Stretch Shortening Cycle

301.4

box-jumps

The fundamental elements of human power production are: high-speed strength, low-speed strength, speed of force production, strength-shortening cycle and muscle memory or skill. The first three elements are trained in the gym, the fourth is a gift of nature and the fifth means that you could be the most perfect physical specimen ever to walk the earth and you wouldn’t be able to chew gum and walk, unless you practiced chewing gum and walking, of course. Let’s talk for a moment about number 4.

Do you remember the classic scene in the doctor’s office where the patient is sitting on the exam table and the dr. hits his knee with a rubber hammer and the patient’s leg kicks out? That is a demonstration of the stretch shortening cycle. A perfect example of the body’s defense mechanism against overstretching, when the hammer hits the tendon over the knee and quickly shortens the quadricep muscle, the brain immediately tells the quad to contract and simultaneously keeps the opposing muscle, the hamstring, relaxed so that there is no opposition to the leg’s movement, preventing overstretching. The same phenomenon can be seen in weight training, called ‘bouncing out of the squat’, the athlete lowers the weight under control until, at the very bottom of the squat the pre-stretched muscles rebound to start the weight up again.

The stretch shortening cycle is a built in part of the human machine but knowing what it is and what it does can help us in getting to know our bodies better. Plyometrics is a subject that really embraces the stretch shortening cycle, many of the movements rely on it for their effectiveness. One of my favorite exercises is platform jumping or box jumping. Many people do this in their workouts, but there are two ways to do this and two very different results.

The basic box jump starts with the athlete standing in front of a wooden platform and jumping from the floor to the top of the box, fully extending the hips each time and jumping back down to the floor. If you can do this, awesome. Now think about this, start on top of the box, jump to the floor and spring back onto the box without pausing at the bottom. This is where the stretch shortening cycle lives. Try this ten times with a small box or snatch block, 6 to 8 inches tall to begin with. Rest at the top instead of the bottom if you need to and try to keep your heels from touching the ground when you land at the bottom, this leaves all of the stretch in your legs. The first several times be careful as there is a component of skill and balance involved in getting back to the same spot you started each time. Think unicycle, don’t hurt yourself trying to help yourself.

workout: run 1 mile, no stops

The Pyramids

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classic-food-pyramid
If you grew up in the United States you have undoubtedly seen the “Food Pyramid” that shows the different food groups and how many servings of each we should have every day to stay healthy. Now, if you have been following fitness trends over the last ten years you have also been exposed to the “Paleo Diet” which basically flips the classic food pyramid upside down, contradicting most widely held theories about nutrition and health. The pyramid graphic is a highly intuitive reference tool to simply and quickly outline the concepts of many different subjects. One very interesting pyramid for the fitness enthusiast or serious athlete is The Transfer of Training pyramid.
bondarchuk

Developed by Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk, a pure genius in the sport of track and field, the Transfer of Training principles broke all exercises down to 4 basic groups:
1. General preparatory exercises, those movements that utilize different muscles and energy pathways than the competitive event(in the original sense, the hammer throw)
2. Specific preparatory exercises, using the muscle groups and energy pathways of the competitive event but a different movement pattern.
3. Specific developmental exercises, targeting the same specific groups and pathways and including parts of the competitive movements.
4. Finally Competitive exercise, including the event itself and some variations.

These principles made training programming much easier and more adaptable to the individual. Although developed for the hammer throw, the pyramid can and is working in many other sports, swimming, cycling, running, all one needs to do is to examine a competitive event and break down it’s movements and categorize your training exercises in a similar way. Here is a link to those wiser than I.Link

Crunching the Numbers

306.4

runners

 

Rule 34 states that ‘If it exists, there is porn of it.’  I believe that in the realm of health and fitness, if one person has had an idea, two other people have figured out how to count it, collate it, and quantify it.  One such idea is the Banister Impulse/Response model.  The idea was at first to figure out if, by recording all training efforts, an increase in fitness could be calculated by means of an ordinary differential equation and the answer given in the form of positive training effect, or PTE.  It almost worked.  For every positive training effect there is a negative effect, that being fatigue.  Rather than shoot down the original hypothesis however, this little fact seemed to have perfected it.  When the PTE is plotted against the NTE over time along with actual performance an interesting and quite repeatable effect is shown.

F6.large

Skipping all of the math, we see that at the beginning negative effects, basically fatigue, outweigh the positive effects of training.  As performance starts to improve the positive effects become substantially greater than the negative.  This model has been tested for many endeavors, running, cycling, swimming, and seems to work similarly in all of them.  More here.

 

I have a confession to make. I fell off the wagon, yes, stopped making fitness a priority and forgot about eating right and it got me. On top of not making weightloss goals and feeling pretty low from the lack of endorphins, I got a chronic hip pain. So I am back at square one, actually square zero, I have lost the ability to squat temporarily. I am slowly rehabbing the range of motion while I try to catch up in other areas.

It is iced tea season once again, there is 3 gallons of the stuff in the refrigerator right now, good hydration is one of the very basic things I am concentrating one as the summer progresses. Purging useless carbs, refined flour and sugar, and getting back to fresh greens and such. Baby steps, the goal is not a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle change, a permanent one.

Prying myself away from the computer screen is underway. Walking the dog a mile at a time, up to 3 times a week now to mobilize the hips and get the wind back. Weight training again starting with Bench, Deads, Lat pulldowns and Power cleans until the squat comes back.

Workout:

Dog walking= 1 mile, large dog, his pace not mine.

Food:

8 oz, sausage, 6 eggs Calories 1376 Protein 81.8 g. Fat 95.8 g. Carbs 0 g.

10 oz. Grd beef+ 2 med onions 518 cal Protein 45 g. Fat 31 g. Carbs 11 g.

Chinese buffet Don’t judge me.

 

Day 16: Adding Rest Time Between Sets

297.0

The large number of sets in the bench is beginning to tell, the last two sessions I have had to split the last set in two to finish. I had been doing one set every two minutes, I am going to go to every three minutes on the bench and see how the work goes for the last two days of this cycle.

Landmine 180’s 5×25@52.5#
FS 5×5@115#
BP 10×10@115#

Day 63- Have We Just Been Doing It Wrong?

282.2
sumo
Did you ever wonder how sumo wrestlers got so big? Averaging well over 300 and some as much as 500 pounds and more? You would think that they consume massive amounts of food, all day long to maintain that much weight on their frames.

Most sumo schools have their athletes working out as much as 6 or 7 hours a day for years to achieve greatness in an endeavor that can be over in mere seconds. What is their secret? One meal a day. Right before bedtime. They train their starvation response to store everything that they eat as fat, everytime they eat. Want to lose fat? Don’t do that. Eat early in the morning, eat little meals all day long, don’t let the starvation response get started, no starches(carbs) within 6 hours of sleeping.

Could part of the secret of weightloss be when you eat? Apparently it is part of the secret of weight gain. Could it be that simple? Probably not but it does paint a great big red target on what not to do, don’t you think?

my workout-
cycling 21.35 mi. 2200 cal. 12.6 MET hr.

Day 62-

284.4
Marathon

When you measure the amount of work that you do when exercising the value most often cited is heart rate. The amount of blood that your body pumps through the circulatory system as a response to stresses. If we buy into the fat turns into CO2 theory, then wouldn’t it be more accurate to chart respiration instead of heart rate, since respiration is directly correlated to CO2 transpiration?

Here are some numbers: Mr. J. Blow, our model model, has a resting respiration rate of 12 times a minute and in that minute exhales .6 grams of CO2, or .05 grams per breath. Any activity that increases his respiration should have a corresponding increase in CO2 emission. Lets say that Joe goes for a long run in the morning, say an hour, and during his run sustains a ventilation rate of 30 breaths per minute. 18 extra breaths a minute for 60 minutes times .05 grams comes to 54 grams of CO2. For the body to turn 1.1 kg. of fat into energy you would have to inhale 2.9 kg. of O2, producing 2.8 kg. of CO2 and 1.1 kg. of water. Using this math, our model’s little jog burned up 18.6 grams of body fat, evidence of why consistence and dedication is so important to staying healthy. This is in addition to the roughly 300 grams of fat the body uses each day to maintain base metabolism, interesting to say the least.

Day 60/61- Where Does The Fat Go?

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breath
When you take in water it can leave the body in several different ways, fat however, does not. Through a complex uptake process, fat is converted into triglycerides and other substances and is stored in the body until needed to be used as energy and it is finally broken down into water and carbon dioxide. Fat leaves to body through the lungs when we breathe. Strange but true.

my food- cheat day 3000 cal.
my workout- 2 hours mowing 1407 cal.