Science of Sports Performance

Author - Steve Olson

Coming Soon: Strength Collective Podcast!

podcast
[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]So today (6/10/2016) I floated an idea on facebook: why is there not a podcast dedicated simply to discussing TRAINING?

Nearly every training podcast out there right now is interviews: tell me who you are, where you are from, who you learned from and what you do.

This podcast will be a single speaker (or two, depending on whos on!), who specializes in some aspect of training, teaching it to you.  A “meat and potatoes” podcast that you can take training information from and apply it TODAY!

Be on the lookout!

If you are interested in being a guest teacher on the podcast, please fill out the form below.

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  • Coach/Owner - Company or School Name
    If you want to show your training programs, or visually display what you are talking about, then a screencast or video to go with would help!
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Velocity Based Training: What you need to know.

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[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]VBT, or as you know, velocity based training, is a way to measure bar speed. That’s all it is, nothing more, nothing less.  However, our use and interpretation of that information is the important part of using VBT: are you getting the right data and using it correctly within the context of your program? Or are you simply monitoring athlete bar speed?

Here is what we know for a fact: certain bar speeds train certain physiological adaptations. With the rest of this conversation, we are going to make one assumption: that every rep is performed with maximal intent.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The slower the bar speed, the heavier the load and the less specific the training is to high level athletics. However, heavy loading is a necessary part of training in order to create the neurological and physiological ability to move things fast: maximal strength precedes maximal speed, in most cases. On the other end of the spectrum, extremely fast bar speeds usually involve lighter weights, and are more specific to most sports.

Programming for athletics is the ability to put these different training adaptations together in a way that the end result of them is increased ability to play the sport. FACT: We can do this without VBT. I have done it, as have many thousands of coaches. However, VBT allows us to fine tune what we want to see based on what the athlete can do on that day to maximize the long term return of an exercise.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

First, lets go over what qualities the different speeds train. Let’s borrow some info from Bryan Mann.

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We also know that we can train these same things with percentages, and that percentages correlate highly with speed:

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4916″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]

Or to put the two together:

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4915″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]So if we know that percentages correlate with speeds (and vice versa) and both correlate with specific qualities, what are we missing?

Individualization.

We know that training at 90-95% of 1RM is very heavy, near maximal weights. However, consider your own training. There is days that 80% feels like it will CRUSH you! And other days you will kill it.  Globally, when viewed from a distance, % based training correlates very strongly to bar speed.  But if you zoom in, that straight line is actually a scatter plot, and your athletes will be all over that map!

Your athletes have those same off days as you, and 90% may not be a possibility regardless of what your plan was. The old method (and relatively effective, I might say), is to tell the athlete to simply lower the weight, ask the athlete how it was, and leave it there for the rest of the sets and reps. If you had planned 5 sets, the athlete would do 5 sets. Rinse and repeat.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]With VBT, we can simply assign the speed that we want to train on, and let the athletes ability on that day dictate the weight. Instead of 5×3 @ 85%, its 5×3 & .34-.46 M/S.

The best part is, once you understand the basics of VBT, you can use a bit more novel programming to make it more adaptable, effective and fun. We don’t even have to assign an established number of sets or reps! We can make EVERYTHING variable based on how the athlete is feeling on that day.

For example, during a maximal strength phase, we can assign a speed of .34-.46 m/s, for as many sets of 2 as you can do within that range. If the speed goes above .46, you increase the weight (you are going too fast to train the desired quality). If it goes below, you decrease the weight to make sure you can get the desired volume in.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Some athletes that are CRUSHING it may be able to do 8 or more sets, and you get to reap the rewards of a great training session. Other athletes that are struggling may hit 3 or 4 sets, and be done. Fatigue, either acute or chronic (that’s another story) set in. You could never make these adjustments without knowing the bar speed.

The “old method” would have set the intensity at 80-90%, with a set and rep scheme likely based on prilipens chart. Would it have worked? Absolutely, you can make MONSTERS with this method! Is it 100% ideal to adjust for individualization of how each athlete feels on that day, based on what your goal for that phase of the yearly plan is? No, and as the industry progresses and technology gets cheaper and more accessible, we should always be trying to get better, not just hanging on to old methods out of tradition. The world is going to progress, whether you are willing to accept it or not, and this is no different.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]What about during a peak power phase? Lets say you run a pretest: you pick the HEAVIEST weight you can do in this range. Then your goal is to do 6 sets, as many reps as possible per set, while keeping the speed in this range. Every time a rep falls below this range, the set is over. How much do you think this would motivate your athletes to keep up with the rest of the guys at their rack?

Again, only possible by knowing the speed of the bar![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Now, this information does not diminish the necessary programming knowledge needed to write a good program. If you don’t understand the building blocks of periodization, exercise selection, and various models of program design based on athlete ability and trainedness, knowing the speed of the bar just continues to make the water murkier and just becomes another toy.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Some other cool things you can do with VBT:

  • It can predict daily 1RM based off a submax speed test
  • It can predict repetition failure (I will be using this for 225 BP Training for NFL Combine)
  • You can calculate athlete power output
  • You can measure bicep curl speed
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And if you have the right equipment, you can have some fun…

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Training Consulting Services Now Available

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[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]As you have seen on this site, I specialize specifically in strength training program design for athletics.  Over the last 3 years, I have helped numerous coaches around the country create and implement better, higher quality training programs.  I would love to help you do the same!

Programming I specialize in:

  • Strength Training Excel Template via Excel Training Designs
  • Combine strength training programs
  • NFL Offseason Strength Training programs
  • Youth development programs

Concepts I specialize in:

  • General periodization theory
  • Block periodization
  • Triphasic Training
  • Annual program design
  • Gain / Train / Retain Programming

If you want to discuss any of these concepts in more detail or are looking for a more specific solution for you, feel free to contact me at 815-621-6016.

Thanks!
Steve[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Motor Practice & Learning 101

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[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]If I were to ask you what percent of the ability to succeed in sports is related with physical movement, what would you say?

That answer tells you just how vastly important this topic is when creating athletic performance programs.  Everything you do, every jump, every squat, every run, is a motor pattern that needs to be learned, honed and perfected.  Knowing the background of motor learning and how we can structure it to create different results with different populations is vital to being a successful coach, so lets talk about it.

First, lets look at some definitions that are going to dictate how we structure workouts for different athletes with different goals.

There are two primary aspects to keep in consideration of teaching skills: short term and long term.  These can be described as motor performance, and motor learning.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Motor performance is described as the temporary change in movement patterns during a training session.

Motor learning is the permanent change in behavior, measured after a retention period.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Here are the ways you can teach a movement to increase learning and retention:

Partial – training small components of a larger movement individually.  These smaller components must be a naturally occurring component of the larger movement to have a positive transfer.  Great for teaching more complex actions (hang clean, run technique).

Whole – training the entire movement in its entirety (squatting, bench press).[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The following describe practice methods in reference to the motor patterns you should teach on a daily and weekly basis.

Constant practice – repeating a single motor pattern until it is learned.  Quickly increases the motor ability on that day.  Used with new athletes to teach or refine basic patterns.

Variable – training multiple similar variations of a task. Used once an athlete has acquired the basic movement pattern.  Creates a strong long term learning and retention stimulus.

Massed Practice – Performing the same movement, over and over, with minimal rest or break, until it is accurately performed.  Works with skilled and highly motivated athletes.  Allows for technical refinement of patterns.

Distributed Practice – Performing the movement with frequent breaks, rest periods and time between training sessions.  Great for learning patterns as increased frequency and breaks allow for mental processing of the pattern.  Best for learning gross motor patterns.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]And this is how you can structure workouts over the course of weeks and months to increase learning and retention:

Blocked practice – One variation is taught repeatedly before moving to a new variation of the exercise.  Has very low interference from one movement to the next, which facilitates the learning of the basic movement pattern.  Low long term transfer to other skills, and lower retention rate.

Random practice – multiple variations trained in random order.  High interference from movement to movement, however retention stays high.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]It is also important to know the athletes purposeful understanding of WHY they are performing the movement.

Knowledge of Performance – was the desired motor pattern learned and performed correctly.

Knowledge of Results (KR) – does the movement pattern you know or are in process of learning translate to the end goal.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]What about feedback?  The information an athlete receives is vital to how they learn to perform the movement.  The two main types of feedback:

Extrinsic Feedback – external feedback on the desired technical pattern given by a 3rd party (coach).

Intrinsic Feedback – what the athlete felt when performing the movement.

The feedback the athlete receives may be the most important thing on this entire list:  if they are not properly taught how to do something, using proper type, quantity and amount of feedback, they can’t properly learn to perform the movement with proper technical efficiency.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]And last, this is the coaches role in the process.

Guided – changes in performance are dictated by a coaches external cueing. Necessary for the vast majority of coaching. Uses extrinsic feedback to learn and perfect a movement pattern.

Discovery – letting the athlete “figure it out” and learn the movement based on feel and knowledge of the necessary skill.  Useful mostly in high level athletics where the athlete knows in detail the desired goal and can train autonomously to achieve it.  Uses intrinsic feedback to perfect the movement pattern.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Reading through this list, you can pretty easily surmise how they would apply to the various levels of athletes.  However, the long term training goal is also a key factor in how you teach.  Do you want an athlete to perfect a movement today, or are you looking to make sure the movement pattern sticks for the long haul?

There are three main stages of motor control an athlete will be in that you need to be aware of when designing a program and adjusting the desired variables (volume, frequency, intensity, technique).[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Cognitive Stage

WHAT: The athlete is learning the basics of the training movement.  Visual feedback is extremely important as the athlete develops strategies for accomplishing the task.  Developing a “neural map” of what needs to fire and when to perform the movement.  Trying to increase KP (knowledge of performance).

HOW: Highlight purpose of the training task, demonstrate the task the way you want it to be performed, or break into smaller parts that’s relate back to the whole movement.

PRACTICE: Distribute the practice to avoid fatigue, limit distractions and negative interference from other training tasks.  Use slow, controlled movements. Follow blocked-constant practice to refine movement patterns before switching to new or more complex variations. Guided practice dominates.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Associative Stage

WHAT: Practice and refinement of the movement.  Movement errors will decrease, need for cognitive recognition of the pattern decreases, automaticity increases.  Trying to improve the “neural map”. Mostly “whole” movement training except in cases of complex actions. Goal is to increase KP and KR.

HOW: Help performer develop the decision making necessary to train the movement.

PRACTICE:  Randomize practice with other variables to increase long term retention of movement patterns.  Begin introducing real world scenarios to have maximal transfer of the movement. Guided practice dominates.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Autonomous Stage

WHAT: Cognitive control almost autonomous, mental effort not necessary to perform the movements..  Develop additional and refined motor skill and goal attainment.  KP has been established, KR is only vital factor.

HOW: Confirm or correct the athletes analysis of the movement.  Increase specificity of the training movements.

PRACTICE: Random practice movement patterns with increased specificity of movement.  Discovery-guided practice to offer extrinsic feedback, which can be compared with the athletes intrinsic feedback to find potential solutions for progress.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]In general, more high quality, high frequency and varied training with a pyramid of specificity from simple to complex, general to specific will yield greater motor ability.  And that is the goal of training athletes, not increasing the squat max and telling them to go practice.

So how can you use this situation to adjust for various athletes?  Here is a breakdown:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Youth and untrained Athletes:

  1. Focus on lots of external visual and audible feedback.
  2. Use the same exercises repeatedly before moving to others.
  3. Use several exercises per day (build the neural map). Focusing only on short term retention (motor performance) of one exercise will minimal additional learning affect on the long term retention of the movement compared to lesser, broader focus.
  4. Don’t look for daily perfection of everything, look for daily PROGRESS on everything, moving towards perfection over weeks, months and years.
  5. Long term success and retention is the only factor that counts with a youth athlete. Make them love training, give good feedback, and know that there is plenty of time to peak.
  6. Begin teaching basics of more complex patterns early, even if training the success of the movement is not the goal, set the foundation for future success. Jumps, skips, Olympic movements and more can be taught at this stage using part method, with focus on technique rather then intensity.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]College / High School

  1. Use guided training to not just correct movement, but teach athlete a sense of what is right, to develop their own intrinsic feedback on movement patterns.
  2. Distribute new motor patterns with frequent breaks.  Use massed practice for developed movements which need technical refinement.
  3. Variable, random practice will allow for maximal return. Train several variations simultaneously to improve all at once
  4. Train complex movements in part and as a whole, maybe even simultaneously.
  5. When introducing new movements, block-constant practice until learned, then integrate into main variable-random program.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Pro:

  1. Develop strong sense of intrinsic feedback and motivation.
  2. Working with athlete to solve problems, rather than just coaching.
  3. Continued refinement of motor skills leading to perfection.
  4. Applicable skill development is goal.  Massed practice schedule allows for extreme refinement of small, technical patterns.
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Note: This does not apply just to weight training.  Jumping, running, positional work, or anything involving any movement pattern can be planned and programmed using the concepts described above.  The goal is maximal transfer to the field, so start building your program to do just that!

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The Pareto Principle and its Training Application

Pareto
[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]The pareto principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 rule, basically states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. This concept is used extensively in all fields, but in our field it means that 80% of your transferable training effects come from 20% of the actual training work you put in.

I want to make a case for why this is true, who it is most effectively used for and how to use it. I also want to make a case for why its inherently false, populations it doesn’t work for and it doesn’t apply.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Here’s what you should know: in training, its not just about maxes. The rule can be applied to movement patterns, jump training, speed training, stretching, lifting, long term programming etc. Anything you do for an athlete has a desired physiological adaptation, and thus to some degree is limited by the 80/20 rule.

[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Using the Pareto Principle effectively” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text]When training for maximal response, “beating a dead horse” so to speak to inch out additional response from a stimulus is poor use of time and effort. For a powerlifter, endlessly using the same exercise and loading scheme until it literally fails to continue to cause a response is a recipe for failure. They are judged by one thing: their total.

They are not judged by whether they effectively used 5×5 for maximal response for 3 years until it failed to produce tangible results. In this case, using the Pareto Principle is warranted: they need to get the maximal response from a specific exercise/protocol/program, then change the stimulus when the amount of energy expended vastly exceeds the return (diminishing returns on investment). They need that 80% response before rotating. Spending 80% more effort within an exercise to hit 20% additional gains is a poor use of time (opportunity cost.)[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]This concept is used HEAVILY with NFL Combine Training. When you have 4-7 weeks to prepare a guy for an event that can change the course of his life, a plateau is not even in the discussion. Jump and lift protocols revolve around the idea that we are going to overload early and often to force results. Anything past the 80% return will again take too long to cause additional return, and that is time we don’t have.

This concept can also be seen in a more global fashion rather than through a small lens: in training athletes, you can get 80% of your physiological return from a specific exercise in the first 1-3 sets. If you think about a general strength prep phase for an athlete: is more always going to be better? Will doing a 5th set of squats really cause an additional strength return that the athlete needs in order to run and cut faster? Or will it simply be expending capital (energy) with only a marginal return? If you can manipulate a protocol to get that 80% out of more exercises, your program quality and effectiveness increases, as opposed to trying to get 100% out of a few exercises.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Asked another way: is a volleyball player better if she squats 225 instead of 205? Could the energy spent to add that additional 20lbs been spent elsewhere?  If you could put the 20% effort to achieve the 80% result of maximal strength, I believe you could increase the transferability of the training program because you will spend more time training truly transferable qualities, such as speed, speed strength, strength speed, plyometrics, loaded plyometrics etc. Not itching at the same ones over and over to try and achieve a bigger result.

In general though, for program design, this thought process comes from needing to hit a maximal return in minimal time, maximal result from minimal investment. The clock before all else limits coaches.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4895″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]Many would make the case that doing just squat, bench, and deadlift is the trick, that they offer the most bang for your buck, so focus on those. What do you think? Is dropping additional movement patterns going to allow you to focus on the major important lifts and drop the accessory stuff, or will adding more movement patterns and placing less emphasis on any one movement increase overall training effectiveness? We can only speculate!
What about jumping. Single response vertical jumps are a training exercise, and absolutely fall into the 80/20 rule: you can increase your vertical jump, for awhile, simply by training the vertical jump. However, many coaches view them as too simple to train, so they move to a more intense exercise (loaded or resisted jumps, multiple response etc), before realizing the full return of the more simple exercise. Could it be that by “bypassing” the less intense work, you are also “bypassing” results from future, more intense activity?[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

In general, the goal is to get the most you can out of your training block and move on.  Try to get to the most important phases of training quickly, and spend more time focusing on transferable qualities.  Use the 80/20 rule with general qualities such as hypertrophy and strength, both in your daily training routines and the goal of the entire block.  Your next block, however, is usually containing more transferable qualities such as maximal power and speed, and in those cases, 80% return is not enough…

[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”When the 80/20 Rule Doesn’t apply.” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text]You are going to find a few emerging patterns from when this rule doesn’t apply: youth athletes, underdeveloped athletes, uncoordinated athletes, and in long term training protocols.

With a young kid, motor patterns come before all. It doesn’t matter if their goblet squat goes up by 5lbs a week or if they are back squatting by 15 years old, it matters if they can consistently perform a good rep, time and time again.
Think of a golf swing: does an 80% accurate swing make a good golfer? Of course not. Most movements are technical and require practice. From a motor learning perspective, 80% is not usually sufficient.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Uncoordinated and underdeveloped athletes have a similar process: you can’t build maximal strength on truly poor movement patterns. Once you build faith in an athletes ability to perform a movement, you can worry more about returning measurable results.

Most importantly, long term training methods starting with young athletes do not require frequent stimulus changes in the pursuit of short term maximal gain. In fact, the opposite is true: I would rather an athlete completely tap out the ability for an intensity to work before moving up, sacrifice the short term development for the long term. For example (entirely theoretical), if I have an athlete perform squats at 50% of their max for a year straight, and they added 150lbs to their max, that very low intensity program worked. If after 3 months I went to 60%, then 70%, then 80%, and by the end of the year had this new lifter performing 90% singles, do you think going back to 50% is ever going to cause a measurable gain again?[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Sure, I may have increased their max FASTER by using the more intense protocol. I also limited long term ability by using up training resources before:

  1. they were needed to adapt
  2. they were fully used to maximal potential by a prepared athlete
  3. the athlete “used up” the ability of lesser intensity training to adapt

In this case, the 80/20 Principle is not applicable. Spending the additional 80% of your time to get the extra 20% return is worth it, because once you try to use it again, it probably wont give you much return again.

Last, speed and power work do not fall under proper application of the rule.  I firmly believe if coaches avoided long maximal size and strength phases, and instead focused more on maximal power and speed, they would see immediate increases in transferable activity.

If you are ok getting 80% return on your speed work, you will get beat by the guy who prioritized it!  You do not need a lot of strength to be fast, and sacrifice training time of power for strength is an opportunity cost I am not willing to spend.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Bottom Line?” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text]In the case of true time-sensitive performance, you absolutely, without fail, must apply the 80-20 principle. If you have 6 weeks to prep an athlete for a combine, or two months of offseason training and a long season, you cannot get caught up seeking perfection. You won’t get it.

When it comes to long term development, motor learning and technical skill, 80% is not good enough, and thus the rule does not apply. We want 100% maximal return from such sensitive movements.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Compounding Effect of Goal Setting

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Today we are going to discuss compounding.  In life, everything builds on each other and compounds on previous gains.  Whether it is cash interest, skill, ability, knowledge, or essentially anything for that matter, starting from a base level and slowly adding to it will yield a huge return will help you more than ANYTHING else.

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The way it works is simple.  With compounding gains, every single day you are adding, slow but sure, to your account / ability / knowledge base.  Let’s say you knowledge of periodization today is a 5/10 (arbitrary).  If you read specifically about periodization for 15 minute, everyday, you can increase that to 5.005 (again, arbitrary unit).  Tomorrow, it will be 5.010, next day 5.015 and so forth.  These very small, very incremental gains will increase your programming knowledge to 6.825/10 by the end of the year.  That’s over a 33% increase in your ability to write a program, in just 15 minutes a day, in 1 year.  How would that help your athletes, and your career?  Is it worth 15 minutes a day?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]This applies even more greatly to a topic you know nothing about.  My current topic is marketing.  As of June 2015, I knew NOTHING about marketing.  Today, I know worlds above what I did then, and my skill and knowledge is only growing more and more daily.  Over the next year, by studying and listening to marketing podcasts every day, what will I know then?  The compounded knowledge of any topic is limitless; you can always go further.

Heres the thing: every day that you miss or skip is a missed opportunity to contribute to that compounded ability, and if you wait long enough, just like old summer vacations, you spend a significant amount of time re-learning what you previously knew instead of building upon it.  Just like a bank account, if you don’t invest today, you cannot reap the interested rewards tomorrow.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4881″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

This also applies to physical ability. If you want to get better at squatting, try doing it EVERY day.  It doesn’t have to be intense all the time, but if you do it, your total training volume will be worlds above what it would have been at 1, 2 or 3x per week.  Want your athletes to increase their hand-eye coordination? At every workout, spend just 5 minutes doing hand eye drills.  If they average 3x per week for a year, that’s 13 hours a year of hand eye coordination they would not have done otherwise.  And think of the increased training ability at the end of the year, that’s because that skillset compounded on previous training sessions.

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The one caveat to this is unlike a bank account, this works inversely the more skilled you get.  You will accumulate more interest with a million dollars than 100 dollars, however if you squat 600 it is clearly harder to add 25 lbs than if you only squat 200, so the compound effect is goes the opposite way.  However, it also becomes significantly more necessary.  To go from 600 to 625 is more difficult than if you only squatted 200 and want 225, but you NEED more volume, intensity and frequency to add that 25 lbs, otherwise you wont achieve your goal anyway!  The compounding effect becomes even more important.

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My challenge to you is pick several things that in 2016 you want to learn more about, do more of, and track it.  Here is a screenshot of an amazing app called Chains.CC.  I cant recommend it enough, you simply enter what you want to do and what days you want to do it, everyday you perform that task / read about that subject / invest that time in that topic, you swipe it.  Over the course of days and months, this chain will become longer and longer, and you do NOT want to break the chain!

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Several ways to implement this: find topics you can do passively.  You can read before bed, so make your knowledgeable goals books you read before bed.  You can listen to podcasts in your car, so make your “go from zero to nothing” goals podcasts, there are so many great ones to choose from.  Set the days you want to do them.  On Saturdays, I don’t do any book “studying” or formal “exercise” goals.  A missed opportunity, yes, but also an opportunity for me to spend with my family.  Learning HUGE amounts of information does not require a significant change in your life, a few small changes will create a big reward in your knowledge and ability.

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Be specific as to what you are going to do, but slightly vague enough that it leaves some interpretation and wiggle room as you learn and grow with your goals.  Don’t be too specific that it pigeonholes you into something you are not benefitting from or cannot sustainably keep up.  A bad version of a goal would be to lose weight.  A good version would be to eat vegetables and exercise atleast 6x per week.  A bad version would be to learn, a good version would be podcast and book daily.  From there, figure out what works for you and do it!

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4883″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” title=”Download a Time Compounding Calculator” img_size=”full” link=”http://scienceofsportsperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/compounding.xlsx”][vc_column_text]This also applies to productivity. If you own a business, wouldn’t spending 30 minutes on your website, twice a week, over the course of the year, how much would that 52 hours of content and development improve your website?

So lets do it.  I strongly urge every coach out there to pick a few major tasks, and several minor tasks, that you want to improve in your life, and begin the compounding effect today![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Guide to Lower Body Training for NFL Combine Athletes

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[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Training the lower body for the NFL Combine is an entirely different animal than training the upper body.  So much so, that the two should not be planned or programmed at the same time, as the end goal for both is entirely different.

The 225 Bench press test is simply a safe, measurable and standardized way to compare athletes from different generations, positions and sizes.  What it tests depends on the athlete: for some athletes, it’s a strength test (they can only do 2-5 reps).  For others, its an endurance test (25+ Reps).  Most fall somewhere in between there.

With all of these events, what is the commonality you see?  They are all speed or power events.  Notice: they are NOT strength or strength emphasis events!  Keep this in mind for later when I tell you that “strength training” isn’t going to help for long![/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4873″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]The goal of strength training in preparation of NFL Combine athletes is to improve their ability to perform the following events at their highest potential level:

  • 10 Yard Dash
  • 40 Yard Dash
  • Broad Jump
  • Vertical Jump
  • Pro Agility
  • L Drill
  • 225 Bench (covered in another article)
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And you only have a few weeks to get them there.  With all of these events, what is the commonality you see?  They are all speed or power events.  We need to keep this in mind when doing the strength programming, as any time you spend on trying to develop maximal concentric strength is time you are not spending on speed or power.  As I mention in my economics article, training is all about opportunity cost, and this is no exception.  We need to spend the majority of the time training the things that are most important.

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Another note, every athlete you will train has been lifting heavy weights for years, spending another 4-6 weeks on it really won’t create much of a transferable gain.  The purpose of heavy loading for combine is to prime the nervous system as maximally as possible before moving to speed and power training, not to set PR’s.  A good benchmark is to hit their previous offseason max.  Trying to set PR’s during combine serves only to increase their squat, not their drills!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Here is the caveat: eccentric and isometric training are VITAL to NFL Combine Offseason training.  Rate of adaptation for eccentric and isometric strength is very fast, which is necessary when training in such a short window.  In addition, these two components will be a bigger limiting factor to combine performance than maximal concentric strength.

.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4874″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]This is why all heavy loading we do is going to coincide with eccentric and isometric strength training.  We are not working with a considerable amount of time, we need to maximize the result in a very, very short period.  Given the transferable effect of maximal strength can be as much as 30 days, and most athletes have enough maximal strength to run their peak speed, we will essentially abandon heavy loading after week 4, and focus solely on the goal.  Using a program inspired by true block periodization, and the concepts of residual training effects and specificity, we will peak an athlete at their highest when it counts as opposed to using a cookie cutter westside program and hoping it transfers.  Doesn’t work that way with athletes who have been lifting for 8+ years.

That said, here is an 12 week breakdown of potential offseason combine training program.  For athletes going to Indy, certain developmental phases will need to be condensed to try and hit peak faster (within 7 weeks).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Week 1

Emphasis A: Volume

Emphasis B: Regain Strength
ROM: Full

Implements: None

Introduction or Retention: Introduce training methods and heavy loading.

Frequency: 2-3x

The goal here is to combine volume / mobility and try to increase work capacity and range of motion as fast as possible.  Heavy loading begins week two, so preparing for that immediately is vital.

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Weeks 2 & 3

Emphasis A: Maximal Strength

Emphasis B: Eccentric Strength
ROM: Full

Implements: None

Introduction or Retention: Intensify

Frequency: 2-3x

This phase will be more intense then the previous phase in terms of maximal strength, and will begin eccentric loading.  Begin using exercises that mimic joint angles as seen in actual combine events.  Using PAP training with your eccentric work will maximize its effect.[/vc_column_text][TS-VCSC-Divider seperator_1=”Divider Settings” divider_type=”ts-divider-three” divider_text_position=”center” divider_text_content=”” divider_text_border=”#eeeeee” divider_image_position=”center” divider_image_content=”” divider_image_border=”#eeeeee” divider_icon_position=”center” divider_icon_content=”” divider_icon_color=”#cccccc” divider_icon_border=”#eeeeee” divider_border_type=”inset” divider_border_thick=”1″ divider_border_color=”#eeeeee” divider_top_content=”” seperator_2=”Other Settings” margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ el_id=”” el_class=”” el_file=””][vc_column_text]

Weeks 4 & 5

Emphasis A: Maximal Strength

Emphasis B: Isometric Strength
ROM: Full

Implements: None

Introduction or Retention: Intensify

Frequency: 2-3x

This phase will introduce isometric training, and maximal strength training will place on emphasis on fast concentric.  Isometric training must be done with strict technique.[/vc_column_text][TS-VCSC-Divider seperator_1=”Divider Settings” divider_type=”ts-divider-three” divider_text_position=”center” divider_text_content=”” divider_text_border=”#eeeeee” divider_image_position=”center” divider_image_content=”” divider_image_border=”#eeeeee” divider_icon_position=”center” divider_icon_content=”” divider_icon_color=”#cccccc” divider_icon_border=”#eeeeee” divider_border_type=”inset” divider_border_thick=”1″ divider_border_color=”#eeeeee” divider_top_content=”” seperator_2=”Other Settings” margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ el_id=”” el_class=”” el_file=””][vc_column_text]Week 6:

Emphasis A: Deload

Emphasis B: Test new 1RM

In this phase, you can both test a new squat 1RM and deload simultaneously.  Remember: volume is the main source of fatigue, not intensity.  Lower volume of running and cutting.[/vc_column_text][TS-VCSC-Divider seperator_1=”Divider Settings” divider_type=”ts-divider-three” divider_text_position=”center” divider_text_content=”” divider_text_border=”#eeeeee” divider_image_position=”center” divider_image_content=”” divider_image_border=”#eeeeee” divider_icon_position=”center” divider_icon_content=”” divider_icon_color=”#cccccc” divider_icon_border=”#eeeeee” divider_border_type=”inset” divider_border_thick=”1″ divider_border_color=”#eeeeee” divider_top_content=”” seperator_2=”Other Settings” margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ el_id=”” el_class=”” el_file=””][vc_column_text]

Week 7 & 8:

Emphasis A: Force Training (~60-70%)

Emphasis B: Maximal Speed
ROM: Full

Implements: Chains

Introduction or Retention:  Loaded Jumps

Frequency: 2-3x

All maximal loading is done at this point (unless the athlete is training for an extended time).  One day of power training at 60-70% with bands, another day at 30-40% with heavier bands.  Athletes need to train fast to be fast, so that’s our emphasis, the background work has already been done.[/vc_column_text][TS-VCSC-Divider seperator_1=”Divider Settings” divider_type=”ts-divider-three” divider_text_position=”center” divider_text_content=”” divider_text_border=”#eeeeee” divider_image_position=”center” divider_image_content=”” divider_image_border=”#eeeeee” divider_icon_position=”center” divider_icon_content=”” divider_icon_color=”#cccccc” divider_icon_border=”#eeeeee” divider_border_type=”inset” divider_border_thick=”1″ divider_border_color=”#eeeeee” divider_top_content=”” seperator_2=”Other Settings” margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ el_id=”” el_class=”” el_file=””][vc_column_text css_animation=””]

Week 9 & 10:

Emphasis A: Pure Concentric Speed

Emphasis B: AFSM
ROM: Full

Implements: Bands – Squat Jumps – release Jumps

Introduction or Retention: Heavy warmups / Strength Retention

Frequency: 2x

We are in peak speed phase, we have one day of pure concentric power (think DE Westside) and one day of AFSM.  AFSM is the glue that holds the eccentric and isometric work together.[/vc_column_text][TS-VCSC-Divider seperator_1=”Divider Settings” divider_type=”ts-divider-three” divider_text_position=”center” divider_text_content=”” divider_text_border=”#eeeeee” divider_image_position=”center” divider_image_content=”” divider_image_border=”#eeeeee” divider_icon_position=”center” divider_icon_content=”” divider_icon_color=”#cccccc” divider_icon_border=”#eeeeee” divider_border_type=”inset” divider_border_thick=”1″ divider_border_color=”#eeeeee” divider_top_content=”” seperator_2=”Other Settings” margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ el_id=”” el_class=”” el_file=””][vc_column_text]

Week 11 & 12:

Emphasis A: AFSM

Emphasis B: Pure Concentric Speed
ROM: Full

Implements: Bands – Squat Jumps – release Jumps

Introduction or Retention: None – Peak / Deload

Frequency: 2x

Continuation of the previous phase, make sure warmups are heavy to both prime the system and retain previous maximal strength.  Adjustments must be made for timing.[/vc_column_text][TS-VCSC-Divider seperator_1=”Divider Settings” divider_type=”ts-divider-three” divider_text_position=”center” divider_text_content=”” divider_text_border=”#eeeeee” divider_image_position=”center” divider_image_content=”” divider_image_border=”#eeeeee” divider_icon_position=”center” divider_icon_content=”” divider_icon_color=”#cccccc” divider_icon_border=”#eeeeee” divider_border_type=”inset” divider_border_thick=”1″ divider_border_color=”#eeeeee” divider_top_content=”” seperator_2=”Other Settings” margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ el_id=”” el_class=”” el_file=””][vc_column_text]

Want a complete NFL Combine / Pro Day program, using the above concepts and completely ready for you implement today?

[/vc_column_text][cq_vc_cqbutton buttonlabel=”Get your Complete Combine Prep Program Now” icon=”cube” iconposition=”” animationstyle=”animatetype-1″ icontop=”-9px” iconleft=”-9px” buttoncolor=”#ffffff” iconbuttoncolor=”cqbtn-1″ buttonbackground=”#dd3333″ link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.exceltrainingdesigns.com%2Fdownloads%2Fultimate-nfl-combine-resistance-training-program%2F||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Minimum effective Dose vs Maximal Recoverable Volume

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Recently, Juggernaut Training Systems posted an Instagram graph and quote:

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There is NO SUCH THING as a “minimum effective dose” in training. There is such as thing as the “dose for the response YOU WANT.” To a point, the more you do, the better the results. That stops when you hit your maximum recoverable volume and everything extra on top of that makes you WORSE.

But until you hit around your MRV, doing more is BETTER. And because most adaptive systems are asymptotic and smooth in dose-response structure, there’s not a clear “best bang for the buck” time-efficiency dose, either. What’s the answer to the question of “what amount of training do I have to do so that I get the most by putting in the least?” The answer is: a very small amount of exercise. Let’s say, one set per training session. Doing 2 sets will make you better, but it’s a bigger waste of your time since you don’t get AS MUCH per unit time doing 2 sets as you did doing 1 set. Same goes for 3, 4, 5 sets, etc, all the way up to your MRV.

So how much should you train? Train as much as you need to get THE RESULTS YOU WANT (so long as they are realistic and not over your MRV). What kind of results do you get training “minimally?” You get minimal results.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4868″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]As someone who has frequently written about the 1×20 program and its benefits for athletes BECAUSE of its use of the MED principle, this post is…both correct and incorrect at the same time.  The concepts of minimum effective dose and maximal recovery volume describe very different things, and to say one doesn’t exist because the other does is shortsighted.  One asks: what total amount of work do I have to do to get a good response?  The other asks: how much work can I do to maximize that response without overtraining?

It is entirely true that continued volume in certain lifts increases the adaptive response of those lifts, and for people who COMPETE in those lifts, its very necessary to do more, and more, and more, to get better.  Aiming for 1 and 2% gains in a given lift is necessary for improvement.  Doing 5 sets of squats, 3x per week, will yield a higher response than doing 4 sets, 3x per week.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

However, where this post is categorically wrong is saying minimum effective dose does not exist.  It does, and in fact the second graph proves it.  For an athlete, increasing your maximal squat means nothing if it doesn’t translate to the actual end goal (which is not squatting).  Look at the second graph, the first set gave the highest response in strength, every additional set did indeed cause a greater physiological response of strength in that exercise, however it become quickly diminishing.   For someone who doesn’t compete in strength sports, yet simply uses strength sports as a means to and end of improving their actual sport, why would you spend time and effort trying to get that additional response, to maximize return on those specific lifts?  Training is time, and when there is time there is opportunity cost, the more time you spend trying to increase your squat, that’s time you do not spend on other lifts and exercises that you may need (and in fact, get a total higher response by following the “1st set gives the biggest return” philosophy”.

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Minimum effective dose is not about trying to get as good as you can by doing the least (though that is not that bad of a goal, if you think about it).  Its about structuring a training protocol that gives the most overall improvement from the entirety of the training plan, with the least amount of lasting damage possible (remember, they still have to practice their ACTUAL sport).  If your plan includes getting better at squatting, then you have to squat, a lot.  If your plan is to build the entire system to prepare it for something else, a few less sets of squats and a few more sets of other stuff is likely a better option, as you get the majority of the result gained from doing a few sets, and you get that “majority” result from more movements.

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The general idea behind minimum effective dose is: how much do I have to do to provide a measurable response in this exercise?  The answer, as stated in the original instragram post, is usually one good set.  And if your goal is long term training success, following this path is a true path to success: start by doing as little possible to get better, slowly accumulate volume and intensity as “lower” methods stop providing such a result.  If you START at the bottom, you can work up.  If you start at a Westside ME program, where are you going to work up to?  Tapping out training resources before their effectiveness has been used is poor long term programming, because you can’t go back.

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I hope to make clear that applying both of these concepts simultaneously doesnt work. They are different things, used for different programs and populations.  If your goal is to compete in powerlifting, the more specific work the better, and this is where maximal recovery volume comes in.  Total strength is largely tied to total training volume (I would argue: effective training volume, but that’s another post), and in the context of strength sports, that’s important.  Not as much in athletics, where getting the most out of a lift before moving on is vital.  That’s all folks!

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The Revival: % Training is Here to Stay

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]In my last article, we held a memorial for % training, a relic of training years past for when technology wasn’t readily available.  Who needs a training method based on assumptions of specific training loads and the assumed outcome, when you have machines that will tell you specifically what is happening on every rep, every set, and if it’s matching the desired goal?

Better question: who doesn’t?  If you dismiss % training entirely, you are either:

  1. A gym stocked by every major training technological piece of equipment known to man and have an amazing coach to athlete ratio
  2. Selling something

If you mourned the death of percentage based training, good news: its not actually dead.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Percentages have been around since essentially the beginning of modern training methods for a reason: it is a highly effective and predictive measure of training prescription for meeting the desired goal.  Percentages can dictate, for a large percentage of the population, a large percentage of the time, exactly what is going to happen and the physiological response resulting from a set of an exercise.

Are there outliers? Absolutely.  Some athletes will hit 85% for 5, some for 6.  Some days that athlete would normally hit it for 5 can only get 3.  Some days, stress and fatigue will take part and the set will be slower than desired, some days the athlete will be on fire and smoke a set that was supposed to be difficult.  Day in and day out, its not a perfect system.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

But if you look at your entire population over the course of their training career with you, percentages are dead on, highly accurate, and highly effective for prescribing training loads.  You don’t need tens of thousands of dollars in equipment to accurately train speed-strength, knowing that 25-45% of 1RM will accomplish that same goal.

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Want to train at 1 m/s?  Have your athletes perform their sets at 40-50%.  Is the difference between .95 and 1.05 bar speed (call this your first standard deviation) going to be the difference between a tackle and a miss?  Maybe, but if I were to make an educated guess, no.  If you believe it does, train all 3 zones over the course of 1 week, you’ll never miss your target, and you are technology free in the process.  Proper programming, understanding of training, and sequencing is going to have a significantly bigger impact on your athletes than knowing their exact velocity on any given set. A Tendo doesn’t make a great coach.  True, a tendo can have a “competitive” effect and manipulate more intent of a lift to move fast, and that cannot be manipulated without instant feedback.  However, increased use of jump squats and timed sets can bring about that 100% intent from an athlete.

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In my last article, I mentioned RPE as an amazing autoregulatory replacement for percentage training for building maximal strength.  It makes sense on a conceptual level.  But I dare you to do this: go ask your athletes to do 3×1 at RPE 7.  How many of them will do it right?  These are athletes, they don’t lift for a living and a good amount don’t care to in the first place.  Half will accidentally max out while doing a half rep, the other half will go too light.  But what if on your athletes lift card, you had 88% for 3×1.  Simple enough, it will essentially be an RPE 7, except your compliance of that specific goal will be 100%, because you removed all doubt.  By assigning a specific percentage based on the knowledge we have about intensity zones and rep maxes, and modifying that based on time of year, anticipated fatigue and what you monitor first hand while training, you can achieve amazing results without the use of technology.

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Try asking for an autoregulated 5×3 @ RPE6.  Most athletes are not in tune enough with their body in regards to lifting weights to do quality training at submax loads.  Not easy to follow Prilipens chart without using %!

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And the finally the impossible: Can you imagine implementing triphasic training without percentages?

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4859″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]Yes, having speed measuring devices are amazing tools and can significantly impact the training methods and philosophy of a team.  Autoregulatory methods and allowing athletes to pick their own weights is also an effective method which does allow to adjust for day to day stress, and has its place in a training program (say, day after competition).  But for most of the year, you can anticipate a response to training and account for it by applying a proper intensity for the desired goal, and making changes on the floor as needed.  Essentially every single major training manual to date (Supertraining, Block periodization I & II, Periodization, Triphasic Training, SST, Strength Training Playbook / Tier, to name a few) discuss percentage training at length.  Are they wrong?  Would they change their tune entirely because of the equipment and methods we have available?  Maybe for certain aspects of the year.  On a global scale? No Way!  I am not one to stick with antiquated methods out of sake of convenience or resistance to change, in fact quite the opposite, but this area is tried and proven effective.

Lastly, all of the technology on the planet cannot replace understanding of programming, and proper sequencing of training.  A bad program done with VBT feedback and HRV monitoring and every other piece of equipment is still an ineffective, bad progarm.  A great program can be done with a bar, a few dumbbells, bands, and open space.  Equipment is used for the contribution of information and CAN make certain aspects of training more precise, but it does not replace methodology or knowledge![/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”VERDICT” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Abril%20Fatface%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

% Are here to stay. They are extremely practical, effective and have 60 years of research and programming.  This isn’t to dismiss the use of VBT and other technology, which have displaced the need for year round % training and provide immediate useful impact to adjust the training loads based on the day, it just can’t completely fill the gap on an annual plan, especially for team sport athletes.

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R.I.P: The Death of % Based Training

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” bg_type=”no_bg” parallax_style=”vcpb-default” bg_image_new=”” layer_image=”” bg_image_repeat=”repeat” bg_image_size=”cover” bg_cstm_size=”” bg_img_attach=”scroll” parallax_sense=”30″ bg_image_posiiton=”” animation_direction=”left-animation” animation_repeat=”repeat” video_url=”” video_url_2=”” u_video_url=”” video_opts=”” video_poster=”” u_start_time=”” u_stop_time=”” viewport_vdo=”” enable_controls=”” bg_override=”0″ disable_on_mobile_img_parallax=”” parallax_content=”” parallax_content_sense=”30″ fadeout_row=”” fadeout_start_effect=”30″ enable_overlay=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_pattern=”” overlay_pattern_opacity=”80″ overlay_pattern_size=”” overlay_pattern_attachment=”fixed” multi_color_overlay=”” multi_color_overlay_opacity=”60″ seperator_enable=”” seperator_type=”none_seperator” seperator_position=”top_seperator” seperator_shape_size=”40″ seperator_svg_height=”60″ seperator_shape_background=”#fff” seperator_shape_border=”none” seperator_shape_border_color=”” seperator_shape_border_width=”1″ icon_type=”no_icon” icon=”” icon_size=”32″ icon_color=”” icon_style=”none” icon_color_bg=”” icon_border_style=”” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ icon_img=”” img_width=”48″ ult_hide_row=”” ult_hide_row_large_screen=”” ult_hide_row_desktop=”” ult_hide_row_tablet=”” ult_hide_row_tablet_small=”” ult_hide_row_mobile=”” ult_hide_row_mobile_large=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Every single strength coach in America has used percentage training.  And it is time we come together for the funeral.  Its over.  Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but as data becomes more readily and instantly available, monitoring and measuring equipment becomes cheaper, percentages will be no more.

As we all know, using intensity based percentages assigns a specific weight to an exercise.  Several factors come together to assign the %:

  •             What is the desired adaptation from the exercise?
  •             What phase of training are we in?
  •             What is the goal of that phase?
  •             How many sets and reps?
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These things can help you determine if you are doing 5×3 @ 88%, or 6×2 @ 45%. The assigned intensity to those set and rep schemes is determined BY the goal of the training, and DETERMINES the adaptation received from the exercise.  If the goal is strength, that tells us we need to use a relatively higher %, and that higher intensity dictates that the adaptation is increasing maximal contractile tension within the muscle.  Likewise, if the goal is speed, we know that we need to assign a lower % to the training, and that lower % will allow the athlete to perform the exercise faster and train the muscle to contract not with complete maximal tension, but to produce as much contractile tension as possible within a short of time as possible (training to increase rate of force development).

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]But those were days of yester-year.  Percentage training has been studied and found valid in countless research over the last 50 years, but compared to the tools we have today, it simply isn’t optimal anymore.  It doesn’t take into account the most important factor in training: day to day fluctuations in strength based in internal and external stress.  This can make a 90% single be too heavy to lift on certain days, based on how that athlete is feeling.

Today, we can fine tune with extreme detail and specificity the desired adaptation with VBT.  Instead of training 55% with maximal intent, we can assign a very specific speed range, i.e .85-.95m/s. With this data, we do not even need hard sets and reps: we can do sets of 3 with as many sets as you can do while maintaining speed!  You can do as many reps within 8 sets at the desired speed, there is an unlimited number of options for programming based on velocity. We have so many options available for this: Push band, Tendo, Gym-Aware. In 3 years, what will be available, and what will the price point be?[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]With autoregulation and RPE based maximal effort training, we no don’t need to do sets of 2 or 3 at 95%.  With a little practice and instruction, your athletes can learn how to do maximal effort training using one of the many RPE scales, and never need to have an assigned weight!  Using Mike Tuchscherer’s RPE scale, an RPE of 10 means you could not perform any more reps at a specific weight, RPE of 9 means you could do 1 more, RPE of 8 means 2 more, and so on. What athlete cannot learn this over the course of a few weeks?  Telling your athletes to hit 3 heavy triples, or an easy 5, is something every athlete can do.

With Omegawave and other similar HRV monitoring, the leads can be adjusted significantly based on the athletes level of neurological fatigue and readiness to train.  If an athlete has a high level of fatigue, is additional training going to result in additional net positive adaptation?  HRV will give you that answer, and the tools above can help you define the training based on the result.  Is it expensive? Yes, but even now, MyIthlete is available at $70![/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4856″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]

All of this % training business is based entirely on the concepts of Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, two sports entirely different from athletic performance training.  Why should we assume that using training protocols from these programs is the best way to increase athletic performance?  Getting a football or baseball player to a 315 squat is relatively easy and takes very little planning. Doing VBT speed work is very easy: set a goal speed and adjust the weight to match. Exercises that become more specific to athletic performance (see specialized exercises) most certainly don’t have an intensity basis to it: just do it, get better at the exercise and myelinate the movement pattern that is specific to the sport.  You have just created a program to maximize the athletic response from strength training, and not a single % was used that day.

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And so it is with this information, we can announce the death of % training.

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Next article: Why % Training is Entirely Valid, and Will Never Die.

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