Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life long learning

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I got this book when I stopped training with SC, although I feel I know a great deal about weight training, there is always more to learn. SC used to ask me "what do you want to work on?" and I would decide if I needed do grow my quads, or my shoulders, or trim something down, and then he would write up a program for me that targeted exactly what my goals were.  I no longer have SC to do this for me. I also miss him, but still talk to him.

My real passion is not "Figure" it is strength, in fact, I starting competing in Figure much later, after I had been lifting for several years. I am actually not a real fan of the "figure look" and prefer to be more muscular, hard and generally ripped than the judges want. I think I like a look that leans a bit more towards bodybuilding.
I started because people would constantly say to me "Do you compete?!" and I decided that  maybe I should check it out, so I did.

When I am not prepping for competition, I like to train for strength, I get a kick out of lifting really heavy weights, of blowing people away in the weight room.
I have been writing up my own workouts now since May and have done a fairly good job of it. I must admit I have "stolen" quite a bit of it from the previous workouts SC developed for me over the years, but things still need to be changed up.

I have found this book interesting, because it focuses in on developing training for the individual athlete and understanding what will make them successful. It explains the differences in response to exercise commonly observed between athletes at novice, intermediate, and advanced levels, explains these differences in the context of the relevant science and presents new training models that work for athletes at all levels of experience.

It also discusses quite a bit about "periodization" and what exactly does it mean anyway?  It teaches about adaptation and why we need to change our workouts. It explains all of the science behind the weight rooms myths.  Here is a little taste of this book:

Communist-bloc countries had (and still have) large-scale sports performance selection processes intended to direct young athletes into the most appropriate sport, based on specific criteria. Once there, athletes achieve and stay in the program or fail to achieve and are sent home. The result is a pyramidal selection structure that eliminates the less competent athletes, leaving only those who have the best chance for international success. 

In the United States and most Western countries, some sports have a developmental pipeline. Football does. Basketball does. In fact, most nationally recognized high school sports that have a counterpart at the collegiate and professional  levels have selection pipelines comparable in scale to those seen at the zenith of the Soviet bloc's sporting success. High school sport in the United States is the base of our selection pyramid. However, high school students in the United States represent a different population than the students of the same age in the old Soviet Union. U.S. kids play sports to get in shape, while kids on the Soviet-type systems get in shape to play sports.

In the former bloc countries, sport was one of the few ways to rise above the constraints of the economic system, and this was a very powerful motivator. This difference is fundamental and significant, creating two distinct levels of athletes that reflect two distinct cultures generating two different levels of motivation for success. Soviet models of periodization were developed for and apply best to only one of these groups.

The U.S. high school student of today does not have the level of general physical preparation (GPP) and movement skills developed by the programs inherent in communist systems, programs in which children learned hot to move effectively and began developing base fitness at age 6, long before they entered sport-specific training.

Elementary school PE programs in the United States are underemphasized and understaffed and ignore GPPncept, the actual norm is one instructor, sixty students, and 45 minutes of class time...... as a formal part of what abbreviated curriculum might exist. Effective physical education is best done in small groups with adequate time. While the educational literature supports this concept, the actual norm is one instructor, sixty students, and 45 minutes of class time.

"Roll out the ball" physical education is the mode in which the teacher (whose own training may not be in physical education at all) operates in the context of overcrowded classrooms, poor administrative support, and inadequate equipment. 
Now this book is not bashing teachers or our society, it is setting the story so a coach can understand where the athlete is coming from, what their skill set may be, how little they may have been able to perfect their talents.
Practical Programming has helped me to understand what more I may be able to achieve, by changing my training and understanding the science behind it.  It is not a text book and while has some concepts and terminology the layperson may not know, it makes complex ideas simple and easy to understand.