Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Next Resource Every Strength Coach Needs

click me

Great New Resource:

Finding time for self-education is not an easy task when you are a fitness-therapy professional working 6am to 6pm. Every year we try to go to conferences and seminars, but as life takes place that does not always happen. With digital media capabilities we now have access to great resources like and Additionally, facebook and twitter provide a great platform for micro-blogging and getting information quick.

With a greater need for depth of understanding we can look to podcasts for help. Websites like provide a wealth of knowledge from authors like Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Mark Verstegen, Brandon Marcelo and many more.

The next evolution in anytime education is here with the launch of webinars. From the comfort of your own home you can watch and listen-in as presentations are being given by leading authorities in the field of strength conditioning, personal training and sports therapy.

Anthony Renna, the forward thinking coach who brought us, now has developed a new webinar site called

Each month, members of the site will see at least 2 webinars from strength coaches like Michael Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Brett Jones, Mike Robertson, and Eric Cressey; therapists like Gray Cook, Mike Reinold and Lee Burton. The site will also bring great coaches and therapists to the forefront who have not necessarily become mainstream.

The great thing about this site is that all of the webinars are being recorded so members can watch them anytime they want, there is no need to be present. There will also be a forum on the site that the presenters will be checking in on so members can ask any questions that they have about the webinars.

Check out the site and let me know your thoughts. I will be doing some talks on there in later months that will be in-line with some upcoming blogs I have planned.

Separate Yourself

Nick Winkelman
Director of Performance Education/Strength Coach
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Optimizing Recovery

Regeneration: Enhancing Recovery for Optimal Performance

Recovery through regeneration sessions and proper planning is critical to the success of every athlete/client. Within the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS) there is a large focus on balancing the Work + Rest = Success equation. Work breaks the body down and it is the planned rest and recovery between training sessions that allows the athlete to achieve maximal performance and supercompensation. Within this equation the proper planning and periodization of work is just as important as the planned regeneration sessions used to enhance recovery. Kraemer (2) defines periodization as programmed variation in the training stimuli with the use of planned rest periods to augment recovery and restoration of an athlete’s potential. By this definition we can see that periodization is designed to optimize recovery which leads to supercompensation and therefore more work does not always relate to greater performance. Many leading authors would argue that the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), and more recently the Fitness-Fatigue Models (FFM), describe the physiological defense for using programmed variation through proper periodization (2). The FFM describes how there is a short-term fatigue effect that varies based on the type of work (i.e. Power vs. Endurance) followed by a long-term fitness or performance effect that is specific to the type of work (i.e. Maximal Strength vs. Hypertrophy). If work is reapplied during the fatigue state too often then performance will continue to fall and there is a potential for overtraining. For a detailed review on the FFM and the practical application for training please reference Chiu and Barnes (1). Additional reading on tapering and the proper use of the “Unload” is explained in the paper by Wilson and Wilson (3). The first step in optimal recovery is proper planning specific to the athlete’s abilities, sport demands, available time and the training age of the athlete.

Within the optimal periodization plan there needs to be planned regeneration sessions, active rest phases and periods of complete rest. The supplemental regeneration will focus on the following strategies: soft tissue through various self-myofascial techniques and stretching; proper nutrition; mindset and psychological stress management; sleep strategies and napping education. Self-myofascial techniques can be broken into general massage and local massage. General massage focuses on blood flow, lymphatic stimulation and general relaxation through the use of foam rolls, vibration and massage sticks. Local massage works towards the release of tissue adhesions and efforts are focused on specific trigger points using Trigger Point Technology tools, tennis ball + vibration and specific practitioner techniques (ex. Active Release Technique). These strategies will be followed by stretching methods that include joint mobility work, active isolated stretches and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. These methods are followed by hydrotherapy using the cold plunge and/or hot-cold contrast work. To enhance recovery further the use of compression garments can be provided for travel and wear at home.

Nutrition will be addressed day one with the athlete and an empowerment approach is used to give the athlete understanding and control of sustainable strategies. The following guidelines will be addressed in detail with each athlete that goes through the APTS: Meal spacing and timing; portion control based on goals, pre-workout nutrition, during workout nutrition, post workout nutrition, hydration, grocery shopping, and travel strategies.

It is critical to understand that stress is cumulative as explained by GAS, and stress outside of training can positively and/or negatively affect performance. For this reason we must monitor and manage any negative psychological stress outside and within training. Strategies that can be used or recommended include the following: Progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, meditation, music and aroma therapy, and many other relaxation based techniques.

Sleep is essential for mind body reconstruction and supplemental “Power Naps” are very important for optimal recovery. Going to bed before 10pm and getting 8-10hrs of sleep is not always a reality for the athletes/clients we work with. For this reason naps can be used to supplement, but not replace night time sleep. During a 20min nap the body will drop into brain frequencies that support memory, motor learning, mental recovery and general relaxation. The best time will typically be between 1-3pm, but an earlier nap prior to an afternoon training session is perfectly acceptable. It should be noted that progressive alarms that slowly bring the athlete/client to an awakened state can be recommended, and naps should be limited to 20min so not to fall into slow wave sleep which is extremely difficult to wake-up from and train.

There are many other strategies, but these are sustainable suggestions that can put an athlete in the best possible position to perform every time they step into the weight room or onto the field. In the end the best methods are those that the athlete believes in and feel empowered to complete on their own.

Athletes' Performance Training System: Regeneration

The following is an example of a perfect day scenario for optimal recovery:

8am: Breakfast + Hydration
9:45am: Pre-Workout Nutrition + Hydration
9:55am: Training Monitor
10am-11:00am: Training + Hydration (Electrolytes)
11:00-12pm: Soft-Tissue Work, Active Stretch, Post-Workout Nutrition + Hydration and Hydrotherapy
1pm: Lunch + Hydration
2pm-2:20pm: Nap
2:45pm: Pre-Workout Nutrition + Hydration
3pm-4pm: Training + Hydration (Electrolytes)
4pm-5pm: Soft-Tissue Work, Active Stretch, Post-Workout Nutrition + Hydration and Hydrotherapy
6pm: Dinner + Hydration
8pm: Snack
10pm: Bed

Chiu, L., and J. Barnes. The Fitness-Fatigue Model Revisted: Implications for Planning Short- and Long-Term Training. J Strength Cond. 25:42-51, 2003.

Haff, G. Roundtable Discussion: Periodization of Training- Part 1. J Strength Cond. 26:50-69, 2004.

Wilson, J., and G. Wilson. A Practical Approach to the Tape. J Strength Cond. 30:10-17, 2008.

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Energy System Development

Energy System Development: Developing Movement Capacity

Energy System Development (ESD) plays a critical role within the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS). ESD will be completed at the end of every workout unless otherwise specified by the therapy team or there are contraindications for any reason. Prior to the completion of the first ESD workout each athlete will complete a Peak VO2 test using the iMETT system and software. This 8-12min test is completed on a treadmill or bike and provides a detailed 3-Zone periodized heart rate system that is predicted off the actual Anaerobic Threshold (AT) and Peak VO2. Note that ventilation, heart rate and power is captured to provide highly specific training zones. The final product is a 5-Phase periodized conditioning plan designed to match the metabolic and movement demands of an athlete’s sport. Each phase will alternate the use of the following three heart rate zones: Yellow (85-95% of AT), Green (AT-110% of AT) and Red (110% of AT-Peak VO2 HR). These 3-Zones are then split into recovery days (Yellow Zone), medium days (Yellow, Green and Some Red) and hard days (Yellow, Green and Red). The emphasis of each zone will progress based on the athlete’s abilities, time availability and the needs of the sport.

Phase 1 (Base Development):

The dominant goal of Phase 1 is to create an aerobic energy system which will be the foundation of the following 4-Phases. To create a strong aerobic base the athlete will spend the majority of their time working around AT in the yellow and green zone with a progressive increase in red zone time as they improve. This will not only strengthen their aerobic capabilities, but also is critical in teaching them how to properly recover and introduce “true interval” training. This phase will last 1-7 weeks depending on the level of the athlete and any weight loss considerations that may need to be addressed before the intensity level is increased.

Phase 2 (True Interval Training):

The primary goal of Phase 2 is develop cardio and leg strength through the introduction of the red zone. This phase will still use cardio equipment, but the intensity achieved on medium and hard days will be significantly higher than the previous phase. True Interval training is characterized by the ability of the athlete to achieve and sustain the heart rates in their red zone for a period of time and then fully recover back down to their yellow zone. As the athlete improves they are able to achieve the higher heart rates sooner and sustain work/power at those levels for longer intervals. Additionally, the time to recovery decreases and we can use more advanced work to rest ratios. This phase will typically last 1-2 weeks and will prepare the athlete for the subsequent phases.

Phase 3 (Linear Movement):

The goal of Phase 3 is to introduce linear specific movements while addressing the metabolic and work to rest demands seen in their sport. When possible these sessions should be completed on the actual playing surface that the athlete will need to perform on. Note that movement quality is still emphasized in addition to the intensity needed to reach the heart rates in a given zone. The linear phase will last 1-2 weeks and workouts will only take place on the hard days due to the dominant focus on movement intensity. Therefore, the workouts on recovery and medium days will be completed on cardio equipment. This phase will use jog to sprint progressing to sprint to jog protocols for various time and distance intervals.

Phase 4 (Multi-Directional Movement):

The multi-directional phase is the same as the linear phase, but the movement focus will transition to change of direction and pivoting movements. Note that there is a dominant focus on acceleration and deceleration capabilities. Sessions will still take place on hard days using 6-cone drills to address the specific movements and metabolic demands of the athlete’s sport. Work to rest ratios will move from 1:2 to 2:1 once the athlete has shown mastery and adaptation.

Phase 5 (Sport Specific Movement):

This phase will introduce the actual technical/tactical drill work seen in the sport with emphasis in the specific work to rest ratios that characterize the sport. Keep in mind that work to rest ratios should reflect the random nature of the sport and the rest should also represent the type of rest the athlete will receive during play (i.e. Passive vs. Active).

Each phase represents a step to get the athlete in the metabolic and movement shape needed to play their sport at the highest level. This is done through specific heart rate training that focuses on capacity and power production. This is important because the athlete may have the cardio strength, but lacks the leg strength to sustain the power endurance demands of the sport. Therefore, the ability to increase speed, incline, resistance, reps per time interval and the actual monitoring of power (wattage) allows you to track heart rate and power adaptation through all 5 phases of training. The end goal should be to produce the sport specific energy systems matched with the appropriate lower body power endurance and movement durability.

Please see EPISODE 17 on for a detailed review of the Athletes' Performance ESD System by our lead Metabolic Specialist Paul Robbins.

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)