps (240 jumps per week) (on soft surface / athletic mat)

1) Different plyometric training VOLUME and SURFACES = different explosive strength ADAPTATIONS

2) Moderate volume (60 jumps per session / 120 per week) MAY NOT increase acceleration performance

3) High Volume (120 jumps per session / 240 per week) = increased acceleration performance

4) HARDER SURFACE, and LOWER VOLUME = increase explosive strength

Ckeck out reference for further reading


Biomechanical comparison of sprint start, sled pulling, and countermovement jump

>> December 29, 2013

TITLE: Biomechanical comparison among sprint start, sled pulling, and countermovement jump

PURPOSE: To compare KINETICS, KINEMATICS, and MUSCLE ACTIVITY among the sprint start, sled pulling, and CMJ

KINEMATICS - analyses of movement parameters such as velocity, acceleration etc.
KINETICS - involve the forces that will govern those parameters, such as impulse, torque etc.
In short, kinematics-kinetics study movement in the aspect of movement patterns (kinematics), and forces that govern such patterns (kinetics).

They used electromyography (EMG) to study muscle activity. EMG? it is a tool to assess electrical activity produced by muscles (check muscle activity).

WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU GOING TO ADDRESS HERE (Applications in training and actual performance setting) ?

1) It is important to know how different exercises used by sprinters RELATE to the SPRINT START.

2) How different exercises INFLUENCE on the sprint start PERFORMANCE.

3) Maybe the aspect of SPECIFICITY of training as well?

-nine (9) male track and field athletes (intermediate level, 8 years experience) as subjects

1) Usage of the sled pulling and CMJ in training can be recommended to
give positive changes in the activation of gluteus maximus (very crucial during starting using the blocks) during the block start

2) Sled pulling may be effective to improve the sprint block start.

3) Countermovement Jump may be effective to improve the sprint block start.

WHY? high SPECIFICITY in the angular velocities. SIMILAR movement pattern. Have got positive transfer here. Positive transfer could mean to improved ability in the sprint block start from those exercises.

Check out reference for further reading


Strength and Ballistic Power Training on Throwing Performance

>> December 12, 2013

TITLE: Effects of Strength vs. Ballistic-Power Training on Throwing Performance

-novice - moderately trained

=> Strength Training
-Leg Press (45° Inclination) 4 sets / 6RM
-Bench Press (Smith machine) 4 sets / 6RM
-Half Squat (Smith machine, knees 90°) 4 sets / 6RM

=> Ballistic Power Training
-Leg Press Throw (45° Inclination) 4 sets / 8 reps (30% of 1RM)
-Bench Press Throw (Smith machine) 4 sets / 8 reps (30% of 1RM)
-Jump Squat (Smith machine, knees 90°) 4 sets / 8 reps (30% of 1RM)
-Drop Jumps (from 45 cm)

1) no difference between the two methods

2) shot put performance increased similarly

-the results suggests that shot put throwing performance can be increased similarly
after 6 weeks of strength or ballistic-power training

NOTES: In this study, the ballistic training mode has been selected because of its continued acceleration throughout the range of motion, which is similar to the projection of the shot put in the final thrust.

Check out reference for further reading


Latest Strength and Conditioning Conference - Research Results and Summary (Download)

>> November 02, 2012

8th International Conference on Strength Training
October 24th - 28th, 2012
Organized by Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

Selected Topics

by H.-C. Holmberg

Maximal (peak) oxygen uptake, the lactate threshold and efficiency during exercise are often regarded as major determinants of endurance performance. What about ... Capacity for anaerobic energy production? Strength/power/speed? Technique and equipment? Training? ... For successful athletic outcomes it is vital to be aware of the multiple factors that affect endurance performance and to understand the training practices that are effective in improving endurance capacity ...

by Iñigo Mujika

The effects of strength training on endurance athletic performance have been the subject of a long and ongoing debate among athletes, coaches and sport scientists... recent research on highly trained athletes suggests that strength training can be successfully prescribed to enhance endurance performance ...

by Robert U. Newton, Jacob Earp and Prue Cormie

High velocity of takeoff, release or impact is the primary outcome dictating performance in a wide range of sports requiring sprinting, jumping, throwing, kicking or striking... Performance of highly spectacular human movement as exhibited in sports requiring very high force, velocity and power involves highly complex interactions of physiological, neural and mechanical phenomena... Developing strength and power through physical training requires solid understanding of these mechanisms ...

by Sedliak, Buzgó, Cvečka, Hamar, Laczo, Zelko, Zeman, Okuliarová, Ahtiainen, Häkkinen, Hulmi, Nilsen, Raastad

Morning neuromuscular deficit, meaning that an individual is on average 5 to 10 percent weaker compared to the rest of the day ... similar levels of muscle fibre hypertrophy could be achieved regardless of which time of the day the training sessions were executed ... but y larger variability in hypertrophic adaptation in the morning ...

by Saeterbakken, Navarset, Kroken, Fimland, Van den Tillaar

Core training has been used in rehabilitation, injury prevention, enhance general health and performance among athletes ... Core training can be divided into
1) core stability training, 2) core strengthening training and 3) core endurance training ... when designing a training program for the core muscles, one must use training approaches that are specific to the aim of the training ...

by Taipale, Schumann, Mikkola, Sorvisto, Kyröläinen, Nummela, Häkkinen

Running economy was clearly affected by performing Strength prior to Endurnce in both men and women ... Fatigue induced by a strength training session immediately prior to endurance running exercise affects neuromuscular characteristics of maximal strength, muscle activation and explosive strength in men and maximal strength in women ...

by Lawrence W. Judge, and David Bellar

The competitive performance of a shot putter in track and field can be characterized as a very aggressive display of strength, power, and technique ... Most sources of training information for coaches suggest that all three lifts need to be covered within a training plan for a shot put athlete ... both significant linear and quadratic trends exist that relate 1RM measures of the power clean, back squat and bench press to the personal best of shot put athletes ...

by Stasinaki, Gloumis, Zaras, Methenitis, Karampatsos, Georgiadis, Terzis

Throwing performance is based upon muscular strength and power ... throwing performance can improve more after 6 weeks of strength and power training with compound than with complex training in moderately-trained individuals ... novice throwers can increase their throwing performance by implementing strength and power training stimuli in alternative training days, at least during short training periods up to 6 weeks ... It seems that performing strength and power training exercises one after the other in the same training day is not favorable for throwing performance ...

by Hasegawa, Ijichi, Morishima, Sasaki, Kageta, Mori, Goto

Adaptation to sprint training is dependent on the duration of exercise, recovery between repetitions, total volume and frequency of training bouts ... power output of supramaximal pedaling test improved by 12 sessions of daily training followed by a week of detraining period. It is possible that supercompensation is involved in improvement of sprint performance following short-term detraining period ...

by de Souza Bezerra, de Oliveira Andrade, Rossato, Ceselles, da Silva, Miranda, Simão

The Strength Training is more efficient in gaining strength in the lower limb in adult women and this gain can be enhanced when the nonlinear periodization is used... Although there is also increasing muscle strength when the Concurrent Training is applied, it happens on a lower scale ...

by Karampatsos, Polychroniou, Georgiadis, Terzis

Recently, it was reported that 3 consecutive counter movement jumps or a bout of 20 m sprinting, induce an acute increase in shot put performance in experienced shot putters ... results suggest that performing 3 Counter Movement Jumps (i.e squat jump) or one bout of 20m sprint with maximum effort just before hammer throwing, may be a useful method for acute increases in performance in experienced hammer throwers ... might be attributed to the phenomenon of post activation potentiation ...

Download all Research Results and Summary

These articles shared by the organizer for public view. Special thanks to ...
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences


What Periodization is Best for Women to Develop Strength and Power?

>> September 28, 2012

Resistance training programs for improving hypertrophy, strength, and power have normally followed the concept of periodization. When the volume of training was matched, no difference observed between linear and undulating periodization. But it is difficult to generalize the findings of many studies to the general population, and it was needed to look into the data among women subjects. Therefore, this study examined the efficacy of two periodized programs in producing changes to upper and lower body strength and power qualities:
  • Linear periodization (vary training intensity and volume load every 3 weeks)
  • Undulating periodization (vary every training sessions) 
Enhancing Muscular Qualities in Untrained Women: Linear versus Undulating Periodization

The researchers compared the two methods of periodization. They recruited 20 untrained women, separated into two groups, and they performed a supervised 9-week of training, which was preceded by a 3-week of conditioning period.

  • Improvement in terms of time were observed. Both linear and undulating periodization enhanced the strength level in women from pre to post intervention.
  • Both groups improved significantly in 1RM squat, bench press, and even in squat jump and bench throw. 
  • No significant difference between groups.
For women who participate in recreational and amateur level sports, but have not undertaken resistance training, both linear and undulating periodization were equally effective in improving strength and power qualities within 9 weeks of intensive training.
  • Now, if you're women and untrained, and wishes to improve strength and power, you can choose either linear and undulating periodization. 
  • Training program as follows:


Tom Tellez' 100m Sprint Phases

>> November 22, 2011

The best sprinters in the world are not only the first to the finish lines but they also the best in terms of utilizing the best way of executing the sprint races. This is called racing strategy. The racing strategy relies on the specific requirement, that is the physiological parameters that governed the different sprint distances.

No one would ever sprint at maximum speed from the start to the finish line in the 100m dash. The top speed would be reached at 50 - 70m and from here the sprinters would attempt to maintain the velocity with the aim of reducing the degree of deceleration.

Several coaches have advocated different way or strategy of executing the century dash. In 1984, Tom Tellez and Doolittle detailed a breakdown of 100m race based on specific contributions of different physiological requirements, as follows:
  • Reaction Time - 1%
  • Block Clearance - 5%
  • Acceleration - 64%
  • Maintenance of Maximum Velocity - 22%
  • Lessened Degree of Deceleration - 18%

In sprint races, results are always decided by a small margin. Regardless of ability, if one wishes to maximise sprinting potential the training should focus on the phases (above) that entail specific phases or strategy. This will be discussed briefly, in a practical point of view.

Block Setup
  • Tellez and Doolittle suggest 90 degrees of front knee angle and 135 degrees of rear knee angle.
  • This can provide an effective clearance or the first step out of the block (due to a greater horizontal velocity).
  • Rearfoot placement using the pedal that provides lower degrees of rear knee angle (e.g. 90) may also provide a good clearance - but this requires a greater "timeframes", therefore the time to produce the horizontal velocity.
  • The later recommendations advocate 100-110 degrees and 120-140 degree of the front and rear knee angles, respectively.
Phase 1 - REACTION 
  • Quick reaction to the "gun"
  • To achieve this, "set position" should be in the best position that can yield an effective action during the next phase (clearance) - see above.
  • Ideal reaction times can range from 0.100 - 0.150s (100m), 0.130 - 0.180s (200m), and 0.160 - 0.230s (400m). A reaction time of less than 0.100 is considered false start.
  • Block setup, set position, and clearance are the integral keys to an efficient block clearance.
  • This phase requires an extremely fast and powerful first step out of the blocks, which demands quick arms "forward" and  "backward".
  • The contact time (first step) is around ~0.17s.
  • Horizontal velocity during the first step is around ~4.5 m/s.
  • The total force exerted on the front pedal is higher than the rear one (~1100 N vs ~900 N for ~10.6 sprinters).
  • Increase the rate of speed, increase over time. The first three steps can bring the average velocity up to 7m/s.
  • Body positioning that can allow an efficient force application is crucial.
  • The body is positioned in a forward lean, to enable force exertion "down" and "back".
  • Sprinters must aggressively attack and leave the ground.
  • The orientation of force application (technical aspect) that influences the horizontal velocity is crucial.
  • Fast and aggressive arm swings.
  • In top athletes, the average velocity will gradually increase to 12.5 m/s (or 12.3 m/s fo 10m segment), 11.7 - 11.8 m/s for most of world-class athletes. The maximum velocity phase is reached once the athlete achieves these velocities.
  • The point of maximum velocity depends on athlete's ability to accelerate.
  • The transition from acceleration to maximal velocity can be dictated by the velocity of speed; velocity increases (accelerate) and velocity stagnant (maximum speed).
  • The posture is upright and tall.
  • Leg movements in front of the body, little bit looks like the "piston" fashion.
  • The contact of the ground is slightly in front of the centre of mass, but not excessively as it can create braking force.
  • Effective changes of muscle actions, from eccentric (downwards) and concentric (upwards)  are crucial, to provide high force on the ground, in a minimal time (fast contact time), typically around 0.08-0.09 in top sprinters and 0.09-0.10 in lower level athletes, and followed by an immediate propulsion.
  • Once the maximum velocity is reached, it is important to maintain the velocity.
  • Carl Lewis said he was able to maintain the top speed for 1 second only (personal communication, Dec 2010).
  • Usain Bolt may be able to maintain it for 1-2 seconds.
  • Therefore, the speed endurance work, as well as technical skills, are important n order to lessen the degree of deceleration. 
What are the conclusions from here?
Giving a complete conclusion from a "short" article is not objective. However, there are things that must be taken into consideration. 

High level of strength (e.g. squat 1.8 - 2.5 bodyweight) can help the high force generation. Not only strength and how much force, but how much force you can produce during the minimal time of ground contact and use it for propulsion is important (rate of force development or reactive strength). Hence, maximal strength, reactive strength, explosive strength type workouts such as 4 sets x 3-5 reps x half squat, depth jump, bounding and so on is crucial. The upright body position (mid-race to finish) demands a very fast muscle actions (stretch-shortening cycle), where your maximum strength in deadlift may provide limited contribution but the specific work predominantly vertical force direction such as the power clean, snatch, backward throws, and reactive tasks such as drop jump are preferable. 



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To be updated



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