Jan 29, 2015Increasing Workout IQ
By Peter Twist
Executing whole body movement relies on excellent proprioception and coordination derived from rehearsed mind-to-muscle communication pathways. Strategic training for this outcome will create bigger, faster, stronger and smarter muscles.
Success in the strength training industry is measured by results. Professional athletes maintain sizable contracts by working diligently with well organized sport coaches who plan every aspect of the performance process from intricate workout design through extensive, season-long cyclic training programs. Conditioning coaches are hired and fired based on their ability to inspire athletes to create short and long term tangible physical change. In a society that changes in an instant, moves at a lightening fast pace, and can access information in a heartbeat, the ability to deliver real results quickly is paramount. That means it’s time to shift gears from training harder, to training smarter.
Match the Demands of Sport
Many coaches and athletes focus on isolating muscles using traditional lifts that increase muscle size and then incorporate increased mass into sport. They use lifts that work the upper body alone combined with those that just address the lower body and some core isolation mixed in to develop segmented strength. This approach works, but does it stimulate the athlete neurologically as well as physiologically to maximize direct application into sport?
The Links of a Kinetic Chain
The human body is designed to move through the linking of bones, joints and muscles into a kinetic chain from toe to fingertip. Actions performed by one section of the kinetic chain have a direct effect on the next segment of the chain with any breakdowns in muscle activation reducing performance throughout the entire body. Muscles and joints at various levels work together as a team to produce basic to highly skilled movement. To maximize results, the lifting style must match the demands sport places on the body.
Using a computer analogy, imagine your muscles, heart and lungs as the body’s hard drive, the mind and nervous system the software. It is desirable to possess a stronger, more powerful hard drive, yet the entire machine is only as useful as the intelligence of the software programming. I prescribe strength exercises that challenge whole-body coordination, where some muscles contribute as prime movers, others for force reduction, and some as stabilizers. Integrating instability and movement with strength permits the coach to define a prime mover overloaded at a set lift tempo to gain time under tension and hypertrophy, but not without the rest of the body contributing to the action.
Smart Strength Maximizes Results
To instill positive physical change, the body must be challenged beyond its current performance parameters. Athletes and coaches must commit to engage in a workout style that maximizes results and guarantees safety. Smart Muscle™ strength training is a recommended methodology that focuses directly on sport performance goals.
Using a blend of dynamic balance challenges, multi-directional movement skills and whole body strength exercises, an efficient and effective strength workout is built. The exercise choice creates a maximum metabolic cost that activates various muscles from prime movers, to synergists and stabilizers to create complex, purposeful movement that occurs sequentially throughout the body.
Exercises utilized are actually combinations of several lifts, some concurrently, some sequentially. For example, a lateral bound with deceleration loading (on a BOSU if available) into a dumbbell lateral raise with unilateral hold is a simpler two-layer combination exercise that challenges several ingredients to perform (lateral movement, eccentric lateral loading, single leg balance, core stability, shoulder as prime mover).
As coaches graduate through the coaching methodology to safely teach Smart Muscle™ strength exercises, three- and four-layered combination sequences can be implemented to continue the progression. These heighten the metabolic cost, deliver the most variety of challenges to the human system, make the body fully alert, and keep the athlete fully engaged–present in the moment, focused on every inch of every rep. Multi-layered complex exercises gain much greater adherence than simple repetitious exercises. Whole body challenges done at a sport-like pace produce a powerful combination. This develops a strong yet responsive and skilled body for athletes who needs to step up their game, accelerate performance and live the results.
Peter Twist, MSc BPE CSCS TSCC-Gold PTS is President of Twist Conditioning’s three divisions: franchised Sport Conditioning Centers, product wholesale and the Twist Smart Muscle™ Coach Education program. To learn more about the Twist training methodologies, education and equipment available in the USA, contact www.twistconditioning.com.