Questions Questions

Sorry folks haven’t been able to update my blog recently because of my current workload,

Questions, Questions everywhere!

I get asked a lot of questions, by email, by phone or on forums, at seminars and while im trying to train athletes and myself. Asking questions is always good, nothing better than an inquisitive mind and willingness to learn. But and its big but do some research before you ask. We have the largest resource of information at our hands, it is ; tadah! The internet. The problem with the internet is that anyone can put out information on it. For every useful bit of information there is always someone putting out conflicting and sometimes false information. Here for you convenience are the answers to the most common questions and a little bit of information on why different answers may pop up.

Q. How much protein should I consume and are protein shakes ok? My mother/sister/girlfriend/friend says it’ll make my kidneys explode

A. Protein requirements depend upon factors including body weight, body composition, rate of growth, physical activity level, type of physical activity, adequacy of energy and carbohydrate intake, and illness or injury. Research clearly indicates that protein needs for athletes are greater than the recommended 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight recommended for sedentary people. Most foods contain at least some protein.

Good sources of protein include nuts and seeds, pulses, lean beef, chicken/turkey, oily fish, free-range eggs and some dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt). Protein shakes are just another method of achieving the protein intake you need, they are not dangerous and they most defiantly are not steroids.

You as a traceur or freerunner would need 1.4-2.0g per kg of Bodyweight daily to help build muscle! Research how ever does not support protein intake in excess of 2.0 grams per kilogram body weight. Generally protein and carbs should be consumed before and after training generally in a 2 carbs to 1 protein ratio. Theoretically, an impairment of kidney function has been associated with excessive protein intake, we are talking 500g of protein a day for an extended period. However, this has not been empirically demonstrated in any literature.

There is alot of anti high protein literature out there, vegetarian and vegan sources are to be avoided, as they slam milk eggs and milk as the source of all evil in the world, as are bodybuilding and supplement websites who often recommend insanely high doses of protein in order to sell protein shakes and suppliments.

Q: Do big muscles affect speed and agility??

Muscles are the organs creating motion to allow each of our bodily movements. Stronger muscles allow for stronger movements.

If you want to run faster or swing a bat harder, you must have stronger muscles. An athlete can play better if posses stronger muscles. Thus, there is really no truth at all to the statement that muscles will just slow you down.

sure there can be instances of all show and no go that exsists only in the largest body builders, but this because a body builder does’nt give a flying crap about functionality just pure size. that said most bodybuilders are strong/powerful guys. Having bigger muscles will make you powerful and fast.

Most highlevel gymnasts/sprinters/olympiclifters ive met have been well built and are fast and powerful.

The fear getting too big is silly, with the other activities traceurs do, it would be physiologically difficult without steroids.

Q. I want to put on muscle

The look of larger muscle is caused by “hypertrophy” growth and “low bodyfat” leanness. Muscle mass can in fact impair athletic performance in some regards. For example, added muscle bulk isn’t always associated with a proportional increase in strength.

“The size of a muscle determines its strength and power potential. I say “potential” because without the proper neural adaptations a big muscle won’t be a super strong muscle. Similarly, an efficient nervous system without the proper engine (muscle mass) won’t be very powerful either (most traceurs fall in here).” Christian Thibaudeau.

Most traceurs, are very efficient and have great strength endurance from doing alot of high rep work. What they lack is strength and power (I’m going to get hate mail for saying that, but its true).

With that onboard my rules for building muscle are these

1. Always lift fast, high-threshold motor units have the greatest growth potential, lifting fast activates these.

2. Use heavy lifts to build strength foundation 3-5 reps. Even if the bar doesn’t move rapidly, if you’re really trying to push it as hard as you can, it’ll have the same effect as actually lifting with great speed.

3. Use higher repetition Supplemental lifts after the heavy lifts, Athletes should focus solely on fast-twitch fiber development, but those individuals who want to put on muscle don’t need to shy away from volume work. Even power lifters are known to do high-volume training from time to time, with very high reps. This method works best with sets of 8 to 12 reps with short rest intervals of 60-120 seconds.

4. Adequate protein intake. 1.4-2.0g per kg of Bodyweight daily to help build muscle!

5. Rest, make sure you get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

6. Train everything! Make sure you train your entire body, not just glamour muscles. I don’t care if you have full body days or split it upper and lower. Be sure to avoid full body splits, e.g. arms Monday, chest and shoulders Tuesday, legs Thursday and so on. The training effect is not pronounced enough for athletic improvement and it means you spend a lot of time in the gym.

Q: you mention alot about improving maximum strength to improve power and endurance how does that work??

A: First of all, athletes have to be strong, so the more muscle they have and the greater maximum strength they have, the more power they can potentially produce. But, given that once you’ve got that, then you need to train for peak power and use exercises and loads that develop peak power more specifically. Using conjugate method we look to improve strength, power and endurance all in the same training cycle. Strength training sets the potential for endurance and power, because of the added muscle mass and neural efficiency. I use this example. Imagine max strength is a glass and power/endurance is the fluid that fills it, the bigger the glass you more you could potentially fill it.

How maximum strength effects muscular endurance can be generally (and simplistically) divided into absolute and relative mechanisms.

  • Absolute endurance: the number of repetitions performed at an absolute sub maximal resistance is a function of maximum strength – the stronger a person is he/she has an advantage when performing high reps especially with heavier weights.
  • Relative endurance – at a given percentage of maximum strength, repetitions are typically approximately equal producing equal relative work. Endurance is relative to a percentage of maximum strength

A lot of people propagate the myth that high rep training is the only way to go and that heavy training will make you strong and slow. This because, heavy weight training is difficult to master and needs a good instructor/coach to teach lifts, its easier to sell bodyweight programs and high rep programs because they simple to prescribe and don’t use advanced methods. The other thing is that many trainers don’t understand the muscular and nervous physiology behind heavy lifting and are afraid to prescribe such methods. Generally i find people who propagate this myth are weak and or lack mass.


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