Book Reviews – Olympian Manual, The White Prisoner and All About Powerlifting

And since I haven’t done any product reviews in a while (let’s face it, for a while there I didn’t do any new content) and have actually read a few books of late so it seemed as good a time as any to remedy that. And while I’m tempted to stretch this out into three separate articles, I’m honestly not sure I can come up with enough to write about each of the three books I want to talk about to justify that.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 15

Ok, at long last, having spent altogether too many parts of this nonsense boring people senseless with background information, physics they didn’t care about (and I got marginally wrong as often as not, check the comments on Part 12 for some corrections folks were nice enough to make) finally culminating in a discussion of things like warming up, sets, reps, rest intervals and tracking last time it is finally time to talk about practical application of various power methods.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 14

This usually means exercise where the athlete’s body is being “thrown” into the air (i.e. jumping type exercises) or an implement such as a medicine ball is used. Of course, the Olympic lifts are commonly used for higher load power training but even that assumes the athlete has sufficient competency to do them with loads that generate a training effect.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 13

The basic issue has to do with the fact that most traditional weight training movements start and end at a zero velocity, preventing the weight/implement from being accelerated (and thus allowing the individual to generate maximal power) through the entire range of motion. I used as an example a car being accelerated til it hits a ramp and flies into the air, attempting to show that in movements where the bar/implement can be thrown or released, the deceleration phase can be avoided/eliminated.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 12

When it comes to different types of training, it’s usually assumed that the best way to increase a given capacity is to apply a maximal (or at least optimal) stress. So in the case of maximal strength (where the primary adaptation is in force output), the focus is on the generation of high muscular forces (typically through moving heavy weights).

Categories of Weight Training: Part 11

Ok, continuing from Categories of Weight Training: Part 10, I want to continue to talk about power training methods. I should probably mention that a big part of the adaptations from power training methods have to do with the nervous system (of course the muscles are always involved), primarily in “teaching” it to generate force quickly through various mechanisms that I won’t bore you with. It will probably also turn out that there are long term adaptations in the muscle (to connective tissue, or titin or whatever) that also occur but for now, it’s easiest to just think of it as a primary neural effect.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 10

For this reason scientists started to talk about Rate of Force Development (RFD) which is exactly what it sounds like, how quickly force can be generated (there are other concepts such as starting and acceleration strength that I’m not going to get into, get Supertraining if you really care). Conceptually, RFD is just a measure of how much force can be generated quickly.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 9

Ok, now that this series has gone completely off the rails as I seem intent on adding more and more information to it, let me actually attempt to finish up what I talked about in Part 8 which was a mish-mosh discussion about training frequency and intensity. From that I basically concluded that despite the general tendency for elite strength athletes (who are not really representative of most athletes in general much less the general public) to train more and more and more, a rough frequency of two heavy workouts per week per muscle group is ideal for maximal strength training methods. Yes, that’s a very quick summary, for more go back to Part 8.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 8

In most systems, maximal strength training is defined as anything from 85-100% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM, recall from last time that your 1 repetition maximum represents the heaviest weight you can lift exactly once) which yields a repetition range of 1-5 on average. In fact, if you include the use of supramaximal eccentrics (weights that are heavier than you can lift but which you can lower under some semblance of control), it’s actually possible to include intensities up to 140% of maximum in this category. I’d note that while supramaximal eccentrics seems to make a resurgence every few years, it never seems to have quite the benefit that people hope and I won’t talk about it further.

Categories of Weight Training: Part 7

Now depending on what kind of things you read, maximal strength training goes under a variety of different names including maximum effort (ME) work, maximum weights methods, maximum strength training or even neural training. While there are probably minor differences in the definitions of all of these terms, for all practical purposes they refer to the same basic concept.

Next Page »