Auto-Regulatory Training and Jump Heights

Auto-regulatory training is a pretty straightforward concept. It hinges on the idea of not just showing up and doing something on a lift-card just because it was written on the lift-card. Instead, you might have a workout on the lift card, but you use some sort of test to determine whether or not you think what is written on the card is actually what you should be doing that day. Now, instead of using auto-regulation to completely change your entire training day, you can use it in many other different facets. Fore example, you can use auto-regulation to assign what load you should be lifting today, how many reps you should lift a load for, or how long you should rest between loads.

Personally, I see value in all types of auto-regulatory training. However, not all types of auto-regulatory training are useful in all situations. For example, the more complex the auto-regulation gets, the more supervision and trust is required. This is the exact reason why it may not always be best to do the most invasive form of auto-regulation… you just don’t have the time to do it for 30 athletes. So, what can we do?

First off, we need to define what we are training for and how we are going to train for it. Use training for power as an example…Typically, we train for power with maximal intent and high quality repetitions. If we want to build power, we need quality and well, for the most part, quality suffers at hands of fatigue. Either athletes do too much or rest too little to keep velocity and therefore, power high enough. We can’t always control effort, but we can somewhat control recovery via rest times. This is where auto-regulating rest intervals comes in to play. If we make sure athletes are rested for the next set, we know we have the full capacity to develop power (effort is another story)

A simple pen and paper can do the trick. Continue reading “Auto-Regulatory Training and Jump Heights”

The Power Of Jump Metrics

The rehabilitation process is a very complex, multidimensional endeavor. It is extremely hard to determined when an athlete is truly ready to return to perform at their highest level. Despite the fact that psychologically they may be more than ready to return, their body may not permit it, or visa versa. There is no “best answer” to this problem. It is much more of a sliding scale (kind of and maybe) than it is binary (ready or not).

One aspect of return to play that is often overlooked in the sports performance world is the standardization of measurement. For example, strength coaches may use a series of physical performance tests to determine an athlete’s physical profile, while on the other hand an athletic trainer or a physical therapist may use a separate set of metrics. Now, this isn’t to say one metric is superior to the other, it is simply to point out that lack of standardization can make comparing before and after profiles quite difficult.

To solve this problem, open communication is the quickest answer. How many physical therapists (PTs) and athletic training (ATs) know an athlete’s max squat, 40 yard dash time, single leg vertical jump or yo-yo score prior to the injury? My guess not many… If the performance coach, who is responsible for the development of well, performance puts value into these metrics as an indicator success, then it might be wise for the athletic trainers and physical therapist to value these metrics as well. Now, the same can be said for the strength coach as well. If the ATs and PTs value certain metrics, maybe the performance coach should understand the significance of these metrics. We can sit here and debate all day as to which metrics we should value over others, however at the end of the day, it comes down to utility. Are these metrics easy to obtain and do we have the equipment for it? If so, how easy is it to use this equipment and how applicable is it in our given setting?

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The Not So Confusing Guide To Sports Science

At times, the term “sports science” feels so nebulous, that regardless of what organized attempts you make to integrate sports science, you will always fall short in capturing the whole picture. As a matter of fact, that is 100% correct. Regardless of what you do, what you think you do, or what you want to do, you will never be able to fully understand a single individual, let alone every individual you work with… Sounds like an uphill battle, right?

 

Well, the good thing about sports science is that it is a failure driven process. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying through their teeth. Unlike what might be the initial hopes and dreams of someone looking to get into or take on sports science, it will never be a utopia-like, rainbow filled process that will elucidate all of your problems. However, the exciting aspect of sports science is that right there! We don’t know, which means what we are currently doing without the use of sports science is also unknown. So, instead of not asking questions and thinking we are right, we might as well start looking for answers and accept the bumps along the way.

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Training Day 1 (Explosive Strength)

Warm Up

5 minutes of active mobility (Your choice)

Target Areas

  • Ankles
  • Hips
  • Spinal Articulations
  • Single and Double Leg

5 minutes of dynamic prep

  • Walking lunge and twist
  • Low level 2 foot hops
  • Lateral lunge and step
  • Low level skips
  • Straight leg skips
  • 3 40 yard build ups 60,70, and 85%

Plyo Prep

  • 3 in place max vertical jumps (repeated jumps) x 2 (40 second rest between)
  • 3 horizontal broad jumps (repeated jumps) x 2 (40 seconds)
    • ALL MOVEMENTS SHOULD BE LES THAN 5 TOTAL SECONDS

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Fatigue (Central vs Peripheral)

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.

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Free Radicals

I am going to preface this post by saying “I am not a Nutritionist”. The following content provided is to be considered thought provoking and not a definitive guide to management of free radicals.

What are free radicals?

 

Free radicals are developed in your body through many different means and reactions. To avoid diving too far in to the molecular biology, lets keep it short. Free radicals are bad. They are highly unstable, reactive oxygen molecules that are present in your body. Due to their instability, they are always looking for stability, which means they are looking to bind to other molecules and cause havoc.

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General Adaptation and Specific Adaptation

The process of the “general adaptive response” is conceptually a very simple process. Without going into great molecular detail, the following stress response occurs in the body

  1. Recognizes a stressor
  2. Hormones are released
  3. Mobilizes energies to deal with the stressor
  4. Structures may be destroyed while dealing with the stressor (myosin heads during a muscular contraction)
  5. Magnitude and duration of the stressor determines the amount of destruction and mobilization of energy
  6. Once stressor is removed or defeated (like a cold), the body can begin the repair process
  7. Energies that were used and structures were broken are rebuilt in a stronger fashion to allow the body to deal with future stressors of the same nature

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