Thursday, August 28, 2014

Women's Track Workout: Increasing Speed in the Weight Room

Force is applied to the ground. More force = more speed.

Here is a great article on training for speed events in women's track. I really wouldn't do anything different for men either. I agree that increasing the amount of force produced can increase speed when form is technically sound. I like the workouts that he prescribes, short, intense, and to the point. A quick lift, a strength lift, some prescriptive body building work, and finish with some core work. Exactly what I prescribe for most of my athletes. In fact, this program looks very much like what I write for our athletes.  As the cliche goes, "It's not rocket science" Get them in and out, do what needs to be done, don't waste time with anything that doesn't need to be done.
 Great job coach.

Women's Track Workout: Increasing Speed in the Weight Room

By: Joseph Potts

Provided by: Stack

Over the course of my career, I have had opportunities to work with some very talented female track athletes, including NCAA Championship Qualifier and Academic All-American Jenna Caffrey (Iowa State). One overarching theme I've seen: no elite runner was able to achieve her max speed until she began to build strength and power in the weight room.

Most of these female runners already possessed excellent technique and flexibility, but they lacked sufficient strength and power, which limited the amount of force they could put into the ground with each stride. It might seem counterintuitive to increase track speed with weight room exercises. But it's a proven method, which, if done correctly, will yield impressive results. The more force you exert, the longer your stride will be and the faster you will run.

Below is a sample training program for female track athletes. It calls for three workouts per week and is designed to increase strength and power. Make sure to rest one day between workouts. Also, perform the workout after a warm-up and a hip, trunk and shoulder mobility series.

Day 1
Snatch - 5x3
Front Squat - 1x8, 4x5
Chin-Up - 4x6
Glute Ham Raise - 5x3
Core (Leg Raises, V-Ups, Bicycle Crunches) - 2-3x20-30 each exercise

Day 2
Push Jerk — 4x4
Clean Pull — 3x5
Reverse Lunge — 3x8
RDL — 3x10
Core (Med Ball Crunch and Throw, Med Ball Russian Twists) — 3x15-20 each exercise

Day 3
Power Clean to Squat — 1x5, 4x3
Back Squat — 3x5, 2x3
Incline Press — 4x6
Hypers — 3x8
Core (Med Ball Sit-Ups, Med Ball Toe Touches): 2x20-30 each exercise
Physioball Plank — 2x60 seconds

You can manipulate volume and intensity to suit your specific needs. Stick to rest intervals of 90 seconds to three minutes. Be careful not to focus so much on correcting your weaknesses that you neglect to train your strengths.

Real life application of force.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Show or Go?

I love this. I don't know anything about the actual circumstances or even if it is real, but I love to see the simple, straight ahead guy take care of business.
In my mind it is a perfect analogy of training. The world is full of all sorts of fancy and expensive gimmicks, equipment, programs, and philosophies. But the reality is that plain hard work on the simple basic lifts gives you the best results.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Worlds's Most Athletic Sport - Weightlifting

Nice video. Very motivating for lifters and also a look at how popular weight lifting is in many places around the world and can be here in the USA if presented in the right way. The 2014 USA Weightlifting Nationals held in Salt Lake City was a big step in the right direction with a great venue and announcers who broke out of the monotone "just the facts ma'am" mentality and explained to the crowd what was happening and the significance of what was being lifted so far a records, placing,..etc. Weightlifting is and always will be a sport that is most appreciated by the athletes themselves. But it is exciting and dramatic enough to attract the interest of others when presented with some flair.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Another Lifting Mom

Brittany lifting in a local meet.

Another nice story about a Mom lifting in Utah. Earlier this Summer we had a post about Darcie Warren, a mother of six, who lifted in the USAW National Championships in July. This shows several things in my opinion.
First, it is never too late to start. Brittany got a late start, but still has been able to benefit.
Two, physical training can enhance and strengthen all areas of our lives. It gives confidence and purpose.
Third, you don't have to be a world class lifter to reap those benefits.
Fourth, training yourself is the best way to influence your family train.
The article says she is training 6 days a week for 2-3 hours a day. Personally, I don't think that much is necessary. Especially for someone her age. However, having dealt with news reporters who don't really understand what is going on, this may not be the actual situation. Whatever the case, great job and best wishes for your future success.

BOUNTIFUL — Brittany Riesenberg has only been weightlifting for four years, but she is already set to make her mark on the sport.
Riesenberg, 35, qualified for the 2014 World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Denmark and is hoping to break three world records there. She won first place at the National Masters Championships in Louisiana earlier this year to qualify for the world competition that starts Aug. 30.
“It’s a really demanding sport,” she said. “It’s not like leisure where you can train when you want. You have to follow a program and stick to it to compete in it.”
The mother of four was training for long-distance running at a YMCA in San Diego when she was approached by a weightlifting coach. He told her she had a great build for weightlifting and should consider giving the sport a try.
It took several months of persuasion before she decided to give weightlifting a shot, but after only a few months of training the coach told he she was ready to win. She took third place at her first local competition in October 2010.
She moved to Utah shortly after the competition and joined a team at the Praxis Olympic Weightlifting Center in Murray, where she trains six days a week for 2-3 hours per day.
“I like being able to track my progress and see how much stronger I can get every time I work out,” she said. “It’s motivating to be able to see your progress.”
Riesenberg said her personal record is 76 kg, about 168 pounds, for the snatch and 95 kg, about 210 pounds, for the clean and jerk. The current world record is 71 kg for the snatch and 95 kg for the clean and jerk. She hopes to break both of those records, plus the total combined record at the world championships: “I have done it in training, so I’m hoping to be able to do it in competition,” she said.
Balancing family life with training can be delicate, according to Riesenberg. Her children are 14, 11, 8 and 6 years old.
“It’s really hard,” she said. “I get a lot of help from my mother-in-law to watch my kids and take my kids places while I’m busy training. I really wouldn’t be able to do it without her.”
Riesenberg said her family enjoys following her progress and her oldest child is starting to take an interest in weightlifting as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some Back To School Encouragement

Here in the USA we are beginning a new school year. It is a time of challenges, new opportunities and new beginnings.  To ENcourage means to give or impart courage. The opposite is to DIScourage or remove or take away courage. It is my goal to encourage whenever possible and I appreciate those who encourage me. My friend Pat Cullen-Carroll sent this along. He says his cat watched it and turned into a lion....not sure about that, but it is fun anyway.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Training High School Girls

Deezbaa Whaley lifted in her first competition at the age of 4. She snatched a broomstick.

Below is an article I just read. I think it is missing the boat in many ways. Maybe I am in a cocoon that keeps me from seeing the rest of the world, but I don't think so. Weight training for high school girls is not new. Most of the misconceptions about weightlifting making girls big and bulky have been dismissed years ago. Sure there are a few misguided people. There are a few boys who still believe that weight training will mess up their basketball shot for example. But those are few and far between and getting rarer everyday. I don't know any female athletes who are not actively lifting to get better.
When I was in high school back in Pennsylvania in the late 60's and early 70's there were no sports for girls. It is so hard to believe today, but I never saw any girls in the weight room until I got to BYU in 1974. Then most of the women in the weight room were track athletes from Europe. I just finished working at the USA Weightlifting Nationals a few weeks ago and there were over 400 lifters. Well over half were women. In my weight training classes this year I have almost an equal number of boys and girls.
I also disagree with the premise that girls much have a different program than boys. At the high school level I believe that all athletes need to build a basic foundation on squats, pulls of various types, and presses. That's what we do. The girls are as motivated as the boys. Of course the more advanced an athlete is, the more individualized the programming becomes. But that is true of both genders. We don't have a special workout for girls as compared to boys and we see great progress in both. Having had four daughters, I did not encourage or train them any different than my two sons and they all benefited from an early start in the weight room. If you wait until the freshman year to begin, you have lost a lot of time.
The idea that girls need more encouragement or a special program has been dead in my world for a long time.

Head out to any local high school this summer and there’s a good chance you’ll see football players lifting in the weight room.
It’s part of a strength training program designed to prepare the young men for the grueling, physical season to come.
But less common is seeing girls in these local weight rooms.
There’s a number of reasons for the discrepancy, most of which, according to local trainers, is associated with a lack of knowledge.
Many girls associate strength training with the idea of bulking up and getting bigger.
And of course, injuries due to a lack of proper education in the weight room cause young girls to shy away from the activity.
Some think high school is too early for female athletes to begin strength training programs; others believe if structured correctly, it’s never too early.
“For me it’s specific to each individual,” said West Ranch girls soccer coach Jared White. “If they are coordinated enough, have good balance, and have been taught how to properly lift without injuring themselves, no reason why they should start lifting and strength training when they are freshman.”
What most people do agree on, though, is the importance of proper education in strength training.
If you’re going to do it, make sure you’re doing it right.
Most female athletes do not engage in strength training to get larger, as those football players in the weight room may be doing.
And the misconception that bulking up is what weight lifting is for, can lead female athletes away from the gym.
“At first I was worried,” said Saugus softball player Cayla Kessinger, who began strength training at the age of 14. “OK, now I’m going to go and look like a bodybuilder and that’s weird. But the more I started, the more I actually noticed a difference in my body. I wasn’t gaining muscle to the point football players do, walking around like macho man. I didn’t notice that at all. I noticed more tone in my body and more tone in my muscles — the shape stayed the same.”
What’s most important, is that the program be structured toward the female athlete.
“Right now you get so many people that are being taught the wrong things and they get to college — especially female athletes — they get to college in the weight room and they don’t know what to do,” said trainer Mike Yudin, who has worked with, among others, local softball standout and UCLA commit Maddy Jelenicki since she was a freshman.
Part of the reason for that is that there are simply more opportunities for men.
More and more female athletes are picking up weight training, but it is still seen as a male dominated, body builder mentality industry.
“If you look at some of the programs out there, they’re based on football,” said Sha Ali, program director for Pure Sports Performance. “So they look at what’s important for football and try to apply that across the board.”
Ali brought his organization to Santa Clarita to help expand training for females. Pure Sports works exclusively with female athletes.
“We look at it from female athletes being different,” Ali said. “Everything from hormonally to bone structure to muscles.”
But with the amount of days female athletes are spending on the fields and courts nowadays, sometimes it’s simply just too difficult to find the time for strength training.
“For me, I do not do any weight training for my high school teams,” White said. “In order for strength programs to be effective and efficient, they have to be designed in cycles specific to which part of the season it is.
“For example, strength programs in preseason are different than season and postseason. The problem with high school is these girls play club soccer year around. So my preseason program design for high school interferes with their club soccer season program.”
And because of that, coaches like White are worried that adding additional routines could be too much for young girls.
“I also think it can be too much on their bodies to have to do club soccer and conditioning 10 months out of the year,” White said. “And then high school soccer and strength training for two months with no time off whatsoever.”
If the girls can make the time, though, trainers tend to agree that a proper strength training regime will undoubtedly have tangible benefits on the field.
“If you’re doing the right things all the time, you’re only going to get better at whatever sport you’re doing,” Yudin said. “If I have Player A or Player B and one is working harder than the  other and they’re both at the same talent level, the one that’s working harder is going to be better.”
Kessinger, who parlayed her success into a Division I scholarship at the University of Missouri, noticed tangible benefits on the softball field, saying her quickness and agility grew stronger, and her bat had more pop.
And her teammates are taking notice.
“A lot of people asked me when I first started, they said I’ve noticed a difference in you and I said ‘yes, I’ve been training and I’ve been lifting weights,’” Kessinger said. “I’ve referred so many people to my trainers and lot of people I know on my teams have tried it and they liked it.
“A lot of people do ask me about it because I talk about it a lot. It has helped me so much I want other people to know and try this and see how it works for you.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Muscle Soreness

 94 kg. class 2014 USA National Champion, Colin Burns, knows how to gauge and handle muscle soreness.

There are tons of myths about training. I have to admit that over the years I have bought into almost all of the myths below concerning muscle soreness or DOMS. These are things my coaches told me... soreness was caused by lactic acid build up, you didn't work hard enough if you weren't sore afterwards, and the more sore you were, the better the workout. the best way to both prevent and get over being sore was to stretch. Of course, as the years went by, I learned from both experience and study that these "facts" were just not true. Below is a nice summary of our current understanding of DOMS, and the fact is that we are still learning. If training until we were too sore to walk was all it took to make progress, then designing programs would be easy, but it's not. Understanding the role DOMS is essential to good coaching and smart training.

(Life by DailyBurn ) -- You just crushed a really hard workout. You upped the load of your training, or you stepped out of your routine and tried a new activity. You feel great -- until you wake up the next morning, barely able to move.
Enter delayed onset muscle soreness, better known as DOMS. It's an acronym that athletes and fitness buffs wear with pride.
As its name suggests, "DOMS is muscle soreness that becomes evident six-to-eight hours following activity, peaking around 24 to 48 hours post-training," says Jon Mike, an exercise scientist at the University of New Mexico. While the symptoms will often start to diminish at about 72 hours, "the precise time course and extent of DOMS is highly variable," Mike says.
DOMS is most pronounced when you introduce a new training stimulus -- a new activity, increased intensity or volume -- or if you are new to physical activity in general.
"Your body is making adaptations to better prepare your muscles to do that activity again," says Lauren Haythe, certified Kinesis Myofascial Integration Practitioner and yoga teacher. That's why on Day 1 at the gym, after doing squats or lunges with 10-15 pound weights, you can be brutally sore the next day.
"But, as you continue on, you can build up from there, and you won't be so sore," she says.
While all kinds of muscular contraction can cause soreness, eccentric contraction -- where the muscle lengthens as it contracts -- is most often associated with DOMS, according to Mike. This includes movements such as running downhill, lowering weights or lowering down into a squat or push-up position.
"There is also some evidence that upper body movement creates more soreness than lower body exercises," says Mike.
Muscle discomfort is the most common characteristic of DOMS, but there are other symptoms. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, these may include reduced range of motion and joint stiffness, local swelling and tenderness, and diminished muscle strength. These symptoms appear gradually following exercise (not to be confused with acute pain that may arise during physical activity).
No pain, no gain. Lactic acid build-up. An indicator of muscle growth. These are all phrases that we tend to associate with DOMS. While you may think you know everything you need to know about the condition that has you waddling like a duck, you may be surprised by what's actually happening in your body.
Myth #1: DOMS is caused by the build-up of lactic acid.
The verdict: Not true.
During exercise, your body needs energy, and it breaks down molecules to get that. As a result of this metabolic process, your cells naturally become more acidic which makes your muscles feel like they're burning. But this isn't caused by lactate. Lactate is actually a by-product of the metabolic process and serves as a buffer and slows down the rate at which the cells become acidic.
"People produce lactate all the time, even at rest. It clears your system 30-minutes to one-hour after working out," says Mike.
A study in Clinics in Sports Medicine found that DOMS is the result of microtrauma in the muscles and surrounding connective tissues, which causes inflammation. The reason that eccentric muscle contraction (think lowering a dumbbell back down in a biceps curl) is more likely to be the culprit is because it places a higher load on your muscles compared to concentric contraction.
"It's the active lengthening of muscle fibers under load. It's like you're pulling on a rope, and there's so much force that the rope starts to tear and pull apart," says Mike.
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Myth #2: It's not a good workout unless you get DOMS.
We often wear our DOMS as a badge of honor and believe that if we're not sore, we're not doing enough during out workouts. But that's just not true.

"It doesn't mean that you're not getting as good of a workout because you're not crippled the next day," says Monica Vazquez, NASM certified personal trainer. "You should feel [soreness] 24 hours to three days after the activity. If, after three days, you try to do the same exercise and you cannot because you go immediately to muscle failure, you've done too much."
According to Mike, studies have shown that soreness itself (using a scale from 0 to 10 to assess the level of soreness) is poorly correlated as an indicator of muscle adaptation and growth. There are many factors that influence how DOMS presents itself in individuals.
"There is great variability, even between people with similar genetics and even among highly-trained lifters [and athletes]," he says. So while comparing notes (and commiserating) is all part of the process, soreness and DOMS isn't the best gauge of how effective your workout was or who's in better shape.
Myth #3: The more fit you are, the less susceptible you are to DOMS.
It's true that you will start to feel less sore as your body adapts to your workouts and learns to distribute the workload across your muscle fibers more effectively. That's why you should regularly change up your exercise routine.
However, there is also a genetic component to how sensitive we are to pain and soreness.
"People can be no-responders, low-responders or high-responders to soreness," says Mike. If you're a high-responder, you will experience DOMS more acutely than someone who is a no- or low-responder when given the same training load. While you can't change your genes, it is important to know where you fall on the spectrum to understand how your body may respond to changes in your workouts.
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Myth #4: Muscle damage is a bad thing.
Yes, DOMS appears to be caused by trauma to your muscle fibers, but it's not a definitive measure of muscle damage. In fact, a certain degree of soreness seems to be necessary.
"When muscles repair themselves, they get larger and stronger than before so that [muscle soreness] doesn't happen again," says Vazquez.
While these mechanisms are not completely understood, Mike notes that some muscle trauma is needed to stimulate protein production and muscle growth.
Myth #5: Pre- and post-workout stretching is a good way to prevent and treat DOMS.
Unfortunately, no. A review of studies for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on the effects of stretching before or after exercise on the development of delayed-onset muscle soreness found that pre- and post-workout stretching did not reduce the effects of DOMS in healthy adults. In fact, research has found that static stretching prior to working out does not safeguard you against injury and may actually decrease your power and strength.
While you may not be able to avoid soreness altogether, ACSM suggests advancing slowly with a new workout, giving your muscles time to adapt and recover. Vazquez recommends always including a proper warm-up (including dynamic stretching), and cool-down period as part of your routine.
Stop waddling: How to recover from DOMS
There are a number of ways to alleviate those can't-make-it-up-the-stairs symptoms. A sports massage is one good way to reduce the effects.
"A massage will move the fluid and blood around in your body which can help heal the microtrauma in your muscles better," says Haythe.
A study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found massage to be beneficial on both gait and feelings of post-workout soreness.
Other common ways to treat DOMS include foam rolling, contrast showers (alternating between hot and cold water), Epsom salt baths, increased protein intake (to increase protein synthesis) and omega-3 supplementation (to reduce inflammation), and sleep.
New research in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that supplementing with saffron may also help to alleviate DOMS. Regardless of your preferred Rx, Haythe recommends looking at your diet to make sure your taking in nutrients to help your body heal.
"Find a diet that can really help you feel the best that you can feel," she says.
When it's more than just DOMS
There may be times when you overdo it with your workout and feel bad. Really bad. But when should you be concerned?
"If your level of soreness does not go down significantly after 72 hours and into the 96 hours mark," says Mike. ACSM advises that if the pain becomes debilitating, you experience heavy swelling in your limbs or your urine becomes dark in color, you should see your doctor.
If it's an injury, you're more likely to feel it immediately during your workout -- something that should never be ignored. Soreness, on the other hand, will appear gradually, often the next day.
"An injury will likely limit your range of motion and last longer than three days," says Haythe.
When all is said and done, DOMS shouldn't be avoided or revered. But it shouldn't be your only gauge of your level of fitness or strength. "People think that the only part of their workout that matters is the hard part," Vazquez says. "But, you can do more of the hard part if you don't injure yourself."

Long-term, Haythe says, "You'll build more muscle, strength and endurance if you give your muscles a chance to take a deep breath and recover."
Training hard and smart means managing DOMS.
Just getting sore does not prepare you for national level performances.