Thanks to my current job, I have been lucky enough to mess around with a bunch of cool, sports science training tools. One of the recent devices I have been playing with is called a Moxy Monitor. In short, it allows me to see the local metabolic demands of the muscle via anaylsis of muscle oxygen saturation levels “SmO2%” (amount of oxygen my muscles are using) and the changes in local blood flow.
Without diving too far into the science, the SmO2% can tell you how much oxygen is being released from the blood stream (capillary level) to the local tissue. The rate at which SmO2% is reduced (desaturated) and the rate at which it returns (resaturates) to baseline during exercise can provide some interesting insights.
As some may know, I am a velocity nerd. I think it is one of the most unique measuring tools available. So naturally, I wanted to use the Moxy Monitor in conjunction with a Tendo Unit to get an understand of how fatigue was manifesting itself during a velocity drop off squat session.
Stress is a part of everybody’s life. Regardless of the type of stress, our body typically handles the subconscious response the same way (Fight or Flight). In short, our mind (hypothalamus) perceives a stress, communicates this stress to our pituitary gland, which then releases hormones to the adrenal glads, which in turn releases more hormones to communicate with other cells and organs within the body (HPA Axis). This flight or flight response activates the sympathetic nervous system, inhibits the parasympathetic nervous system, and mobilizes the necessary energies to overcome theses stressors.
Assessing athletic development can be done in an assortment of ways. Typically, such assessment is done by testing maximal strength in a movement, dynamic strength in a movement, and possibly some other type of “sport specific” movement. There is nothing wrong with this type of testing, but it can leave the coach asking some questions.
One of the issues with this style of testing is that it may not give enough “insight” to the development of the athlete. Every movement has many variables that influence its performance and it is hard to discern whether or not those variables are influencing the outcomes of the tests. Typically, such variables arise most often in a “dynamic” style of testing.
It is important to understand why testing is done. Testing is done to help guide a training program, which means the more accurate the testing is, the better of an idea the coach will have at pinpointing areas of improvement. Granted, any form of barbell/weight room testing is relatively non-specific, it can still provide insights into possible “general” physiological and neurological qualities that influence performance.
Periodization: The process of breaking down a training program into distinct periods of emphasis or time.
Periodization can come in two forms, Linear or Undulating. These forms have subdivisions within them. For example, westside conjugate periodization and waved periodization are both different subdivisions of undulating.
It is easy to forget that training is not just a two hour process in the weight room. Training is not just about making a post workout shake and training is not just about making sure you hit your sets and reps. Too often we look at training and adaptation as two separate entities. We see our performance in the weight room as a result of the work we have put in the weight room and nothing else. However, training is a stimulus and adaptation is the process of our body responding to the stimulus. Who cares how great a stimulus is if we never adapt from it?
Training –> stimulus –> adaptation –> performance.
We are often great about causing a stimulus, but horrible about facilitating adaptation.
Total system SRA (stimulus-recovery-adaptation) is the idea/concept of looking at the body’s stimulus-recovery-adaptation process through the influences of its individual parts (subsystems). The adaptation process, also know as the general adaptation syndrome (GAS), is simple, yet effective model for learning about fatigue and recovery. However, it’s simplicity has led to some bigger misunderstandings. Below graph is referred to as the SRA curve (stimulus-recovery-adaptation)
There are a lot of great pieces of equipment that we use in training. However, we don’t always know how these pieces of equipment work. If we do not know how the equipment we use work, then we cannot optimize it.
The Jump Mat
The jump mat is a piece of equipment that nearly every single coach has seen in action. People stand on a mat, they jump up in the air, they land and it tells you how high you jumped. The question is, do you know the mat got that number?
How can you get to your destination without a map? Training without establishing a set plan and not tracking along the way is just like planning a road trip with no direction and checkpoints. In our industry, it is important to set tangible goals to grow towards and track progress in order to know when athletes have hit their mark. In this article I will explain the importance of testing and tracking progress and the steps to take to implement with your athletes.