Friday, January 22, 2016

An Ideal Workout Scheme

I've got some significant advantages this year. I'm self-employed, at a gym. So I can set my own schedule, which means I get a full night's sleep every night, and I'm at the gym almost every day. As such I can set myself up with an ideal workout program.

Odds are that none of my readers can implement a program like this. That's fine. By explaining what ideal is we can look at it as a thought experiment and also take the achievable parts and implement them where doable.

What's Ideal?


First we need to establish what ideal we are looking for since ideal is necessarily based on objectives. The plan I'm about to describe is not ideal for a marathon runner or a tennis player. The objective I wanted to work on is maximum strength as a foundation for developing sport specific characteristics. As such the plan is a modified powerlifting routine.

Powerlifting is competition in Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press. Our basic, core movements with a program geared towards the highest strength possible - that is the highest 1RM. I also wanted to include the Olympic lifts because, as a(n actual) power athlete, I need those characteristics as well. (Powerlifting is not actually maximum power, the Olympic lifts do that. And competition in the Oly lifts is called weightlifting, even though it's not actually the most weight - go figure.)

The only real omission in powerlifting is a dynamic back exercise, since the deadlift is basically isometric for the spinal erectors and upper back. There are also overhead movements missing, though the bench does work those muscles and the overhead lifts from the Oly lifts cover that reasonably well. Therefore, my plan added these components in.

The plan


The plan's outline comes from this blog post by Greg Robbins over at Eric Cressey's blog.
  • Monday - Squat High
  • Tuesday - Deadlift Low
  • Wednesday - Bench High
  • Thursday - Squat Low
  • Friday - Deadlift High
  • Saturday - Bench Low
The days are divided up by our core exercises, so that we get two days of each, which is a lot of training volume. More volume gets us technical training as well as gains in weight moved. This plan keeps the same muscle group from being used maximally two days in a row e.g. my back is relevant for the squat but not maximally like it is for the deadlift.

There are two days between each day of a core exercise, which is sufficient recovery time.

There are no two days in a row of High intensity, thereby allowing me to recover in a whole body sense and not just in a muscle specific sense.

The heavy days have a warm-up portion for the main exercise as well as the maximal lifts. These are submax and help me dial in my technique as well as utilizing post-activation potentiation. The linked article describes this component.


CategoryMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday

Squat HighDL LowBench HighSquat LowDL HighBench Mid
Warm-up

Planks1-Leg StabilityTurkish PartsPlanks
PrepBox JumpTurkish Get-upHeavy ThrowSingle Leg BoxBroad JumpYoga Push-up
OlyCleanSnatch HighLandmine SnatchClean and JerkSnatch LowLandmine Jerk
Main Warm-upSquat Warm-up
Bench Warm-up
DL Warm-upIncline Bench
MainSquat HighDeadlift LowBench HighSquat LowDeadlift HighBench Mid
AccessoryStep-up
1-arm BenchSplit Squat1-arm RowLat Pulldown

Suitcase CarryRDLWrist CircuitOH SquatSLDLPallof
Prehab
YTI - ScapulaExt. Rot.

Wrist Ext/Flex
* Squats are Front Squats - of course.

What else is going on


All of this is in addition to the regular training that I undertake. So there is the conditioning at the beginning of each of my classes, which includes some velocity-power work and more of the trunk stability components.

Plus, of course, there is all my technical training with the sword. Altogether I was getting about 12-14 hours a week of intense training. Plus the walking to and from work (a kilometer each way) and to any other place since I don't own a car. And going out dancing periodically. It's a lot.

Actually, it was too much to start with.

The down side


I overtrained. I felt like I'd done too much lifting to get technical training in as well, so my swordwork was decreasing. I recognized it fairly early and made adjustments. I removed some exercises (which is already reflected above). And I reduced the volume on others. I hit a sustainable point though. It just took some trial and error.

Applying it to your own case


Well, now how does this apply to you? Many ideas are possible. Here are a few ways:
  • First you can arrange your schedule around the core lifts instead of body parts or some such. You do Deadlift, Squat and Bench every time for a 3-day schedule but each day there is a most important, most intense lift.
  • You can run a 4-day program with Deadlift and Bench one day, and Squat and Pullup another. It's still more.
  • Perhaps this just motivates you to do a Powerlifting program for the early phases of your periodization.
  • Just put more sets in for the core lifts, at submax intensities, to get the technical training time under the bar. 
There are lots of other possibilities and I'd love to hear your thoughts, too.

Conclusion


I encourage you to put a lot of thought into what you could be doing to maximize your training. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sword Shoulder - A Response to Jess Finley

Recently my friend Jess Finley posted some video commentary about shoulder injuries in Longsword and Messer. There are some good points, and I want to flesh out some of the things you can do to prevent the common issues that she describes.

This post will make more sense if you watch the video first.

I disagree with one wording choice. A forward shoulder position is not pulling the shoulder out of it's socket.

The primary issue Jess describes is an overextension of the arm which can stress the shoulder.  She notes this in particular for women. I don't doubt the association between this problem and women. In part because she makes a good observation that the shoulder blade wings out. Given that our society discourages women from engaging in actual strength training, especially for the upper body, it is not surprising that this is more common for women.

An extreme example of scapular winging ("Wingingofscapula". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia.)

The most common cause of this is weakness of the serratus anterior muscle. The serratus anterior has it's major role in keeping the scapula pinned to the ribcage. The muscle attaches to the underside of the shoulder blade, on it's inner edge and then to the ribcage around the sides. The muscle's action is to protract the scapula i.e. slide the shoulder blade forward and also to upwardly rotate the scapula.

Secondary to this is strength of the rhomboids and middle trapezius. These muscles attach to the inner edge of the scapula and then to the spine. As such they retract the scapula, that is slide it towards the spine. Therefore they can help stabilize the scapula, but only by preventing it from moving forward also.

Our focus then needs to be on the serratus anterior development. There are two basic exercises for this:

1) Push-up plus (scapular push-up): set-up for this exercise in a push-up position. Your arms will stay locked out during the exercise and the torso needs to be kept in neutral posture. Then squeeze your shoulder blades together and then push them out. This lowers and raises your whole body (which you are keeping locked into good posture.

2) Incline presses: any kind of exercise where you are positioned on an incline bench and pressing upwards will make good use of the serratus anterior. This can be done with dumbbells, barbells and other tools. Make sure to fully extend the arm upwards to get full motion forward of the scapula. And make sure to use enough weight for strength gains - that means enough that you can only do 12 or fewer repetitions.

The rhomboids and middle trapezius will assist the serratus in stabilizing the shoulder blade and so exercising them will also be of benefit. Exercises for these can start with basic upper back exercises like rows: one-arm, barbell, cable etc. Single joint exercises like reverse flyes can be added if more is needed; but usually it is not.

Forward, Rounded Shoulders

Jess also talks about having forward, rounded shoulders, which is common with folks who work at a desk job. People who have had this for a long time may have shortened there chest muscles and so stretches may help those folks. However, it's frequently more about attention to posture and ergonomics. Additionally, strengthening the back, as I just described, will help.

Jess also makes a good point here about making sure that when you are strengthening the pecs you also need to work the back, otherwise you end up with your shoulders pulled more forward.

That's only a brief look at rounded shoulders and I'll likely get back to it in another post.

The Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff also plays a role in shoulder health and pain, but it will be covered in future posts.

Conclusion

Ultimately, a basic strength training program using intensities that actually develop strength (as opposed to the way most magazine's describe resistance training for women) will be sufficient for most people with this type of problem. The additional exercises here can accelerate the improvement or cover when a basic program is not working.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Don't Believe the Hype

I have a sense of humor. Even if it may not come across in this blog.

So enjoy: The 5 Saddest Money Grabbing Attempts by the Fitness Industry, by Cracked.

A little bit of a reply to this first

ViPR
(This video was painful to watch) Blending functional movements with strength is not hard. Picking things up is a functional movement after all.

It's So Versatile!
  1. You can use it like a line painted on the ground
  2. Like a broom stick
  3. Throw it
Sauna Suit
There are no shortcuts. Sweat is just water. Not fat.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Power Mechanics from Grip

Alright, so a friend, Maxime Chouinard, asked on Facebook about how he was taught to grip the weapon in Irish Stick. He then goes on to describe something that is standard in saber and similar to the way Medieval weapons are held.

Here's what he said:
Instead of using a hammer grip we are told to extend the thumb and mostly hold the stick firmly with the top three fingers. We tense the rest when striking. People often ask me why. And the way I understand it is that the thumb allows you to get a little bit more snap, more control and also a little bit more extension when the fingers are tensing. 
There are a variety of advantages to this method of gripping and he wanted me articulate the biomechanics of why this is so.


Control


The first, and most important, is the way in which this grip allows you to control the weapon better. This matters more with an edged weapon than the Irish stick, but this is a difference of degrees. 

The tips of your fingers are exquisitely sensitive with some of the highest nerve ending density in the body. This provides highly detailed information for adjusting edge alignment and positioning the weapon.

Further, by holding the weapon at the end of your fingers you are able to move them to move the weapon, making small changes. This improves edge alignment, it's how you make a disengage with a foyning weapon and a variety of other actions.


Power


Now we get to something that seems trickier and would generate more debate but really doesn't vary as much as people think. 

Do you hold the weapon with the first two or three fingers or the last two or three? As long as all the fingers are on the hilt all the time then it doesn't actually matter. What I would not want to see is an open hand where only the first one or two fingers are on the hilt - this is good for twirling a stick but bad for fighting.

If I have my first couple of fingers gripping the weapon firmly and the bottom two just holding on then I can squeeze those fingers as my strike approaches it's target to improve the hit. Or I can hold primarily with the bottom two fingers and squeeze the grip into the top two. It ends up being nearly the same. 

Both are described and/or depicted in the source material and the biomechanics are just about the same.

What's going on is that the forearm muscles involved in both grip and ulnar deviation/adduction are all activating at once. These are mostly the muscles on the inside of your forearm - the paler side - with some of the muscles on the other side activating as well. These are probably fairly big muscles if you train a lot. (Flexor carpi radialis and extensor carpi radialis are the most significant but the flexor digitorums are also involved).

What's termed ulnar deviation or adduction of the wrist I like to think of as wrist extension, because that's how it's used related to the movement of the rest of the arm - as I extend my arm towards the target I adduct the wrist to extend farther.

(Similarly, I think of plantarflexion of the ankle as extension - this also makes the names less stupid)

So as I extend the wrist I add rotational energy to the weapon and a small motion at the hand creates a large motion at the tip i.e. it increases the velocity significantly. Increased velocity is increased power.

This also firms up the grip at the moment of impact so that you: a) transfer power efficiently in to the target; b) don't lose the weapon just because you actually hit something; c) can cut with opposition or parry effectively.

It's important to avoid over-extending the wrist as this means you lose the advantages I just described from the stronger grip. If you let your hand hang by your side you should note that it is not quite in line with the forearm.And this is as far as you should extend the wrist. Any further and the bones don't line up right for good energy transfer.

Training -  the easiest way to train this tensing component is to strike a pell. The brain will automatically tense the wrist/forearm muscles when you work the pell with power and this will make it the default when you strike. Pell work is also one of the only training methods described in historical sources.


The Thumb

With the thumb on the back of the grip you can also add it's opposability muscles to the action of generating power. This works well for lighter weapons like saber and stick, but you need the thumb wrapped around the grip for a heavier weapon like a broadsword, rapier or Medieval sword. However, this is as much providing a solid pivot point to lever the grip as actually move it. The motion is still mostly generated by the lower finger muscles.

Seizing the Weapon


Another point that Max brings up is the vulnerability of the thumb in weapon grabbing techniques. Interestingly, the Irish Stick tradition takes basically the opposite thought on this from the way I've seen it described before.

It is easiest to seize the weapon or disarm your opponent by twisting it into the thumb side, as opposed to twisting towards the palm. Putting your thumb along the back of the grip makes it even easier to be disarmed. So if I was worried about being disarmed I'd keep my thumb wrapped around the grip like I do in Broadsword and with Medieval swords.

But the Irish Stick tradition says that getting your thumb in the way of a disarm is just going to get it injured, so holding the thumb along the back is viewed as protective and advantageous. Max said, "it allows you to let go of the stick more easily if it gets grabbed and twisted." That's an interesting difference in perspective. I wonder if it has to do with the relative safety of grabbing a stick versus a blade leading to more techniques based around disarms after grabs.


Weak Grip?

(Remember, any time you see a question mark in a headline the answer is almost always, "no" - Betteridge's Law.)

One other question that Max poses is whether or not baton instructors are right to criticize this as a weak grip. Near as I can tell the answer is no. However, it has to do with style preferences and method of use. The baton that I've seen includes a lot of stick twirling and for that action wrapping the thumb around the stick will be stronger than the back of the grip alternative.

But if you are hitting to injure then the grip used for Irish Stick is just fine.

So, if you aren't planning to twirl the stick like a baton then it shouldn't matter. Read that how you like.

Follow Up


After I posted this Max replied. And he let me know that the baton he was talking about was things like police baton not French La Canne. As to why they cling to the hammer grip he suggests the following:
I think its one of those things that got developed out of simplicity's sake (easier and quicker to teach a hammer grip to soldiers and policemen) and then repeated on an on without anyone really questioning it.
I have no trouble believing this explanation. That being said, I'll note that each approach has it's advantages and it's more important to know how to use the system to train to it's fullest rather than to compare systems.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Longpoint Exercise Selection - Phase I and II

Continuing to use our Longpoint plan as an example of program design, here is the exercise layout for the first two phases. The first post, describing the periodization scheme, can be found here.These phases are geared towards general purpose building of an athletic base. The reality is that this is the most important thing that a strength and conditioning program can do. High specificity exercises are gravy, not the meat and potatoes.

Additionally, the number of reps are geared towards increasing training capacity and so are more towards the muscular endurance range. Not true endurance training, but in the hypertrophy range to get more endurance than just straight strength.

The hypertrophy exercises also have the advantage of increasing the foundation on which to layer the neurological timing component of strength and power. Essentially, strength and power are mediated by how well timed the signals are from the brain. If we give those signals bigger motor units to trigger then we get more strength and power.

Phase I


Heavy Day


Power
  • Clean - specifically, from the hang start position and with a power stance catch. This version is the best for strength & power athletes. 
  • Box jumps - the clean is paired with box jumps for two reasons: 1) the box jump uses the same movement pattern and so functions as a potentiating exercise for the clean; 2) and this is important because many of my athletes are still learning the clean, and so they are not driving as much weight due to limitations in technique.
Primary
  • Deadlift - this is one of our most basic full body strengthening exercises. It also works a similar movement pattern as the clean, giving us a substantial stimulus to those muscles and pattern. 
  • Bench Press - Another basic strengthening exercise. This works the major upper body muscles involved in cuts, thrusts and parries.
 Accessory
  • Barbell Overhead Squat - the deadlift is paired with the overhead squat as a lower intensity exercise. Additionally, it helps set the stage for the Jerk that will be introduced later.
  • Split Squat - circuited with the bench press, the split squat is part of the single-leg/lunge pattern exercises. It has a smaller base of support than a squat, increasing the stabilization demand and also makes one leg dominant at a time.
  • Suspension Row - also circuited with the bench press the suspension row completes our set of movement patterns with a pulling, upper back exercise. The suspension handles add a stabilization component to the exercise. And by keeping an inverted plank position while doing this exercise we can use the entire posterior chain, but in a different configuration than the deadlift. 
Lastly, the suspension row is also chosen in part because of the limitations on equipment and space at my facility. No program can be perfect, and practicality must override our best designs.

Light Day


Power
  • Dumbbell Jerk - The jerk develops the upper body power component and complements the clean in this regard. This is done one arm at a time. Further, the exercise was started with the Push Press as needed depending on the athletes experience level.
  • Medicine Ball Chest Pass - This is paired with the Jerk and creates a velocity version of the same stimulus that is also in the correct plane.
Primary
  • Front Squat - Our last basic movement pattern exercise. Important for basic lower body strength and structural loading of the spine.
Accessory
  • Romanian Deadlift (RDL) - The straight leg deadlift  focuses on the glutes and hamstrings. It is our lift pattern exercise for this day and complements the deadlift from the heavy day. This is also a functional exercise. While we are always told to lift with our knees, life does not always make that feasible - the exercise teaches lifting with a neutral spine. Paired with the Front Squat.
  • Rear Foot Elevated Squat (RFE) - The rear foot elevated squat decreases the base of support even more compared to the split squat and puts more of the emphasis on the front leg. Further this exercise is a grueling, driving hypertrophy in the quads. Circuit with the following exercises.
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press - The single arm exercise has a multi-layered stability component. Without both hands on a bar the shoulder must work harder to stabilize the weight. And one arm at a time requires a cross-body, oblique stabilization from the trunk muscles. The inclined bench allows us to complement the flat bench of the standard press and put more demand on the shoulder. Circuited with the RFE Squat.
  • 1-arm Dumbbell Row - This is the pull exercise on the light day. The single arm row requires another substantial oblique trunk demand, this one being even harder.

Phase II


Since good program design involves incremental, progressive changes the differences here are not huge. And only the differences will be noted.

The changes are also small because I still have people coming on-board who need to get up to speed first.

Heavy Day


Power
  • Box Jump - volume on these decreased to two sets so that they don't interfere with performance in the Clean. Note also that the box jumps are done before the Clean so as to maximize the potentiation effect.
Primary
  •  No changes except higher intensities i.e. lower RM numbers
Accessory
  •  The split squat was moved to the light day and traded for the RFE squat. This was an equipment and space concern created by additional athletes joining the program and the addition of the Barbell Row.
  • Barbell Bent-over Row - This replaces the the suspension rows. It demands good form and increases the weight being moved.

Light Day


Power
  • Barbell Split Jerk - we upgrade our overhead, explosive power exercise with the full barbell version. The athletes should be able to transition to this easily due to the training with the dumbbell version. Of course this also allows us to up the weight.
Primary
  •  No changes except higher intensities i.e. lower RM numbers
Accessory
  • The RDL and incline press swap positions in the order of exercises. This means that the muscle groups used do not overlap as much within a super-set. As such we can demand more weight moved, but get a lower hypertrophy effect. 
  • 1-arm Pulldown - Woo hoo! I have a pulldown rig set-up now. I'm limited to the single arm version for now since it's a plate loaded version and I don't have much weight with the correct size hole. Once I've got enough weight we move to a standard lat pulldown.

Conclusion


Overall the program represents a combination of two things: 1) Incremental progression; 2) Compromise based on equipment limitations - and that's life.

Furthermore this is only the weightlifting component of the total strength and conditioning program. There is a power, agility and core circuit at the beginning of each class. These will be described later.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Our Longpoint Periodization Scheme

Longpoint 2016 Training has begun. There are lots of components to this training regime on the technical skills side as well but here, obviously, I'm going to focus on our strength training program.

With a clear end date for the program it is possible for us have a clear outline. We are looking to peak our training in mid-July next year. The program started at the beginning of November. We've got about 9 months to go.

I've broken this down into 5 phases. The first four are two months each and the last is the remaining weeks before the event.

The periodization is a simple linear progression. We start at (relatively) low intensities and high volume of training and progress to higher intensities while cutting back on volume.

Each phase has a three day a week workout plan:
  • The first day is the heavy day, with Clean, Deadlift and Bench Pres, plus a small number of accessory exercises covering the lunge, pull and anti-rotation movement patterns.
  • The second day is the lighter day, with Jerk and Squat as the big lifts and more of the accessory type exercises covering the lunge, pull, lift and anti-rotation movements.
  • The third day is optional and consists entirely of accessory style exercises. It is intended to be done at home or at a typical commercial gym and so focuses on dumbbell exercises.
Each month has a low-intensity, sub-max week for more complete recovery. Otherwise the numbers listed below are all Repetition Maximums (RM).

Unless otherwise stated each exercise is done for 3 sets.

Phase I

Heavy day
  1. Power - 5 (Clean and Box jumps)
  2. Primary - 8
  3. Accessory - 10
Light day
  1. Power - 5 (DB Jerk and Medball throws)
  2. Primary - 12
  3. Accessory - 12 
Power exercises are pairs of Olympic lifts and another simpler power exercise.
Main exercises are paired with a complementary exercise.
Accessory exercises are circuits of three exercises.

Phase II

Heavy day
  1. Power - 5
  2. Primary - 8
  3. Accessory - 10
Light day
  1. Power - 5 (Barbell Jerk)
  2. Primary - 12
  3. Accessory - 12 
Power exercises are paired with fewer sets of the alternate exercise as their load goes up.

Phase III

Heavy day
  1. Power - 5
  2. Primary -6
  3. Accessory -8
Light day
  1. Power - 5
  2. Primary -10
  3. Accessory - 12 
Power exercises are no longer paired with an alternate exercise. The load should be fairly high at this point and the athletes sufficiently experienced with the exercises to get true max effort sets.
Main exercises are no longer paired with a complementary exercise.
Accessory exercises are now only pairs of exercises. Specificity increases with lateral leg exercises and upper body exercises with torso rotation.
A small circuit of lower intensity exercises fills out the program. Examples include: carries, single-leg squats, planks & variations and band exercises.

Phase IV

Heavy day
  1. Power - 5/4/4
  2. Primary - 5 Complex
  3. Accessory -8
Light day
  1. Power - 5
  2. Primary -8
  3. Accessory - 10
Main exercises are now either complex sets or with resistance bands added. 
Accessory exercises dialed back to just two sets.

Phase V

Heavy day
  1. Power - 5/4/3
  2. Primary - 5 Complex
  3. Accessory - 8
Light day
  1. Power - 5
  2. Primary - 6
  3. Accessory - 8
Accessory exercises will increase in specificity while decreasing in load.

Rep Max Testing 

Rep Max testing is done at the end of each phase to recalibrate numbers for the main exercises. At the end of Phase I it will be just 3-5RM testing since they have not been moving high intensity loads for this phase.

For the remainder of the program 1RM testing will be used.

Conclusion


This is a simple linear periodization scheme appropriate for beginning and intermediate lifters. Even for advanced lifters this type of program works well when there is a single most important event on the calendar. Other, more complex, schemes are more appropriate for a fuller competition schedule and advanced athletes.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

More of What Is Strength?

Well, I'm glad you asked? Actually, Alex Bourdas asked this in his most recent post over on my favorite HEMA blog: Encased In Steel. My post is intended to act as a commentary on that post - to add details and clarity. Alex's post is good, mine is not a criticism, his is shorter and more readable.

As Alex starts off with defining strength. Strength is a term that gets used a lot in an imprecise way.

To a exercise professional, strength is maximal force production. In addition to the sources that Alex provides we see the same from the NSCA and ACSM research. It's the same in my Doctorate in Physical Therapy program.

Force = mass*acceleration. So increasing force production means increasing acceleration of the body and weapon.

On the other hand, endurance is defined as the amount of time that an amount of force can be produced. In this case increased endurance means more repetitions, not more force in each repetition. There is a clear inverse relationship between power and duration of force production. Therefore strength and endurance are at opposite ends of a spectrum of force production.

In exercise science intensity is defined as a percentage of maximal force production. This is different from the colloquial and dictionary usage of intensity. So a Crossfit workout that leaves you puking may have been intense, but not in the technical use of the word, since it was high rep training. A 100m sprint may not feel as draining as a marathon, but the sprint was more intense.

So, a single exercise intensity cannot increase both endurance and strength.

Does that mean that any claim that an exercise program increases both endurance and strength bogus? Well, only mostly. If you take a sedentary person and increase their physical activity - by any means - then that person will gain both strength and endurance. But only for the first 8-12 weeks. After that, one of the characteristics is going to plateau based on the program's intensity.

And this is where we get the personal testimonials of a program that does everything. And the research backs up this fact that any exercise will improve most things in a sedentary person. So, a personal trainer, or a person selling a book, can even claim to be supported by the science. But only by cherry-picking the research instead of looking at the entire body of research.

How Intense is Strength?


I defined above that strength gains are made at a given intensity. That intensity is 67% and higher (1, 2).

And this is where a clarification of something Alex said is really necessary. The repetition range he quotes is 20RM and lower. While the sources above give 12RM and lower.

Note though that the IOC source that Alex provides also specifies the duration of those sets - 30 seconds or less. I can do 20 reps in 30 seconds only by moving the weight faster, which requires more force. Or I can do reps that take 3-4 seconds each and do only 8-10 reps. That 3-4 seconds is 1-2 seconds down, pause at the bottom, 1 second up and then pause at the top.

Twenty slow controlled reps is not strength training, it's muscular endurance. But 20 medicine ball throws in 30 seconds is strength and power.

Most strength training is done at intensities of 12RM and lower. Significant strength gains - and significant power gains - occur at intensities higher than 8RM. As such strength training should focus on those numbers.

Strength Isn't the Only Thing


Of course it isn't. And I'm certainly not saying that you should win a fight simply by being stronger than the other guy.

But more relevantly, strength is not the only characteristic relevant to training. Increasing endurance allows a person put in more training time. And that's good for us. Therefore a balance should be found between strength and endurance training. We can do that three ways:
  1. Remember that strength increases will also increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Not as effectively as dedicated endurance and cardio work, but sometimes it's all that's needed. Note though that this is not a two way street. Endurance and cardio do very little for strength.
  2. Include lower intensity exercises. Perform the accessory exercises of the program at a lower intensity to help cover muscular endurance needs. These are the single leg or arm exercises or the trunk/core specific exercises.
  3. Periodization. Start the program at lower intensities and gradually increase the intensity. Don't just increase the weight as you get stronger. Increase the weight enough to decrease the number of reps possible. Aim to have the highest strength and power portions in time for a particular important event, date or competition. However, periodization is it's own topic for a much longer post. 

Conclusion


Train smart and know what strength is. And how it is different from endurance and cardiovascular conditioning.