I am so going to kick your arse

I was talking with a coach tonight. I do talk with other coaches and anyone that knows me know that I love to talk about training so I can sucked in to helping out a lot of people and I get sucked in happily. I think I could actually say that I have never not helped anyone that asked for help with their training ever. Tonight though I was basically getting my help thrown back in my face…that I can deal with as well…I always say to my athletes and I’ve said it to coaches as well…’If someone can’t explain and tell you why you are doing something training wise. If they can’t do it convincingly and in words that anyone could understand…then they’re full of shit.’ …and that’s a direct quote from me because I say it all the time and I say it just like that…it is one of my stock phrases…not as popular as ‘If you’re not assessing you’re guessing.’…which I say at least twice a day…to the extent that many people who work with me take the piss out of me constantly about it. The thing is…the reason that I say both these phrases all the time over and over again is because it’s true.

Now let me tell you the ‘gist’ of this coaches argument and I’ll give you a little background first…and I’ll do it briefly even though I want to ramble on about it endlessly. Now all the things I am going to mention…like my trusty phrase collection…people have heard before…but like my phrase collection…I think that these things are relevant because in my opinion they are generally true.  I think I’m going to bullet point this…I’ll pretend I’m Dr House for a minute and we’ll see if we can find a solution to the illness this coach is suffering:

  • Most coaches work alone. They have to coach both the technical and physiological elements of their athletes and teams.
  • Most coaches suffer from proximity bias. They are comfortable in their surroundings. They do what they’ve always done. They coach how they were always coached.
  • Most coaches aren’t comfortable with new ideas or ways of doing things. Even though to a man and woman…they always say they are. It isn’t true…when a coach says that to you…trust me…they are lying to you and lying to themselves.

As an aside…athletes are like this as well…and so are you…whoever you are reading this. People in general are just full of shit and never more so in my experience than when it comes to training. People say that they want to try something new…what they really mean is that they want to try something that is like what they’ve been doing but differnet enough that it feels like it is something new. If you want to see this in action go to ANY training forum ANYWHERE…it doesn’t matter where it is…go and read ANY post started by ANYONE who is asking for training advice and you will see exactly the same thing…they ask for advice about a program they are going to do…the program will be idiotic…they’ll be told as much…they’ll argue about it for a couple of days with everyone and then just go and do what they were going to do anyway…people don’t want advice…they don’t want help…they don’t want information [about what to do], they want affirmation [that what they’ve already decided to do is ok]. They want to be told that they are correct or brilliant or cutting edge or whatever. This happens everywhere…the only advice and help they will accept is advice and help that is just a ‘tweaking’ or ‘modification’ of what they’ve expressed.

I’ve had 18 and 20 year old players tell me how they should train. I’ve had them tell me the best way to train. It is bad enough older more experienced players doing it and making themselves look like idiots…but 20 year olds…give me a break. I’m sorry if you guys and gals are reading this but you’re morons. I’ve had players come to me for help…waste my time talking to me and waste my time getting me to write them programs…when I say waste my time maybe I’m being a little harsh…1. Because I get paid for it and 2. Because I do still enjoy it. They do the programs get results and within a 2 or 3 months are back doing the same stupid crap training wise they were doing before hand. It happens constantly

This is what coaches do as well…they lose championships every year. So they ask for help. They want to do something new. So you give them something new you give them something different. I’ve had coaches do what I’ve suggested…do something new…something different…they’ve done it for a month or two…they’ve seen that performances have improved…that their athletes are getting better and they still ditch the program. They still say thanks but no thanks and the reason that they do so is because when they said they wanted something different…they lied…they wanted something just a little different but something they could recognise as being just like what they’ve always done. But anyway…where was I…oh that’s right…

  • Most coaches that have a bad season come back the next year and do exactly the same thing they did the year before…but they think this time it’ll work…as long as they put a little more effort into it…or just try a little harder.

Like I said…I could go on and on about this.

This particular coach has done all the courses and got all the coaching accreditation’s for the sport they are involved in…they played at pretty much the highest level in their sport. The problem is…I just paused then…after I wrote…The problem is…because there are heaps of problems but I can only make one blog post at a time…so let me rephrase that…one of the problems is that all these course and all the certifications are rubbish…I’ll short hand this again even though I would and will ramble on about it…but essentially all these training course and certifications training modules are built on a template built for athletics and athletics involves peaking for competitions on defined annual cycles. The strength training information is built on data gathered in endless ‘one off’ semester long studies of untrained college males. Now field sports in general couldn’t be more different to athletics if it tried…and doing strength training with athletes that have been weight training for up to 8-10 years for an entire season couldn’t possibly be much more different than to training untrained college males for 8-10 weeks.  So right from the get go this coach who’s confidence is boosted by the feeling that he has all the information he needs tucked away is not on the solid ground that he thinks.

So anyway to our little discussion this evening…a month or so ago he asked for advice…I gave him more than that…I gave him a training outline…essentially the what I am going to put up on the blog over the coming weeks…based on what I think are the ‘actual’ training needs of the athletes involved in the sport. I spoke to him tonight and basically he told me that he had decided to go with something else…he was doing distance running at the moment and intended to go from high volume and low intensity to low volume high intensity work closer to championship. I was almost shaking with anger (I have anger management issues…as many people know…so it doesn’t take much) then he mentioned Selye’s ‘general adaptation syndrome’ and I could barely contain myself…I did though because I wanted to hear all the gory details…I wanted to know everything so I just shut my mouth and listened as he broke down all the training phases…his aerobic base phase and blah blah blah…any of you that work in the area or who read in the area know the rest…he basically outline a model of traditional linear periodisation…now I won’t go into too much more detail and I’ll get to my point.

He was telling me how great todays session was…how he had them running doing laps in a pretty famous nature area here in Dublin…it is a good area for training…some hills and flat sections…he had them run about 20km…he was proud of the fact that some of them spewed…that they were exhausted…that some of them couldn’t make it and collapsed…he thought this was a brilliant training session and that the ‘aerobic base’ they were developing would really make all the difference…this coach is an idiot…and I know he’s going to be reading this so just to make things clear YOU ARE AN IDIOT just like I told you on the phone.

This coach is making what is one of the most common mistakes in coaching for field sports. I’m talking about Gaelic football, rugby, basketball, football whatever I know it happens in most sports..including MMA…and that is the focus that is put on endurance training. I can’t understand how people can have so little understanding of the physical requirements of the sports in which they are involved. The object of training is not to make people vomit, it is not to make people exhausted. The object and measure of a good session is not how tired you can make someone…that is easy…any idiot can do that…as this coach clearly demonstrated. These players who did this session have training tomorrow night…more of the same I am told. Then weights on Tuesday and Thursday and more running on Wednesday and Friday and are then doing the same run on Sunday again. This coach has assured me that no team is going to train harder than them this season…which is true I’m sure. The problem is 1. He is barely going to have a team let alone a squad by the time the championship comes around because he won’t have any athletes left…the ones he does have left I’m sure will make fantastic cross country runners but they sure as hell won’t be any good at the sport they were supposedly training for. As I’ve said over and over again here the best way to prepare for your sport is to compete and the best way to ensure that you are available to compete is to not be injured. What this coach is going to do is to maximise injuries in the best way possible and I mean getting injured not preventing them. If you want to ensure that you get injured do some repetitively and make sure you do it when you are physically not prepared for it…that’s what these athletes are doing. 2. Getting any improvement in performance as a result of training is directly related to an athletes ability to recover from that training. I should really put this in bold…if the training is too hard or too much the athlete will actually get slower, weaker and their overall performance will decline.

What I had outlined to him was an extension of the points I made in the Conditioning Work post that a couple of the lads here were commenting on which essentially boils down to doing work at the highest intensity possible for as long as you can possibly maintain it then rest as long as you need to so that you can do it again…over time you’ll be able to do what you need to be able to do harder and for longer and be able to do it again with less rest…that sounds like exactly what you’d want to be able to do ‘fitness wise’ in just about every field sport I’ve ever been involved with…but what would I know?

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39 thoughts on “I am so going to kick your arse

  1. Im not sure exactly what youre getting at but Im sure I don’t like it I have a very particular writing style that Im comfortable with and you can either like it or lump it of all people you should know that the best way to get me to do something is to do just about everything other than mention it

  2. You write the way that you talk. Which is more or less incomprehensibly.

    At least you can’t shout into the screen on the blog. Well, you could and probably do but we don’t have to lose every third word to static because your microphone is feeding back.

    Lyle

  3. Lyle,
    That’s pretty harsh…harsh but fair.

    Funny you should mention shouting into the blog…I’ve been thinking about organising some ‘coaching calls’ not in the near future but at some stage. I thought it would be cool to interview some athletes and some coaches and give people an opportunity to ask them questions as well…it is on the ‘To Do List’ to look into. Then to be able to post them up on the blog so people who can’t make the call can listen in after if they are interested. I’ve been thinking about it since whenever the last ‘Heffernan hasn’t ever coached anyone’ discussions. It’ll get done eventually.

  4. BTW, the proper phrasing of

    “what the they want is validation.”

    Is the following

    “People don’t want information [about what to do], they want affirmation [that what they’ve already decided to do is ok].”

    Mine has a better flow to it. A pseudo rhyme/alliteration effect.

    You can add it to your stock phrase list.

  5. I was just looking through the blog and found about a dozen blog posts that I ‘thought’ I’d made that I hadn’t…so I am going to go back and finish those as well and get those out there as well.

  6. I don’t know why you’ve danced around this, there’s only two sports doing pre- season right now! I agree entirely by the way. Most people “teach as taught” and the default training plan is “What the others do plus ten percent”.

  7. Is this right …

    STRENGTH
    Work on strength until you hit the ‘balanced sweet spot’ (approx. 2xbw deadlifts, 1.5xbw bench, 12 pullups, 50+ pushups/min & 30+ inverted rows/min.)

    Then work on power.

    CONDITIONING
    Work on high intensity bursts … gradually increasing the length of the burst and/or decreasing the rest periods.

    If that’s right I’ve got two questions …

    1. DO you have exercises and measurements you use to gauge power (like you do with strength).

    2. With the repetitive burst training … do you eventually gear that towards the actual times involved in the sport (ie. If Muay Thai has 5 x 3min rounds with 2 min rest … do you gear the burst training to eventually imitate the actual event … if so, how?

    🙂

  8. Im adding lyle’s quote to the phrase bank…

    I feel your rage Will, having spent most of my time around the oly Taekwondo set i meet so many coaches who’s idea set is so rigid that when talking to them i die a little inside and the master worship that goes in traditional MA circles means they’re not used to being questioned or introduced to new ideas at all. These coaches continue to enforce the sloppy conditioning practices that their coaches (although they probably did’nt know better) had them doing and thus the insular cycle continues. “The aerobic base” and “weights make you bulky and slow” pearls of wisdom i hear very regularly.

  9. Here’s the way I’ve long looked at it, it’s just a matter of reframing thing. Yeah, it’s annoying as hell to watch other coaches do things that are 30 years out of date.

    But…I figure it just makes my job that much easier. If I prepped a bodybuilder, I loved it that everyone else was doing things badly; made it easier for me to get better results.

    That is, if Will’s competition are training their athletes like idiots, his job is made that much easier b/c his guys can go kick that much more ass.

    Of course, it’s frustrating to see good athletes subjected to idiot coaching but there’s only so much you can do about that.

    Lyle

  10. Barry,
    Do you think I should have been more specific? Do you not think the individual I am talking about will be able to work out it was them I was referring to?

    Kira,
    I can give you some quick answers but the topic you’ve raised is one that I plan on dealing with in detail.

    1. Yes, I do think you need a balanced stength and muscular endurance base no matter what sport you are involved with.

    2. Yes, strength first and all the other really cool athletic qualities that actually make you great after that…power is just one of those.

    3. Regarding measuring power…I’ve messed around with all sorts of gadgets tendos, accelerometers and the like…that first 30 seconds on the rower gives me a pretty good idea of ‘general’ power…the type of power with a force, distance and time component.

    4. With regard to interval timing…no I don’t…not specifically. Again it is a big topic and I would like to give you some proper answers rather than off the cuff because what you are looking for is some specific answers regarding training for Muay Thai and more specifically I think you wnat answers applicable to yourself…and to give you those…then we really need to talk and look at specifics…which I am happy to do.

    Will & Lyle,
    I know it is pretty universal. It was just annoying me more yesterday than it usually does.

  11. Ah yes, i really thought that running 20km would be great for basketball !!! So with all these 20km runs and lifting of heavy stuff when do these athletes play the sport in question ???

  12. Obviously you and Lyle would know a lot more coaches than me … so I’m interested … what percentage of coaches do you think still use an ‘aerobic-base first’ approach?

    And Lyle suggested some coaches are still using training techniques that are 30 years out of date. How ‘out of date’ is the ‘aerobic-base first’ approach?

  13. Yeah but why not just tell US football or hurling? We’re your public and we demand answers.

    I think I’m getting my head around what Will’s idea is for fighting Kira and it’s pretty much as he said in the “conditioning” post. I’m sure you’ve been coached to “do your roadwork” so if you’re like me you’ve been up at 5am before work getting some miles on the clock nice and slow a few times a week. I haven’t had a fighter run in any serious way in 3 years except for some who needed to burn some calories and judging by your blog I’d say you’re the same. The worst kind of guy I get in the gym is the ex-boxer or thaiboxer who just can’t drop the idea of not doing the road. It’s like pissing in the wind. The worst thing is that you get them around to your way of training, then you wonder why they’re arriving in for skills training absolutely wrecked and you discover they’re doing the roadwork anyway on top of all you have them doing.

    Don’t get me wrong I’ve done my fair share of bad practice training, but I like to think I’m big enough to look back and say I was wrong. In fact I’m sure I’m doing something wrong right now with my current crop I’m just waiting to find out what it is from Will at the seminar.

  14. Damian said
    January 26, 2009 at 9:36 PM
    Ah yes, i really thought that running 20km would be great for basketball !!! So with all these 20km runs and lifting of heavy stuff when do these athletes play the sport in question ???

    20k runs and weightlifting sounds alot like crossfit

  15. Damian,
    That’s what I have planned for you now you are home…20km every morning.

    Kira,
    It still seems fairly common. For me it’s about balance. I still think aerobic work has a role to play and it’s something I would still prescribe in training…like most elements of training it’s a dose issue.

    Barry,
    With regard to what sport it is…I’ll take the secret to the grave.

    With regard to bringing people back from the dark side I generally just make my point and let people make up their own mind…you can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves.

    With regard to making mistakes…I’ve made way more than my fair share…making mistakes as a coach is par for the course. It’s continuing to make the same mistakes and not learning from them that’s retarded.

  16. Hey Barry,

    Yeh, I know what you mean about the whole running fetish amongst boxers and Thai boxers … I’m like you and stopped it a few years back.

    That being said, you wouldn’t find ANY Muay Thai champion who didn’t run 10km to 20km a day, six days a week! In Muay Thai, I think there needs to be an example of a dominant champion who doesn’t do the greyhound thing before there’s a chance of the old approach being abandoned.

    I can’t help thinking how much better they’d be if they just dropped that aspect out of their training all together. Talk about opportunity cost! Dropping a hundred km a week would have to open up the training schedule a bit!

    Cheers

  17. Kira,
    Stop by passing me and talking directly to Barry. I want everything to go through me as I am the centre of the universe.

    With the whole running thing. I understand why that do it and I understand why they think they need to do it. I’ve no problem with Barry doing it just like I’ve no problem with him going swimming. I don’t have any problem with him going cycling or playing golf everyday. The thing is that none of these make him a better fighter. These guys are going do what they are going to do…do you know any of these guys do this that actually go out and run a hard I mean really hard 10-20km a day? I don’t…I’ve trained with lots of fighters and even I’ve ran with some of them and if I can do it…then the metabolic cost of the work being done isn’t to high.

    If you’re a Pro athlete/fighter and you’ve got nothing but time on your hands the go for a run or ride or swim or go play golf or tennis for all I care but don’t think for a second that one of those is contributing more than any of the others to you as a fighter. Most importantly just don’t injure yourself and don’t wear yourself out and most importantly don’t let it effect your ACTUAL training.

  18. LOL … I keep forgetting that coaches really do think the world revolves around them 🙂

    As far as the running goes … When I was in Thailand I couldn’t believe how slowly some of the fighters ran! I’d never ran that slowly in my life (and I’m no runner!)

    But the point is they see that as an integral part of their training … if they’re not running daily … they’re not training properly. That’s the way it’s always been done, that’s the way all the champs do it, so that’s the way everybody does it. And they’re totally convinced it improves there stamina in the ring. For some of the fighters I’ve met it’s almost verging on OCD.

    All this talking about running has got me restless … I might go for a run down the gorge 🙂

  19. Given that the aerobic engine determines a lot about how the body handles lactate and anaerobic processes, there is probably something to the old school. The distance work also keeps bodyweight down. If all you do is interval work, you will gas earlier since you will start to use too much anaerobic pathways; as well, recovery between rounds is aerobic so the size of that engine will improve repeatability for multiple rounds. You also need the general fitness/base/work capacity to handle the other training.

    As well, ALL training can’t be specific despite the internet’s belief that a MMA guy or boxer should not only spar with the specific work:rest ratio but also do intervals that match that in addition to every other aspect of their training being specific. An athlete training 20 hours/week can’t do it all at high intensity or all with specific work. So some of it may look a lot like ‘fluff work’ such as distance running.

  20. Lyle said
    Given that the aerobic engine determines a lot about how the body handles lactate and anaerobic processes, there is probably something to the old school.
    Absolutely. Like I said…I don’t have a problem with running or aerobic work…the issue is prioritising your time and effort. If you have the time and inclination to run and your are free from injury then feel free to go all Forrest Gump especially if you are able to do so without impacting upon the other elements of your training.

    The distance work also keeps bodyweight down.
    It’s worked wonders for me…if it wasn’t for running I wouldn’t be a svelte as I am.

    If all you do is interval work, you will gas earlier since you will start to use too much anaerobic pathways; as well, recovery between rounds is aerobic so the size of that engine will improve repeatability for multiple rounds.
    The thing is that I use a wide variety of intervals. I might prescribed pace or a heart rate range. If you are doing 1km intervals on the rower with 20, 40, 60 second recoveries at 2:00, 1:50 and 1:40 pace for 3 sets as one of the lads did today you are definitely working aerobically. I just find intervals give me better control of the training effect that I’m after. Some of are training blocks are 4:30 long with a 30 second turn around then a minute between the 2nd and 3rd effort. Then 2:30 after the 4th before we go again…that’s aerobic work. I just wanted to make it clear that when I say intervals all I’m talking about are timed work periods.

    You also need the general fitness/base/work capacity to handle the other training.
    I agree. I think that can be developed in ways other than just pounding the pavement though.

    As well, ALL training can’t be specific despite the internet’s belief that a MMA guy or boxer should not only spar with the specific work:rest ratio but also do intervals that match that in addition to every other aspect of their training being specific.
    I hate the stupid internet. I’m all about balance…all about finding the middle ground…most of all I’m all about finding out exactly what works for an individual athlete and doing that.

    An athlete training 20 hours/week can’t do it all at high intensity or all with specific work. So some of it may look a lot like ‘fluff work’ such as distance running.
    That was what I was getting at. Some need more ‘fluff’ than others. No point doing ‘fluff work’ to the detriment of your ‘actual’ training though.

  21. I was going try and plagirise the below to make myself look intelligent, but the reference is below. It’s a good abstract on a review of fatige/ lactic acid accumulation and indicates indirectly the benefits of high intensity work in all athletes- even those more endurance based:

    The development of acidosis during intense exercise has traditionally been explained by the increased production of lactic acid, causing the release of a proton and the formation of the acid salt sodium lactate. On the basis of this explanation, if the rate of lactate production is high enough, the cellular proton buffering capacity can be exceeded, resulting in a decrease in cellular pH. These biochemical events have been termed lactic acidosis. The lactic acidosis of exercise has been a classic explanation of the biochemistry of acidosis for more than 80 years. This belief has led to the interpretation that lactate production causes acidosis and, in turn, that increased lactate production is one of the several causes of muscle fatigue during intense exercise. This review presents clear evidence that there is no biochemical support for lactate production causing acidosis. Lactate production retards, not causes, acidosis. Similarly, there is a wealth of research evidence to show that acidosis is caused by reactions other than lactate production. Every time ATP is broken down to ADP and P(i), a proton is released. When the ATP demand of muscle contraction is met by mitochondrial respiration, there is no proton accumulation in the cell, as protons are used by the mitochondria for oxidative phosphorylation and to maintain the proton gradient in the intermembranous space. It is only when the exercise intensity increases beyond steady state that there is a need for greater reliance on ATP regeneration from glycolysis and the phosphagen system. The ATP that is supplied from these nonmitochondrial sources and is eventually used to fuel muscle contraction increases proton release and causes the acidosis of intense exercise. Lactate production increases under these cellular conditions to prevent pyruvate accumulation and supply the NAD(+) needed for phase 2 of glycolysis. Thus increased lactate production coincides with cellular acidosis and remains a good indirect marker for cell metabolic conditions that induce metabolic acidosis. If muscle did not produce lactate, acidosis and muscle fatigue would occur more quickly and exercise performance would be severely impaired.Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Sep;287(3):R502-16.

  22. Holy shit…the blog just went high brow…you do realise that this isn’t Lyle’s blog don’t you? You obviously must also understand that everyone here that can actually read that and understand that already knows that and the poor bastards that didn’t already know this can only understand every second word in that abstract and therefore can’t understand what the hell you just posted.

    I might have to create a special nerds section for you and Lyle…and I have a feeling Will Wayland has a touch of the nerd about him as well…and Mimo will want to hang out there as well.

  23. Luckily, I’m here to drag down the IQ average on this topic. I heard the word mitichondria, and I just thought I’d point out that’s how The Force works, according to Liam Neeson anyway.

    Kira,
    Oh no sorry, Will? Can you tell Kira this?
    I think in terms of how things go when dealing with certain sticky athletes, you have to do a certain amount of work to keep them onside and on your programme. To someone who wants to work hard it’s sometimes beneficial to have them do what they think is going to make them fitter. I had a guy in the last training camp we ran complain about how it wasn’t hard enough, so I gave him some extra cardio to do just to have him breathing hard, to keep him happy and also to stop him disrupting the other lads and getting them thinking they’re not working hard enough.

    In terms of “fluffy” work, surely that time would be better spent engaged in the activity rather than on a high impact run? I have to say I don’t really worry about an aerobic base in a fihter as long as his sparring is of a high enough pace.

  24. Barry said
    Luckily, I’m here to drag down the IQ average on this topic.
    I try to set the bar pretty low.

    I heard the word mitichondria, and I just thought I’d point out that’s how The Force works, according to Liam Neeson anyway.
    That joke actually grew on me.

    Kira,
    Oh no sorry, Will? Can you tell Kira this?
    No one likes a smart arse…which is why no one really reads this blog except wasters and malcontents.

    I think in terms of how things go when dealing with certain sticky athletes, you have to do a certain amount of work to keep them onside and on your programme. To someone who wants to work hard it’s sometimes beneficial to have them do what they think is going to make them fitter. I had a guy in the last training camp we ran complain about how it wasn’t hard enough, so I gave him some extra cardio to do just to have him breathing hard, to keep him happy and also to stop him disrupting the other lads and getting them thinking they’re not working hard enough.
    That’s the opposite of what I do with you…give you really easy stuff to do so your heart doesn’t explode out of your chest and so you don’t realise how un fit you actually are.

    In terms of “fluffy” work, surely that time would be better spent engaged in the activity rather than on a high impact run? I have to say I don’t really worry about an aerobic base in a fihter as long as his sparring is of a high enough pace.
    You know deep down you love to run…to feel the wind blowing through your hair.

    Ian Mellis said
    Just providing “afirmation” to your “information” as Lyle would say!
    Whenever anyone quotes Lyle I always get the feeling that they are going to start bullshitting me soon after or have been previously.

  25. Ian: the paper of the abstract you posted doesn’t really say what you’re saying it says. Nobody is denying the need for high intensity activity to improve acid tolerance. However, there’s lot of data showing that mitochondrial function improves acid tolerance as well.

    Mitochondria turn out to have lactate transporters and the better the aerobic capacity, the better the ability to buffer acid increases. As well, the more power you can generate aerobically, the less you have to generate anaerobically. Folks with a higher aerobic engine generate acid to a lesser degree. Performance increases.

    As well, the adaptations to high intensity intervals don’t take long to more or less maximize; several studies in cyclists show that you get most of the benefits you’re going to get after 6 workouts over about a 3 week span. So, ignoring the internet’s current fascination with intervals, what should the athlete do the other 49 weeks out of the year?

    And Will, no disagreement that there are plenty of non-running ways to improve work capacity (which I think is a better terminology than ‘base’ training). But running is easy, accessible, most can do it and traditional. Only some of which are good reasons for athletes to do so much of it.

  26. Yes,I agree Lyle you probably have a greater understanding of the subject area from the research base. It doesn’t mean that everything is an interval- it’s just that training interventions need to be needs led- a marathon runner wouldn’t just do intervals or high intensity tempo runs. The paper merely highlights that fatigue is caused by acidosis, not lactate, so it makes sense to train at intensities to develop these conditions and also that this too may be relevant for endurance based athletes to cycle in to their training improving their ability to maintain higher intensities of work.

  27. Sure, and I daresay that all endurance athletes do some form of high intensity work at specific parts of the season. But it’s not done in excessive amounts and it’s not done for extended periods. As I mentioned, 3 weeks or so gets you about the maximum adaptations you’re going to get

    Even the Tabata study that everyone has such a hardon for showed the grand majority of adaptations in the first 3 weeks with stunningly reduced improvements over the second 3 weeks. This is true of most high intensity activities (including a lot of low rep ‘neural’ strength training) the adaptations come quickly. But they also leave quickly.

    So what you see in practice among endurance athletes (and don’t get me wrong, there is massive variance in this) is a lot of ‘endurance’ work, aimed at building the aerobic engine followed by peaking work when it’s time (or at least used sporadically throughout the year to maintian the top end). Again this depends on the nature of the specific sport, the event being trained for (e.g. cycling crit vs. stage race vs. time trial specialist) but that’s the general approach among most endurance sports.

    For example, one survey of endurance runners found that something like 75% or so of their work was well below lactate threshold, might have been more than that. Another 10-15% was around lactate threshold an the rest was at the high end. So you see the majority of work at low to moderate intensities and the rest high intensity.

    Even in a lot of strength sports, a majority of the volume is low intensity. Even WSBB which is known for maxing out year round does most of it’s volume at intensities in the 60-80% range. Add up the reps for a week or month of their training and yo’ull see that’s the case. Speed work at 60% (8-10X2-3 = 16-30 reps), ME work (mabye 3 singles at each of two ME workouts = 6 reps) and the rest is 75-80% for hypetrophy and assistance work. Only like 10% is above 90%.

    Same with Sheiko. Same with a lot of systems.

    Yet somehow folks seem intent on reversing this ratio for other sports, trying to make the majority of it high intensity.

    That was my only point, if I had one.

    Lyle

  28. First up,

    Simple point … In Thailand the average pro trains 6 to 8 hours a day, six days a week … one to two hours of that is jogging. I’m was NOT saying they should spend that time doing interval work. I WAS saying there’s gotta be more productive ways of using this time … whether that’s low intensity technical work, extra prehap/rehap work (they’re always injured), or just taking the time off and having an ‘active life’ outside of camp (ie having the energy to go swimming or play frisbee down at the beach etc).

    If people on this board are trying to tell me that adding a hundred km of jogging to a Thai fighter’s weekly training load is beneficial, for whatever reason, I think you’re full of shit 🙂

    Secondly … You coaches piss me off with your approach to athletes … Fluff training? Placebo training? Honestly, you treat athletes like little children and you’re afraid to tell them Santa isn’t real. How about being honest and telling them that their desire to do extra training won’t lead to greater improvements, that it’s all in their heads, and it’s probably better for them to seek gains using intelligent training methods rather than feeding their warped psychology?

    And finally,

    If you’re going to bust out research, how about making it relevant … until you know how to increase the cellular midi-chlorian percentages I think it’s best to leave that sort of stuff for Lyle’s blog 🙂

    … just my 2 cents

    🙂

  29. Kira, if you, all of a sudden, change everything or a big portion of the work they have been doing for years, you may end up shooting yourself on the foot.
    If anything goes wrong,you’ll be the one to blame because they were getting results, until you changed the plan.

    It’s risky, so it’s easier to go slow and change their training enphasis, bit by bit

  30. Kira

    When idealism and reality meet, it is never pretty. The only real idealists are the ones who haven’t ever actually dealt with a real person in the gym. It’s lovely as hell to say that they should do this or should do that. Now try it in the real world. Doesn’t work. Because good advice not followed is still bad advice.

    As Mimo said, sometimes you have to do a bit of pandering to what athletes want to hear or they will just go off and leave you comlpetely. As long as it’s not explicitly harmful, that’s ok if it keeps the athlete invested in their training.

    And stop being silly, nobody is saying add 100km to a Thai boxer’s regime. That’s just a stupid strawman argument but you took it down nicely, congratulations.

    But it’s just as stupid to go from one extreme to the other which is what’s happened in so many sports. People figure that if some intensity is good more is better, that if some specificity is good, more is better. And that’s just as damaging as the other extreme.

    The simple physiological fact is that anything longer than a couple of minutes has a large aerobic component. Which needs to be trained. Hence road work or aerobic work of some sort (again, it doesn’t have to be running but running is something that everyone can do, is accessible, doesn’t require special equipment, etc).

    Do some take it to excesses? Sure. That doesn’t mean that you should throw out the baby with the bathwater and cut it out entirely (which is purely a retarded internet meme apparently).

    Lyle

  31. Firstly, this topic has been one of the most interesting I’ve read in at least…oh…. 3 hours 😀 Seriously though it’s all good stuff.

    Secondly, your opinions please. Let’s assume we can all agree that a degree of an aerobic base is required, how much of that would an athlete get from just game play in training? Obviously training would have to be kept to a sufficient tempo but in the case of say, soccer, would it not be best to have an additional 90 minute practise game each week rather than a 90 minute run? Would it be enough or are you guys looking for a steady state?

    Kira,
    It’s not nice to hear but handling guys with big egos who think they know more than you is like dealing with children :D. In the case of one lad I’ve had a few years now if he doesn’t get his balls to the wall session in every night he’s not happy. If he’s not happy it comes out in sparring. If it comes out in sparring all of his sessions are low quality. So I give him things to do just to keep him happy.

  32. Lyle …

    Okay, we’ve just gotta stop meeting like this! Honestly, is that an argument in your pants or are you just glad to see me?

    Now, down to business …

    First up, you do know what hyperbole is, don’t you? I did put a big smiley face at the end of my comments to try and make that clear!

    And incidentally, I had mentioned the practice of champs in Thailand doing 100km running a week, before you graced us with your ‘there’s something to the old school way of training’ comment … so I was hardly creating a straw man just to win an argument … your confusing me with an academic.

    And of course there’s something to ‘old school’ training. It is working, afterall (which was actually the point I’d made in the first place!) … the issue Barry and I were talking about was the sheer volume used and the ‘near religious’ dogma surrounding long slow running in the fight scene.

    So, whilst I’d like to accept your praise for creating and winning a superfluous argument, I think it’d be unmerited … You, on the other hand, should consider using your much vaunted research skills and learn how to read a comment in context 🙂 (the smiley face means I’m being facetious) (the comments in brackets also me I’m being facetious)

    Now concerning your point regarding the need for coaches to sometimes give stupid athletes placebo training … Obviously you do what you’ve gotta do to get results … I DO understand that … But I’ve got another agenda that makes me pretty sensitive about this kind of thing (and I’m sorry if I upset you or any other coach by my comments—particularly Barry.)

    I’ve been working towards eventually moving to Thailand and opening up a small training camp. In Thailand many fighters start their professional careers as young as eight or nine. There family eats if they win and starves if they don’t. On top of that, the gym owners make these kids follow the same kind of workout programs the champs use. I hope to train kids using a way more efficient training system, give them some resemblance of what we’d call a childhood, and teach them to read to hopefully give them some options outside of the ring when they grow up.

    I think the training programs that are used by the adult pros in Thailand are too long, inefficient and counter-productive. But when children are put through the same kinds of sessions I consider it a form of child abuse. And as I said, until a generation of champs comes along who use safer and more efficient training routines, there’s little hope for change amongst the muay thai culture in general.

    At any rate, that’s why I get annoyed. I just want clear, concise, quality information out in the public domain … And giving athletes fluff exercise only muddies the waters. If that’s me being a naive idealist … then I’m happy to keep being that!

    Gotta go …

    Cheers!

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