Motion sensor (MS) technologies are extremely important in weight training. The challenge for end users such as coaches, trainers or average Joe’s is the cost and the ability to understand the data. Historically we have seen in the weight room Linear Position Transducer (LPT) for example, TENDO or GYMWARE products that measure distance and time to calculate velocity and power. This data is particular useful feedback for motivating athletes, measure performance objectively and monitor training. Today we see other sensors that have 3D motion sensors and 3D gyroscopes are extremely valuable tool in human movement engineering. Since movement is curve linear it requires the ability to be free from an anchor point not to deter natural movement.
Recently I asked a Bioengineering PHD in my company, what are some pros and cons to MS versus LPT. His response was:
“The accelerometer/gyroscopes are going to allow measurement of something that is free-moving, but is not going to provide absolute position measurement. A LPT is going to require that the transducer be affixed to the measurement point as well as some other point that it is measured in reference to. Depending on where the LPT reference is mounted, you can get absolute position. An LPT may limit range of motion, depending on how it is used, because it has a minimum and maximum length. Finally, the linear aspect of an LPT may make measurement of an arc more difficult since you are using a linear displacement to measure a curved movement.”
This blog post is me trying to apply a critical thinking mindset to a question of why and how to monitoring resistance training with technology. The biggest challenge in using technology in any environment is if they can decipher the signal from all the noise!
Another challenge for using technology is cost and ability to use the data to drives decisions in a clear and meaningful direction in an exercise program. This blog post will highlight some technology in the market that have and will help the average Joe/Jane or Pro to attain peak performance using research and practical application by expert experience in the market.
How does technology impact the 3 key principles of strength and conditioning progressive overload, variety, specificity in training?
Let me put it to you this way; if you, as a trainer or coach can figure out the rate of speed or power on a jump test, bench press or Squat, this article is not for you (you are super hero with super vision). If you would like to know how an accelerometer can help identify and enhance the performances of your workout, please keep reading.
Today the data captured by technology can tells us more which is being indicated by current research being done by sport scientist (see my past blog here on work cited here).Technology can be a good predictor of movement performance, recovery and power. Therefore, it is fair to say, that if I want my clients to achieve success out on the gym, field, or race, I need them to be objectively measure movement with some sort of technology besides.
However, what I really need to know are some important factors such as:
1. How quickly does that athlete move?
2. Is the movement force or speed optimal?
3. Does my client utilize the energy created in movement efficiently?
This is just the point where the majority of traditional testing tools fall short. If I showed you an example of 2 athletes with a Back Squat of 485lbs, based on research, it would be fair to assume that they both generate approximately the same amount of power. But what if I told you it took 750ms (0.75 seconds) for athlete #1 to perform a Squat, and athlete #2 reached that same top of squat in 475ms(0.475 seconds). Do you think this information will change your workout plan?
Technology can bridge the Gap
We can logically say that the most effective type of training for a client will be dependent on the one of the key ingredients that many trainers are missing are the technology performance measurements such as the following terms:
1. Power: is the rate which work is performed or energy is converted often measured in joule per second newton or watt per second. Mathematically reflected as power=work/time (2,7,8)
2. Peak Power : A short lasting explosive movement that is expressed Peak Power=Force*Velocity(2,7,8)
3. Speed of movement or velocity: This is a measurement of time usually in ms of movement. Other measurements of speed or velocity are peak and average (2,7,8)
To move ahead we require some background information on the muscle anatomy and two concepts of how we create energy to move form steady state of inertia( aka: at rest).
Muscle force is determined by the fiber type and how big the muscle is and lastly but not least how well the brain and motor unit can create an impulse to contract and coordinate a group of muscles sequentially.
To further understand that previous statement let’s discuss the following components to this measuring movement.
Three key principles of movement
Confused? Ok here is my 15 second elevator pitch. Measuring the power and speed of a movement can help target weakness, strength and recovery of your workout. So using technology can help you as an athlete, a coach or a trainer leverage your genetics and time more effectively.
Let’s use the example before about the two squatters further and see what differences we can measure and apply the critical thinking model.
Rate of Force Development (RFD) is how fast athlete can move from point A to point B. The factors are dependent upon your nervous system and type of muscles you clients or athletes possess. Athlete one is in a darker yellow and athlete two is in a blue.
The difference between both athletes is in the ability of utilizing the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC)
The Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC) is extremely intrinsic and very existent to some extent in nearly all movements that occur in just about all sport. SSC is its own topic for more detail and discussion. This rapid process helps to exploit stretch reflex potentiation (increases in the force-velocity characteristics of the muscles) and the elastic energy utilization of the muscle-tendon complex (much like a rubber band or spring action). By effectively utilizing this SSC we can enhance power production capabilities considerably. I would consider this the fine tuning that optimizes all of the speed & strength training(1,2,7,8).
This article attempted to, on a basic level, shed some light on how I evaluate and how I personally use the technology measure movement in the weight room. I use it for tracking, training, and for constant analysis of the variables at hand. Today trainer and coaches have the best accesses to affordable, extremely portable, easy to use tool today than ever to make the biggest impact on performance. I commend all the companies for the steps that they have taken to truly help science-based trainers like myself to find the missing link and helping bridge the gap between science and application.
Stay tuned for my next product review with the PUSH a wearable device for measuring what we do in the weight room.
Check out their website at www.pushstrength.com.
Most importantly what gets measured gets done!
1. Baechle, Thomas R.,:Essential of Strength Training and Conditioning, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Human Kinetics, 1994
2. Jidovtseff, Boris ; Cauchy, Sébastien; Crielaard, Jean-Michel et al Validity, reproducibility and sensitivity of the Myotest® during bench press exercise 2008 Abstract Book of 6th International Conference on Strength Training pages 127-128
3. Knudson 2009. Correcting the use of the term “power” in the strength and conditioning literature. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
4. Newton RU, Rogers RA, Volek JS, Häkkinen K, Kraemer WJ. Four weeks of optimal load ballistic resistance training at the end of season attenuates declining jump performance of women volleyball players. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Nov;20(4):955-61.
5. Rucci, JA and Tomporowski, PD. Three types of kinematic feedback and the execution of the hangpower clean. J Strength Cond Res 24: 771-778, 2010.
6. Sato, K, Smith, SL, and Sands, WA. Validation of an accelerometer for measuring sport performance. J Strength Cond Res 23: 341-347, 2009.
7. Sprinthall, RC. Basic Statistical Analysis (8th ed). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2006.
8. Siff 2004. Supertraining.
Tactical metabolic training for team sports refers to training specifically to prepare athletes for what the sport demands in “game day” efforts (1). The purpose of this blog post is to review what research states specifically regarding basketball and soccer, in regard to testing and training athletes using methods of metabolic development, and the metrics used in this method.
Recent research states that each energy system pathway has a role in all exercise intensities. The human body has evolved its energy system to fuel movement efficiently. The energy systems are split into two systems: aerobic and anaerobic. The anaerobic system can be divided into two sub-systems. Some current methodology would argue that there are multiple energy systems. For simplicity sake the energy systems can be condensed into two major sub-systems. The two subsystems of the anaerobic system are the alactic system (lactic acid is not formed) and lactic. These sub-systems regenerate ATP at high rates, resulting in large muscle power output (1).
Tactical refers to the training to enhance the anaerobic system (1). Tactical metabolic training is based on two integral concepts: time motion analysis and running intervals on an actual court or field in which the sport would be played (1,2,3).
In the article “A Tactical Metabolic Training Model for Collegiate Basketball,” author John Taylor reviews time motion analysis in collegiate basketball, looking specifically at the number of high intensity efforts, sub maximal-intensity efforts, duration of efforts, number and length of intermittent stops in play and timeouts (see below) (1).
Created from John Taylor’s, “A Tactical Metabolic Training Model for Collegiate Basketball” NSCA Strength and Conditioning Journal V26, N5 pg22-29
The goal of the article was to conceptualize a model that integrated tactical metabolic training as the exclusive method to improve anaerobic capacity. This author used periodization as an overall training approach that planned and managed the relationship of each training component and the results from a needs analysis (1,2,3). This was done in a yearly cycle by dividing the year into phases: offseason, preseason and a competitive phase. The training itself was broken down into bio motor skills technical/tactical, speed/plyometrics, agility, tactical metabolic training and strength training. If one component is not part of a daily training session, then that component becomes the priority for the next session. (1,2,3). This system was managed via an Excel-spread sheet matrix; the author stressed the need for strength and conditioning specialists to learn and utilize Excel to monitor this program. He further stressed that technology, such as using Excel, allows for a clear metric that tracks distance, intensity and simplifies planning.
Taylor best put this by describing success: ”The success of any program is most often determined based on the outcome. Adjusting a program relevant to the outcome is dependent on the quantifiable nature of the program (1). “
Another example of tactical metabolic training for team sport is soccer, as outlined in the article written by Alexandre Dellal et al “Heart Rate Responses During Small Sided Games and Short Intermittent Running Training in Elite Soccer Players: a Comparative Study.” This study looked at the physiological improvements in certain sided matches and showed that certain games reached heart rate response of interval training. In addition, these games improved tactical and technical demands of game. The efforts for the small sided matches may be controlled by using heart rate and comparing these values to intermittent running.
All athletes were tested by VAMEVAL TEST, (a test similar to the Montreal test) which is a 20 meter intermittent test that starts at a pace of 8 km an increases .5 km every minute until exhaustion. Another physical attribute tracked in this test is maximal aerobic speed and heart rate (HR) max.
Each athlete also had resting heart rate values taken all at the same time of day. During the VAMEVAL field test, the highest average value of 3 consecutive recorded HR was considered for HRmax. Lastly they used HR reserve to program all sessions planned.
The following metabolic characteristics were noticed in both modes of training in the study:
This study indicates how certain small sided matches with goal keepers may elevate intensity. The critical learning point is that in a small sided match develops similar fitness to standard interval running programs and has a more practical in application in season (2,3).
The limitations in metabolic training in team sports today are that not every team has a designated professional that manages strength and conditioning and for the most part team sports training is very traditional. With the advent of technology and research we are starting to see better ways than the traditional methods, such as the tactical method of training.
Two key philosophical components that most training programs are built upon is specificity and progressive overload. The intent of my review of this research is to discuss an objective method of metabolic training that has been proven by research. Every team sport is striving to win and to prepare its athletes to be their best in team sports; however due to cost and practical applications, technology is not being used to its fullest capacity to optimally train athletes. This now has been changing with current research showing technology such as excel, distance, acceleration, time and heart rate being used to provide feedback to players and coaches as a planning and measuring effort.
This program is designed for a soccer team metabolic conditioning for 12 weeks consisting of 4 phases of training. The goal of the program is to enhance the metabolic system of soccer athlete by using specific training principles that are specific to soccer metabolic and neuromuscular demands.
Thomas Rielly in the Endurance in Sport: Volume II of the Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine explains that Soccer Like other team sports is intermittent for the large part. However, Soccer is aerobic but aspect of game requires the anaerobic process (4).
In figure1, Reilly study explains that a soccer player for the large part will play with out the ball. Therefore, we will manage the requirements by following a simple progression of low skilled movement and low heart rate (HR) intensities. Transcending them to high complex skilled movement and high HR intensities, based on key HR values and qualify movement by speed or distance covered.
In Figure 2, shows that specific position will be required to be trained differently due to the distance covered differently. To make this individualized we specialize the last phase of training by using specific soccer drills and common movement patterns in the game to simulate sport metabolic demands.
An indicator for intensity will be heart rate (HR) because during exercise, HR increases to supply the body’s demand for oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the working muscles. Heart rate has been identified as a common measure of exercise intensity and has contributed to the measurement of energy expenditure. This will be a guide in our program using target zones for specific adaptations progressing to player specific training.
These three training principles are the bases for this program:
1. Overload principle: the specific energy system used to generate physical power must be stressed beyond normal activity. The energy system may be stressed in three ways: (a) increased intensity; (b) increased exercise duration; (c) increased exercise frequency. For example, to increase ability to buffer lactate you need to overload your muscles by some type of anaerobic training program. (1)
2. Specificity Principle: This principle states that exercise must be targeted to achieve a targeted outcome. Metabolic specificity refers to training specific energy system, whereas neuromuscular specificity refers to training specific muscle groups. To develop speed strength in the thigh muscles, for example, one must overload the Atp-cp energy system in those muscles by doing specific drills at specific intensities. For example, 20m repeats at 80% MHR (1)
3. Progression principle: This principles states that overload must be increased progressively as the muscle continues to adapt to training. For example, as an individual gets stronger with interval training, that person may increase the volume during training or intensity, but not both (1)
The Method to the program
1. Measuring Resting Heart Rate (RHR):
The ideal time to measure Resting Heart Rate is immediately after waking in the morning, without the use of an alarm clock. Palpate the carotid artery and count how many times your heartbeats in 60 seconds (or count for 6 seconds, then multiply by 10).
Lie down or sit still for 10-20 minutes. Measure heart rate using Heart rate monitor or palpate the carotid artery and count beats for 60 seconds (or count for 6 seconds, then multiply by 10). Record RHR.
YOUR Resting Heart Rate:____________________ bpm
2. Calculate Target Heart Rate Zones (THR Zone) or Intensity Zones:
220 – AGE –(RHR)= Max HR
Max HR _______ x .60+RHR = ________ 60% of Max effort (Zone 1)
Max HR _______ x .70+RHR = ________ 70 % of Max effort (Zone2)
Max HR _______ x .80+RHR = ________ 80% of Max effort (Zone 3)
Max HR _______ x .90+RHR = ________ 90% of Max effort (Red Zone)
Another option to get Max Heart rate is by doing a field test such as the Yo-Yo Beep Test Done in continuous stages. Usually coach or trainer administers test. This test starts slow at a pace of 8.5KM/hr (2.36m/sec) and increases by 0.5KM/hr (.14m/sec) every minute. Failure to reach two successive cones ends test. Level achieved correlates well with VO2 max and max heart rate. A multistage fitness test such as the beep test or an all out running test lasting longer than 6 minutes (Cooper mile) is essential for determining maximum heat rate (1, 2, 4, 5).. Use max score from the test to get your training targets.
Max HR _______ x .60 = ________ 60% of Max effort (Zone 1)
Max HR _______ x .70 = ________ 70 % of Max effort (Zone2)
Max HR _______ x .80 = ________ 80% of Max effort (Zone 3)
Max HR _______ x .90= ________ 90% of Max effort (Red Zone)
3. Equipment used in this method
Using a device like a heart rate monitor (HRM) to provide feedback as a guide to program target phases. Basic ground rules for each workout are to use HRM and stick to targets zones and times.
4. Information that is gathered from HRM, what do you do with it?
During the program, an emphasis will be put on tracking the data from bout to bout, to better analyze any changes needed in program. Please use the any preferred method documentation.
When we start any workout!
All workouts will start with a Warm- up 15 minutes Dynamic Warm up and end with 10 minutes of flexibility (focus on leg flexor, extensors, adductors, abductors, and rotators a suggested warm up is in the appendix 1.1)
General overview of goals of each phase
Phase 1 Base Training
The goal in this phase is to understand basic movement and energy used during exercise and to establish a base level of work, to progress into phases that are more specific. Also, consider an important phase for developing V02 and weight loss. The VO2 max of professional football players does improve significantly in the pre-season period when there is an emphasis on aerobic training (4). Please see appendix 1.2 to see the program for Base Training.
Phase 2 Interval Training
The goal is to build the glycolic system using cardio equipment (treadmill, bike, Stair master). The emphasis in the workouts is to achieving a specific intensity for each workout.
The following are three sample workouts that you can chose to do with typical gym equipment. In this phase, individual preference of cardio equipment will be allowed.
Phase 3 Track workouts/Linear runs
The goal in this phase is to get out on track to run and jog in linear motions. Linear speed is determined by stride length and rate. Therefore, improvement to these two variables will allow one to run faster. Stride length may be improved by increasing strength, power, and flexibility in body’s extremity (1). The goal of each interval is to finish them in specific time, intent and to recover to a Zone 2 (70% MHR), and go thru the following workouts (refer to appendix 1.4 for of the order these workouts take place on).
Phase 4 Complex training
The focus in this phase is to use multiple directional runs and reinforcing proper acceleration mechanics, deceleration mechanics, and use specific movement patterns by sport position. The emphasis in this phase will be intended than the actual velocity of movement. In the article: Intended rather than actual movement velocity determines velocity- specific training response research done by David Behm and Digby Sale. The research suggests, “The results suggest that the principal stimuli for the high-velocity training response are repeated attempts to perform ballistic contractions and the high rate of force development of the ensuing contraction. The type of muscle action appears to be lesser importance”.
Therefore, our focus will be specific to Soccer speed endurance and power including every day skill reaction with maximum intent and make the drills specific to player action seen on the soccer play by position please see example on page 6-8 and apply them to appendix 1.5 as per lay out of the program.
Workout A :The Star Drill
Each cone should be set at least 5 yards from the middle cone. Start at middle cone, in an athletic position, ready to move. Take turns sprinting out to each cone, and back to center cone, first set clockwise, and then counter clockwise. Emphasize quick reaction at each cone, exploding off the ground with each push. ALWAYS return to a quick feet/ready position at middle cone. Advanced/reaction time option: Have a partner assign a number to each cone, and call out various numbers for you to sprint back and forth, to and from. (Have the partner only call out 6-8 sprints). Does 1 set with out ball focus on acceleration and deceleration max intent. Time this effort. Repeat next set with ball and time this set compare these numbers. The goal is to get these numbers to be almost the same. Repeat as prescribed in appendix 1.5
Workout B : “L” Drill
Following the numbered arrows for directions, start at the left hand side of the bottom (red) cone, sprint to the 1st cone that is directly 5 yds in front of you (green), touch down on the ground next to the cone with the right hand, turn to the outside (left side) and sprint back to the starting (red) cone. Touch the ground by that cone with your right hand, sprinting back to the green cone, and then immediately around following the path of line #4, circling around the blue cone. Stay to the outside of the L and sprint immediately back to the green cone, and cut to sprint back to the beginning red cone to end the drill. Just like the 5-10-5 drill, keep all cuts sharp and all travel as much as you can in a straight line, avoiding any “looping” around the cone. Focus once again on quick changes in direction, working your arm action around the cone, “breaking down” your steps and spotting techniques. You can also change the direction of the cones to go left to change things up. Does 1 set with out ball focus on acceleration and deceleration max intent. Time this effort. Repeat next set with ball and time this set compare these numbers. The goal is to get these numbers to be almost the same. Repeat as prescribed in appendix 1.5
Workout C: Small 3v3 sided game (get small-sided game with at least 6-12)
Rules of game:
All of the phases are based on scientific principles and are designed to be soccer appropriate for the metabolic and neuromuscular demand of the sport. Applying these, principles provide a good base of fitness and conditioning to develop soccer skill in a safe and effective manner with out over training the athletes (4).
Appendix 1.2: Phase 1 Base Training