Thursday, 12 December 2019

Sprint Training and Skating Starts

In order to improve performance. all athletes should be focusing their training to specifically enhance motions utilized in their sport or competition. With regards to Short Track Speed Skating, race times are heavily affected by a skaters start. Ice skating sprints starts have a similar motion and acceleration as dry land sprint starts. It is therefore surmised that training dry land starts will benefit on ice starts. Researchers from Australia worked with nine elite and trained short track speed skaters utilizing a four week dry land starts training program to test on ice start improvement.

Athletes completed both dry land and on ice sprints to gain a control number followed by specific sprint start training and then re-doing the dry land and on ice sprints. Figure 3 below shows a comparison of an athlete’s dry land sprint time, to on ice sprint time. Both sprints were measured at time to cross 14.43m. The open circles and dashed line show the results during the control period and the black circles and solid line show the results after specific training.
The results showed a 2.6% increase in on ice sprint time after specific dry land start training.


This information can be extrapolated to all athletes. The results show that targeted training of a specific sport mechanic improve results in a game setting. An argument can be made that on ice start training will have equal or better results than dry land start training. While this is likely the case, training in the sport environment, with the right equipment, or having the right number of other athletes is not always possible. In the example of short track speed skating, the athletes likely don’t have ice access during every training session.

The take away for you as an athlete it to work with your coach or personal trainer and determine specific movements and motions you want to improve. Create a training program that you can do anywhere, especially days you don’t have access to play simulation, to target your goals.



References

https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2019/02000/The_Impact_of_Dry_Land_Sprint_Start_Training_on.30.aspx

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Velocity Based Training


Resistance training is a key part of every workout program, regardless of your goals. It is important in weight loss, muscle gain, and explosive strength. The two main focuses of resistance training are Intensity and Volume.

Intensity is the amount of weight you are lifting, or your load, whereas volume is the number of repetitions and sets you complete. The balance between the intensity and the volume of your resistance training will depend on your goal. I have already covered weight training and reps in this Blog Post.
For any regime, you need to determine the proper intensity for that volume. Typically, this is down by determining your One Repetition Maximum (1RM). 1RM is the maximum weight you can lift properly once. Your 1RM should be tested for multiple lifts, since the weight will be different for each major muscle group. Once you’ve determined your 1RM, your program design will be based on a percentage of that weight, matched to that volume.
Science for Sport has an article explaining how to the 1RM test.

Downsides to keep in mind with the 1RM test method are:
  • First time lifters may not have proper form to complete the test
  • It is time consuming
  • Your 1RM changes as you grow stronger, requiring frequent re-testing
  • You 1RM can change on a daily basis depending on your fatigue and hormonal balance that day
An alternative to the 1RM method of resistance training is Velocity Based Training (VBT). Velocity based training uses technology to measure the movement velocity of a lift. For example, you could measure the speed it takes to press a bar from your chest to fully extended (a bench press). The resulting data would give you the movement velocity is m/s. Your maximum movement velocity is known as movement velocity threshold (MVT). In order to determine your MVT you should complete the same test as the 1RM but with your VBT gadget.

The benefits of VBT immediately counter the downsides of 1RM.
  • You don’t need to complete the VBT test as often as the 1RM. You’ll notice the MVT is given in meters per second, not as a weight like the 1RM. What this means is that as you grow stronger and increase your weight, the speed at which you complete your maximum weight lift should remain the same.
  • The MVT is easily adjustable for your daily training readiness (i.e. fatigue and other changes that affect your strength). When using the %1RM method, you are scheduled to lift 80% of your 1RM for that day. You load on the selected weight and complete your workout, but maybe don’t get as many repetitions before failure. With the %MVT method you can immediately see the inability to reach the desired velocity and adjust the weights to make your repetitions for that workout.
The downsides to MVT training are
  • It is individual and exercise dependent, so more initial tests may be required
  • The technology is pricey
Velocity based training paired with the improvements in technology is making it a more viable resistance training tool. It is a great tool to maximize workouts while allowing for day-to-day training fluctuations. Before jumping on the latest technology train make sure you check out the different devices and choose the one that is right for your workout. As always, make sure you have the basic movements of your workout down before adding in new technology, VBT is useless if you aren’t doing the lift correctly to begin with.



References

https://www.verywellfit.com/understanding-volume-and-intensity-in-weight-training-3498252

https://www.scienceforsport.com/1rm-testing/

https://www.scienceforsport.com/velocity-based-training/

https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Fulltext/2019/08000/Autoregulated_Resistance_Training__Does.3.aspx

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Activating Muscles for Increased Speed

What happens after you use (contract) a muscle? The quick answer is fatigue! Your muscle gets tired and your performance will slowly decrease. However, that is not always the case. Postactivation Potentiation (PAP) is the exact opposite, whereafter contracting a muscle, the same muscle sees an increase in performance. In order to achieve a PAP response, a strength exercise is done at or above 85% of a single repetition maximum weight, after which an increase in power/velocity is seen for 5 - 20 minutes after the strength exercise. How PAP can affect velocity is divided into two types of speed for this review: linear and change of direction.

Linear velocity is moving in a straight line, typically tested as speed in a forward motion. A couple studies have linked performing a back squat to increase sprint speed. Performing a heavy loaded back squat, of 2 sets of 4 repetitions at 85% maximum weight showed an increase in sprint speed by 3% after 4 minutes of rest. Studies using Deadlift and Power Clean did not show any improvement in sprint speed. The reason for this is that the back squat exercise provides a loaded force, pushing into the ground in order to return to standing, which activates the same muscles used to push into the ground while sprinting. It is noted that PAP is linked to individual reaction, and therefore some people may not find the back squat to increase linear speed. In that case, athlete should try unilateral (single leg) exercises that activates either the pushing force of the run or the forward force.

Change of Direction velocity is the speed in which an individual can move in a new direction, typically tested in a full 180° turn. The two studies reviewed involved a back squat followed by a shuttle run, meaning the change of direction was 180°. Performing a heavy loaded back squat, of 5 sets of 1 repetition at 90% maximum weight showed an increase in shuttle run performance of 1.5%. Results from these studies determined less of an increase in Change of Direction velocity versus the studies done with Linear velocity. A reason for this difference could be the more complicated technique of slowing down and turning involved in performing a shuttle run..

In order to use PAP in your training, you first need to test if it will work for you and which exercises. Engage with your coach or a partner and test out different exercises paired with sprinting. In order to avoid fatigue bias in your results, make sure you test each set of exercises 2-3 days apart.


References

https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Fulltext/2018/02000/Effects_of_Postactivation_Potentiation_on_Linear.9.aspx