Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
A study conducted by Dr. Dainow in 1977 states that one's heart tends to moderately follow the beat of the music that is playing at a given moment. The research suggests that fitness enthusiasts may benefit by playing music, with a beat that correlates with one's desired heart rate before, during and even after a specific workout or competition.
Every time I watch the pre-game show for a professional basketball game I see Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, or some other big name all-star walk into the arena wearing some absurdly large headphones that are evidently blasting some music that "gets them in the zone." By the "zone" I mean one's ideal performance state. There are a multitude of extremely important factors that contribute to one's ability to achieve their IPS. I have mentioned a few of these factors in my previous posts, most importantly: sleep, nutrition, over/undertraining, attitude/mind set, and the newest performance enhancer (or diminisher given the respective circumstances) is the external auditory stimulus colloquially referred to as music. Music has the potential to allow an individual to tap into their IPS given the stimulus that the individual is searching for. For example lets say Jeff is about to do a one rep max deadlift in his garage, by himself. Jim is evidently going to have some issues getting "amped up," seeing as he is by himself, for a lift that he NEEDS a significant amount of adrenaline to successfully complete. Jeff needs to listen to some fast paced music that he enjoys listening to (pop, techno, rap, etc.). In an antithetical scenario Bill may be preparing to compete in the Crossfit Games for the first time. Bill is so nervous he can't sit still and he is on the verge of hyperventilating. Obviously, Bill needs to slow down his heart. Bill needs to listen to some slow paced music (i.e. classical or some really soft jazz or rock) that will induce a state analogous to meditation. During this pseudo meditative state Bill might want to visualize himself doing the workouts quickly, steadily and successfully.
So next time you throw on some tunes before jumping into a workout think about what your goals are, how your energy level is at the given moment, and what type of music will help you reach your own Ideal Performance State.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
My goals in my “quest for dunkage” are to dunk a basketball, snatch 90kg, and clean and jerk 115 kg. There are a few stars that need to align in order to make this process a smooth one. First of all I need to eat well and eat well consistently. In an earlier post I defined eating well as eating paleo (meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar). Right now I am primarily running on meat and vegetables in a some what ketogenic diet, but that is a subject for another post at a later date (expect a “Ketogenic Diet and Athletic Performance” post in the near future). Secondly, I need to train hard consistently and intelligently. What I mean by training intelligently means training the energy system --the ATP-PC system (Alactic)--that will allow me to become more explosive and consequently dunk a basketball and improve my Olympic lifts. Thirdly, I need to recover well. Recovery includes sleeping well, stretching, and self-massage (and also nutrition, which I already mentioned). Finally, I need to maintain consistent mental toughness and persistence in the face of adversity.
The maintenance of adequate mental toughness can be achieved in many different ways. Yesterday as I approached the bar for my first of three sets of 89% clean and jerks, I remembered something that I read three years ago in “The New Toughness Training For Sports” by James E. Loehr. In the book, Loehr stated that success begets more success. In that vein, he suggested doing or even thinking of oneself doing a “fist pump” or any celebratory action before, rather than after, attempting to complete a difficult athletic task. For example before a difficult putt, pump your fist and think of the psychological feeling of sinking that putt. This method of (pre) positive reinforcement is applicable to any and all athletic endeavors. So before I approached the bar on Wednesday, I would do a fist pump and think of myself successfully completing an ultra fast and extremely smooth clean and jerk. It was amazing. I was a completely different lifter: 95 kg felt like a toothpick and my training partners said that it was the best technique that I had utilized to date. Needless to say the mental approach can be the difference between success and failure in many instances.
I guess my Olympic lifting, plyometric and met con progamming is working pretty well. I am mid way through week 5 of my 12 week "the quest for dunkage," and I have improved my explosiveness by leaps and bounds.
I also had a nice little PR on my max rep pull-ups to with 45. My previous PR was 40.
I am planning on doing a test run on a basketball hoop at some point next week. I'll try to keep the good results coming.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It’s a fact that high quality sleep improves performance. In 2008 a study was performed at Stanford University regarding the correlation between increased hours of sleep and improved performance. Ten healthy student athletes, from the men's and women's swimming teams respectively, were asked to maintain their normal amounts of sleep (between 5-8 hours per night) for two weeks and their performance (timed swims at their daily practices) was recorded. Then the athletes were asked to sleep 10 hours a night for 6 weeks and their corollary performances in practice were assessed after each regularly held swim practice. After obtaining extra sleep, the athletes swam a 15-meter meter sprint 0.51 seconds faster, reacted 0.15 seconds quicker off the blocks, improved turn time by 0.10 seconds and increased kick strokes by 5.0 kicks. The swimmers obviously improved their reaction times and explosiveness significantly simply by sleeping more. All of these performance gains occurred in just 6 weeks and one would assume that the results would continue to improve over the course of an entire year of increased sleep.
These results elucidate the fact that athletes can benefit significantly from increased amounts of sleep. Although this study focuses solely on the importance of sleep among collegiate swimmers, the results are applicable to any and all athletes seeking peek performance. There have been other similar studies conducted with athletes from other sports providing very similar results.
Sleep is essential to keep the human body functioning and running at top speed. It is by far the most potent means of recovery and bodily restoration. While sleeping, muscle tissue heals, information is collated and stored throughout the day, and our immune system heals. The more we sleep--on a regular basis-- the better we feel and consequently the better we perform. Ten hours of sleep a night might seem excessive, but it should be a priority as an athlete to get as much sleep as possible.
Finals are rolling around at school and I have been staying up late studying and writing papers lately. Throughout this whole sleepless process I have maintained my training schedule and I have been seeing some extremely low levels of performance. Yesterday, I was testing my vertical leap on a basketball hoop in Sausalito and I could not touch the rim. I was barely tapping the rim last week, but yesterday it felt like my explosiveness was gone... I had nothing. I probably lost 2 inches on my vert simply by getting low quality sleep for about a week. That being said, sleep is immensely important to one's recovery and everyone should learn from my mistakes and moderate their amount of training during periods of time in which they know they will be getting less sleep (finals, deadlines, etc.)
This post is making me tired . . .good night.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
1. Tuck Jumps- 10 jumps x4
2. High Knees- 25 yards x 3
3. Bounding- 50 yards x 5
4. 5-Dot Drill (around the world x 2 + stutter step x 2)
5. Power Skip- 25 yards x 3
6. Rim grabs- 5 x 2
7. Jump Rope- 50 revolutions x 5
8. Ascending Box Jumps- 3x 3
9. Sprinting- 100 yards x 2; 50 x 4; 25 x 5
Monday, December 7, 2009
1. Snatch- work up to 85% for a 2 rep set
2. Snatch Balance- work up to a heavy 3x3
3. Core Couplet- Planks (1 min front and both sides) and Hollow Hold (45 secs)
I didn't hit any PRs yesterday, but the experience was definitely beneficial. I learned a great deal about performance psychology during the competition and consequently I will be posting something on that topic this week.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
1. Clean and Jerk- 1 Rep (at least three sets at or above 80%)
2. Clean Grip Deadlift- 5 reps (at least three sets with maximum exertion)
3. Basic Pseudo-Gymnastics stuff:
10 Bar Muscle-ups x 1
Support into Forward Roll on rings x 2
50 Hollow Rocks + 25 Arch Rocks x 3
15 Knees to Elbows (deadhang) x 1
(My goal is maximum control on these movements, not speed necessarily)