Monday, February 29, 2016

Testosterone: Does Ryan Hall have too little or does America have too much?

FILE - In this April 18, 2011 file photo, America's top marathon runner Ryan Hall runs ahead of a group of elite runners during the Boston Marathon in Wellesley, Mass. Hall finished fourth in the event. Hall confirmed Thursday, July 28, 2011, that he plans to run  in his first Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9 and hopes to set a U.S. record doing it. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) (Steven Senne, ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Ryan Hall competing.

Very interesting article. As we have always said, testosterone levels, like many other things, have been politicized by ignorant people who have no clue what the real issues are. This is a great story about a real individual who struggles with real issues.

In January, Ryan Hall, the fastest American-born marathoner, abruptly announced that he was retiring, in part because of chronically low testosterone that contributed to extreme fatigue and interfered with his training.

Hall’s announcement shocked fans of long-distance running, and perplexed people who've seen ads for testosterone clinics that promise to restore flagging vitality with a cream or shot. Why couldn't the 33-year-old Hall, like millions of other American men, just get a prescription for testosterone and keep running?

The answer isn’t as simple as the multi-billion-dollar industry makes it seem.

Low testosterone, or hypogonadism, can cause a range of health issues including infertility, decreased muscle mass, fatigue, weight gain, fuzzy thinking and low sex drive. But its treatment carries risks, including the potential for blood clots, prostate cancer and heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Nonetheless, the number of prescriptions nearly doubled between 2009 and 2013, from 1.3 million to 2.3 million. This prompted the Food and Drug Administration to warn that men should take testosterone only for diagnosed medical conditions, not to feel more energetic or try to thwart the natural consequences of aging.

One quarter of those receiving prescriptions never even had their testosterone levels checked, the FDA said.

That hasn’t stopped men — and some women — from using gels, creams and shots to increase their "T-levels," hoping for increased energy and strength, weight loss and improved mental focus.

“A lack of testosterone doesn’t kill you, but it’s like oil for the engine. Everything runs better when it’s normal,” said Dr. Paul Turek, a men's fertility specialist and director of the Turek Clinic in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

A study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine said men who used a testosterone gel reported better sex, and modest improvements in mood and energy. More studies are needed, however, to evaluate long-term risks, the authors said.

'A hot-button banned substance'

Testosterone is a hormone that, in men, is produced largely in the testes. It's responsible for sexual development and desire, muscle strength and size, and the production of sperm and red blood cells. While popularly known as the male sex hormone, that's an "indefensible" label, according to University of Cambridge emeritus professor of neuroscience Joe Herbert, who notes that women have testosterone, too (though 1/10th the levels of men), as well as birds, fish, reptiles and other mammals.

Hall, a devout Christian who owns the fastest American time in the half-marathon, was a superstar runner at Stanford University and reportedly learned of his low testosterone levels after graduating in 2006 and turning professional.

Hall has said he tried to elevate his levels by eating more fat and lifting weights, with no success. He refuses to take a synthetic androgen because it causes the body to stop producing testosterone naturally.

There’s also the matter that synthetic testosterone is considered a performance enhancing drug and is prohibited for athletes.

Hall could have applied for special permission (called a therapeutic-use exemption), but he has said that “crosses a moral line that I am not willing to cross.”

"Also it’s such a hot-button banned substance, it didn’t feel fair to me that I could be taking testosterone while it seems to be so clearly a performance-enhancing drug," he told Erin Strout of Runner's World.

As a professional athlete who regularly logged more than 100 miles a week, on punishing inclines and at speeds most people can’t achieve, Hall’s training may have contributed to the condition, some observers say.

“Researchers have known since the late 1980s that chronic and extreme endurance training has a tendency to lower testosterone levels, causing depression, fatigue, and lack of motivation. More recently, however, exercise-induced low testosterone has been recognized as one of many common biomarkers for a more systemic breakdown: training that is so hard, frequent, and long, and with such inadequate rest along the way, that fitness, performance, energy levels, and mood all fall off a cliff,” Daniel Duane wrote earlier this year in Men’s Journal, calling Hall’s saga “a cautionary tale.”

Ironically, however, when testosterone makes the news in connection with athletes, it's usually because a blood test found they have too much. In 2014, a female sprinter from India was initially barred from competing against women because of naturally high testosterone levels; the ruling was later overturned. And testosterone was among the performance enhancers that superstar cyclist Lance Armstrong confessed to using.

From monochrome to color

But then there's the experience of Rebecca Watson, a mother of five in Atlanta, who was determined to find out why her husband was lethargic, gaining weight and uninterested in sex a decade ago. When she first proposed to him that low testosterone might be the problem, like many men, he didn't want to accept it, since the hormone is popularly considered a barometer of masculinity.

But just weeks after beginning therapy, Watson said, her husband felt markedly better, like going from seeing black-and-white to color. The therapy may have saved the couple's marriage, she said. A health-and-wellness coach, Watson shared their experience on her blog (called High T Marriage) and in a book, called "I Want Sex, He Wants Fries," hoping to help others in similar situations.

"I can’t tell you how many times my husband has thanked me," Watson said. "He’s a better dad, he’s a better husband, he’s happy again. He’s thanked me over and over for being willing to push that issue when he didn't want to."

That said, she recommends that men first try natural ways to increase testosterone before resorting to prescriptions. There are many reasons testosterone declines other than the predictable dips that accompany aging. Watson believes chronic exposure to plastics and pesticides is one reason. Stress is thought to be another.

How many men have low testosterone remains in dispute. One Massachusetts study said 1 in 4 men over the age of 30 have low levels, but only 1 in 20 exhibit symptoms. An editorial published last year in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society said the incidence that justifies treatment is 0.5 percent.

Researchers don't agree on why, but there is evidence of a generational decline in testosterone levels.

In 1988, 50-year-old men in one Massachusetts study had higher concentrations than 50-year-olds tested in 1996. "This suggests that some factor other than age may be contributing to observed declines in testosterone over time," lead author Thomas G. Travison said in a news release.

There have been similar reports worldwide, but Herbert, the author of "Testosterone: Sex, Power, and The Will To Win," said it's possible that more men are being tested, and the tests are more accurate than they have previously been.

"I think we need to treat this data cautiously," he said in an email. "Of course, it could be that the lower T levels are correct, and men are just more stressed."

Turek, whose clinics treat a range of men's health issues, agreed that stress is a major cause of low T in America. (He also notes that Hall's struggles with testosterone may be a result of his training: "Long-distance running is constant stress," he said.)

Turek cites a study of soldiers whose average testosterone levels fell by 30 percent after 84 hours of exertion with little food and sleep. Most men won't be exposed to that level of stress, or Hall's, but the stress from everyday life, whether it be finances, work or a constantly pinging smartphone, has the same effect on testosterone as physical stress, he said.

There are other factors at play, as well. Obesity lowers testosterone, as does marijuana and opiate use, and any kind of pain medication.

And Herbert notes that winning a sports match — or even a computer game — can increase testosterone, but losing at anything decreases it. (He quips that to raise testosterone levels naturally, men should "win something" or get a promotion.)

What's normal

Because testosterone levels vary with age, there is no one standard for what's normal. But generally, men's levels should be between 300 and 1,000 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter) and women's, between 15 and 70.

Levels are always in flux, which is why people should have their blood tested in the morning, when testosterone usually peaks. (Watson recommends that her clients get a baseline test in their late teens or early 20s, so they will have a comparison point when levels start to decline in their 30s.)

Like Watson, Turek said men should try to raise their levels naturally before turning to prescription gels, shots, creams or even pellets implanted in the hip. “Treat your body like a temple, eat well, sleep well, understand your stressors. Men need to get physically tired to reduce stress," he said.

While they may yet need testosterone therapy, all this might help, and Turek, who treats professional athletes in his practice, said Ryan Hall might find his low-T issues subside after taking a sabbatical from running.

"One of the healthiest things Ryan could have done is stop running," Turek said. "He'll be back."

EMAIL: Jgraham@deseretnews.com
Testosterone is not limited to males, although as the article makes clear, they have much more of it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is this the end of the NFL combine as we know it?

02-21-15-scouting combine
Running for time and running with a football under  your arm and defenders around you are entirely different skills and attitudes.

I sure hope so. I have long been of the opinion that the whole thing is a monumental waste of time and resources. It has grown into an end in itself. I mean how often does anyone really run 40 yards in a straight line on the football field? Benchpressing 225 lbs. for maximum reps? Who really thinks that has any application to football performance? The combine has basically spawned new opportunities for personal trainer types to make some money. That's about it in my opinion.

Is this the end of the NFL combine as we know it?

National Football Scouting Inc., which runs the combine, is establishing a committee of league executives, scouts, coaches, athletic trainers, team physicians and others to review all phases of the annual event starting this week in Indianapolis, according to company president Jeff Foster.

The NFL’s operations department also is involved in the review process, which will include periodic checkpoints through April’s draft and beyond, Foster said – a sign of increased interest at the league level in a possible overhaul amidst evolving technology and sports science.

“Our first focus is to look at what we do currently and making sure that that’s relevant,” Foster told USA TODAY Sports. “And if it is, great, we’ll continue to do it, because historical comparison is really important to the evaluation process. But if we believe that there’s something that’s not relevant, then what can we replace it with that will help us evaluate the players?”

No, a quarterback’s throwing session on the field won’t be swapped for one in a virtual reality environment anytime soon. But the days of players training for months to score high in tests such as the 40-yard dash, vertical leap and bench press – sometimes derided as the “Underwear Olympics” – could be numbered.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is among those to criticize combine preparation as a waste of development time. Many NFL teams are integrating advanced evaluation tools in the draft process. League officials have heard presentations from a variety of experts in recent months. Commissioner Roger Goodell toured STRIVR Labs Inc.’s virtual reality facilities as part of his annual Silicon Valley tour in July.

“We’re continuing to explore everything in an effort to improve,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “So, if there are ways to tweak, improve, modify anything we do, we’ll explore that (and that includes) the combine. The mantra is, how can we get better?”

On Wednesday, the league will hold its first football performance and technology symposium, featuring speakers including Dr. Marcus Elliott, founder and director of P3, which has evaluated NBA combine participants the past two years in a 3D motion analysis lab.

“Everybody wins when you do these things,” said Elliott, a onetime physiologist and injury prevention specialist to the Patriots. “You start choosing players that are slotted more correctly based on their real physical tools, and you also have insight into injuries they’re at risk for, so you can help them prevent those injuries.”

The NFL combine did add a functional movement screen several years ago, as well as baseline neurological testing and the Player Assessment Tool, a psychological test developed in part through consultation with general managers as a supplement to the Wonderlic test. But many elements – most notable, tests and drills on the field – have been largely unchanged for decades.

Foster said he expects the new committee to review not only current physical evaluations, but psychological and medical evaluations, which generally are more important to teams at the combine.

“We want to make sure that we’re using the technology that’s available,” Foster said. “What I don’t think we’re interested in doing is beta testing. We want some proven elements that will help us better evaluate the players so that we can project college players to the NFL.”

Foster said NFS has done its own internal reviews of the combine since he arrived a decade ago, but its focus has primarily been on streamlining the data collection and delivery process. (A partnership with Microsoft produced an app that should help going forward.) That process continues, with rest time and mental fatigue for players among the issues being examined.

NFS also is looking into fitting players with some sort of devices to record data during on-field drills at the combine, as many NFL teams do during regular training, and motion-capture technology is another area of potential interest, Foster said.

“What I’ve learned in my short time here,” Foster said, “is nothing is impossible in terms of what we’ll do.”

The sooner the league starts collecting new kinds of data, the sooner it could amass enough to draw comparisons and learn from bad outcomes – a process many teams are going through with their in-house projects now. P3 has independently collected data on roughly a quarter of this year’s combine prospects through partnerships with agencies and a prominent training program, Elliott said.

Some changes could translate to not only better information for clubs and players, but a more compelling spectator event as well.

“You can get in on a really granular level and analyze these systems – even overlays of some of the stuff they do,” Elliott said. “They measure vertical jump, but there’s a lot of ways for two guys to both jump 38 inches. There’s potential for this thing to get so much smarter.”

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero
Quite a different skill set than running 40 yards for time.
An exercise in monumental irrelevance.

Monday, February 22, 2016

ARE YOU FIRE or WOOD or EARTH or METAL or WATER? Does it matter?

Kaz may have been his own species. Not sure there was anyone quite like him.

Below is an article from Charles Poliquin's website that I really found interesting. He makes the same point that we have tried to make here in past posts... Different individuals respond to the same training differently. Therefore you can not give everyone the same program and expect the same results. Not hard to understand, is it? Yet we see so many scholastic and collegiate programs who pass out computerized workout sheets and expect them to be followed rep for rep.
You can't help but like Poliquin's straight from the hip style of communicating. While I do not really buy into his 5 elements 100% lock, stock and barrel; I do think it is a great analogy and makes the point very understandable that we are all different and the optimal training program will therefore be different. Who can argue with that? He also give some examples of how program could be designed to best fit different types of individuals. Some good stuff.
Thanks Charles
The Five Elements – A New Training Paradigm
by Charles Poliquin

Famed Olympic track and field coach Anatoly Bondarchuk believed there were three types of athletes: those who respond best to volume, those who respond best to intensity, and those who respond best to training variety.

Shown training at the Poliquin Strength Institute, world champion shot putter Adam Nelson is an example of the Fire type of athlete.

It was a lesson that served me well for many years, but eventually I started to realize that perhaps the classifications were too limiting. I found that I might give a high-volume program to one athlete and he or she would make excellent progress, but the same program would not be nearly as effective for another athlete. Likewise, when I gave that same athlete an intensity program, he or she would crash almost immediately.

About the same time as this, I was studying Eastern medicine and herbology, and it suddenly occurred to me that these variations in training types correlate strongly with the five physical types described in Chinese medicine. These elements, as they are known, are used to categorize distinct physical types who manifest very distinct personality traits.

The elements are Fire, Wood, Earth, Metal, and the fifth element (which, despite what you might have learned in the Bruce Willis movie of the same name, is not an orange-haired fashion model in gauze bandages) – is Water.

Amazingly, these ancient classifications predict quite accurately how different strength athletes respond to different types of training. They also predict quite accurately their personalities and even their weaknesses.

For years I have listened to people disparage this type of training or that type of training, saying that whatever they’d been doing did not work for them. Some said that the Westside style is no good or that German Volume Training didn’t work for them. The simple truth is that most likely they were performing the wrong type of training for their type, or element.

Breaking the Element Code
For instance, Fire types are the most gifted for weight training with a high concentration of high-threshold motor units. They tend to do a lot of volume with high-intensity work. I know, I know, high volume of high intensity would be paradoxical to what Mr. Universe Mike Mentzer did in his workouts, but it is possible for this type. They can train heavy all the time without crashing, as long as they frequently change the exercises.

Conversely, Earth types can stay on a set program for a long time. You have to first stress them with volume and then stress them with intensity (such as the periodization model presented in 1964 by Russian sport scientist Leonid Matveyev). Each phase is about three weeks. When an Earth type overtrains, their immune system will suffer and they’ll come down with a cold. They are also the ones who have the most trouble reducing carbohydrates in their diet, and it is much harder for them to get lean.

None of the Fire, Wood and Earth types are necessarily disadvantaged when it comes to bodybuilding or strength sports, but it is important for them to train for their type. Obviously, pure types are not that common and most people fall somewhere in between the five points of the element continuum:


The Metal and Water types are, unfortunately, individuals who will never make much progress. They have bad nervous systems, the wrong muscle fibers and poor endocrine systems. These types end up being attracted to non-weightlifting activities like yoga or stamp collecting.

Following are more complete descriptions of each of the element types, including recommended training protocols.

The Fire Type
Fire types typically make the best strength/power athletes. They gravitate towards powerlifting, shot put, hammer throwing, discus, sprinting, long jump and the triple jump. Excitement is their middle name, and they usually have a great deal of enthusiasm. They are the type that inspires people in the gym, the natural-born salesman.

They are the most Yang of the elements; hence, willpower, confidence and excitement describe them. They are the ones who will explode if they get angry. They are also genetically predisposed to heart disease. My client World champion shot-putter Adam Nelson is a poster boy for the Fire type.

Fire types need both high intensity and higher volume in terms of sets compared to the other elements. In other words, Fire-type athletes will thrive on workouts that consist of 10-12 sets of 1-3RM. What’s more, their work capacity curve is phenomenal in that they can do 10-12 sets with a given weight with very little drop-off in performance. Any sets above 8 reps are a waste of time.

The amazing thing about Fire types is that you can beat them into the ground, as long as you change the program often. If a Fire type does workout X, they will need to switch to workout Y after five days because they will already have adapted. Because they have a great capacity for training, variety in the program is essential to them, and it is better to change the choice and order of exercise and the mode of contractions. Volume and intensities do not need to vary as much.

An ideal workout for a Fire type would include perhaps two lifts a day consisting of 10-12 sets of 1-3. This athlete could superset two antagonistic body parts; for example, the bench press and the chin-up, perhaps adding some remedial work at the end. They could easily perform relative strength work followed by hypertrophy training in the same workout. They could also easily train twice a day, six days a week, as long as they changed the exercises.

Sample Fire-Type Periodization for a Single Body Part
Day 1: Workout X
Day 6: Workout Y
Day 11: Workout X
Day 16: Workout Y
Day 21: Workout X
Day 26: Workout Y
Day 31: Workout X
Day 36: Workout Y
Day 41: Workout T*

Day 46: Workout U*

*Workouts “T” and “U” might consist of a slightly higher volume and less intensity, for example, 4-5 sets of 4-7RM.

Fire types will invariably ask, “Are you sure this is enough work for me?” If they perform a German Volume Training program (essentially, 10 sets of 10 using the same weight), they will do fine on the first 2 sets of 10 but will crash on the third. If you give Fire types an Earth-type workout, their blood sugar will drop alarmingly. An alternate test involves testing their max, letting them rest 10 minutes and then giving them 85 percent of max. Typically, they will only be able to pump out 1-3 reps.

The Wood Type
Chinese doctors best describe Wood types as pioneers. They are very good at devising plans and sticking to them. They love challenging themselves and pushing themselves to the limit. They are bold and decisive, and they have a tendency to overdo things. That is why you have to plan recovery phases within the cycle – in other words, you have to hold them back every third workout.

Wood types are the most likely to abuse stimulants and sedatives. One might pop three Red Bulls before a workout and eat a Valium sandwich before going to bed. They are most likely to complain of tendon injuries, and they are genetically predisposed to liver problems.

Wood Training. Wood types can tend to overtrain very easily when volume is excessive. Likewise, they can only handle the same routine for roughly two weeks. Typically, for days 1-15 of a program, they will thrive doing rep ranges of 6-10, but you will need to drop the number of sets by about 40 percent every third workout.

Furthermore, they need to maintain a one-to-one ratio between volume and intensity. That means that they will do best on a two-week cycle employing high volume, followed by a two-week cycle using increased intensity. They will use rep brackets of 2-5 for days 16-30, making sure to drop the number of sets by about 60 percent every third workout.

Sample Wood-Type Periodization for a Single Body Part
Workout 1: 10 sets of 8?Workout 2: 8 sets of 7
Workout 3: 6 sets of 6
Workout 4: 10 sets of 8?Workout 5: 8 sets of 7
Workout 6: 6 sets of 6

*** move to higher intensity***

Workout 7: 12 sets of 4-5?Workout 8: 10 sets of 3-4
Workout 9: 6 sets of 2-3
Workout 10: 10 sets of 4-5 ?Workout 11: 8 sets of 3-4
Workout 12: 4 sets of 2-3

A Wood type will invariably ask, “Are you sure this is the most cutting-edge methodology you’ve got?” If they perform a German Volume Training program (essentially, 10 sets of 10 using the same weight), they will complete the first workout, start to peter out on the second, manage only 4 sets of 10 on the third workout and then go home. An alternate test would involve testing their max, letting them rest 10 minutes and then giving them 85 percent of max. Typically, they’ll only be able to pump out 4-5 reps.

The Earth Type
In Chinese medicine, the Earth types are in the middle of the elements. Therefore, serenity and stability are big issues with them. They are well-grounded individuals, as the name would suggest.

As such, they like identical blocks of training and they don’t need variations within the macrocycle. They can stay on a set program for a long time (six weeks), but you have to stress them with volume for the first three weeks, followed by three weeks of intensity. While they don’t have the ability to tap into a lot of high-threshold muscle fibers (i.e., they don’t do well with a lot of heavy training), they have a greater capacity to hypertrophy than the average person.

If you overtrain an Earth person, they’ll come down with a cold. They are generally very particular about the quality and quantity of their sleep. They are the ones who will piss and moan during a squat workout about missing an hour of sleep.

Of all the element types, Earth types have the hardest time getting lean because they have a problem with reducing carbohydrate intake. Earth types often make good wrestlers or 400- to 800-meter runners. Prototypical Earth types include Arnold Schwarzenegger and Milos Sarcev.

Earth Training. Volume and intensity have to be balanced equally, as they have as much Yin as Yang. They respond best to longer cycles, typically three weeks to a month. They don’t do very well on classical maximal strength programs, as they will burn out rapidly.

Earth types would progress well on routines of 2-3 exercises per body part for the first month (volume or accumulation phase), with 3-4 sets per exercise and 9-15 reps. The next month, they should do 2-3 exercises for 4-5 sets, but do sets of 5-8 reps (the intensification phase).

Sample Earth Type Periodization for a Single Body Part
Day 1: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 6: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 11: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 16: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 21: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 26: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 31: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 36: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 41: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 46: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 51: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 56: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises

If Wood Types perform a German Volume Training program (essentially, 10 sets of 10 using the same weight), they will do very well and will still make progress after the third workout. If, however, the Earth types do 10 sets of 3, they will be completely baked after the fourth set. Likewise, if Earth types perform the 1-6 method, they will burn out after only one workout. An alternate test involves testing their max, letting them rest 10 minutes and then giving them 85 percent of max. Typically, they will be able to pump out 7-10 reps.

The Metal Type
For coaches and personal trainers, metal types are the most frustrating athletes to train and I do not accept them as clients. They spend more time talking and philosophizing about training than doing it. Dogma is their middle name. They thrive on discussing discipline and structure, and they love to ponder over the definition of terms. Most of their calorie expenditure comes from talking, and I don’t even bother training them.

The Water Type
Water types are the most Yin of all the elements. They are the least physical or outward of the types. An accumulation phase for a Water type would consist of licking a dried prune 10 times.

I do not deal with Water types, either, and I usually direct them to the nearest yoga studio. Their genetic pool needs a hefty dose of chlorine. Luckily, most Metal and Water types don’t gravitate towards weight training.

Perhaps the best barometer of what type you are, or what blend of types you are, is whether you enjoy a particular type of training. Fire types can perform 10 sets of the same exercise without losing focus, but the same routine would bore an Earth type to tears.

Trainees should ignore the way their heroes train and just be honest with themselves. If you have not made any progress since the first Bush administration, then it is possible that you have not been training “true to your type.” The Chinese ask, “How can you expect to find ivory in a dog’s mouth?” Likewise, how can you find success using programs that are not suitable for your physiology?

Orrin  Whaley recently Snatched 110 kg at 77 kg BDW and narrowly missed 120. He seems to have some, but not all, characteristics of Fire and Wood.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


There is not much that is really new in the area of strength training and fitness. Following is an abstract of a study that appeared in the The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research awhile back.  Basically it says that athletes who are instructed in training methodology and then allowed to make adjustments on their own get better results than those who blindly follow a "canned" program. Can't say I have been enlightened by that one. If you have been following our posts for any length of time, you know that it's always been our premise that good coaches do not demand adherence to cook book programs. Good coaches teach and develop self-reliant athletes who can think for themselves and give input into their training. Allowing athletes to adjust and adapt according to their individual needs is only a natural result of this philosophy. While it seems to be stating the obvious, I guess the authors should be commended for making this point in a professional journal format. While developing a co-dependency situation may feed a coaches' ego, the most effective coaches develop independent athletes and are not threatened by differences of opinion. Teach athletes correct principles, allow and encourage them to have input into their trianing, and they will make you look like a great coach.

The Effect of Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise vs. Linear Periodization on Strength Improvement in College Athletes.
Mann JB, Thyfault JP, Ivey PA, Sayers SP.

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]

-Autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise (APRE) is a method by which athletes increase strength by progressing at their own pace based on daily and weekly variations in performance, unlike traditional linear periodization (LP), where there is a set increase in intensity from week to week.

This study examined whether 6 weeks of APRE was more effective at improving strength compared with traditional LP in division I College football players. We compared 23 division 1 collegiate football players (2.65 +/- 0.8 training years) who were trained using either APRE (n = 12) or LP (n = 11) during 6 weeks of preseason training in 2 separate years. After 6 weeks of training, improvements in total bench press 1 repetition maximum (1RM), squat 1RM, and repeated 225-lb bench press repetitions were compared between the APRE and LP protocol groups. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to determine differences between groups. Statistical significance was accepted at p </=

Our findings indicate that the APRE was more effective than the LP means of programming in increasing the bench press and squat over a period of 6 weeks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Do We Have Problem Ahead?

Is this sense of "entitlement" a global problem? I tend to believe it is only evident in some cultures, mainly economically prosperous countries.

Following is a letter form the editor taken from a BFS web update I recieved awhile back. It was written by Kim Goss, editor of BFS Magazine and also director of a Poliquin Center in Rhode Island. While I wouldn't call myself a "disciple" of either BFS or Poliquin,(or any other "system" for that matter) I have to admit that both have influenced me a great deal over the years in a positive way. I like what they do. Kim Goss has been one of the more prolific strength training writers over the past several decades. His work has been published in a wide variety of settings about a diverse range of topics. His backround includes competitive weightlifting as well as being a strength and conditioning coach. I first met him in that capacity at the Airforce Academy in the mid 80's. Airforce arguably has one of the best S&C programs in the country and it shows, as their teams are always very competitive with undersized, but disciplined athletes .Anyway, here is Kim Goss's take on the state of today's youth. As usual, I will insert some comments....
"I’ve had the opportunity to interview many coaches and physical education instructors with two and even three decades invested in their careers. I have been coaching and teaching for 35 years now.During these interviews I like to ask, “How are the kids today different from the kids you worked with when you started?” Some of these educators, especially those at smaller schools who often see their kids through 12 years of education, say, “Not at all.”I have definitely seen changes. Although they are not all bad, I am very concerned about our youth today Others say, “There are more distractions today, and many students don’t seem as motivated as their predecessors were to excel to the highest levels in sports or academics.” I agree. There are certainly more distractions. I see a polarizing effect. The top students are better than ever, while the low end students are worse than ever. Unfortunately, I think the median has shifted downward in both academics and athletics. Good answers, but there is one disturbing personality trait I’ve seen that characterizes many young people today – narcissism.Hillbilly that I am, I had to look that word up. After all, I am a PE major who never got to go to college, I went to BYU instead. (I'm allowed to make BYU jokes, but I don't tolerate it from anyone else!!!)Narcissism is a complex mental health condition, but a simple definition is that it is a personality disorder in which an individual overestimates their talents and is obsessed with the need for admiration. It’s not about being self-confident but more about having an ego that is so overinflated that a person has a sense of entitlement. There is definitely an increased sense of entitlement that is prevalent. It makes those who are devoid of it really stand out all the more. Think of the “Sharpay Evans” character Ashley Tisdale played in the High School Musical movies – that’s narcissism. ??? I don't have TV in my home. Smartest move we made. Our kids learned how to do things instead of just watching others do things.
While Sharpay is a relatively harmless character who believes her destiny is to be famous, narcissism is not a condition to be taken lightly. To back up this statement, I would refer you to a fascinating book on this subject called The Narcissism Epidemic, by Jean M. Twenge, PhD, and W. Keith Campbell, PhD (Free Press, 2009).

The authors point out that narcissism is harmful to the person displaying this behavior, because when they fail to achieve the goals they feel entitled to, they can experience serious depression. Narcissism can also harm others, as the narcissist’s obsession with their own self-worth can seem to justify treating others poorly. It also affects society in general, as these individuals can engage in behaviors that become a burden on society.
Are we talking about the NFL or the NBA here?How prevalent is narcissism? The authors found that in tests that measure narcissism, scores are higher today than they have been in previous decades. In one major study of college students, one out of four students tested as having narcissistic traits. With high school students, the authors report that one out of every three seniors are “completely satisfied with themselves,” compared to one out of four in 1975. And there is also evidence that middlschool students are also displaying higher levels of inflated egos compared to their predecessors in the

The authors suggest that one possible cause of narcissism is the self-centeredness caused by Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites. But one point the authors make that really caught my attention is that “young people didn’t raise themselves. They got these narcissistic values from somewhere, often from their parents or media messages created by older people.”
We're on to something there. Kids are born the same way today they always were, naked. If teenagers act different today, there must be a reason. Personally, I think the influence of professional athletes is the biggest influence on our younger athletes. The selfish antics that are glorified by the media trickle down to even the lowest levels. That is one reason that I enjoy coaching track and weightlfiting. The lack of media exposure for both sports is often lamented, but maybe there is an upside. Maybe the lack of really big money for most of these athletes prevents the spawning of the entitlement attitude and the low level of exposure insulates against this narcissism complex. It is my observation that less youngsters are willing to put forth the effort to participate in lifting or track, but those who do are generally the hardest working and most coachable kids. I am afraid that as the years go by, less and less kids will be willing to put forth the effort required for success in these physically demanding, but low recognition sports.

No sense of "entitlement" in evidence here!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lifting for Throwing Far

Oliver Whaley, 64' Weight, 65 m Hammer, Utah's Strongest Man

Below is a copy of an article that appeared in the May 2010 issue of Long and Strong. Unfortunately, this periodical is no longer being published. Glenn Thompson kept it going for many years, but the proliferation of information on the internet and it's immediate realtime coverage made the need for a magazine marginal. I miss the days when a getting a new issue of a magazine in the mail was exciting, but I also enjoy the infinite amount of information, current and historical, available to us now online.
Since a new Track and Field season is upon us, here is an article that should be relevant for throwing athletes.

Balancing Throwing with Strength Training, Avoiding Overtraining
Ollie Whaley, MA, CSCS
Oliver Whaley, Thrower, Brigham Young University
Deezbaa Whaley, Thrower, Brigham Young University

Training for the throwing events is unique in several ways, one being that throwing heavy implements, in and of itself, is a form of resistance training. This factor necessitates a balance between weight room work and throwing practice for effective preparation. Taking the Hammer for example; it has been reported that the force needed to counter an 80 meter throw exceeds 700 lb. Propelling Shots and Discs, and even Javelins all stress the body greatly. Thus a high level throwing session is actually a high volume resistance workout. In an effective program the total volume and intensity of all related work must be considered. If there is not a coherent relationship between the all aspects of training, the result could be poor performance, burnout, or the worst scenario, injury. Dr. Larry Judge, in his fine book on Conditioning for the Throwing Events , points out that poor throwing performances are usually a result of poor training practices. The long range planning of training can become very complex. A Volume Load Formula used in the former Soviet Union sports system quantified throwing stress as follows: Volume load(kg)=Number of throws X Distance (m) X 4.5 (a constant). (Oliveto, 2004) In this system the throwing volume would match the lifting volume as computed by: Kg Lifted X Repetitions.
Many modern strength and conditioning coaches would have us believe that you need a calculator or a computer to design training programs. While it is not our intention to disparage modern technology, it is our contention that if you need a computer to design training programs, you are not a coach, but a technician. We just don’t think it has to be all that complicated. If you have a basic measure of common sense, (maybe better termed UNcommon sense) some experience,(the more the better) and a basic understanding of exercise physiology you can do just fine.
We believe in keeping things simple. Too often we tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. It reminds me of an experience my daughter had as freshman thrower at BYU. She was working on the discus one afternoon when throwing legend LJ Silvestor came by and watched for awhile. As the session finished he asked her, “What is the most important thing for a thrower to remember”? She thought for minute, wanting to say the “right thing.” Having read much of what he has written and published on the subject of throwing; she answered meekly “rhythm?” He laughed and said “Throw far.” It really doesn’t have to be much more complex than that. Throwing greats Al Oerter and Hal Connolly both mentioned that a simple towel was one of their most influential coaches. They put it out on the field as a marker and tried to surpass it. When they did, they moved the towel and until they could surpass it again. While they doubtless also benefited from feedback from others, the bottom line is they learned what worked for them and became very independent and self-reliant athletes. When the athlete is able to understand and participate in the program design process, this is the optimal situation.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to any training problem, there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind.
These include:
Throwing takes priority over lifting in both time and energy.Whenever possible, throw first then lift afterwards. This insures that your full energy and focus are on throwing first. Use whatever time and energy resources you have left for your strength training. Throwing while you as fresh as possible. Throwing under fatigued conditions impairs CNS activity and can adversely affect motor patterns. Throwing is not an endurance activity and technical training in a fatigued state is counter-productive.
Always remember:

Strength training is secondary. It’s purpose is to support throwing.
If your weight room work is leaving you too sore or stiff to throw your best, then you need to reevaluate and adjust your volume and/or intensity. Strength training should be a stimulant to your throwing efforts. It is tempting to let numbers drive your strength training as it is so measurable. More reps and/or more weight = progress. The only progress that matters for a thrower is determined by a tape measure. Once a sufficient strength base is built, higher weight room numbers do not automatically lead to farther throws. In fact, maximal effort too often in the weight room is also counter-productive.
Of course the maturity and experience of the thrower must be taken into account. Younger scholastic age-level throwers need a lot of time throwing as they generally are still developing their technical skills. Their potential for improved performance by improving their technical skills is great. These beginning athletes are also in the midst of a growth spurt and are awash in growth hormones. Their strength levels are relatively low and for the most part they are not yet capable of real high intensity training. At this entry level, they can usually both throw and lift as hard as they are capable of without overtraining becoming a factor. (Of course there are notable exceptions, usually among those who will progress to the collegiate level.) Collegiate level throwers are comprised of the cream of the scholastic crop. These are athletes who have developed a more advanced technical mastery and higher strength levels. At this level greater care must be taken to coordinate both aspects of training. Generally at this level, throwing has become a year-around pursuit. Technical skills are being refined and strength increases are needed, especially for the men who are now progress to throwing heavier implements. There must be a connection and balance between the throwing and strength training workouts at this level. The ideal situation is to have the throws coach also designing the strength workouts. However, in the current collegiate environment many throwers are forced to work under the “Strength and Conditioning Staff.” In some instances there is open communication and it is a smooth and productive process. We have learned from sad experience that in other cases this can be an obstacle and a battle. Monitoring this can be as simple as coaches asking, “How do you feel today?” Simple observation can tell when an athlete is dragging and needs to back off on their lifting. Lower practice performance and competitive results are the final, indisputable indicator that an adjustment is needed. The Strength and Conditioning coach must communicate with and observe throwers while being constantly aware of their throwing results.
Post collegiate throwers are the most elite level. They are more technically mature and may not need as many throws, but the emphasis in on quality. Generally their strength levels are also highly developed. By this time they usually know their bodies well are able to organize and regulate their own training with feedback by invitation from trusted sources.
Bottom line:
You cannot ignore the physiological stress (neural and muscular) of throwing.
The total training stress can be numerically quantified and measured. However, quantifying the stresses does not insure that they will be managed correctly.The best results occur when the coach and athlete can communicate, observe, and adjust as needed. You don’t need a calculator to do that. In fact, overuse of the calculator or the computer to design programs only inhibits the process in our opinion. Effective coaching is an art that is practiced best when backed up by science. Relying on science alone is missing the true essence of coaching.
If an adjustment is needed, how does one effectively adjust their training? Again, there is no solution that is foolproof for all situations, but there are some general guidelines.
1. Do not practice full throws in a fatigued state. When the athlete is showing technical break down, it is time to stop throwing for the session. Continuing to throw under fatigued conditions usually results in ingraining bad habits and motor patterns.
2. Reduce lifting volume first. This can be accomplished by either reducing the number of sets, lowering the number reps, or dropping exercises. The right answer will depend on the situation. Generally during the competitive season the reps should be low. We like 3 or less. Only one set at the top weight is needed. Cut the exercises to the bare bones. Generally we like 2-3 exercises per workout with maybe a little stomach work.
3. Reduce lifting intensity next. If the athlete is still dragging reduce the intensity. Remember; 70-80% of 1RM is sufficient as a strength stimulus. Forcing your body to max in the weight room while maxing in your throwing will eventually lead to breakdown and the neuromuscular recovery process is slow. In the words of lifting legend Tommy Kono, “It is better to be under trained than even slightly over trained.”
Pretty simple really. Train hard, but train smart. Stay strong, healthy, and throw far.
Oliveto, Nils MS, CSCS (Oct. 2004) Establishing Volume Load Parameters: A Different Look in Designing a Strength Training Periodization for Throwing Events, Strength and Conditioning Journal pp. 52-55

Deezbaa Whaley 63' Weight, 190' Hammer, 160' Discus, Bodyweight 158 lb.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Discussion and Comparison of Pulling Techniques

Below is an interesting article posted by Sean Waxman on his website. He obviously has some strong feelings in opposition to coach Don McCauley. While I tend to agree with Sean on most of it, Coach McCauley has produced some pretty good lifters also. I have included some of my own comments in yellow. Interesting discussion if you take the time to read it. It is lengthy. The references at the finish are nice to have. Here it is...
"Coaching is a noble profession and one that comes with great responsibility. The athletes place their careers and well-being in our hands and trust that we will provide them with the best opportunities to succeed. I couldn't agree more!! Providing such opportunities is largely based upon the coaches’ abilities and desires to study and apply the scientific research behind Olympic Weightlifting. Such material is readily available in this age of information. Yet, some coaches have chosen to snub their noses at what has been proven through the scientific method and long-term results. Rather, they have opted for unproven, wrong, or simply made up methods. This is shameful behavior, and in my opinion, some of the most irresponsible acts any coach could perpetrate on his or her athlete. Well said. Too often coaches rely entirely upon their own experiences or lack thereof and don't continue to learn. However even science does not answer all questions in my opinion. Great coaching is an art that allows for individual differences and outside of the box variations that occur in many elite athletes.Many others and I have dedicated our lives to coaching the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. It is not just what we do, it is who and what we are as people. SO LET IT BE KNOWN, we will defend the sanctity of these movements with great zeal against all those who try and dishonor their existence. Don McCauley is one of those people! No need to get so personal. Difference of opinion is healthy and promotes progress.These are quotes from a seminar given by USA Weightlifting coach Don McCauley at Athletes Arena in July 2009. He is giving his rendition of a flat-footed pull style he termed “the catapult.” Mr. McCauley states this information as fact:
“Today, we don’t triple extend with force”
Who is this we? Many top lifters do!“(The feet) are not pushing through the bar. A lot of people still do, but they are wrong”
Is it still wrong if they are breaking world records?“Triple extension just wastes time because you have to get going back down”
Even if this is true, this does not apply to athletes outside of weightlifting.“If you triple extend or do any fast lifting with heavy weight, that does not add speed to your athlete as far as calf quickness. You would be much better off having them push a sled or a heavy bag. That’s going to give them quickness”
These are also great exercises, but I don't see his point here.
“(Lifters from the past) had huge thighs because they did a lot of front squats and things like that. If you look at lifters today, there is less thigh development and there is more (glute) development because they are doing this thing (the “catapult” technique) all the time and they have come around to the thought that we don’t need so much quadricep because (in the second pull) we are not truly knee extending hard like a jumper might…we are only going to about 95% of knee extension and then we are (getting under the bar)…so we need the (glutes/hips) so we built back here (the glutes/hips) a lot more”

My observations do not confirm this statement. I see no lack of thigh development today.“Keep your heels on the floor, there is no need to leave the floor at all so we don’t need triple extension because we have to go back down. Because if we triple extend, that’s three more inches we have to go to beat the bar back down…there is no point and we have wasted energy pushing the bar and frankly, you haven’t relatively changed anything, the bar is higher and you are higher so you have gained nothing. What you want is the bar higher and you lower”
I agree that most of the power comes during the flatfooted stage and the raise on the toes is more of a followthrough, but it occurs nonetheless.“Some countries don’t shrug at all anymore, they just get up and pull they don’t bother with (the traps) at all”
Not sure you can "not use your traps at all."
“If you teach kids that are not getting individual attention to triple extend…you’ve got them landing forward, that’s not good. (Because the pressure is on the front part of the foot and the knee) but if you (“catapult”) you will catch the weight on the full foot or even through the heel not much (bad) can happen”
A forward jump is not inevitable.“In Olympic lifting you don’t have to leave the floor with your heels at all to do it, so there is no reason to jump”
“Do most sports (other than Weightlifting) have more of a reason to triple extend? Yes. But I would say, to do these lifts correctly, if you have them in your program, get away from the thought of triple extension and get the explosive triple extension from something else.”
“The hip is the strongest muscle in the body…but it is behind you and your brain doesn’t know how to use it”
“The hips in this pull (catapult) (and most sports) do everything and all the other muscles follow. The only little difference is in pure sprinting because the quads have to leave it because you have such rip up, kind of uh flexion and then extension and stuff like that. And that’s all good and that’s why sprinters should do a lot of sprinting and practice that. Don’t think that (triple extension) is going to give sprinters more speed in their sprint. The power clean (using the Catapult) will help them but not that push (triple extension)”. That’s not going to help their calves get faster, it cant, its too heavy”

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Maybe it works this way for some athletes, but I would guess this is mnore the exception than the rule.These are some highlights of a post Mr. McCauley made to me on GoHeavy.com “March 24th, 2010″ further explaining his “catapult” technique. (Here is the entire post)
Triple extension is caused in much of Olympic weightlifting by the hip extension literally lifting the feet into a plantar flexed position, without much or any help from the calves and triple extension is often done simply for the lifter to move his feet to a different catch position rather than add to the force driving the bar”
“Catapulting has always been simply a word I used to describe the greater role of hip extension in the lift and the lesser role of forceful knee extension and plantar flexion in the lifts (what American coaches call jumping or driving through the balls of the feet)”
“We, as a group, did not interpret the information coming out of Europe in the ’70’s, ’80’s correctly. Those few coaches that were around were buried by a lot of guys who had it set (incredibly stubbornly) in their minds that this was simply a forceful triple extending, jumping motion”
All the above statements are full of blather and scientific inaccuracies. The fact is, flat-footed pulling or the “catapult” has no empirical or scientific support, whereas finishing with triple extension does. However, Mr. McCauley is trying to sell the “catapult” as the technique that the great lifters of today are performing and it is triple extension that is the cause of poor lifting in this country. Roman, Garhammer, Siff, Enoka, Zatsiorsky, Verkhoshansky and many other scientists both past and present have analyzed and continue to analyze lifting technique only to come to the same conclusion:
“The explosion is executed by the simultaneous action of the muscles of the legs and torso… From this position, the athlete extends his legs and torso and rises up onto his toes and…the shoulders are elevated…Such a position is the most advantageous condition for maximal utilization of the participating muscle groups and the subsequent transfer to the barbell upward…This description of good pulling technique appears to be optimal.” (Roman and Shakirzyanov 4-7)
This description coincides with ALL of the other valid scientific research that has been done on Olympic Weightlifting.
Instead of following the work of the world’s greatest Weightlifting minds, Mr. McCauley expects us to throw out 50 years of proven research and exceptional Weightlifting results and listen to him. A man by his own admission, who has no formal science background and bases this catapult/flat-footed technique entirely upon opinion and limited observation, not on actual biomechanical studies. In fact the technique Mr. McCauley describes is biomechanically impossible to perform as explained. One cannot de-emphasize leg extension and overemphasize hip extension and create a vertical bar path because this action
“forms ineffective habits in the explosion.” (Livanov and Falameyev 26)
This is a simple vector addition problem. If two forces from different directions and of different magnitudes converge, the resultant vector will be influenced to a larger extent by the force with the greatest magnitude, which in this case would be the force created by the hips in the horizontal plane. Excessive horizontal bar displacement is exactly the opposite of what is desired.
Interestingly, when you read research done by the former Soviet Union on the pull in Weightlifting there is no mention of the hip as a specific force producer. The description used to describe the “explosion” of the second pull is that it
“is executed by the simultaneous action of the muscles of the legs and torso.” (Roman and Shakirzyanov 4)
The reason for this is effective summation of force production is not about any one particular part of the kinetic chain; it is the coordinated effort of the ENTIRE kinetic chain, which produces optimal technique and force production. Force applied to the bar during the lift is proportionately related to the sum of ALL joint torques, not just the torque at the hip.
Mr. McCauley states that rising onto the toes at all during the second pull is a display of poor technique and negatively affects the outcome of the lift. This opinion cannot be substantiated by ANY of the biomechanical research done in Weightlifting past or present. It is true that rising onto the toes may negatively affect the outcome of a lift but only when done subsequent to full hip and knee extension! When a lifter produces a well-timed powerful pull, he/she does not have to make any deliberate effort to plantar-flex or remain flat-footed. The lifter will involuntarily produce an action, which instinctually suits his/her needs. In some cases this will result in marked plantar-flexion, in other cases far less. However, whether or not we observe heel rising, the mechanical action of the lifter/barbell complex remains unchanged. This is why relying solely on observation will not always tell the whole story.
There are scientists who have laboriously dedicated their lives to understanding the intricacies of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. The research started with the men who built the Soviet Weightlifting program such as Roman, Lelikov, Medvedev, Povetkin, Treskov, Shakirzyanov, Zhekov, Martyanov, Popov, Verkhoshansky, and Lukashev. It has continued with the likes of Garhammer, Enoka, Gourgoulis, Isaka, Chiu, and many others. All of these scientists have had similar findings in their biomechanical research in Olympic Weightlifting technique, and specifically with “triple extension.” DON MCCAULEY’S “CATAPULT” TECHNIQUE IS IN DIRECT OPPOSITION OF THE FINDINGS OF ALL OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED SCIENTISTS! He even boasts on his website that he is “an opponent of the thought that the triple extension is all-powerful.” The supremacy of the triple extension IS NOT a thought; it is FACT! The mere existence of this quote is further proof of his choice to ignore years of research and scientific application.
It is NOT true that we “misinterpreted” the information that came out of Europe. Fifty years of science and meet results tell us that the triple extension is definitely NOT a “waste of time.” The “catapult style” is NOT being performed by “many of the top lifters. Mr. McCauley has created these stories out of his own imagination and continues to pass them off as fact. Moreover, I have included photos of the lifters who Mr. McCauley and his followers claim are performing this flat-footed “catapult” technique. You will notice the each athlete is indeed displaying triple extension, and not the mythical “catapult.”

I vigorously tried to find just ONE peer reviewed biomechanical study that would support Mr. McCauley’s statements. I was unsuccessful. I vigorously tried to find video evidence of a top athlete who performs this “catapult” style. Again, I was unsuccessful. I challenge Don McCauley, or anybody else, to provide biomechanical evidence that the catapult/flat-footed approach is the optimal technique for lifting a barbell. THAT IS WHAT I SEEK, NOT SIMPLY OPINIONS OR PREFERENCES!
I, on the other hand, DO provide documented evidence for my statements. I have included just a fraction of the peer-reviewed scientific literature available on the biomechanics of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.
Blagoy Blagoev, 18 World Records and a 195.5 Snatch@ 90kg., said it best when asked about pulling technique:
“I do have only one problem with the flatfooted pull. As they say, “the flat-footed pull will give you flat-footed results”. We certainly don’t want to get that. We do know for a fact that the lifters are trying their best to get to fully extended position before get under the bar. I do not see it happening by staying on your heels. Another small detail – if you go to an extended position of your legs (on your toes), even before you start pulling with the arms to direct the bar towards the final fixed position, you will gain 6-9 cm in height. In my opinion, at a max lift, this will give you the winning edge. Try a vertical jump off your heels!”"While I don't disagree with Blagoev, try a vertical jump with locked knees, only using ankle extension. You will find that you don't get much out of that either. It must be a combined summation of force.Works Cited:
Livanov, O.I. and A. I. Falameyev. “Technique and Method of Learning Classical Exercises.”
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Roman, R.A. and M.S. Shakirzyanov. The Snatch, The Clean and Jerk. Moscow: Fizkultura i Sport Trans. A. Charniga, 1978.
Arabatzi, F. and E. Kellis. “Biomechanical Analysis of Snatch Movement and Vertical Jump: Similarities and Differences.” Hellenic J Phys Educ & Sport Sci. 29. 2 (2009): 185-199.
Bai, X. and H. Wang. “Three-dimension Kinematics Simulation and Biomechanics Analysis of Snatch Technique.” Proceedings of 1st Joint International Pre-Olympic Conference of Sports Science & Sports Engineering Volume I: Computer Science in Sports (2008): 291-296.
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Hoover, D.L. and K.M. Carlson and B.K. Christensen et.al. “Biomechanical Analysis of Women Weightlifters During the Snatch.” J. Strength Cond. Res. 20.3, (2006): 627-633.
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Luhtatnen, P. and P.V. Komi. “Segmental Contributions to Forces in Vertical Jumps.” Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 38, (1978): 181-188.
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Roman,R.A. and M.S. Shakirzyanov. The Snatch, The Clean and Jerk. Moscow: Fizkultura I Sport, English translation Andrew Charniga Jr. Livonia: Sportivny Press. 1978.
Schilling, B.K. and M.H. Stone and H.S. O’Bryant et. al. “Snatch Technique of Collegiate National Level Weightlifters.” J. Strength Cond. Res. 16.4, (2002): 551-555.
Takano, Bob. “Coaching Technique in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk.” NSCA Journal 9, (1987): 50-59.
Zhekov, I.P. “Biomechanics of the Weightlifting Exercises.” Weightlifting Training and Technique English trans. Andrew Charniga Jr. Livonia Sportivny Press. 1992
Fight until your very last breath!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

There May Be an Exercise 'Sweet Spot' for Losing Weight

On the tail of our last post, another look at the relationship between exercise and weight loss. It only makes sense that the body adapts after time. That's why it's important to have variety in our programs. It's apparent that both diet and exercise are vital for improving body composition significantly.

The new study was published Thursday (Jan. 28) in the journal Current Biology.There May Be an Exercise 'Sweet Spot' for Losing Weight
Agata Blaszczak Boxe,LiveScience.com 
Working out has numerous health benefits, but if you are trying to lose weight, exercise alone may not be enough: The body may adapt to higher levels of physical activity, so you may not burn more calories even if you exercise a lot, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that the people in the study who engaged in moderate levels of physical activity burned about 200 more calories per day, on average, than those who had the lowest levels of physical activity. However, the people who were the most physically active burned the same number of calories, on average, as those who were moderately active, the researchers found.

It is not clear why, exactly, higher levels of physical activity may not lead to burning more calories, the researchers said.

In any case, "You still have to exercise," because exercise is important for health, said study author Herman Pontzer, an associate professor of anthropology at the City University of New York. 

However, high levels of exercise may not result in more calories being burned. "It seems like the body is adapting to higher levels of activity and working, adapting to keep energy expenditure the same," Pontzer said.

"It is just that it is not going to be the easiest way to lose weight — instead, you will want to focus on your diet for that," Pontzer told Live Science.

In the new study, the researchers looked at the levels of physical activity and the numbers of calories burned among 332 people ages 25 to 45 over the course of a week. The people in the study lived in Ghana, South Africa, the Seychelles (an island nation in the Indian Ocean), Jamaica and the United States.

There was a small but measurable link between people's physical activity level and the total number of calories they burned per day, the researchers found. But this link held only when the researchers compared the people with moderate activity levels to the people who had the most sedentary lifestyles. People who had moderate levels of activity burned about 200 more calories per day, on average, than those who were mainly sedentary, the researchers found.

In contrast, "The most physically active people expended the same amount of calories each day as people who were only moderately active," Pontzer said in a statement.

The researchers had also previously investigated the relationship between activity levels and energy expenditure among a group of people called the Hadza, who are traditional hunter-gatherers in northern Tanzania.

"The Hadza are incredibly active, walking long distances each day and doing a lot of hard physical work as part of their everyday life," Pontzer said. "Despite these high activity levels, we found that they had similar daily energy expenditures to people living more sedentary, modernized lifestyles in the United States and Europe."

The vast majority of calories that people burn every day are not spent on physical activity, but on "the basic work that your cells do to keep you alive," Pontzer said. This work involves moving nutrients and waste products in and out of cells and keeping electrolytes balanced, for example.

"Sowhat we think is happening, as we get more and more active, our bodies adjust by spending a little bit less on those activities and making room for the increased energy expenditure on [physical] activity," he said.

The findings may mean that there is a "sweet spot" for physical activity: While exercising too little is unhealthy, exercising a lot may prompt the body to make adjustments to adapt, the researchers said.

How much exercise? Intensity trumps volume.

Monday, February 1, 2016

More exercise doesn’t always mean losing weight

Hard work will always be a factor in the total equation.

This is an interesting article. Common sense tells us that both movement and calorie reduction bring the optimal weight loss and body composition improvements. Inactivity is a plague and plays a large role in the obesity epidemic here in the U.S. But, I also have found from my own experience, especially as I get older, that it is  harder to out exercise too many calories. Exercise is vital, but so is some discipline on food choices and portion sizes if you really want to harden up.

More exercise doesn’t always mean losing weight
UPDATED: JANUARY 29, 2016 01:05AM
Americans spend $27 billion a year on gym memberships.

They spend that money because they believe exercise is the key to losing weight-and-fitness companies happily promote this narrative.

It’s a message the food industry pushes as well: Coca-Cola funded scientists who blamed weight gain on too little exercise rather than on too many calories.

But a growing body of research suggests that Americans trying to lose weight won’t get the results they desire by slogging through extra miles on the treadmill-they’ll need to cut calories to do it.

Scientists are beginning to understand that there are limits to how much weight people can lose with exercise alone.

What people eat — and in what quantity — appears to influence body weight more than how active they are, according to an increasing body of evidence.

Exercise remains critical to other aspects of health, such as preventing heart disease. But some scientists say the role it plays in weight loss has been misunderstood for years.

The latest evidence comes from a study published Thursday that suggests people who are highly active don’t burn more calories than those who are moderately active.

Researchers tracked 332 adults in five countries, from the United States, to Jamaica, to Ghana, and found that “total energy expenditure increases with physical activity at low activity levels but plateaus at higher activity levels,” according to the paper in Current Biology.

In other words, moving around increased calories burned only up to a point.

That contradicts the previous understanding of how activity and energy expenditure are directly linked. We’re used to thinking more activity burns more calories, with no limit to that relationship. If there is a limit, exercising beyond it won’t help people lose weight.

How could that be? Researchers don’t fully understand what’s going on, but they have some theories. The body doesn’t just burn calories when moving muscles. Cells and organ systems use energy to keep us functioning-to digest food and run the immune system, for example.

The bodies of highly active people may do those jobs more efficiently, thereby using less energy, said Herman Pontzer, an anthropology professor at Hunter College in New York and lead author of the study

“It would only take small changes about how the body spent energy in those systems” to make a difference in total energy usage, he said.

Another possibility is that people who are more physically active expend less energy fidgeting or making other small movements during the day, an accumulation of tiny changes that add up to significant energy savings.

“Those movements have very low energy expenditures and they’re hard to capture,” said Diana Thomas, director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She wasn’t involved in the research but wrote an editorial accompanying the article.

Thomas said more research is needed to understand why people who are more active don’t always burn more calories. “There are a lof of unknowns about where this compensation is coming from,” she said.

But scientists have know for years that the body can adjust how much energy it uses for normal maintenance. In extreme circumstances, such as starvation or very low calorie diets, metabolism slows down to conserve energy.

Something similar might be at work in the metabolism of highly active people.

Amy Luke, a public health researcher at Loyola University in Chicago and a co-author of the study, first noticed in the 2000s the cracks in the accepted understanding that more activity means more calories burned.

She was comparing overweight and obese women in the U.S. with lean women in rural Nigeria, expecting to find that the Nigerians expended more energy.

“This was, at the time, I thought, a no-brainer,” she said. In a paper published in 2009, she reported a surprise: Both groups of women were burning the same amount of calories. And how much exercise they got didn’t predict weight changes.

Luke’s takeaway from years of research: If you want to lose weight, “eat fewer calories.”

The caveat can’t be repeated too often: Being active is crucial to many aspects of health, from reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease to improving mental health. The new findings aren’t an excuse to lie on the couch and cancel your gym membership.

Pontzer echoed the advice: “We’re not saying that exercise isn’t important. Of course it is.” But for losing or managing weight, “diet is going to be your best tool,” he said.

Exercise can actually make it harder for people to moderate how much they eat.

“It increases appetite and therefore you’re hungrier and you feel the need to replenish yourself,” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

She said many of her patients “start eating above and beyond actual hunger once they start exercising.”

The need to cut calories, though, is often drowned out by the marketing of the fitness industry.

“The message is always ‘Join the gym, get this piece of execise equipment.’ Everything’s about toning and making your body better,” Kirkpartick said. “It kind of sets you up for this unrealistic expectation of what your gym membership will do for you.”

Work hard and eat good for the best of results.