Training Principles, Part Three -Principles Of Exercise Science Con’t

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

Training principles of exercise science con’t…

7. Muscle Balance – each muscle action or group has an opposite muscle action or group (agonist vs. antagonist).

·      e.g. triceps vs. biceps, must maintain a mutual balance in strength and flexibility to function properly.

·      In performance activity the antagonist muscles may act as a brake to slow down acceleration e.g. the elbow flexors act as a brake to the elbow extensors in a punch, so they need to be strong to perform this task.

·      Demonstrate-a throw or punch or sprint.

8. Muscle Fiber Type and Energy System – there are two basic muscle fiber types, slow twitch (IA) and fast twitch (IIAo, IIA & IIB). Each muscle fiber type has a corresponding energy system that supplies it and determines its action and performance parameters.

·      Slow twitch (IA) utilizes oxygen (aerobic) as its primary energy source, 3 minutes or longer duration and has an intensity threshold of 25% or less of the persons strength capacity and is used during postural and endurance activities.

·      Fast twitch oxidative glycolytic IIAo utilizes glycogen (anaerobic) and oxygen (aerobic) as its energy sources and is strength endurance oriented, 2 to 3 minutes in duration and has an intensity of 25% to 60% of a person’s maximal strength capacity.

·      Fast twitch glycolytic IIA utilizes glycogen (anaerobic) as its primary energy source and is strength oriented, 13 to 30 seconds in duration and has an intensity of 60% to 85% of a person’s maximal strength capacity.

·      Fast twitch phosphogenic IIB utilizes creatine phosphate (CP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (anaerobic) as its primary energy sources and is explosive-power oriented, 1 to 12 seconds in duration and has an intensity threshold of 85% to 100% of a person’s maximal strength capacity.

·      Examples: 25-50 mile race vs.800-1500 meters vs. 200-400 meters vs. 50-100 meters sprint.

9. Muscle Receptors and Sensors – within the muscles there are various receptors and sensors (proprioceptors) that perform specific tasks e.g.,

·      vestibular receptors- measure balance and equilibrium;

·      muscle spindle- measures change in muscle fiber length and change in muscle fiber speed;

·      Golgi tendon organ- measures the range of motion (rom) or stretch in muscle tendons;

·      Ruffini receptors- measures the position of the muscle and joint in relation to space;

·      Pacinian corpuscle- measures the tension and pressure within the muscle fiber and tendon.

·      All of these sensors relay information from the muscles to the spinal cord and/or to the brain or central nervous system. In turn the appropriate muscle response occurs. 

‘Train Safe, Smart, & Results Driven’

Training Principles, Part Two - Principles Of Exercise Science

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

There are quite a few scientific principles that apply to training. I will list some of my favorites that I use daily.

1. Central Nervous System Training (CNST) – is made up of the brain, spinal cord, nerve pathways, and sensors to the muscles and organs.

·      The impulse or signal to the muscles from the spinal cord is called neural drive, involving motor or efferent neurons, nerve fibers, motor units, motoneurons, and muscle fibers.

·      Things that interrupt and obstruct neural drive are poor posture, improper form, flexibility and strength imbalances, nerve injury, and scar tissue.

·      Demonstrate-ROM with proper vs. poor flexibility, seated rotation or elbow retraction

2. Critical Drop Off (CDO) – after the first set If the rep number drops by more than 2, e.g., from 6 to 3 reps or 20-30%, the particular exercise should be discontinued.

·      This drop off indicates neuromuscular exhaustion so stopping will prevent over training, reduce the possibility of injury, and allow the super compensation process to begin. So move on or continue with the next exercise.

3. Exercise Variation (EV) – by varying the exercises for each cycle over training and muscle imbalance can be significantly reduced.

·      For example during workout cycle one a flat chest press can be performed and for workout cycle two an incline press can be done.

·      Exercise variation may include changes in exercise selection, or changes in hand, foot, limb angle, or body position, and in apparatus type.

4. Faulty Muscle Recruitment (FMR) and Loading Patterns – faulty muscle recruitment occurs as a result of performing a task incorrectly and may be caused by:

·      Scar tissue present within the muscle which impedes its ability to function normally.

·      A muscle imbalance that effects the neural drive to the muscle.

·      Using too heavy a load so that the appropriate muscles can not perform the task.

·      Continuing to train while not addressing any of the previous issues or several other factors.

·      Remember how you practice will influence how you play and perform.

5. Faulty Loading Patterns (FLP) and Muscle Type Response – stability muscles also known as postural or tonic muscles tend to shorten and tighten under faulty or improper loading.

·      Their composition seems to be mostly slow twitch or IA type fibers.

·      While the dynamic, explosive, or phasic muscles tend to lengthen and weaken under faulty loading.

·      They seem to be made up of a predominance of fast twitch IIB and IIA fibers.

·      This is the general rule but some muscles may have dual roles and have a composition of several fiber types.

6. Muscle Action Response (MAR) – most muscles will be comprised of both fast and slow twitch fibers, however the percentages or ratios will vary based on genetics, and muscle group but training will affect it’s development.

·      E.g., fast vs. slow ratio may be 40:60 or 50:50 or 60:40 or 70:30, this will determine your athletic preference and possible physical training potential.

·      Muscles that flex joint angles like the arm and leg biceps tend to be comprised of mostly fast twitch fibers.

·      While muscles that extend the joint like the leg quadriceps and lower back erectors will have a greater endurance capacity.

·      Remember this is the general rule, individuals need to be tested to determine their specific muscle response.

‘Train Safe, Smart, & Results Driven’

In-Season Strength Training: Part Two

By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer

In Part One we defined in-season training and listed the first two objectives when designing a program including exercise selection and energy system needs of the athlete. In Part Two we are discussing the remaining components that determine an athletes program, including rep range, weight load-intensity, muscle fiber type, and  work volume consideration.

An intertwined objective to consider when determining the athlete’s program is choosing the correct rep range, weight load-intensity, and muscle fiber type that’s needed to improve their performance. A blocker or outside hitter in volleyball will need to develop and recruit their fast twitch fibers, so doing between 1-6 reps, with 95-80% of their one rep max (1RM), for their phasic muscles will accomplish this. Similarly, a running back in football will benefit from the same intensity and rep ranges. Now these values can vary depending on the age, maturity, health, and genetic make up of the athlete but explosive power is the important component.

On the other hand the cross-country runner may require 15-20 reps or more, at 60-70% of their 1RM to improve their muscle endurance but may benefit from the 1-10 rep range at 75-95% 1RM to help with 100-400 meter surges or sprint finishes. Several of the top Olympic middle distance runners employ this method in their training.

Either of these athletes may require a different rep range and intensity level to address their individual structural needs. In general if their tonic or postural muscles need work a rep range of 8-15, at an intensity of 80-70% of 1RM, may be required. The specific needs of the individual will always be the most beneficial to them.

The last proponent to consider is the appropriate volume of work needed to maintain and/or improve ability without over-training. The primary focus during the season should be the development of the necessary skills, ability, and strategy needed to perform the sport or position at the highest level. The secondary focus should be on maintaining and/or improving power, strength, and conditioning that was developed during the off-season. Usually most in-season practice is devoted to game preparation, sports skills, drills, strategy, tactics, plays, and related task. Therefore most of the repetition and conditioning will come from those activities, so strength related training only needs to occupy about 10-15% of the athletes total weekly time. That can be accomplished in one or two sessions, with consideration given to adequate recovery time before the day of the competition. Ideally the strength training should enhance practices, skills, abilities, and performance, while reducing the injury potential.

Likewise, practices shouldn’t injure the athlete or hinder their strength training but allow for mutual improvement, or a complete synergistic relationship. A big mistake often made is to abandon strength training during the season. This will usually start to gradually impact performance or increase injury potential after about 14 days. The athlete may start the season strong, fast, powerful, explosive, and energetic but within a few weeks will start to exhibit weakness, slowness, sluggishness, or tiredness.

Coincidently, the residual effects from strength training may last up to 10 days; so training a muscle group at least once a week or every 7 days will allow maximal recovery and strength gains. Often world-class sprinters require up to 7-10 days to fully recover, after running a personal record.

So a cheerleader who practices about 10 hours a week, excluding a 3-hour Friday evening game, at 10% of her weekly practice time the strength training would require about 1 hour to complete. Depending on equipment, facility, scheduling, etc, the 1-hour time could be divided into two 30-minute segments as to minimize time away from skills practice. This could be accomplished with a 30-minute strength training session on Saturday (the day after the game), followed by another 30-minute session on Monday or Tuesday, which would also give plenty of recovery time prior to the game. Each session would be comprised of 4 strength-power exercises for 4-8 reps, times 2 sets; and 2-4 structural exercises for 8-15+ reps, for 1-2 sets. The exercise selection could be different for each session to target various or specific muscle groups as well.

As you can see the exercise selection, energy system, rep range, weight load-intensity, muscle fiber type, and volume all comply with her in-season strength training needs. The exercise selection should depend on her individual needs and ability level. Likewise, considering the amount of impact and repetitive stress related injuries that cheerleaders accrue i.e., sprains, strains, twists, pulls, fractures, and soft-tissue adhesions, this would help to address those concerns. Not to mention the additional strength to help with the skills execution.

In conclusion, the benefits of the in-season strength training far out-way the time, cost, injury potential, and other factors involved.  The correct, safe, and scientific approach should consider exercise selection, energy system, rep range, weight load-intensity, muscle fiber type, and volume to best address the athletes in-season needs.