Thursday, January 10, 2008

Training for Strength and Power

I get asked quite a bit how often I train, and do I do cardio? This is an interesting question and I can give you a simple answer, however I thought I will also give you the reasons why.

I am a pure strength athlete and train to increase my strength and speed (strength +speed = power), and therefore my training is designed around this purpose. In my events I recruit fast twitch muscle fibres (type IIb) to perform my lifts. Each lift will be between 2-10 seconds in length and therefore uses anaerobic energy only. Resistance training is anaerobic so my lifting training falls into this category and I do 4 lifting sessions a week. At present 2 of these sessions are heavy lifting (strength), while the other 2 are dynamic lifting (speed).

As most of you would know if you train for endurance events over time your fast twitch fibers can shift to take on slow twitch characteristics. As you exercise your fast twitch fire and then after a period or around 20 seconds your slow twitch kick in, and over extended training this causes the fast twitch to change. They can be "retrained" back, but this takes time. So my FT fibres are very precious to me, and even if I have genetically more than the average person I need to look after them.

We all know the benefits of cardio, so I won't go into that, and I do need to do some cardio. I am currently following a system where I exercise without recruiting my FT fibres, and therefore rely on my ST only. Therefore there is no risk to my fast and speedy muscles! I do low intensity cardio at less than 70% of my max heart rate threshold at least 6 hours away from my lifting sessions. If my ST get fatigued then they will recruit the FT to take over. I may do these sessions after an upper body lifting session but for no longer than 15 minutes.

So if you are at the gym one morning and see a strong looking chick walking slowly on an incline with a max heart rate of 120 - that is me!!!
There is a great article on T-Nation by Eric Cressey on this.



Raechelle said...

Good explanation-you have such a firm grasp on the should write articles yourself!
Have a great weekend!

Lisa said...

I am a novice in this area, however it is really important to know why you are being trained a certain way.
A number of other female PL'ers do spin/pump etc to keep their bw down and to loose weight pre comp....very bad move and their comp results are always down.

I joke about being a big fat lazy power lifter!!


Raechelle said...

Yeah-fat and lazy-that was definitely what I thought when I first started reading your blogs "she's so fat and lazy!"....NOT....TOTAL LOL! Please! ha ha ha...fat and lazy!

Lisa said...

Having spent 3 years in the bodybuilding world, I had to say this to myself to to convince my mind to rest, recover and eat!!

Now I am the queen of resting, recovery protocols and food! The transformation is almost complete.

Lia Halsall said...

Eric Cressey writes some great articles doesn't he. Did you know that he has a blog and website? :o)

Lisa said...

Hi Lia,

Yes I am a big Cressey fan. He "hangs out" with the a group of strength coaches that are also Plers like him so his stuff is very relevant to me.


LizN said...

Chiming into say that I'm addicted to Eric Cressey's newsletter :)


Cat said...

Great explanation

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