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Exercise Prescription for Resistance Training

31 Jan

When designing a resistance training program, there are many programming variables that can affect the outcome that you will see as result of putting physical stress on your body.  Based on the goals that you’ve identified, your body will respond to the stimulus that you provide it.  If you want to get the greatest return for time spent training, train how your body will best respond.  Watch for another post on determining you One Rep Max for a lift, which will help you figure out proper load.  Until then, work within the sets/reps/rest of the prescription ONLY within the domain of where you can maintain good form and demonstrate proper technique.  Once the motor recruitment patterns are a little more established, it will be a good time to start load testing.  Until then, use this chart as a guide:

Goal    Endurance   Hypertrophy    Strength
Load (% 1RM)      < 70%    70%-80%      80% <
Sets         3        4        5
Repetitions      12 to 8      8 to 5   5 or Fewer
Rest      < 1min      1-2min     2 min <

Some More reading if you want to go down the rabbit hole:


Speed And Agility Scientific Anchors and Paper Assignment

27 Jan

This post is a quick review of the four scientific anchors that our Speed and Agility class is built around, and from which you will choose one when writing your paper.  The paper is due by the end of week 9, and should be 1-2 pages in length, double spaced, in which you have attended a varsity event at the University of Oregon and what you observed there that relates to the anchors taught in this class.  I suggest looking at one specific play or movement you witnessed at the game.  Good grammar is also an important aspect to include in your paper.

1.   Gravity and ground reaction force

While these forces are always at work in our daily lives, we may not always embrace their input to enhance our training and conditioning programs.  Proper programming is designed to use both the effects of gravity – (from the top down) – and ground reaction force (GRF) – (from the bottom up) – to distribute energy into our body.

It is with the use of these two forces that our body can become more efficient and ultimately more effective.  Gravity, along with GRF, allows our muscular system an opportunity to up-regulate and down regulate.  Our body first accepts these forces and uses them to move.  Gravity and GRF allow our mass (and the momentum it creates) to move while muscles turn on and off.  Turning muscles on and off is the only way to save the joints for a lifetime of use; we must rely on gravity and GRF to get this done.

2.  Stretch to shorten
Think of a rubber band.  The only way to get it to work is to first stretch it.  It is by stretching a rubber band that we store potential kinetic energy in the most efficient way.  The body is set up in a very similar fashion.  Muscles, fascia, and skin are all visco-elastic – which means that they seek to receive load before they unload.  Stretching before shortening is one way to load the system.  The key to maximizing this is through stretching the human structure before shortening it.  The net effect of this is to increase efficiency and effectiveness in movement.

3.  Multi-directional movement
Many suggest that we should train in a multi-dimensional approach because that is what we do in “real life” or “sport”.  While this is true, there is a much more fundamental reason why it is important to exercise in multi-dimensions.  We have been taught that there are relationships between muscles – synergists, antagonists, neutralizers and so on.   Therefore, multi-dimensional training reinforces the synergistic actions and relationships of our muscular system, making us more efficient. Many exercises in this class are designed to be multi-dimensional to reinforce this notion of synergistic action.

4.  Entire body movement
Muscles need not cross a joint to move a joint. We might consider this statement to understand the far-reaching effects of an “interdependent” body. Our body is completely interconnected.  However, traditional anatomy courses teach that the body is fragmented into different systems.  Yet, the conclusions we draw from a fragmented perspective are not consistent with the body’s true design.

Looking into chain reaction mechanics and longitudinal anatomy reveals a unified body that works interdependently. We must train in accordance with this physical reality. Movement is fostered by a body-wide effort. Building a foundation requires training the whole structure to produce movement efforts.

Speed and Agility and all exercises in this class were designed to be consistent with these four scientific anchors.  These anchors keep us closer to training movement consistent with the body’s design, enabling us to train for more efficient and effective bodies while reducing occurrence of injury or long-term repetitive movement damage to our muscles bones and joints.  Learned, even at a very basic level will serve you well for many years to come.  Observing them in a sport and writing about them will only help drive home the learning process

-Much credit is due for Michol Dalcourt, inventor or ViPR for bringing these concepts together in an extremely well thought out and comprehensive manner.

Fitness Testing

25 Jan

This week we discuss and implement various forms of fitness testing.  As the coach of an athletic team, these tests act more as a litmus test of an athlete’s capacity rather than a true gauge of an athlete’s potential or predictor of how they will compete as it leaves unanswered many of the intangibles of sport.  As a Strength and Conditioning Coach, however, they are an extremely useful tool, especially when repeated to note any changes in fitness (positive or negative), as you’ll undoubtedly see when we revisit these tests at the end of the term.  The first test was a  VO2  max test commonly known as the Beep Test, or ” Multistage 20-m shuttle run test for aerobic fitness” if you really want to geek out.  You can see the Norms here, and enter your score here to calculate your capacity for delivery of millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute.  Cool, huh?

Next was a bit more simple Two Minute Sit Up Test.  No fancy hyperlinks to click through on this, simply a test of strength and endurance in the abdominal muscles.  The rules on the crunches are that they be executed with the feet flat on the ground together or 12 inches apart (whichever is more comfortable), knees bent at a 90 degree angle, and your arms on your ribcage or chest. One crunch is completed when the upper body is lifted until both arms touch the thighs and then lowered until the shoulder blades touch the ground. The arms must be in constant contact with the chest or rib cage; the buttocks must be in constant contact with the ground. The exercise is performed with the heel of your foot always on the ground. The Marine is given two minutes to complete the exercise.

Finally we finished with some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) following Tabata protocol.  As I mentioned, it was good for both a predictor of longer term work output, as well as replacing long training times with shorter, aleit more intense training, and yeilding the same if not better results.  Remember to write down all your scores, as we’ll be revisiting these tests at the end of the term.

Hello world!

14 Dec

Coaches Burgener, Okonek and myself

Welcome to  I’ve created this site with the purpose of adding my insights and experiences to enhancing the athletic development of all.