Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Effect of order of exercise on performance

This study gives some guidance on putting together complex training sessions:

Apparently....if you are doing sprints, plyometrics and resistance work you should do the sprints in a separate session because the plyos and resistance work will slow you down on the sprints.

Then again maybe that is ok? If training is to mimic the game surely sprinting when already tired is the appropriate, functional way to train?

Effect of order of exercise on performance during a complex training session in rugby players

In this study, we examined the acute effects of manipulating exercise order when combining countermovement jumps and loaded parallel squats in a complex training session, and the acute effects of countermovement jumps and loaded parallel squats on sprinting performance. Eight rugby players participated in five trials, including two that involved performing loaded parallel squats followed by countermovement jumps or vice versa in a randomized cross-over design. Peak rate of force development and peak force were measured during countermovement jumps and loaded parallel squats. Peak power, jump height, and duration of amortization phase were also determined during the countermovement jumps. Peak force during squatting was significantly greater in both cross-over treatments (loaded parallel squats-countermovement jumps and countermovement jumps-loaded parallel squats) compared with the control (P

14 comments:

Charles R. said...

I think it really depends on what the point of the training session is.

If your goal for that session is to train for speed, then you want to train when you can go the fastest. You can only get faster by going faster.

But I would also sometimes train athletes when they were very tired, to train (or measure) concentration, will, etc..

I think that's a very different goal, however. And if you are training speed and recovery, you generally want to train it when you can take most advantage of it.

I remember a couple of centuries ago always doing wind sprints at the end of football practice. It maybe taught us something about pushing through pain and fatigue, but it didn't make anyone any faster. In fact, it might have done the opposite.

This principle I learned years ago from Thomas Kurz (www.stadion.com), who I think is one of the more knowledgeable guys out there.

Chris said...

Thanks Charles - good points

Anonymous said...

The only way to know what the training effect is is to do a crossover study with one group doing sprints on the same day as plyometrics and resistance work and one group doing sprints on a separate day. Then after a recovery period see which group is sprinting faster. Switch groups and retest. Here is an example of why we wouldn't know without the proper study. Let's say a group of sprinters is asked to sprint with a small amount of weight strapped to their waists and one without. It is reasonable to assume that the group with the weight will be sprinting slower than the one without. Does this then mean that sprinting with weight makes someone sprint slower when they are sprinting without weight?

Charles R. said...

"Does this then mean that sprinting with weight makes someone sprint slower when they are sprinting without weight?" - Anonymous

Well, yes, good question.

I would answer that sprinting with weight would make you stronger, but it wouldn't necessarily make you faster. And I think there is research to show that.

The whole area of training for speed is a very intereting one. But what I've seen over the past few years is that more and more the emphasis is on things like plyometrics and overspeed training (running down hills, running while being pulled by an elastic rope).

What I gather from that and from the research that supports that approach is that getting faster is really about teaching your muscles and nervous system to fire faster, period.

Plyometrics, at least the way I have understood it, is the same thing. You really want to do plyos for speed or jump training as quickly as you can, spend as little time on the ground as possible.

Sure you also need strength and endurance, and increasing strength can increase speed. But my understanding is that if it does increase speed, it will only increase speed to a point, and that point is the limits of speed of firing of the neuromuscular systems involved. (And yes, studies have been done to that effect, but I can't cite them.)

To break through that limit, you just have to learn to move everything faster. Again, a training session, or micro-cycle, might have different goals, and different goals require different approaches.

And one thing that was stressed to me (and Art DeVaney makes the same point now and then) is that if you train yourself to move slowly, you will get really good at moving slowly. My experience working with Olympic-level athletes is that this is definitely the case.

I don't know if that really addresses your comment. And I am pretty sure others can explain this better than I. I'm just passing on what I have learned and observed with some fairly high-level coaches and trainers and athletes.

Helder said...

I know that sprinters usually train the sprints before doing weight training, at least that's what Charles Francis said in an article i've read about sprinters training, so i guess we should always prioritize in the training the goal we're aiming for, but it's also true that if we mix things up we'll be better prepared to different situations. A good example is that some sprinters do a set of squats before the race, because that fires the CNS. I totally agree with deVany, to be fast we need to train to be fast, and that includes weight training with explosive movements.

Anonymous said...

"I would answer that sprinting with weight would make you stronger, but it wouldn't necessarily make you faster." charles r.

Sprinting with weight is still sprinting. (This is why I was careful to specify a "small amount of weight".) It is resisted speed training (the added resistance achieved through increased mass). Training this way still demands that the athlete rapidly develop force with the same neural firing patterns. If a sprinter was carrying additional weight through the development of increased muscle mass instead of strapping it on around their waist would you say their training had changed and that they are now doing strength training and not speed training?

Charles R. said...

"If a sprinter was carrying additional weight through the development of increased muscle mass instead of strapping it on around their waist would you say their training had changed and that they are now doing strength training and not speed training?" --Anonymous

Well no.

I carefully said that weighted sprinting wouldn't necessarily make you faster. I didn't say it wouldn't have any effect.

The point I am trying to make (and Charlie Francis makes, someone much more credible than I am) is that training for speed is a very different and specific thing. And training at slower speeds, i.e., with weights, doesn't make you faster as efficiently as, well, moving faster.

The experience of a number of (experienced) sprint coaches has been that even if you make the athlete stronger, it doesn't do a whole lot for their upper speed limit. That's more a function of neuromuscular learning than it is of strength. That, again, is the point of overspeed training and plyometrics.

Yes, I know that's kind of counter-intuitive, and it's important to not confuse that with the idea that strength training has no part in speed training.

The point is to train for speed when you can go fast, which is generally at the beginning of the workout. In other parts of the workout, you might be training for endurance or explosive strength or other aspects, all of which have value.

And as Chris said, there is also value in training when tired, and there are times in a workout or a microcycle to train that way.

Here is a better description than I can give:

The theory exists that it is better to develop maximum speed first then later in the season add endurance of that speed. Endurance work can be done but not work that involves all out efforts that could result in the athlete practicing poor form. Any kind of speed endurance work can result in decreased efficiency and maximum speed especially as it becomes more intense. Every time an athlete makes maximum effort they program that exact motor pattern at that velocity as being what the brain reproduces as maximum speed.

Sprint Training--Important Principles

It's that latter effect you want to avoid: training with maximum effort at a lower speed, because, simply, it teaches you to move slower.

Anonymous said...

"The point I am trying to make (and Charlie Francis makes, someone much more credible than I am) is that training for speed is a very different and specific thing. And training at slower speeds, i.e., with weights, doesn't make you faster as efficiently as, well, moving faster."

charles, did you even read the entire

Sprint Training--Important Principles

page that you presented for your argument? Here's the part that I will post for the benefit of Chris's readers:

"Development of Maximum Speed"

"To gain speed the athlete can look in these areas:

*Improve Power- The athlete could sprint up short hills, tow sleds, tow other athletes or run with a weighted belt. The recommendation is that the athlete when running resisted with the aim of improving maximum speed should not be slowed by more than 10%. The most recommended way to do this is with a weighted belt."

http://www.oztrack.com/sprint.htm

Does this sound familiar? Review the above paragraph and my first post.

Now charles, I'm not looking to argue with you (and I think you are making good points) but you don't seem to be getting my point, which is founded in fact, and that is moving slower does not necessarily mean you aren't getting a training effect that ultimately increases speed. My comments were intended to be both thought provoking, for Chris's readers, and as a criticism of the researchers who aren't necessarily making informed conclusions because they are based on the simple assumption that moving slower automatically means decreased training effect for speed.

From the study:

"Prior countermovement jumps resulted in slower 5-m split and overall 20-m sprint times compared with the control ... It is possible to combine heavy resistance and plyometric exercises without detriment to training performance, but sprint training should be performed independently to minimize any potential interference from prior resistance training."

Anonymous said...

charles, it occurs to me that we are posting at cross purposes. You were minimizing the effect of training at at a slower pace

"You can only get faster by going faster."

"I would answer that sprinting with weight would make you stronger, but it wouldn't necessarily make you faster."

in order to make the point

"And training at slower speeds, i.e., with weights, doesn't make you faster as efficiently as, well, moving faster."

While I was trying to stay more on topic with the post.

Chris:
"This study gives some guidance on putting together complex training sessions:

Apparently....if you are doing sprints, plyometrics and resistance work you should do the sprints in a separate session because the plyos and resistance work will slow you down on the sprints."

by questioning the conclusions of the researchers.

Hopefully everyone has gained from the discussion.

Chris said...

THanks guys - it has been a good debate

Sheryl Blystone said...

Fantastic news! I've always experienced a burst of strength and energy following plyometrics. A short burst of box jumps makes my body more powerful and the weights seem lighter and more manageble. I teach my clients,friends, and coworkers this so we keep progressing forward, never hitting a plateau (better known as boredom).

Anonymous said...

I was arguing, at a theoretical level, that speed training in a fatigued state could ultimately result in speed gains even though in a particular exercise bout it resulted slower times. The potential exists that increased motor unit recruitment during fatigue will enhance the effect of increased rate coding during subsequent maximal speed training ultimately producing a superior training effect.

chris, you are adept at finding and posting research that keeps us all informed, a valuable service indeed. If you should find any research along these lines I hope that you will share so that we all may learn from it.

And charles, my thanks to you for your contribution to the discussion

Charles R. said...

Anonymous: Thanks for keeping the tone of the discussion civilized.

Your comment:

"I was arguing, at a theoretical level, that speed training in a fatigued state could ultimately result in speed gains even though in a particular exercise bout it resulted slower times."

Obviously sometimes you train in a fatigued state. And while it may seem like I'm arguing about terms (and how many angels can sprint across teh head of a pin), I wouldn't call that speed training. I'd call it speed-endurance training.

The only reason I think the distinction is important is because I have seen a lot of coaches put more emphasis on such training, thinking it would do a lot towards making people faster, than on actually training them to move faster when they can in fact move faster, when they aren't fatigued.

And I don't think enough emphasis in training speed (or jumping for that matter) is placed on the purely neural learning aspect of it, rather than emphasizing strength and power. And experience shows that kind of learning can only really be done when not so fatigued. It's an extension of the "no pain, no gain" b.s. that has been so harmful over the years.

The whole question is when you do what, and how much benefit comes from which kind of training at what point during the microcycles or macrocyles.

And I agree with this:

Apparently....if you are doing sprints, plyometrics and resistance work you should do the sprints in a separate session because the plyos and resistance work will slow you down on the sprints."

based on my experience and what I have been able to glean from some pretty smart and experienced people. If you are going to jam these things into a workout, or a series of workouts, do the speed work first.

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