ATHLETIC CONSULTING TRAINING REPORT -
INSIDE THIS ISSUE...
Recruits! How to train for your testing"
- "Research updates for athletes"
- "Body composition programs just in time for
the New Year"
- TRAINING FOR TESTING
Q: For people entering
army, police, or firefighter testing, recruits often are
tested for the number of reps they can do in an exercise.
It's the same for many athletes (football and hockey) that
are asked to do a bench press for reps with 225 lbs. What
is the best way to train for this type of test?
A:First off, the trainee should
address excess body fat immediately to bring down the bodyweight
for the push-up and chin-up tests. Next, there are 2 training
methods that can be used to improve absolute and relative
strength, these are heavy strength training and muscular
1) Absolute strength
Increase your absolute strength,
and your absolute endurance will increase. Charles Staley
is a well-recognized strength coach that used this method
to help increase an athlete's bench press performance with
225 lbs. Staley chose to concentrate on increasing the athlete's
one rep max (1 RM) in the bench press. By doing that, 225
lbs. became a lower % of his absolute strength and he was
able to do more reps.
For those recruits concerned
with push-up tests, the number of push-ups the trainee will
be able to do will improve secondary to the gains in absolute
strength. For chin-up testing, weighted chin-ups are a measure
of absolute strength. The ideal situation is great absolute
strength and low body weight. That will be a recipe for
success even without the development of muscular endurance.
Testing for absolute strength
will help determine the optimal training protocol. For instance,
if the trainee's bench press 1 RM is similar to their bodyweight,
the athlete would be better off concentrating on improvements
in absolute strength rather than muscular endurance. Thus,
heavy bench pressing and weighted chin-ups are exercises
that should be used as the staple in building absolute strength.
In contrast, if absolute strength is much greater than bodyweight,
the trainee might want to emphasize strength endurance.
2) Relative endurance.
Increase your relative endurance
by doing more reps with less rest. This is similar to a
method used by Roger Bannister in training to perform the
4-minute mile. Bannister did four-quarter miles with progressively
less and less rest between quarters.
To improve your relative endurance
in push-up or bench presses, you will perform multiple sets
at or slightly above the test weight. Coach Staley also
recommends paying attention to the speed or repetition.
He emphasizes the speed of the repetition because the faster
the athlete performs the repetitions, the more reps the
athlete will be able to get.
Both methods can be of great
help but there are 2 times when building absolute strength
might work against the athlete. The first is if the test
load is based on a % of 1 RM. That would strictly be a test
of relative endurance, not absolute endurance. The second
is in the case of absolute strength training increasing
body weight, and this may have negative effects in chin
up or push up tests. Then again, if that weight is appropriately
added muscle then it won't hinder testing.
- TRANSLATING RESEARCH TO TRAINING
Q: As a soccer coach, I
know aerobic fitness (VO2max) is important, but I've found
that most athletes find traditional aerobic training boring.
Is there any research to point me in the direction of better
A: In many sports, it is arguable
that VO2max may not play a huge role in performance (i.e.
hockey). However, soccer seems to be consistent with the
traditional belief that VO2max can have a direct impact
on sport performance. A significant correlation has been
found between team performance and VO2max, as well as the
distance a player can cover in a game (i.e. more distance
covered if you have a higher VO2max).
But does this mean training
should consist of running 60-90 minutes per day at a low
intensity? Probably not. After all, for anyone that has
played soccer, you know that the intensity of some periods
of play can be maximal. So in designing training, how can
a coach optimize a session? Norwegian researchers have found
it to be quite simple. They implemented an aerobic interval
training program over 2 months, and then quantified game
performance via video analysis. Players that trained had
superior performance in comparison to players that did not
The training was designed
Players trained twice per
week for 8 weeks. Following a regular practice, the players
performed four 4 minute intervals with rests of 3 minutes
between each. The intensity was equivalent to 95% of maximal
heart rate. A control group practiced skills during the
same post-practice period.
Players that trained with
intervals increased their VO2max by 11% (remember that these
weren't couch potatoes either, they were elite junior soccer
players). Their VO2max went from 58 ml/kg/min to 64 ml/kg/min.
The training also led to more involvement in play, more
sprints per game, and more distance covered, as determined
by video analysis. Finally, the players that trained were
also found to have more intense play in the second half
and the later stages of each half. And finally, the training
did not reduce explosiveness or speed.
The authors concluded that,
"Enhanced aerobic endurance in soccer players improved soccer
performance by increasing the distance covered, enhancing
work intensity, and increasing the number of sprints and
involvement with the ball during a match." For more information
on similar types of training, check out ISSUE #32 on sport-specific
interval training. Combining intervals with strength training
and speed agility drills will help develop any player into
the best that they can be.
Helgerud J. Aerobic endurance
training improves soccer performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc.
Q: One of the previous
newsletters mentioned a study that compared older NHL players
to younger NHL players on many fitness parameters. Are there
any other studies like that?
there is. At the recent conference of the Canadian Society
of Exercise Physiologists, researchers compared the physical
attributes of old and young professional ice hockey players.
Results showed that
with increasing age, professional hockey players increase
body weight, upper body strength, and grip strength. In
contrast, there were no changes in anaerobic power, aerobic
power, leg power, abdominal endurance, or body composition.
These results seem to merely reflect the difference in maturity
between older and younger players. With respect to training
design, sport specific training should be key (to strengthen
the groin for injury prevention), but younger players may
also want to add in additional upper body training (particularly
grip training) to help give them all the edge possible for
Germain, G., et al., Physical
and Physiological Characteristics of Professional Ice Hockey
Players. Can. J. Appl.
Physiol. 26(5): 460, 2001.
- GETTING LEAN & GETTING MASSIVE
Q: Well it's that time
of year again. Many people expect to gain a little weight
over the holidays and then will make New Year's resolutions
to lose it. Any tips, workouts, or diet plans that can be
fat loss, complex circuits would be a good recommendation.
It's merely an extension of the warm-up that was described
in ISSUE #76. So check that out. Begin by picking a bunch
of exercises you do with a barbell (between 6 and 8 exercises).
After you've done 2 warm-up circuits, add some weight to
the bar. The amount of weight will be dictated by your weakest
exercise. For example, if you chose biceps curls as one
of the exercises, but you can only curl 65 lbs., then you
will use that weight for all exercises. So you'd go through
squat, bent row, military press, Romanian deadlift, power
shrug, biceps curl, and calf raise. Repeat this circuit
For more fat loss workouts
and diet tips, consider the "GET LEAN" program, now available
at a greatly reduced cost just in time for New Year's resolutions.
Q: I want to get big, but
NOT fat! It's really hard to eat healthy foods and put on
mass, but I don't want to start eating bacon-double cheeseburgers
in hopes of gaining muscle, when in reality I just end up
adding 5 lbs. of fat. Do you have any tips?
off, what you need to do is calculate your caloric need.
Here is a nice easy formula provided by Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky
from McMaster University:
A nice easy formula for BMR
is 1.0 kcal/kg/hr. So for a 200 lbs. (90 kg) male, that
1.0 x 90 x 24 = 2160 kcal.
Now, if you are training hard
and consistently, you are going to need to add on 30-40%
of that (~800 kcal), to get your weight maintenance calories.
So you need just under 3000 kcal per day to stay at 200
lbs. Add on another 500 kcal per day to add 1lb of lean
mass in 5-7 days (a pound of lean mass is only 2500 kcal,
not the 3500 kcal needed for a pound of fat).
You should also keep track
of your caloric intake, so that you can see where the lack
of calories lies. Should you add another meal, a second
post-workout shake, or more calories to each meal? (You
should also log your training...and how you feel each day,
etc., etc. - very helpful stuff for reviewing programs...identifying
weaknesses, and charting successes).
Consider checking out the
CB ATHLETIC'S "MASSIVE ACTION" program that details the
optimal training and supplementation regimens for gaining
muscle. It too, like the "GET LEAN" program, is available
at a special rate. Other options for gaining mass include
drinking a lot of milk (if you find that to be an acceptable
addition to your diet). Milk and yogurt are cheap and effective
ways of adding mass. These are nature's own weight gainers.
And finally, as more information becomes available on healthy
fat intake, you may want to begin consuming an extra 50
grams of healthy fats per day (flax oil, fish oils, omega-3
enhanced eggs, etc.).
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