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Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's Science, Not Sales/People Watching/Do You

A couple days ago, I posted my memory of story/experience I shared with another trainer: 
"Years ago, I was a part of another training company and one day a guy I knew came in to pitch his new certification. He says "ya man, I'm certified in this and this is what we do... 21 push ups...21 air squats...21 power cleans...21 pull ups."
I say what if someone can't do 21 push ups?
"They can't move on until they do. That's the workout. 3 rounds as fast possible and done. We'd run this class everyday, it'll kill."
I ask "why would some do 21 power cleans?"
He answered "I don't know, it's just the workout... It's competition in random exercises."
Wait a sec, who's competing in exercises?
"The class... You do this workout as fast as possible and people try to beat your time."
And people pay for this workout?
"Absolutely! It's getting huge on the west coast and making a ton of money."
No thanks.

I could've jumped on the band wagon 5-6 years ago but it's not about sales and it's not about competing in movements that aren't a competition. When you're trying to pull 21 power cleans as fast as you can, you greatly increase your chance of injury. When an untrained person tries to rep 21 pull ups and can't move on until they do, they greatly increase their chance of injury and just as bad, decrease the chance of success in their quest for peak level of fitness.
This style of session are for those who are at least in high-moderate condition w a base in Olympic style lifts and should only be used as a "fun," supplement to their current base routine."

Sometimes the marketing machine can be so convincing, so overwhelmingly powerful, facts and science don't really matter, and it really is simple science and pretty definite facts (as far as I've ever heard).  Tendons, ligaments, muscle fibers, bones, joints, they all grow and adapt under different types of stresses.  There are a couple ways of looking at this, one being to think in terms of the three primary categories of training, those being ENDURANCE, HYPERTROPHY  (SIZE) and STRENGTH/POWER.  
When in the endurance phase, reps are usually around 15+ and rest periods are anywhere from 15-60 secs.
When in the hypertrophy phase, reps are between 8-12 with a longer rest period, 60 secs - 2 minutes. 
When in the strength/power phase, reps are between 1-5 with an even long rest period of 3-5 minutes.
Ok, now what?  What does that mean and why?
The reason for the set length (reps) and rest period is because in the endurance phase, you're moving faster, less rest, your heart rate is probably higher and your muscles and joints, etc are under less tension but for longer period of time, (recruiting the slow twitch muscle fibers) as opposed to the strength/power phase where the intensity (weight/resistance) is much greater but also for shorter, tapping into the explosive, fast twitch muscle fibers.    
Simply put, you're tapping into different energy and also using different muscle fibers.   
Heart rate and recovery time play an optimal role in writing up your programs (plus the periodization of the program).

Did I really waste all that time writing that just to poke holes in CrossFits WOD's?  Not really.  I wrote it to call bullshit on any program/trainer that isn't written based in the science of how our body operates.  If CrossFit said "Yes, these are our WOD's but we know you have to train your power clean x amount days per month to lift for your max this many times per week or even month."  See when you max out constantly, your body breaks down, your joints literally start to wear down and not strengthen.   Again, I truly feel like a D talking trash but c'mon, but without periodization and personalized programming, its a very generic session in warehouse with awesome marketing and a cult following.  
  
Years later at a gym near Solon, I worked along side (sort of) another trainer who sold a specialty style of training, "jump training."  We spoke and he wanted to work as partners which I entertained early on... then I saw his program "(no real resistance training)... then I saw him pitch it (he believed in himself 100%)... then I saw him sell it to nearly every parent that crossed his path and I learned a very valuable lesson, very few people care to do their own homework.  His program had virtually no science behind it.  It was all about this fancy word that parents needed to hear, PLYOMETRICS!  Ahhhh the parents loved hearing it!  PLYOMETRICS!  YES!  JUMP TRAINING, YES!  What are they going to be able to do?  ITs going to be amazing!  
See, when you take a kid who doesn't really know the mechanics of a jump and teach them to jump... they jump higher! oooooooohhhh
And it ends.
Then when you take that same kid and have then jump up and down, nevermind their form, 100x on foot, then the other, then off two feet, then over hurdles, then up and touch a target... they will jump higher... 
But that is where it ends if you do not incorporate power training (see above) into your routine.  
You cannot teach a box jump if the kid cant bend his knees while keep his back straight and dropping his hips down between his knees.  Why?  General movement and body strength.  If a kid or anyone cant squat, its because they're either weak or tight, either way, they really shouldn't be jumping very high off the ground and its not about the jump, its about the landing. They need to land with a cushion in their hips, knees and ankles, they need to be able to absorb their own body weight.  
All those parents bought the program over and over and over.  

Around 5-6 years ago I attended a jump clinic down at OSU and heard about a half dozen strength coaches from the mid-west talk about their programs and the results they accomplished.  Take a wild guess what they had in common.... They all squat, they all dead-lift, they all power clean.  Guess what else... They really only incorporated plyometrics as a means of endurance training and agility training or as a means of testing an athletes current vertical.  
They used vibe-plates, they used kettle bells hanging off of barbells (also to force a vibration and create instability) and they lifted HEAVY.  See above... power/strength training.  Loading up for a lift of 2-6 reps with 3-5 minutes in between.  Form has to be perfect, if its not, don't do it.  If you're not ready for the 2-6 load, which means back off and hit another gear, to work form I recommend the endurance phase for 3 weeks, the hypertrophy phase for 3 weeks and then try again for strength/power.

They can market their asses off and make a million dollars.  It only bothers me because too few people care to learn how their body operates.  I've said it 100x, people research doctors, they research their dentists, they research their vet and probably mechanic but no one researches their trainer... the guy/gal that is probably more influential than any of the above. 

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That was the nerdy one.. this is the weird one.  

I was doing some people watching... and I must've been in a mood.. I was just chilling, watching servers interact with patrons, watching tables drink and talk... and it made me wonder and daydream a bit.. 
I don't know how many of them were comfortable.... some really looked a little stuffy and uneasy, maybe nervous... some just didn't look relaxed.  And I remember feeling bad, I felt really sympathetic for a couple people that caught my eye... In a dream world, I would've wanted to go over and pull them aside and ask if they were ok, even though they weren't crying or looked upset... they just didn't look at ease.... I don't know why it got my attention... or why I'm writing about it.
Then it got me thinking some more... I've recently encountered some people who represent nearly everything I'm anti... They're a little selfish, they kinda bully people around, they're not very honest... just greedy in multiple kid of way typeasshole.  And on one hand I always think "man, I'd love to break down their silly little wall that makes them act like this and bring back into our world..." I often, genuinely feel bad for them.  But the part that felt mucky about it all, was that I'm so anti them and usually around people that are so anti them, it shook me that those types of people are still alive.  I thought, "Jeez, I forgot this breed still existed... I thought they were extinct."  Or at least evolved, right?  I mean, who's trying to stay the same or even go backwards.  
I remember I had this friend when I was young and we were around 18 or so and for some reason, he'd rant about politics, but had no clue what he was saying or why... I mean, he was 18!  But he'd repeat the crap his father would say and just go on and on and from the last time we spoke, he was still doing it.  Still had those views, still regurgitated things he'd heard and still a big mouth.  I remember thinking "Holy crap, this guy has wasted so much time staying the same guy he was at 18."
What is it that forces people into their "character?"   Into their role?  
I feel bad for people who move their ego into some protective state where they treat people like lesser humans to make themselves feel better... 
and I feel bad for people who hide their shine.