Leg Plyometrics

Leg Plyometrics

The following are some examples and explanations of leg plyometric exercises.

Bounds

Bounding

How to perform the drill

  • Jog into the start of the exercise
  • Push off with your left foot and bring the leg forward, with the knee bent and the thigh parallel to the ground
  • At the same time, reach forward with your right arm. As the left leg comes through, the right leg extends back and remains extended for the duration of the push-off
  • Hold this extended stride for a brief time, then land on your left foot
  • The right leg then drives through to a forward bent position, the left arm reaches forward, and the left leg extends backward
  • Make each stride long, and try to cover as much distance as possible
  • You should land on the sole of the foot (flat footed), allowing energy to be stored by the elastic components of the leg muscles, and immediately take off again
  • Keep the foot touch down time to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets over 30 to 40 metres
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • Quality of bounding is far more important than quantity.

Hurdle Hopping

Hurdle Hops

How to perform the drill

  • Jump forward over the barriers with your feet together
  • The movement should come from your hips and knees
  • keep your body vertical and straight, and do not let your knees move apart or to either side
  • Tuck both knees to your chest
  • Use a double arm swing to maintain balance and gain height
  • You should land on the balls of the feet, allowing energy to be stored by the elastic components of the leg muscles, and immediately take off again
  • Keep the feet touch down time between hurdles to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets using 6 to 8 hurdles
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • Hurdles should set up in a row, spaced according to ability
  • The height of the hurdles should be in the region of 12 and 36 inches high
  • Quality of hurdle hopping is far more important than quantity

Single Leg Hopping

Single leg hops

How to perform the drill

  • Stand on one leg
  • Push off with the leg you are standing on and jump forward, landing on the same leg
  • Use a forceful swing of the opposite leg to increase the length of the jump but aim primarily for height off each jump
  • You should land on the ball of the foot, allowing energy to be stored by the elastic components of the leg muscles, and immediately take off again
  • Keep the foot touch down time to the shortest time possible
  • Try to keep your body vertical and straight
  • Perform this drill on both legs
  • Beginners will use a straighter leg action where as advanced athletes should try to pull the heel toward the buttocks during the jump

How much

  • One to three sets over 30 to 40 metres
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • Quality of bounding is far more important than quantity

Box Jumps

Box Jumps

How to perform the drill

  • Assume a deep squat position with your feet shoulder width apart at the end of the row of boxes
  • Keep your hands on your hips or behind your head
  • Jump onto the box, landing softly in a squat position on the balls of the feet
  • Maintaining the squat position, jump off the box onto the ground, landing softly in a squat position on the balls of the feet
  • Jump onto the next box and so on
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets using 6 to 8 boxes
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • The height of the box should be in the region of 30-80 cm
  • Quality of box jumping is far more important than quantity

Depth Jumps

Depth Jumps

How to perform the drill

  • Stand on the box with your toes close to the front edge
  • Step from the box and drop to land on then balls of both feet
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets using 6 to 8 boxes
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • The height of the box should be in the region of 30-80 cm
  • Quality of depth jumping is far more important than quantity

Tuck Jumps

Tuck Jumps

How to perform the drill

  • Begin in a standing position
  • Jump up, grabbing both knees as they come up your chest
  • Return to the starting position landing on the balls of the feet
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • 1 to 3 sets
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • 5 to 10 repetitions/set
  • Quality of Tuck Jumps is far more important than quantity

Two legged Hops or Bunny Hops

Bunny or Multiple Hops

How to perform the drill

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Lower into a squat position and jump as far forward as possible
  • Land on the balls of both feet
  • Try to keep your body vertical and straight, and do not let your knees move apart or to either side
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible
  • Use quick double-arm swings and keep landings short

How much

  • 1 to 3 sets
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • 5 to 10 repetitions/set
  • Quality of Bunny Hops is far more important than quantity

Warm up

A thorough warm-up is essential prior to plyometric training. Attention should be given to jogging, stretching (static and ballistic), striding and general mobility especially about the joints involved in the planned plyometric session. A warm-down should follow each session.

Where to do it and what to wear

For bounding exercises use surfaces such as grass or resilient surfaces. Avoid cement floors because there is no cushioning. Choose well-cushioned shoes that are stable and can absorb some of the inevitable impact. All athletes should undergo general orthopaedic screening before engaging in plyometric training. Particular attention should be given to structural or postural problems that are likely to predispose the athlete to injury.

Young athletes

Some authors suggest that moderate jumps can be included in the athletic training of very young children (Lohman, 1989). However, great care needs to be exerted when prescribing any training procedures for preadolescent children. Because of the relatively immature bone structure in preadolescent and adolescent children the very great forces exerted during intensive depth jumps should be avoided (Smith, 1975)..

High Intensity Plyometrics

High Intensity Plyometrics

The information contained on this page has been provided by Les Archer who has used these High Intensity Plyometrics exercises with many jumpers, hurdles and sprinters with great success. He is a track and field coach in South Africa with experience from schools to the Olympics specialising in sprints and long jump. Les is also the current strength and conditioning coach for the Golden Lions rugby union in South Africa.

High Intensity Plyometrics (HIP) is for the more advanced athletes and should only be conducted once you have been exposed to basic plyometrics for some time. It is a well known fact that huge amounts of forces are placed on the joints, muscles and bone structure with plyometrics and even more so with HIP.

The major muscles worked when performing these exercises are Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps, Tensor facia latae, Gastrocnemius and Soleus.

Warm up

Conduct the following exercises over a distance of 15 to 20 metres:

  • Marching – focus on proper biomechanics of the arms, legs and feet
  • Jogging – high knees, butt kicks, toe jogging
  • Skipping – mimics the quick take off and landing
  • Lunges
  • Ankle hops and small jumps

Start position

Most of these exercises start in the lunge position.Make sure your upper body stays in the upright position and ensure you have good core stability before attempting these jumps.As a precaution, I recommend that the front knee does not move forward beyond the toes as this places extreme force on the knee joints and ligaments. Plyometrics

Lunge jump with a twist

Start in a normal lunge position but move the arms (elbow extended) and hands to a position in front of the body (Figure 1) and then to the side of the leading leg (Figure 2). Upon jumping up, change leading legs and the arms accordingly. This is a good exercise to help develop not only explosiveness but also your core stability. Do 2 to 4 sets of 4 of 6 repetitions. The twist can be executed with dumbbells or with a medicine ball.

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Figure 1
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Figure 2

Lunge jump with enhanced hip flexion and extension

Start in the lunge position. Jump up, once in the air, bring the front knee further up and extend the back leg even more. Before landing, bring the legs back into the starting lunge position. On landing immediately explode into the next repetition. Do 2 to 4 sets of 4 of 6 repetitions. Do one set with the right leg forward and then repeat with the left leg forward.

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Figure 6

Lunge jump landing with alternating legs in front

Start in the lunge jump position. Jump up as high as possible, but once in the air, alternate the legs so the back leg becomes the front landing leg. On landing immediately explode into the next repetition. Do 2 to 4 sets of 4 of 6 repetitions. Do one set with the right leg forward and then repeat with the left leg forward.

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To make this more difficult you can place your hands on your hips.

Lunge cycle jump

Start the same as above mentioned. Once in the air, do a hip flexion with the back leg (so it becomes the front leg) and knee flexion with the now back leg. However, before landing return the legs to the starting position. On landing immediately explode into the next repetition. Do 2 to 4 sets of 4 of 6 repetitions. Do one set with the right leg forward and then repeat with the left leg forward.

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Figure 5
 

Highland swing

This jump starts off by standing with your feet next to one another. Bend your knees and jump up as high as you can and perform a hip flexion with one leg and bending the back leg knee. Before landing, bring the feet next to one another. With the next jump up, alternate the legs. On landing immediately explode into the next repetition. Do 2 to 4 sets of 4 to 6 repetitions. Do one set with the right leg forward and then repeat with the left leg forward.

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Figure 5

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Speed and strength are integral components of fitness found in varying degrees in virtually all athletic movements. Simply put the combination of speed and strength is power. For many years, coaches and athletes have sought to improve power in order to enhance performance. Throughout this century and no doubt long before, jumping, bounding and hopping exercises have been used in various ways to enhance athletic performance. In recent years, this distinct method of training for power or explosiveness has been termed plyometrics. Whatever the origins of the word the term is used to describe the method of training that seeks to enhance the explosive reaction of the individual through powerful muscular contractions because of rapid eccentric contractions.

Muscle Mechanism

The maximum force that a muscle can develop is attained during a rapid eccentric contraction. However, it should be realised that muscles seldom perform one type of contraction in isolation during athletic movements. When a concentric contraction occurs (muscle shortens) immediately following an eccentric contraction (muscle lengthens) then the force generated can be dramatically increased. If a muscle is stretched, much of the energy required to stretch it is lost as heat, but some of this energy can be stored by the elastic components of the muscle. This stored energy is available to the muscle only during a subsequent contraction. It is important to realise that this energy boost is lost if the eccentric contraction is not followed immediately by a concentric contraction. To express this greater force the muscle must contract within the shortest time possible. This whole process is frequently called the stretch shortening cycle and is the underlying mechanism of plyometric training.

Choose the method to fit the sport

The golden rule of any conditioning program is specificity. This means that the movement you perform in training should match, as closely as possible, the movements encountered during competition. If you are rugby player, practicing for the line out or a volleyball player interested in increasing vertical jump height, then drop jumping or box jumping may be the right exercise. However if you are a javelin thrower aiming for a more explosive launch, then upper body plyometrics is far more appropriate.

Plyometric Exercises

The following are examples of lower body and upper body plyometric exercises.

Lower Body

Drop Jumping

This exercise involves the athlete dropping (not jumping) to the ground from a raised platform or box, and then immediately jumping up. The drop down gives the pre-stretch to the leg muscles and the vigorous drive upwards the secondary concentric contraction. The exercise will be more effective the shorter the time the feet are in contact with the ground. The loading in this exercise is governed by the height of the drop that should be in the region of 30 to 80 cm. Drop jumping is a relatively high impact form of plyometric training and would normally be introduced after the athlete had become accustomed to lower impact alternatives, such as two-footed jumping on the spot.

Bounding and hurdling

If forward motion is more the name of your game, try some bounding. This is a form of plyometric training, where over sized strides are used in the running action and extra time spent in the air. Two-legged bounds reduce the impact to be endured, but to increase the intensity one legged bounding, or hopping, can be used. Bounding upstairs is a useful way to work on both the vertical and horizontal aspects of the running action. Multiple jumps over a series of obstacles like hurdles are valuable drills for athletes training for sprinting or jumping events.

Examples of lower body plyometric exercises with intensity level:

  • Standing based jumps performed on the spot (low intensity) – Tuck Jumps, Split Jumps
  • Jumps from standing (low-medium intensity) – Standing long jump, Standing hop, Standing jump for height
  • Multiple jumps from standing (medium intensity) – bounds, bunny hops, double footed jumps over low hurdle, double footed jumps up steps
  • Multiple jumps with run in (High intensity) – 11 stride run + 2 hops and a jump into sandpit, 2 stride run in + bounds
  • Depth jumping (high-very high intensity) – jumps down and up off box (40 to 100cm), bounding up hill
  • Eccentric drop and hold drills (high-very high intensity) – hop and hold, bound/hop/bound/hop over 30 metres (athletes stop and hold on each landing before springing into the next move), drop and hold from a height greater than one metre

Examples of lower body plyometric exercises are detailed on the Leg Plyometric page.

Upper Body

A variety of drills can be used to make the upper body more explosive:

Press ups & hand clap: Press-ups with a hand clap in between is a particularly vigorous way to condition the arms and chest. The pre-stretch takes place as the hands arrive back on the ground and the chest sinks, and this is followed quickly by the explosive upwards action. Once again, to get the best training effect keep the time in contact with the ground to a minimum.

Medicine Ball: Another means of increasing upper body strength popular with throwers is to lie on the ground face up. A partner then drops a medicine ball down towards the chest of the athlete, who catches the ball (pre-stretch) and immediately throws it back. This is another high-intensity exercise and should only be used after some basic conditioning.

Examples of upper body plyometric exercises are detailed on the Arm Plyometric page.

Planning a Plyometric Session

The choice of exercises within a session and their order should be planned. A session could:

  • begin with exercises that are fast, explosive and designed for developing elastic strength (low hurdle jumps; low drop jumps)
  • work through exercises that develop concentric strength (standing long jump; high hurdle jumps)
  • finish with training for eccentric strength (higher drop jumps)

An alternative session could be:

  • begin with low hurdle jumps
  • progress to bounding and hopping,
  • continue with steps or box work
  • finish with medicine ball work out for abdominals and upper body

Some examples and explanations of plyometric exercises for the arms and legs are detailed on the Leg Plyometric page and the Arm Plyometric page.

Warm up

A thorough warm up is essential prior to plyometric training. Attention should be given to jogging, stretching (static and ballistic), striding and general mobility especially about the joints involved in the planned plyometric session. A cool down should follow each session.

How many?

It is wise not to perform too many repetitions in any one session and since it is a quality session, with the emphasis on speed and power rather than endurance, split the work into sets with ample recovery in between. An experienced athlete conducting lower body plyometrics may conduct up to 150-200 contacts in a session – athletes new to plyometric work should start with around 40 contacts per session e.g. 3 sets of 10 bunny hops is 30 contacts. Similar approach should be taken with upper body plyometrics. The focus must always be on quality and not quantity.

Where to do it and what to wear

For bounding exercises use surfaces such as grass or resilient surfaces. Avoid cement floors because there is no cushioning. Choose well-cushioned shoes that are stable and can absorb some of the inevitable impact. All athletes should undergo general orthopaedic screening before engaging in plyometric training. Particular attention should be given to structural or postural problems that are likely to predispose the athlete to injury.

Conditioning for plyometrics

Higher than normal forces are put on the musculoskeletal system during plyometric exercises so it is important for the athlete to have a good sound base of general strength and endurance. Most experts state that a thorough grounding in weight training is essential before you start plyometrics. It has been suggested that an athlete be able to squat twice their body weight before attempting depth jumps. However, less intensive plyometric exercises can be incorporated into general circuit and weight training during the early stages of training to progressively condition the athlete. Simple plyometric drills such as skipping, hopping and bounding should be introduced first. More demanding exercises such as flying start single-leg hops and depth jumps should be limited to thoroughly conditioned athletes.

Conditioning programs to develop leg strength are detailed on the Lower Leg Conditioning page and the Leg Conditioning page.

Young athletes

Some authors suggest that moderate jumps can be included in the athletic training of very young children (Lohman, 1989). However, great care needs to be exerted when prescribing any training procedures for preadolescent children. Because of the relatively immature bone structure in preadolescent and adolescent children the very great forces exerted during intensive depth jumps should be avoided (Smith, 1975).

Summary

Plyometric type exercises have been used successfully by many athletes as a method of training to enhance power. In order to realise the potential benefits of plyometric training the stretch-shortening cycle must be invoked. This requires careful attention to the technique used during the drill or exercise. The rate of stretch rather than the magnitude of stretch is of primary importance in plyometric training. In addition, the coupling time or ground contact time must be as short as possible. The challenge to you as coach or athlete is to select or create an exercise that is specific to the event and involves the correct muscular action. As long as you remember specificity and to ensure there is a pre stretch first then the only limit is your imagination.

Plyometric exercise and weight training can be combined in complex training sessions to develop explosive power.

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page:

Associated Web Sites

The following web sites contain more information related to this topic:

Associated Books

The following books provide more information related to this topic:

  • Advanced Studies in Physical Education and Sport, P Beashel et al., ISBN 0 17 4482345
  • Physical Education and the Study of Sport, B. Davis et al., ISBN 0 7234 31752
  • Essentials of Exercise Physiology, W.D. McArdle et al., ISBN 0 683 30507 7
  • Physical Education and Sport Studies, D. Roscoe et al., ISBN 1 901424 20 0
  • The World of Sport Examined, P. Beashel et al., ISBN 0 17 438719 9
  • Advanced PE for Edexcel, F. Galligan et al., ISBN 0 435 50643 9
  • Examining Physical Education, K. Bizley, ISBN 0 435 50660 9
  • Sport and PE, K Wesson et al., ISBN 0 340 683821
  • PE for you, J. Honeybourne, ISBN 0 7487 3277 2

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Simon taper

Simon,

I’d like to have some suggestion about tapering before Olympic distance and Half Ironman. Specifically, do you taper longer or shorter for each distance, and what does the week immediately before an “A” race look like, training wise?

Thanks

Filippo

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Filippo,

In my opinion all races should be an “A” race. As I have mentioned before, if you going to get on the start line make it count!
In triathlon we have a tendency to misuse the word “taper”. In the true sense of the word, we as triathletes do not do enough volume in each of the three disciplines to really benefit from a true taper. (As per single sport events.)

What we really do before any race is defined as an “active rest.” What you do 7 days out from an event is not going to improve your fitness. The idea is to maintain your form, rest, recover and refresh without loosing muscle memory.

This would be my typical pre race week before both an OD and 70.3 event.
Monday
Run 30 – 40 min easy (6:30 pace)
Swim 2000 – 3000 meters
Bike 1h30 easy

Tuesday
Run Light intervals (10 x 300 meters with 60” sec rest)
Swim 2000 – 3000 meters with about 1000m of change of pace.
Bike – Off

Wednesday
Run – Off
Swim 2000 – 3000 meters easy with some sprints
Bike 2h00 with some intervals (5 x 5 min at or just under threshold)

Thursday
Run 30 min easy
Swim – Off
Bike – Off

Friday
Run – Off
Swim 1500 meters easy
Bike 1hour easy

Saturday
Run 20 min easy with some strides.
Swim 20 min with some short sprints
Bike 30 – 45 min easy

Sunday
RACE!

Simon Lessing.

Incorportaing recovery modalities into the microcycle

Charlene Waldner

Oct. 25, 2007 — Training and recovery are both important to an athlete improvement. There is  a fine balance between both that will achieve the best results. 

The term modalities refer to “body-maintenance”. This is best accomplished by recovery techniques such as sleep, nutrition, stretching and therapy.

Sleep and rest are one of the most over-looked requirements to achieving peak performance. Sleep is a dynamic time for healing and growth. You could say that without rest there is no training. You can improve the amount of recovery by increasing sleep by one hour per night. This can be done by going to bed one hour earlier or sleeping in one hour later. You can increase the time your have available for training by watching less T.V. in the evening or if you have the luxury of sleeping in for a later morning masters group. Extra sleep on weekends could help combat a busy week of work/training and reduced sleep. 

Naps are also important for rejuvenating the body. Many experts advise to keep the nap between 15 and 30 minutes, as sleeping longer gets you into deeper stages of sleep, from which it’s more difficult to awaken. Moreover, longer naps can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night, especially if your sleep deficit is relatively small. However, research has shown that a one-hour nap has many more restorative effects than a 30-minute nap, including a much greater improvement in cognitive functioning. The key to taking a longer nap is to get a sense of how long your sleep cycles are, and try to awaken at the end of a sleep cycle. (It’s actually more the interruption of the sleep cycle that makes you groggy, rather than the deeper states of sleep.) Sleep quality also is important. Make sure that the room is cool, dark, quiet and that the bedroom only used for sleep or intimacy. Reading or using the lab top in bed is stimulating and could cause disrupted sleep.

Having proper nutrition also enhances the athlete’s recover. Having a proper balanced diet including protein, complex carbohydrates, good fats and water in proper proportions to the athlete’s requirements will optimize recovery. Avoiding sugar, alcohol and simple carbohydrates can decrease recovery time because these foods don’t have the proper nutrients. The window of opportunity is 30 mins post-workout. It’s important to have a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein immediately after the workout. A good example could be the Powerbar recovery drink containing 13 grams of amino- acid rich protein. A less high tech version is a tuna sandwich – add vegetables and go easy on the mayo.

Stretching after a workout may enhance recovery and does help retain muscle length. After exercise, the body is warm and muscle tissue is more pliable encouraging the length of muscle tissue to restore to its original length. 20-30 minutes of stretching post-workouts especially the hips, low back, back and hamstrings, key areas for cyclists and runners. Yoga is ideal but you should also  treat a yoga session as another workout. It is beneficial for reducing stress and developing mental focus and relaxation. The jury is out at the moment on whether stretching is beneficial for injury prevention, but it is useful for increasing the range of motion around a joint and helps the athlete be suppler and may promote relaxation.

Therapies such as icing are critical after long or hard workouts. The contrast of ice and heat is good for promoting a “flush” of blood through the treated area and for red blood cells carrying reparative oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. You can do this by alternating 90 seconds cold, 2 minutes hot. Always finish with the cold treatment. Another way is to stand in the ocean, river or lake after a long run or bike. The cooling effect decreases inflammation resulting in you being less stiff and sore the following day.

Massage is an excellent therapy to promote removal of waste products from muscles and helps to break up scar tissue. Having regular massage with a therapist you trust can greatly enhance recovery and prevent injuries. I would recommend a light massage the evening before a rest or active recovery day for most athletes. A recovery week may be an ideal to schedule massage. Athletes respond to massage like training, so it’s best not to schedule treatments randomly or only on race week.

Recovery modalities are critical to an athlete’s adaptation to stresses of training. Important to make them a priority because without regular recovery can lead to injury and over training. The most important point is the timing of the recovery. Keeping the order of eating, showering, then stretching is time-efficient and effective for most busy athletes. Rest should be a priority over training, but an area too often neglected or left out. A good motto is “When in doubt, leave it out”. 

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LifeSport Coach Charlene Waldner is a certified coach, BCRPA trainer, and champion athlete who has spent several years in the health and wellness industry working as a fitness instructor, personal trainer and coach. Charlene’s 10 Ironman finishes include a 9:50 personal best.

Beginner and experienced triathletes are invited to join the LifeSport Team. Contact LifeSport Coaching (coach@LifeSport.ca) or visit www.LifeSport.ca.

Inside Triathlon Exclusive: 10 Ways To Reverse Overtraining

Neal Henderson, MS, CSCS

In the October issue of Inside Triathlon magazine Matt Dixon takes an in depth look at overtraining. Overtraining is a potential pitfall of all athletes regardless of fitness level or experience. But, what do you do if you find yourself overtrained? Below, Neal Henderson of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine gives you ten ways to quickly reverse overtraining and pull out of the death spiral.
Overtraining is a multifactorial process resulting in the overwhelming of your body’s capacity to adapt that leads to decreased performance initially and eventually to decreased health. I often refer to overtraining syndrome as the death spiral because most athletes repeat what is happening over and over, putting their season down the toilet. For endurance athletes, overtraining is unfortunately an all too common affliction. The idea of optimal training is to avoid overtraining by following a progressive training schedule focused on planned progression and rest periods. Periodic evaluations are also an effective method to ensure that you are progressing with your fitness goals. If you find yourself at the point of overtraining, the following 10 items are ways to help pull you out of the overtraining cycle. Keep in mind that there is a difference between overreaching and overtraining. Overreaching is reversible with several days of rest.   Overtraining is further reaching and typically takes much longer to cure.

            1. Rest – Many coaches and physiologists argue about the point of whether overtraining is a result of training too much or resting too little. Once you’ve crossed that line, however, it doesn’t matter what got you there.   The only known true “cure” for overtraining is rest. In a worst case scenario of someone who has overtrained for months, it might take them nearly a year to come out of the hole. In less severe cases, a few weeks to a few months is often all that is required.

            2. Manage stress – When I find athletes suffering from overtraining, there is often an imbalance in mental stress associated with the physical overtraining symptoms. Sometimes it’s a game of chicken or the egg to determine which came first…but paying attention to mental stress and finding ways of alleviating that stress through activities other than training is critical to avoiding overtraining. Consider talking with a mental health professional if you feel that you are not able to deal with the stresses in your life.

            3. Eat well – Several theories regarding overtraining revolve around inadequate carbohydrate intake as a contributing factor, if not primary culprit, in overtraining syndrome. Pay attention to the amount and quality of your macronutrient intake (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) , as well as micronutrient intake (vitamins and minerals) and hydration levels to support your training and overall health. Work with a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition if you aren’t sure how to analyze your diet properly or if you need guidance. Don’t follow guidelines set out for non-athletes, because your needs as an athlete are much greater than the general population.

            4. Monitor training – There are a plethora of tools available to multisport athletes these days including heart rate monitors, power meters, GPS units, and more. Each of these tools has a different purpose, but having some way to monitor your training intensity is important to ensuring proper training. Perceived effort can also be an effective tool for those who aren’t technology driven trainers. As an endurance athlete, a majority of training should typically fall within an easy to moderate effort. A few days a week should be reserved for higher intensity training that would rate as hard or very hard.   

            5. Vary training – Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results is one definition for insanity. It is also guaranteed to produce boredom and a lack of results in training and racing. Reversing your training routes and training with different partners are simple examples of varying your training to keep things novel and exciting. Take the initiative to do sports other than swimming, cycling, and running. Do something different like ride a mountain bike, experiment with cross country skiing, learn how to kayak, or spend a few months working on core strength and balance with yoga or pilates. Expanding your repertoire of fitness building activities is a fun way to improve your overall fitness.

            6. Evaluate health – Seeing your physician on a regular basis and having annual or even quarterly blood tests and other basic health maintenance measures can help catch problems before they become major issues. Find a physician who has experience working with athletes and knows what is normal for athletes training for multisport competitions.

            7. Get tested – Having physiology testing performed at a reputable human performance lab can help you identify proper training intensities and measure your current fitness. If you perform multiple tests over a season, you can track your progress in a very objective way. Specific tests that are appropriate for multisport athletes include lactate profile testing, VO2 max analysis, body composition measurement, and indirect calorimetry to determine exercise energy needs. I encourage athletes to couple laboratory testing with field tests to see how lab versus real world performance correlates for them.

            8. Hire a coach – Look for a USA Triathlon certified coach who has experience working with athletes like you who share similar goals and training philosophy. A good coach can provide a well designed training plan and be able to objectively evaluate your training progress helping you to avoid overtraining.   

            9. Sleep well – Make sure that your habits before you go to sleep allow you to get quality sleep. The amount of sleep is only part of the equation, which for athletes in training should be between 8 and 10 hours per night…even more is needed by some during intense phases. Avoid doing workouts within 2 hours of going to bed, eliminate caffeine consumption in the afternoon, and follow a nightly ritual of slowly revving down to help foster good sleep quality.

            10. Take a break – If all else fails, you might need some time away from the sport. There are many factors associated with overtraining, and by changing your attention away from training and racing for a few months, you will likely be able to come back faster and healthier in the long run.
These tips will help you recover and avoid recurring overtraining. Good luck and enjoy your training.
Neal Henderson, MS, CSCS, is the Sport Science Manager at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Neal is an exercise physiologist and elite coach with experience applying both the art and science to sport and exercise..

Barber To Boise 10K

Activate America
Barber to Boise is the official event for America on the Move in Idaho and YMCA Activate America, celebrating activity and healthy living choices for all ages. America on the Move in Idaho can be used to promote your own fitness activity on an ongoing basis. It is fun, free and easy! Register online at www.americaonthemove.org and begin to track your activity level and receive free heath and nutrition tips daily. The program goal is to encourage people to be more active by reaching the recommended 10,000 steps daily. You will get between 6,500 – 12,500 steps just by participating in Barber to Boise! For more information on Activate America, check out the YMCA Website information

2007 Barber to Boise Results 10k

This race promised to be a perfect tune-up to hone my 10k running skills for the fast approaching season finale on Nov. 10th in San Francisco’s Treasure Island Triathlon.  It was a brisk morning in the low 40’s with lots of sunshine and little to no wind.  Awesome running weather!  I tend to go out too fast in run races so I did my best to stay under control this time.  My first two miles were about 10 minutes and I was feeling good.  However, I had a lull in speed the next couple miles.  I lost ground to the guy I was running comfortably with and ran the rest of the race alone.  I need more focus and tough mindedness to stick to guys running close to my pace.  This guy ended up going on to run my goal time of sub 33:30.  It is so easy for the mind to lose focus, just for a moment, when under the kind of duress a 10k can cause.  Even though I felt the pace was OK he managed to get 10 to 15 feet on me, I lost focus.  I chose to run alone at a comfortable pace.  Don’t get me wrong, I still ran hard and it still hurt, but I could have with-stood more.  I should have stuck like glue to this guy. 

Focus…being in the zone, runners high, he/ she is on fire, unconscious, feeling no pain.  This is a state of being that refreshes in so many ways…giving you that little pinch that says you are alive.  Calm overcomes the entire mind/ body and energy feels endless.  How often can one attain this state?  What attributes best trigger it?  These are spectacular moments that we all seek out in our different ways.  I love exploring the habits of attaining this energy from the seemingly calm serene state that triggers it.                       

Happy Training,

Kevin Everett   .

SCOTT Plasma makes big splash at Kona

2007 Triathlete Magazine Hawaii Ironman Bike Count

A collection of industry officials assembled Friday to count bikes, wheels, aerobars and the like during pre-race bike check-in for Saturday’s Ford Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. The count helps weighs trend swings in bike and bike parts purchasing.

by Jay Prasuhn

Oct. 12, 2007 — This year, Cervelo rules the roost with 344 bike on the pier, ready for action Saturday. Kuota made a big leap to tie Trek with 128 bikes. SCOTT is also upwardly mobile with 89 bikes.

Among the wheels, Zipp made like Cervelo, fairly dominating the aero carbon wheel category, while Hed Cycling took up second. Selle Italia is the top saddle in the race with Fi’zi:k taking second. In a new category being checked-groupsets-Shimano was dominant with 1,521 groupsets, with Campagnolo second and road groupset newcomer SRAM making its first entry into the market with 20 gruppos on the pier. Among aerobars, Profile Design maintained its top position with 706, with Vision by FSA second.

Bikes

SCOTT Plasma LTD is a screaming fast bike 

1. Cervelo 344
T2. Kuota 128
T2. Trek 128
4. SCOTT 89
5. Cannondale 75
6. Orbea 71
T7. Felt 66
T7. Kestrel 66
T9. Specialized 61
T9. Litespeed 61
11. Quintana Roo 60
12. Giant 59
13. Look 51
14. Guru 36
T15. BMC 15
T15. Principia 15
17. Softride 14
T18 Argon 18 12
T18 Elite 12
T18 Griffin 12
21. Calfee 11
22. Stevens 8
T23. Pinarello
T23. Time
T23 Javelin 7
26. Bianchi 5
T27. Teschner 3
T27. Fuji 3
T27. Ridley 3.

Coach Lance Watson in Kona: Building an Ironman Champ

By Lance Watson

Oct. 15, 2007 — At Triathlete’s “Legends of the Lava” seminar last week, a question was posed to Mark Allen, Dave Scott and Paula Newby Fraser: “Why did you guys race so fast back then, compared to now?” As a coach fascinated by models of long term athlete development (LTAD), my ears perked up to hear their answers.

Paula talked about having no barriers and chasing the guys in training, rather than a structured regime that might present limits. Mark and Dave eluded the fear factor of racing each other and training for a 7:45 Ironman and 2:30ish marathon, to be fit enough to lay that down if necessary. There were less group tactics and more going solo and going hard.

Relative to Paula’s comments, in my own experience I have seen what high level training partners can do for an athlete’s preparation. I think back to Greg Bennett helping Simon Whitfield get ready to win Olympic Gold in 2000. Good work ethic and a great training program coupled with training mates who push you that extra little bit. And, as Mark and Dave alluded to, if you are constantly exposed to the highest level of training and competition, it becomes the norm that you strive for. Building the National Triathlon Centre in Canada, I always welcomed international athletes into the program, because I knew the impact of that on our young Canadian athletes. Many of those young athletes are now amazing international competitors. Maybe you have heard of Kirsten Sweetland, a 19 year old winning World Cups internationally?

Reflecting on their winning times, PNF’s 8:55 and 8:58 are unbelievable. That woman is an exceptional athlete.  Looking at Mark’s 8:07, and Luc Van Lierde’s 8:04, it seems that a sub-8 in Kona is well overdue.

Most proponents of LTAD would agree that an athlete in their teen years needs to work on motor skill acquisition (i.e. learn how to swim and run efficiently), speed and threshold, with less focus on endurance. I am regularly asked by parents on how to prepare their 8, 9 or 10 year old for a 10k run. That is hard on their growth plates and also too long to go for that age, even if they tell you they love it! It’s better for their health and long term potential to run school cross country at 1 to 3 miles and go as fast as they possibly can.

Consider that many of the finest Ironman athletes have also won short course worlds:  Michellie Jones, Erin Baker, Greg Welch, Mark Allen, Karen Smyers and now Chris McCormack. Normann Stadler and Natasha Badmann also won World titles in duathlon at the 10k run-40k bike-5k run distance. It means that these guys and gals needed to be really, really fast in their early to mid-20’s. As I watched Macca and Crowie tear up the run course yesterday, I was immediately reminded of witnessing their run prowess at the shorter distances, and the speed and finesse with which they tackled 10k’s off the bike.

With the proliferation of Ironman and the excitement that surrounds it, it concerns me that many late teen and early 20’s athletes will solely turn their attention to long distance training, and miss those critical threshold-development years that will ultimately impact their Ironman potential. Like Haile Gebrselassie or Paula Radcliffe in the marathon, they first honed their 5000m and 10000m speed before moving up to longer distances.

Kudos to the World Triathlon Corporation for building a bridge to Ironman with the 70.3 series. I believe this pathway will greatly build depth and ultimately for performance at the Ironman World Championships. With Craig Alexander and Samantha McGlone’s performances this year, the proof is already in the pudding!

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LifeSport coach Lance Watson is in Kona as the Official Coach of Ironman. He has coached 16 Ironman wins.  To learn more about LifeSport or to start on a great coaching journey, contact Coach@LifeSport.ca, or visit www.LifeSport.ca.

Bennett wins biggest single-day payday in triathlon history

IT Interactive

Australian Greg Bennett captured the win at the Toyota US Open in Dallas, Texas Sunday, as well as the accompanying bonus checks for winning each of the races in the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Series, subsequently trumping the BG Des Moines World Cup as the now richest payday in triathlon history.   A simple addition calculating the total amount of the three gigantic checks cradled tightly under Bennett’s arm as he strode around the finishing chute equaled $420,000.

Bennett completed the richest winning streak in triathlon history, winning the final stop of the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Series, the championship race in Dallas.   The win topped an improbable run that included victories at the previous four races in the series including Minneapolis (July 15th), New York City (July 22nd), Chicago (August 26th) and Los Angeles (September 9th).  

After failing to qualify for the United States Olympic team at America’s first qualifying event at the BG Beijing World Cup, Colorado Springs resident Sarah Haskins defeated a fatigued Emma Snowsill and a powerful Julie Dibens for the biggest win of her young career.

Men’s Race

In order to cash in on his large payday, Bennett had to topple one of the strongest non-drafting fields compiled so far in 2007.   Perhaps the most formidable challenger was fellow Aussie Craig Walton, who finished a mere six-seconds behind Bennett at the Los Angeles Triathlon last month.   Other eager contenders with near-impeccable resumes were Kiwis Bevan Docherty and Kris Gemmell, both fresh off securing their home country Olympic bids for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Czech short-course speedster Filip Ospaly, and a hungry and healthy Hunter Kemper.   Each of these men, and more, were motivated by the $60,000 top prize for the men’s race winner.  

France’s Ben Samson led the swim out-of-the-gates and immediately opened a 10-15 meter gap on a main pack including Walton, Bennett, Docherty and Stephen Hackett.   Walton caught up with the quick swimming Frenchman at the halfway point in Joe Pool Lake and remained on his feet over the final 800 meters.   By the end of the one loop swim, the swim studs only managed a slight gap on the main chase group, and after the quarter-mile run to T1, the group exited onto the point-to-point bike course together.

Frustrated with himself for not establishing a larger lead during the swim, Walton charged to the front of the bike but the chasers kept him in-check and allowed him to hover 50-meters off the front in the early miles.   Bennett was the first to challenge Walton’s cycling prowess and used a series of up-tempo efforts to force a stronger pace from the main group of chasers including Kemper, Ospaly, Docherty, Gemmell, Hackett, and Matt Reed.  

While Bennett’s early efforts were made to force quicker runners like Docherty, Osplay, and Gemmell to work hard during the bike, Reed leaped from the group ten miles into the 25-mile bike course, to gauge the cycling strength of his fellow racers.   His solo effort formed an early gap of one-minute through the rolling Dallas suburbs.   However, by the time Reed reached T2 at Reunion Arena in downtown Dallas, the chasers led by Kemper, were within 15-seconds of the Colorado-resident Reed.  

Reed continued to lead through the empty streets of downtown Dallas for the first two-miles but behind him Bennett made his move and broke free from a hungry group of pursuers.   Running his first mile at four-minute, 30-second pace and firing off a second mile in four-minute, 40-second pace, Bennett caught and passed Reed before the two-mile mark of the 10k-run course.   The flying Aussie, who spent last week studying Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie’s record-breaking marathon running form, sped through the opening lap in 16-minutes and formed a gap of 200-meters over Ospaly and Docherty.   Bennett continued to pull away from his pursuers during the second 5k-lap and broke the tape with time enough to slap high-fives and acknowledge the Dallas crowd.

Said Bennett after his win, “Going in, I was concerned how far back I would be after the bike portion, but once I began the run in second place, I knew I was in great shape.”  

“I just sprinted the first two miles, all or nothing for me, to try and not give anyone else hope,” continued the affable Aussie.

Ospaly out kicked Docherty inside the final kilometer and finished runner-up and beneficiary of the $25,000 second-place prize.   Athens silver medalist Docherty held off a hard-charging Kemper for third-place and $15,000.

For his sweep of each of the five Lifetime Fitness Triathlon races, Bennett won a total of $508,000 in 2007.  It has been a dream summer for the Bennett family as Greg’s wife, Laura, won the BG Des Moines Hy Vee Triathlon and the $200,000 top prize and Hummer.  Laura also captured the first US Olympic berth after she finished first American at the September 16th BG Beijing World Cup and qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


Women’s Race

Snowsill entered the race as the top-seeded woman in the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Series standings having won in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and finishing runner-up to ITU world champion Vanessa Fernandes in Minneapolis.   However, it quickly became apparent during the opening 1.5k-swim around Joe Pool Lake that the American Haskins was on the top of her game and would be a difficult rabbit to chase down.   

Haskins assumed the role usually assigned to her American teammate Sara McLarty and pushed a fast pace in the opening swim leg.   Haskins broke free from the main group of swimmers including Dibens and Snowsill and completed her tour from Cedar Hill State Park to downtown Dallas alone.
 

“The bike was the toughest part because I didn’t know where anyone was or how far ahead I was,” said Haskins.

With over a one-minute lead on Dibens after the 25-mile bike, Haskins set out on a torrid pace worried faster runners like Snowsill and Wassner were close behind.   In reality, she was running away from her competition and had a bigger lead than she could ever imagine.   Haskins kept the pace high over the final 5k-loop and took the biggest win of her career in 1:55:45 and the $60,000 winners check.   Dibens finished nearly two-minutes behind Haskins as runner-up and took home $25,000 and Australian Mirinda Carfrae held off the off-form Snowsill to round out the podium for $15,000.

Despite her fourth place finish Snowsill captured the women’s top place in the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Series standings and the $60,000 bonus.

PRO WOMEN OVERALL RESULTS
1. Sarah Haskins  1:55:45
2. Julie Dibens  1:57:57
3. Mirinda Carfrae  1:59:11
4. Emma Snowsill  1:59:41
5. Rebeccah Wassner  2:00:15
6. Anja Dittmer  2:01:46
7. Mary Beth Ellis  2:03:18
8. Kelly Handel  2:04:21
9. Jillian Petersen  2:04:55
10. Michelle Leblanc  2:04:56

PRO MEN OVERALL RESULTS
1. Greg Bennett  1:44:41
2. Filip Ospaly  1:45:02
3. Bevan Docherty  1:45:13
4. Hunter Kemper  1:45:29
5. Matthew Reed  1:46:49
6. Stephen Hackett  1:46:58
7. Craig Walton  1:47:17
8. Kris Gemmell  1:49:03
9. David Thompson  1:49:25
10. Michael Simpson  1:50:37

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