Thursday, May 8, 2008

Question from every where....and they are all good.


I'm not sure actually 'got' your last post, but I'm thinking it through and I'll see if I get a handle on it.

That's probably just because I'm only semi'll get used to it....either that or so annoyed you'll stop reading my blog all together.

When you get you train of thought sorted out let me know.

I was going to ask you about lifting tempo/speeds - I'm a lift fast'ish and lower under control guy, so when you say

"...the total number of reps are completed as fast as possible...but yes, he might go 8 reps + 4 reps in one set and 7 reps + 5 reps in the next set etc."

Are your athletes consistent with their lifting speeds? the short answer. I actually had the top man from Tendo in the gym today to demo their latest product...because I'm interested in just this fact...average and peak velocity as well as average and peak power that is...I won't get into a long diatribe here on lifting speed because I am sure I will touch on it in more detail later...I think most people tend to be like yourself....controlled eccentric and a powerful controlled concentric because that is the 'natural' or 'normal' way to get the job done. If and when I get the tendo unit I will post all the numbers because I am particularly interested in it's application in testing as well as it's use during our more dynamic work.

Related to this, when you're testing for the number of pushups in 60secs, are the athletes going at a fast pace and trying to knock them out as fast as possible, or do they lift and lower at the same speed, say, 1 sec up and 1 sec down?

Are you talking about the smart ones or the dumb ones? Because I have both! The dumb ones go hell for leather out of the gates and get 20 done in 15 seconds and totally gas out and if they're lucky get another 5-10 out in the last 45 seconds....the smart ones know I'm looking for 45 press ups so end up doing 15 in the first 10 and then give their arms a shake and at 15 second mark do another 15 in 10 seconds...take a breather for 5 and then do another 10 or 15 take another breather and in the last 15 or 10 seconds go for gold. I also have guys that just bang them out at 1 a second and best I've seen was 117 in 60 seconds from a pro rugby player...they have to keep a straight torso, they have to lock their elbows out and they have to come down and touch their chest on my hand....and I don't take it easy on the and I don't count any rubbish....and everyone knows that.

On a side note, the flexibility you have with rest periods is intersting to me. Since I train at home, I have the luxury of being able to time my rest periods to the exact second. I know on the grand scheme of things 30secs added on here or there won't make a huge difference, but ditching my regimental approach to rest and switching to one in which I go ahead with the next set when I feel good to go takes some mental adjustment.

It is well worth it...if you are looking to increase your maximal strength...obviously if you are looking for a more metabolic effect or looking to improve your work capacity then it is not the way to go but if it is pure maximal strength and power...and you are advance enough...then it should definitely be considered....I have some power athletes who might take a 10-15 minute rest between maximal effort attempts on 1-3RM lifts.


100 reps of whatever set/rep scheme the athlete can do it in...simple question....why? Are you focusing on improving strength endurance?

I like these sort of questions...1. Because I can make them do it...I can MAKE people do stuff that they don't think they can do. 2. AS needs to squat...and squat a lot...and 100reps = a lot...hence 100 reps of squats. I had an athlete last year go from taking 16 sets to complete to taking 2 sets to complete...he never misses his 15 reps on his repetition squat test any more. 3. It is like electro shock looks scary as hell and you are a dribbling mess afterwards and the results are questionable.

I would be fearful of a breakdown in technique long before I hit 100 reps.

His technique in his first session was BRUTAL...not so now...he banged out 10 sets of 10 reps the other night and looked good and strong doing it.

And one other thought...

I was thinking about your integration of conditioning before, during and after and how it compares with the usual programming in which conditioning comes after strength training, and I realise that in a lot of sports you have to be able to display strength and conditioning at the same time, e.g. rugby. Is that a fair analysis? have to get used to being explosive when you NEED to be not when you WANT to be. The athletes often have condition work mid sessions...I don't think you could view 5 sets of 1 minute kettlebell swings with 1 minute recovery between sets as anything other than 'conditioning work'.

I don't now if you'll see this comment as it comes a week or so after you posted the details. Do you get automatic notification of comments?


Anyhoo, I have gone back to the start of your blog and reviewing this post...I really like what you put together for the 40+ guy looking to get in shape. I notice the balance between horizontal/vertical push/pull and the emphasis on unilateral lower body exercises.

We're getting PC fit to train...I have always 'balanced' my programs...I never knew that someone could think that it wasn't the way to do it.

Can I you briefly descirbe the single leg knee drop? I am aware of variations, I think, of this exercise but curious to know your method.

Hopefully PC will see this...I'll drop him a mail and he can tell you what he's found. He'll be at training tomorrow night and I'll video him doing his single leg box squats and knee drops and post them or have someone else video me doing them for you and I'll write and or talk through the description on the's that for service?


october_red said...


It's all good stuff. I'm following so far. It's very easy material to read. I like it because I don't have to pull a spreadsheet and calculator, or take notes or anything.

Anyways, you told me to let you know if you answered my question about mobility. Well, I'm letting you know I never got an answer on that one. If you don't reply this time I know its probably because you don't feel like answering it, and I'll let it go (oh well). But I'm actually truly interested to know what you have athletes do for "mobility" work.



Will Heffernan said...

I'm glad you like it...I'm actually holding back a little so I don't prematurely illiterate...I think I have some good stuff that people will get a bit out of...even if it just gives them a laugh.

What was your question regarding mobility?

What exactly we do?

Well the athletes that had lower body work today in over and unders, then leg swings, fire hydrants, some knee to wall work with and without pronator and supinator elevation and some mountain climbers and v-sit variations to finish.

Is that what you were after? I vary it every session and different athletes will get slightly different variation depending on their particular issues.

october_red said...

Yeah, that answers my question. Only, I don't know what those things are. I'll have to look them up or something.

Will Heffernan said...

Overs and Unders - Bar in the rack, you stand tall and parallel to the bar pull your toes back and lift the leg closest to the bar over it and then the then place slide one leg under and drop your arse down low and shimmy under the bar without cracking your skull or smashing your back and stand up? You follow.
Leg Swings - Side to side, staying tall and just trying to swing from the hip. Front to back as above.
Fire Hydrants - Leg circles on all fours...everyone knows those sureley...backwards and forwards trying to draw big circles with you knee.
Knee to Wall - Ankle a standard soleus stretch only you place the foot a set distance away from the wall and try to touch the wall with your knee. The variation to this is that we place a 1.25kg plate either under the inside or outside of the forefoot and do the same mobilising's excellent.
Mountain Climbers - Like a burpee only with the legs alternating...everyone has done these at some stage.
V-sits - Roll back, touch your toes on to the ground behind your head and roll up and touch your toes or reach between them. Vary the width that you have your legs apart. We also do it with a single leg at a a dynamic hurdler stretch.

Is that better? More stuff for me to video I suppose.

october_red said...

I got it, thanks. That was helpful.

You must have to be a coach to know these drills or something. It seems like "tribal knowledge" that is passed down from one coaching generation to the next.

Will Heffernan said...

There won't be any secrets I week I hope my new camera will arrive and I think it has a video type function.
The mobile phone video wasn't too bad so worst comes to worst I'll continue take all the video's and photo's with it.

I'll video and post one of the guys or gals doing exactly the warm up I described here for you and post it.

october_red said...


ian said...

Hi Will,

Assuming you have prescribed 5 sets of 12 reps for, say, pullups, I am taking it that the athelete has some flexibility on how he performs each set.

That is, if he can manage to perform the set in one go then great, but if he does it in blocks of 7 reps + 5 reps, that's ok too.

If that's the case, then provided the athelete doesn't take an inordinately long time to complete each set, the training effect would be the same as if he had done the 12 reps for each set without a break.

I have gotten used to thinking that if a coach prescribes 5 sets of 12 reps, there is a training effect that he is after based on the reps done and the time it takes to do them (I'm thinking total time under tension and that sort of thing) and that if you are shortening or lengthing each set in order to make the reps then the training effect would be different. I guess this is related to the flexibility you have with rest periods and there no being a lot of difference between a minute here or there is you're resting 3-5 minutes on a heavy day.

I'm just rambling here :)