Friday, July 2, 2010

A couple thoughts and a REAL issue

1. Where's the recovery? Training sessions and options that coaches are advising are getting interesting. Now I am all for maximizing time in a workout, but it seems like the lego approach is getting crazy. Jumping from a work set of squats to some ankle mobility, to some activation, to some upper body exercise, all the while trying to focus on better breathing. Too many things to think about. I don't know if there is enough cognitive real estate for an athlete to be able to multi-task that much... where is the recovery between sets. How much can you cram into a training session, while still becoming amazingly good at a few things... recovery (as in standing around doing nothing) can be a good thing and isn't always time wasted (it's also a good time to coach as I'll discuss in the next point). Sometimes to get strong and powerful requires time to regroup and focus on the next set.

2. An athlete's perspective. Coach Sean Skahan had a good post similar to this idea a while back; "Lead By Example". To build on what Sean was saying, do coaches know what it's like to be in the athletes position not only from the physical work being done, but also having a coach calling out cues and corrections in a non-stop, relentless manner? I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to have the roles reversed a number of years ago, when I partook in a workout with a good friend who I had been training. He started calling me out with the same cues and corrections I had used with him, and I realized how damn annoying I had been. I wanted to say "shut the f***-up!" From this point forward I worked to say what needed to be said and then shut the hell up. Coach, but also let the athlete work and move; often they are trying to make the motor connections, it's just that sometimes these things need practice and time, not a nagging parent. (Sorry about the photo ladies. I do love you, but this photo is just too funny)
3. I'm all for science but when it becomes the only way to see the world we get problems. Science has given us another perspective, but that's what it is... just another perspective. The problems arise from folks having their heads shoved way too far up their microscopes ass; having a narrow scientific view of things. This is unfortunately too often the case as in a recent Newsweek issue covering "The Science of Healthy Living". Thankfully we have people like Frank Forencich shedding some hopeful light on a very dark and sorry subject in our culture; "Where's my habitat?" But even Frank and many others can take their message into the scientific realm and do battle, as science is starting to add real evidence to what, for many, at one time seemed irrational views of the world. Many still deny the evidence... to quote Frank in his rebuttal to Newsweek:

"This is not some sort of mystical, hippie-quantum physiology. This is a real cause-and-effect process that is backed up by hard-ass, evidence-based research. Mind, body, land and health are intimately connected. You can pretend that mind is separate from body or that body is separate from habitat, but if you do, you’ll perpetuate a dangerous falsehood that is profoundly health-negative."
What we have is a REAL problem in our society, particularly with our culture. I often get caught-up in addressing and debating training issues as they relate to athletes (being a strength and conditioning coach), but the more relevant problem is the collective health of Americans. With the Fourth of July only a few days away, why not celebrate this holiday weekend enjoying family and friends, real food, nature, and lots of movement. At the very least, instead of getting in your own personal workout, skip it and take a friend or your family outside for some movement. A simple walk would even suffice... we'll all be better off for it.



Mark Young said...


Generally speaking, I tend to allocate the greatest amount of time in my workouts to the priority of the client.

With true beginners I'll let them rest during rests and coach during this time as needed.

As the beginner becomes more conditioned and needs less coaching I'll add extra mobility/activation work during rests if these are the most needed elements at that time.

If speed of workout is important (i.e., busy people) I may pair upper or lower instead.

If strength/performance is the critical factor I'll allow longer rests with no activity.

The key, I think, is knowing when to do what. That is my 2 cents anyway.

Jeff Cubos said...

Great post as its quite rare to see critical thinking integrated into dialogue these days. Many posts are simply regurgitations from textbooks.

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Thanks for the kind words Jeff. Very much appreciated.