Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Slowly getting back on top of things

Warning...I am going to be rambling here...read a your own risk...don't say you weren't warned.

I spoke to soon the other day when I said that Damian had my computer sorted...he had it almost sorted...unfortunately I need a new router which has been ordered and am told is on way to finish the job...he did however clean up my laptop and it seems to have made a fantastic recovery which has enabled me to get back online and blogging and catching up on the 160 or so emails that were sitting in my inbox...so as per usual I'll ignore work and blog instead.

When I started this blog I deliberately chose not to make it like a lot of others that I'd seen out there in the strength and conditioning field...I didn't want to write article type posts. You know the ones...where I tell you all about 'Functional Training' or '5 Ways to a 1000lb Squat in 6 Weeks'. Instead I just wanted it to be a place where I could post some of the stuff we do training wise. Show you the programs and throw up some video and pictures of some of the stuff we do.

I have been asked a lot of good questions lately and have had a few interesting emails of also which have made me realise how much perspective I seem to have lost and how out of the loop I am...or how in my own little loop I am perhaps.

In no particular order some of the things spinning through my head are as follows...regarding push ups...there was a post recently and I mentioned the fact that Conor McPhillips did 117 push ups in testing...I didn't think a big deal...anyone who was around when Conor was at the club didn't bat an eyelid when he did it at the time and big John Ryan who Captained St Mary's at that time I think did 109 or something like that...over the years I've seen a good few athletes get over 100...we are not even really at the beginning of pre season and we've guys getting in the 70's in their first session back...maybe I'm missing something...maybe I've been working with athletes too long...60+ push ups in 60 seconds is pretty standard and ROK who is a 16 year old female basketballer with the disadvantage of particularly long levers got 52...but apparently 100+ and 117 are impossible...while you are sitting where ever you are reading this...put your watch on the table in front of you or look at a clock with a second hand...now put your arms out in front of you in a push up position...when you are ready move your arms back and forth as fast as you can and count how many times you can do that in 10 seconds...now that is how fast Conor was doing his push ups in the first 10 seconds of his 60 second test...it is also how fast he was going in the last 10 seconds of his test when I stopped him...he's coming back to the club this year I hope so we'll have to video his testing and see how he is going now that he's an old man...we've which we've had a great laugh in the gym about the fact that someone mentioned in a forum that they managed to do 100 push ups in 4 min and 48 seconds and they made the comment that they 'weren't to shabby' or 'weren't a slouch' or something like that. I doubt that there is a single athlete male or female old or young in our facility that couldn't beat that...now that isn't a good or bad thing...it is just the way it is...anyway...I think I might do a blog post on push up training. Not that we train for push ups...we actually just use it as an indicator....more on that in another post.

Random Thoughts
A few things that I think are worth thinking about...and the first is related to another thing that was brought to my attention a couple of times this week...frequency...a few people have mentioned that they've noticed in some of my program that people are training the same muscle groups on consecutive days...well sometimes I have athletes train the same muscle groups not just on consecutive days but every day...different volumes and intensities but the same muscle group. I've had a lot of people ask me why I do it and I say to them...because it works...once again more on this later.

I had another coach mention to me something similar regarding an athlete of theirs who seems to respond better to higher frequency of training...too right they do...some athletes tend to respond better to intensity, some to volume and some to frequency...this is what being a coach is all about....which brings me to my next point.

I made a blog post (scroll down...it is that post on periodisation and peaking) which was actually a response to someone I was having a discussion with on a forum a good while back. They were talking about periodisation and peaking for team sports...that blog post was copied and pasted elsewhere and a whole lot of people got their panties in a twist...firstly...a lot of these people completely missed the point of the post...some of them are just morons...some just wilfully ignorant...and a few just total idiots whose total sum of experience comes from what they have read and stolen from peoples books or on the internet and what has worked with their entire data pool of athletes with whom they have experience...i.e...1...themselves.

Anyway...the post was a response to someone else...it was part of a conversation...of which unless you read the other part of it...you would have no idea about...this is the first bit that people have missed.

Secondly...the reason that the 100m was brought into it was because the person that I was responding to brought it up...not me...I just used his example...I googled the results from the last Olympic 100m and copied and pasted them into my post. They were the results...I've had emails and seen posts where people have told me that my facts were wrong...THEY WERE THE RESULTS...I didn't make them up...I copied and pasted them into the post...if they are wrong blame the IOC website where I got them.

Thirdly...IT WAS NOT AN ARTICLE...I think people on the internet are so used to other people trying or pretending to show each other how smart they are or how much better they are than everyone else or they spend so much time doing this themselves that they lose perspective. I didn't sit at my computer like so many guru's do...combing PubMed or posting journal requests...it was a forum post written on the fly as a part of an ongoing conversation that was taking part online on a forum and amongst a small number of people on messenger....and if I remember correctly (and I propbably don't) I was pretty drunk at the time. I didn't fact check it...I didn't submit it for peer review or pass it along to an editor...it was a blog post...not a piece of journalism.

Fourthly...it was not about the 100m or sprint training or the Olympics or any of the other stuff that has been discussed in various venues on the interweb...IT WAS ABOUT PEAKING AND PERIODISATION FOR FIELD BASED TEAM SPORTS which is the only thing I have not seen mentioned or discussed anywhere...honest...I've not seen one mention of it.

The whole point of that post was about the fact that every time I hear a coach talk about 'peaking' a team I laugh...the reason that I went with whole 100m thing after it was brought up is because the 100m is easy for anyone to understand and that these athletes have their coaches, trainers, doctors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, pharmacologists, sports psychologists etc etc etc...the results I posted came for the IOC website...I didn't make them up...they listed the times, season and personal bests...I merely laid it all out...different people have told me how wrong I am...if those times and seasons and personal bests are wrong...then feel free to post me the correct times and show me which ones I got wrong...other than that...you might 'disagree' with me...but that it is a long way from me being 'wrong'. Someone took my blog post and copied it onto some other coaches forum...I didn't really care and would have been happy to have a conversation about the post...after all...it was written to take the piss...another point that just about everyone has missed...and to get a discussion going...I wrote it to be provocative...not unlike my university paper on the 'Benefits of Smoking' (maybe I'll make that a blog post and someone can post it on some national anti smoking or cancer site)I'm a coach I spend all my time working with athletes and preparing them for competition and these idiots seriously think that I don't 'try' to have these athletes at their best when it matters most...seriously? Anyway the point was that all these specialist with all their experience struggle to get one athlete to peak...how's a single coach supposed to 'peak' 15 or 20 athletes for a championship game...the answer is...they won't. My view was and still is to get their athletes...these field based team athletes...remember the ones the actual post was about...you know the ones that not a single person mentioned...to an acceptable level and keep them within 10% of that.

Now you know the reason that I don't articles...I write like I speak and anyone that has had the misfortune of hearing me speak realises that my mouth has a hard time keeping up with my brain. I also really struggle to get across the concepts and approaches to training I have...but I actually respond better to questions than I do in making statements so if you have questions...or like everyone else you just want to tell me I'm wrong then fire away. I also to reserve the right as usual to edit this post as I go to try and clear things up because sometimes my writing is so bad that I even confuse myself.

12 comments:

Jonathan said...

Ok, here's a question that I asked in another post a while back but never go answered.

You've touched on the fact that to increase someones push up score and bench test that you do a lot of scap work so they could better express their strength.

What are you working on so that your athlete's can express their lower body strength better? Hip mobility? Just over all getting stronger? Abs/Back? What? Thanks

Joel Hallström said...

Hi Will!
I think ive read just about everything on your blog and ive already told you more than a few times what i think about it. I havent seen those emails you keep telling us about on your blog. I dont know why you have to keep posting those weird explanations about your coaching because you got criticized somewhere else. Screw them, continue the stuff you do, and keep posting good movies and explanations on how you coach your athletes. Apparently it works, personally i have no doubt that id does, and i dont think you have either, so i don't think you need to defend yourself. And besides...its booring, especially when the rest of us cant read the "hate" emails your getting. So enough of that already!!!
A few questions instead:
How do you get the inverted row up so quick with yout athletes?
I would love if you could post a testing session on anything else but the trapbar deadlift, would that be possible? In fact, id like to see all of the other tests (and not just your explanation), but maybe that a bit much to ask?:)
More movies to the people!!!!

Ian Mellis MSc CSCS said...

They do say all publicity is good publicity! It's good to have opinions anyway! In response to the periodization thing kicking around I completed my dissertation on in season training periodisation and its effects upon performance what did I find? In a nut shell a bit of a mess players dropping in and out through injury etc., max strength changes and speed changes varying player to player- I totally agree with your 10% rule- it's common sense in a field where people talk of mythical uninteruppted training programmes which do not exist.

Ian Mellis MSc CSCS said...

...and what you are saying about training muscle groups consecutive days- there is a good article on t nation by Dave Tate which backs your discussion up ... again real world advice.

Will Heffernan said...

Jonathan said...
OK, here's a question that I asked in another post a while back but never go answered.
I think stuff goes MIA on here because if people ask stuff I always try to answer...sorry about that.

You've touched on the fact that to increase someones push up score and bench test that you do a lot of scap work so they could better express their strength.
Correct.

What are you working on so that your athlete's can express their lower body strength better?
Ankle and hip mobility along with knee and lower back stability. A lot of work on proprioception as well.

Hip mobility?
You just don't listen do you?

Just over all getting stronger?
A lot of it comes down to technique as well.

Abs/Back?
Absolutely.

What?
Have I not given you enough already?

Will Heffernan said...

Joel Hallström said...
I think ive read just about everything on your blog and ive already told you more than a few times what i think about it.
I write it and I haven't even read it all.

I havent seen those emails you keep telling us about on your blog. I dont know why you have to keep posting those weird explanations about your coaching because you got criticized somewhere else. Screw them, continue the stuff you do, and keep posting good movies and explanations on how you coach your athletes. Apparently it works, personally i have no doubt that id does, and i dont think you have either, so i don't think you need to defend yourself. And besides...its booring, especially when the rest of us cant read the "hate" emails your getting. So enough of that already!!!
Some of it is pretty funny though.

A few questions instead:
How do you get the inverted row up so quick with yout athletes?
A HEAP of shoulder mobility and stability work...every session...they have different work to do and then on their off days most of them have even more of it. So heaps of shoulder work first then lots of frequency...wasn't it you that asked me about people training the same muscles on consecutive days...anyway...they do a lot of different variations of pulls from their maximal work, repetition work as well as body weight variations.

I would love if you could post a testing session on anything else but the trapbar deadlift, would that be possible?
That is no problem whatsoever....keep asking for stuff...like I've said before I don't know what people want to see but I'm happy to show you anything you want to see...I actually prefer answering questions than just crapping on...so this blog is really for you, Jonathon and the Ian's to develop...ask more questions and you will get more answers.

In fact, id like to see all of the other tests (and not just your explanation), but maybe that a bit much to ask?:)
More movies to the people!!!!
I will actually follow someone through their entire testing session...warm ups and all their attempts...no problem at all.

Will Heffernan said...

Ian Mellis MSc CSCS said...
They do say all publicity is good publicity! It's good to have opinions anyway! In response to the periodization thing kicking around I completed my dissertation on in season training periodisation and its effects upon performance what did I find? In a nut shell a bit of a mess players dropping in and out through injury etc., max strength changes and speed changes varying player to player- I totally agree with your 10% rule- it's common sense in a field where people talk of mythical uninteruppted training programmes which do not exist.
Most of the people I end up arguing with are just morons...but I enjoy discussing training with people of my own mental stature.

Will Heffernan said...

Ian Mellis MSc CSCS said...
...and what you are saying about training muscle groups consecutive days- there is a good article on t nation by Dave Tate which backs your discussion up ... again real world advice.
When and where was this? Post a link.

Ian Mellis MSc CSCS said...

http://www.t-nation.com/article/bodybuilding/9_great_secrets_of_training_success

and a quote from Dave Tate:

"So, for the next six months I trained my lower back and abs four days a week: once at the beginning of every session, and at the end of each session. At the Nationals in November, I squatted 900 pounds for the first time. For the next meet, I increased my torso training to six days a week, with three days being very heavy and three days being light.

In July, I went back to the IPA Worlds, the same meet I had to pull out of the year before. I squatted 860 pounds, then 905 pounds, and onto an easy 935 pounds".

There's many a way to skin a cat- Allthough it's anecdotal i'd tend to side with the guy who squats close to 1000 pounds.

Michael Sullivan said...

Wool,

I want to increase my deadlift but not quite sure how to go about it. I can squat about 80 pounds more than I pull. RDL about 60 pounds more than I pull and good morning about the same as I pull. What this means to me is that I need a bit of eccentric loading to potentiate the eccentric portion of a movement. Is this a predisposition that can be remedied and if so how?

Will Heffernan said...

Michael Sullivan said...
Wool,
I want to increase my deadlift but not quite sure how to go about it. I can squat about 80 pounds more than I pull. RDL about 60 pounds more than I pull and good morning about the same as I pull. What this means to me is that I need a bit of eccentric loading to potentiate the eccentric portion of a movement. Is this a predisposition that can be remedied and if so how?
What you need to do is to add 6 inches to your arm length. Get back to me when you've done this and I will explain the next step.

Michael Sullivan said...

Wool,
I want to increase my deadlift but not quite sure how to go about it. I can squat about 80 pounds more than I pull. RDL about 60 pounds more than I pull and good morning about the same as I pull. What this means to me is that I need a bit of eccentric loading to potentiate the eccentric portion of a movement. Is this a predisposition that can be remedied and if so how?

What you need to do is to add 6 inches to your arm length. Get back to me when you've done this and I will explain the next step.

Exactly what I expected from you. Of course you would be wrong as it would be so much easier to make my legs 6 inches shorter.