Modern Approach to Strength & Conditioning – Part 1
In this blog series I decided to share my view of how modern approach to strength and conditioning should look like. Everything here is based on my current knowledge and on more than 20 years of experience. The main purpose is to provide you with new ideas and information about something new that you might want to start learning and incorporate into your regular training routine.
The next slide shows what is essential for me with regard to the methodological, well-organized and long-term athletic development:
Before I start to talk about every segment of this pyramid, one thing I want to make clear. If, for example, SAQ-speed/agility/quickness is on the top of the pyramid that automatically doesn’t mean that is the least important and/or that it should be trained in the end, when all other parts of this pyramid are developed good enough. As every house should have strong foundations, my pyramid also has its own base qualities that are ideal to build one after another. So, if I have, for example, an athlete with poor movement quality that automatically doesn’t mean that I’m not going to train strength or power or speed, yes I will, but I must find adequate approach not to eventually hurt this athlete or over train him because of his movement limitations. In this part 1 I will talk about lower part of my pyramid, what I’m considering being the foundations and movement quality.
Five words, SLEEP-HYDRATION-NUTRITION-SUPPLEMENTATION-BODY COMPOSITION. It sound so simple, but so many athletes fail in one or more of these. We can be serious professionals and train hard every day, but if we don’t have adequate sleep regularly everything will fall apart. Moreover, we can train hard and sleep long enough, but if we are not paying attention to our micro and macro nutrients intake, the recovery process will suffer, immune system will not be able to efficiently protect our body, hormonal status will not be optimal… Hydration status is very critical before, during and after the training or competition. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It also helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level.
In the end, what is the sense of training if you can’t recover from it!
This graph is showing classic supercompensation cycle. Every well-organized training plan must have periods of loading and periods of recovering before the next training stimuli. Without putting attention to all the foundations, it is much more difficult to re-enter in the SUPERCOMPENSATOIN PHASE.
What can we use to monitor these 5 so essential categories if we want our training program to succeed? Bioforce HRV (http://www.bioforcehrv.com/) is on top of my list because it gives you information on day-to-day basis about the recovery process and athletes readiness for training. Measuring pH level is simple and effective way to control acidity/alkalinity of our saliva and/or urine. If you have metabolic or respiratory acidosis this can be a warning signal that something is wrong with your diet. Elevated levels of lactic acid in the system are an indicator of lactic pH imbalance, whilst dehydration can cause the acidic state of the body, and poor sleeping habits can influence your pH status. Whatever is the level of athletic intensity, a healthy pH balance can be the difference between good and great athletic achievements!
Simple questionnaire on a daily basis can give you so much information about the recovery and readiness for next training stimuli. Here is an example:
Our first task should be the INJURY REDUCTION and (then) the performance enhancement!
That is why, if an athlete can’t squat, there is no sense to load that pattern with extra weight because he will compensate that with muscles and joints that are not designed to execute that specific task. If someone can’t do proper shoulder flexion 120°, there is higher risk of injury whilst doing the overhead pressing. If an athlete can’t show proper hip flexion >90°, any kind of sprinting is inefficient and can lead to the injury. I could go on forever with examples, but today so many people in our field talk about this fundamental movement importance although few of them are having good approach at least from what I can notice. Every coach must be aware of the fact that with, for example, unstable core/pelvis, poor hip function, one or both ankles stiff, the athlete is competing with an injury about to happen.
An injured athlete cannot train and therefore can’t improve his athletic performances, only a healthy athlete can do that!
Movement quality essentially means: every joint and muscle must have adequate range of motion (MOBILITY), capacity to sustain stress (STABILITY/STRENGTH), and on top of that an adequate coordination between these joint systems (MOTOR CONTROL) should stand.
If an athlete can’t demonstrate movement quality, then he is not ready to proceed with the movement quantity training – loading with weight or speed, or even just volume!
Movement matters and if you don’t believe in that I highly recommend you to learn methodologies like FMS (Functional Movement System), DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization), PRI (Postural Restoration Institute), FRC (Functional Range Conditioning) and then decide whether the movement quality is or isn’t important!