Monthly Archives: September 2015

Add Facebook to your blogging options.

All you fitness and sports training professionals out there already have regular blogs on your web sites right? And.. on your web site is where your blog posts should be, it’s the best place for you clients to find the information you are sharing with them, no doubts.

BUT… here’s another option.

Just last week Facebook announced some very cool – “Updates for Facebook Notes”. Now, “Notes” has been around for a while but honestly never really cut it for any serious or useful writing. These updates however are a notable step in the right direction for Facebook because as we know they are taking YouTube head on with video management and publishing and now it seems they’ve put a “toe in the water” with CMS (Content Management System) as well.

With this update, you can add a cover photo that represents what your note is all about. You can caption and resize photos, and format your text into headers, quotes or bullets. You’ll will also be able to create these new notes on the web, and they’re fully viewable on mobile.

 

FB_notesupdate

How does it work you ask?

Pretty simple actually, which is good…. Facebook assume every note/blog post is written by a human being by name so they have added the “Notes” feature only to personal pages. You can then choose where and how you would like the note/blog post to be published including those company pages you are an admin user of. So, if you have created your gym’s Facebook page and maybe one or two more product pages you will be able to choose what to write and for which of the pages you manage. Gone are the days of trying to decide how many words to put into a normal Facebook “update” with pictures and web links added in. This feature allows you to add nicely formatted and content rich “blog posts” on Facebook.

WARNING – this is not a replacement for web site blog posts. Your web site is the key location for clients both existing and new. Your web site is your dynamic digital store front and signature and therefore should represent you, your services (classes, programs, camps and sports), your team and your facility in a unique. Remember Facebook looks exactly the same for everyone i.e. blue & white and their logo, not yours and that’s Ok because that is what your clients expect.

So, be sure to use this option to attract your clients back to your web site with the appropriate links and features. Hint – write a “Part I” on Facebook and “Part II” on your web site blog OR write 1/2 on Facebook and add a “For more read here.” link back to a complete blog on your site. The intent here is to provide Facebook users with a more useful and feature rich way of writing “notes”. You have all those hard earned “Likes” on your Facebook page and you can now share info with them in a more complete and professional manner.

Here’s the Facebook news post announcing this feature. READ HERE

Complex Training

Complex Training is the pairing of a Plyometric movement (a type of exercise that uses explosive movements to develop muscular power) with a biomechanically similar strength movement. Although complex training methods vary in exercise order and rest intervals, for the purpose of this article focus will be on a low RM strength exercise followed immediately by a similar plyometric exercise. Additionally, focus will be on the long term chronic effects of complex training as a training parameter and not the acute effects on performance.

 

WHY INCORPORATE COMPLEX TRAINING INTO YOUR TRAINING?

 

The logic behind these matched pairs of exercises is that the resistance work gets the nervous system into full action leading to a greater training benefit. Complex training takes advantage of post-activation potentiation (PAP), which is the transient increase in muscle contractile performance after previous contractile activity. The increase in performance is due to greater Ca2+ sensitivity in the muscle and greater recruitment of muscle fibers. PAP increases the rate of force development and thus increases speed and power.  The rationale is that by repeating PAP exercises, complex training will produce long-term changes in the ability of a muscle to generate power[i].

To develop the rate of force development, and therefore increase strength and speed, the Type IIb muscle fibers need to be targeted as these are ones that produce force most explosively allowing for maximum power. Additionally, PAP itself is greater in type II fibers. The sorts of exercises that develop the Type IIb fibers are:

  • Speed strength exercises, e.g. weighted squats jumps

Plyometric exercises, e.g. bounding.

WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY?

There have been a variety of experiments done on the result of complex workouts. Because of the differences in experimental procedures, there have been a range of outcomes. However, when the relevant experiments are narrowed down to those using experienced athletes and using a consistent workout plan of a 3-6 RM (at least 60% of 1RM)[i] followed by a similar plyometric exercise, there does seem to be a consensus. One study conducted at the University of Utah by Adams et al. (1992); utilizing 48 male subjects, found that those who trained using a combination of squat exercises and plyometric exercises increased their vertical jump significantly (10.67 cm) over those who trained on squats (3.30 cm) and plyometrics (3.81 cm) alone, over a six week period. This seems to be the only comprehensive long-term experiment done on Complex training; the benefits of complex training to sport performance is unknown.

Additionally, research found that complex training can increase the 1RM of traditional lifts.[ii] This is also seen when plyometric is preformed before traditional.[iii]

Complex training has been shown to increase vertical jump in both acute and chronic adaptation, and may have the most benefit in sports that involve short-term power events.

HOW TO INCORPORATE

There is evidence that complex training only increases plyometric ability in strong, well- trained athletes[iv],[v], so it should be reserved for experienced lifters and performed near the end of the off-season. As complex training is most beneficial to type II fibers, it is not time efficient to perform complex exercises for predominantly slow twitch muscles, and results may not be seen in individuals with a greater percentage of slow twitch. In addition, females may not show significant strength gains from complex training and prepubescent people should never complete complex training.

Complex training should be done fresh (first in a workout), on a rested body that has not recently performed exhaustive aerobic exercise. Avoid static stretching before or during complex training (reduces force production potential). Always go for quality: all reps should focus on explosiveness with enough rest.

Complex training is usually done in the specific phase just prior to season. The exercises are specific to each sport. Typical complex set: 5RM squat (at least 70% of 1RM) immediately (10-15 sec, longer you wait, more PAP dissipates) followed by 5 jump squats, then rest for 3min.



[i] J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):135-9. Short-term effects of selected exercise and load in contrast training on vertical jump performance.

 

[ii] J Strength Cond Res. 2001 Nov; 14(4):470-476

[iii] J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb; 17(1):68-71

[iv]

Chiu LZ, Fry AC, Weiss LW, Schilling BK, Brown LE, Smith SL.

Related Articles, Links

Postactivation potentiation response in athletic and recreationally trained individuals.
J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):671-7.

 

[v] J Strength Cond Res. 2003 May; 17(2):342-344

 


[i]

Hodgson, Matt; Docherty, David; Robbins, Dan

 

Post-Activation Potentiation: Underlying Physiology and Implications for Motor Performance.[Review]

 

Sports Medicine. 35(7):585-595, 2005.

 

Wearable Devices, Training and Data – Part I

Wearable devices in general is one of the most exciting pieces of technology today. They are a lot cheaper, a lot easier to use and track a lot more data than in the past. BUT…… are they useful in the greater scheme of the sports and personal training arena? In this first piece we will look at the aspects significant enough from a training point of view and then in a “Part II” post we’ll look at it from the business point of view.

Let’s “lay down the rules” – for any technology to be useful and significant it has to:

1) be affordable

2) be practical

3) be easy to use in a training and sport specific scenario

4) deliver data in a meaningful way

these 4 components are critical for success and adoption.

Nailing our colors to the mast we’ll lead with the statement that these devices and the data they deliver will change training significantly. Will it revolutionize training? It may be too early to properly assess but they certainly are here to stay.

Push_weight_training

Using our partners at Push as an example (see HERE for more details) and the application of a device in the Velocity Based Training scenarios we see some really good evidence for the statement that they will change training significantly.

  • In the team setting it is extremely useful to have exercises sent to players for the day and have the results back for evaluation, comparison and goal or parameter monitoring.
  • Being able to look at data without the pain of dead weight paper and the ability to share the data is really useful.
  • Setting targets for measurable aspects such as weight, intensity, speed etc. is just not attainable without having a device strapped to the athlete.
  • Testing – for 1RM, weight vs. speed and many other scenarios has not been possible in definitive terms until now.
  • Preventing injuries in the weight room. Understanding fatigue, setting parameters accordingly and having appropriate training programs is HUGE.
  • Athletes come of the field often “beat up” and tired which requires meaningful/measurable adjustments to the training program and having a data based platform to assist can be significant.
  • Patterns highlighted in the data provides actual evidence of the training parameters that are moving.
  • Coaching/Training follow up is an essential part of personal training and being able to sit down with the athlete looking at real results, measured by week/day/session or even routine is “revolutionary”.

Now as time goes by those adopting, applying and developing training programs with this technology will also ultimately also benefit from the vendor’s research, knowledge and product development. Which in turn will enhance training knowledge and skills in applying real data to real training results. It seems almost common sense to have access to definitive feedback/data that shows the reality. Coaching 101 – real feedback is critical.

PUSH_fitnessbad

Common feedback from trainers using this technology today is “The more we talk about it (real data), the more it becomes integral in our training”.

Common feedback from the athletes using this technology is “The fact that it (my training) is being measured counts mentally towards my effort and approach.”

Sport and training is all about competition, split seconds and inches wouldn’t you want your athletes to know and hit their numbers? 

Don’t do manual systems! 6 reasons the “long run” is shorter than ever.

You’ve heard the expression “I can run my business on the back of a napkin”? Well, not quite that bad these days but, it is still pretty common to hear people tell of how they “can get along just fine” with Excel and/or Word to keep everything in their small business running smoothly. Now.. as with many things just because you can doesn’t mean you should. This is especially the case with a modern 21st century fitness and training facility / business. It will cost you in the long run, a long run which is substantially shorter today.

 Excel_No

There are 6 KEY REASONS why you should commit to formal systems that are specially written for the health and fitness industry:

1) Cost – Software is not only much cheaper today than it has been in the past but mostly it is also available as an ongoing service type arrangement or “Software as a Service” as us technical folks like to call it. Pay for it as you use it and ensure your vendor is actively engaged in your success as you do so.

2) The Cloud – You no longer need any material hardware and physical technology to use or consume your software services. Most leading systems today are available from the cloud. All you need is the laptop and/or tablet you probably already have. This aspect also obviously makes point #1 more compelling.

3) Ubiquitous Connectivity – It is rare these days for anyone to be without a connection to the internet and therefor your cloud based systems. Whether it is an incidental connection at your favorite coffee shop or in your gym or home you always have access to your systems. Historically this was not possible unless you had connections into your facility exposing your systems to the outside world.

4) Security – The vendors of all cloud based system are really focused on providing secure private systems and data for hundreds and in most cases thousands of clients and their users. This means that they invest heavily and constantly in high level security platforms way above and beyond what you would have as a small business with limited technical and financial resources.

5) Ongoing upgrades – The competitive landscape demands that leading software vendors ensure that they are always abreast if not ahead of their competitors and retain a high percentage of their existing customers. Keeping existing customers happy is cheaper than finding new ones. So, for the same monthly price you are assured that you are never left behind on an old version of the software and become outdated or worse unsupported.

6) Clients expect it! – The big one, most clients deal with many of these aspects in their daily lives in some way, shape or form and know what’s possible AND expect the best from you. It’s a competitive aspect because if you don’t have it “the guy down the street” will.

In short… software is now not expensive, available on vendor hardware not yours, always available to you no matter where you are, very secure and certainly more secure than you could have provided for and your software is always up-to-date. Win win win win win and #6 WIN!

Examples of the types of systems available include Gym Management software (training schedules, billing, classes, training resources etc.) and ii) Emailing and “Customer Relationship Management” software. Also available are services companies like Xperformm Inc. who specialize in Web Site and Social Media services specifically for the health and Fitness industry.

All that is left for you to do? What you do best – providing 21st century fitness and wellness services with passion and energy that clients will love.

Our technology and services are aimed at you the very fitness coach referred to above

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