“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”
John Wooden

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Very Simple Mathematical Truth For Successful Strength Training

Your path to fitness doesn't have to be as complex as the "experts" say it does.

By Mark Rippetoe

February 25, 2015

Brooklyn Starting Strength Seminar

Few things could be simpler: use a few exercises that work as much of the body at one time as possible, find out how strong you are now on these exercises, and next time you train, lift a little heavier weight. Just a little. It’s the same process you used to learn to read, to play the guitar, to get a suntan, and to finish your master’s thesis. It’s the same process used to build an airplane or to evolve a more complex organism. It’s the accumulation of adaptation – the enemy of entropy – and it can be done by quite literally everybody.

The ability to adapt to stress is a trait common to all living things. A physical stress is a change in the physical conditions under which an organism, like you, lives. If the conditions stay the same, you stay the same. If the conditions change, you have two choices: adapt, so that the new conditions aren’t a stress anymore, or fail to adapt, and perhaps die.

It is also important to understand that adaptation is specific to the stress that causes it.

The calluses on your hands from the shovel grow on the palms, where the shovel handle rubs, not on your face. You don’t learn to play the piano by playing the clarinet.
At its most elemental reduction, this is the situation. The ability to adapt to physical stress is built into our DNA, and it’s kept us alive for a long time. Training is the systematic and intentional application of progressively increasing specific stress – enough to make you adapt, not enough to kill you. It’s just simple arithmetic.
So what’s the problem? If this process is so simple, both logistically and philosophically, then why in the hell is there so much pointless confusion about what, how, and why?
I’ll tell you: because it suits the purposes of lots of people to make you think it’s complicated. Ever heard the term “muscle confusion”? It was popularized decades ago by the Weider organization, publishers of Muscle Builder magazine, as one of the famous “Weider Principles” of bodybuilding. Along with several other fabulously screwed-up ideas, such as the “Retro-Gravity Principle,” the “Partial Reps Principle,” and the “Triple Split Principle,” the idea that things have to be complicated to be effective was planted in millions of young minds. Trainee confusion, actually.
We grew up, some of us got into the business ourselves, and many of us clung to the idea that effectiveness requires complexity. Sometimes it does, usually it doesn’t. If you are playing the piano at the level of Glenn Gould, and you want to get even a little better, the process will be complex. It will involve a high level of tortuosity, relying on constantly-varying tempo, difficulty, precision, and musical style.

Read more: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2015/02/25/a-very-simple-mathematical-truth-for-successful-strength-training/#ixzz3SwhuOmUi

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Six Reasons Parents Should NOT Watch Practice


The idea for this article struck me as I sat in my car after dropping off a carpool of girls to practice last week. I was scheduled to drive the carpool both ways and it made sense to stay at the fields for practice as the fields were 30 minutes from my house.
As I sat in my car at the sports complex that includes 12 turf fields – I was witness to a long stream of players and parents marching off to training. It is a big complex and I understood that parents of the young players wanted to be sure their child made it to the proper field, so an escort to training was in order. However, when I started noticing parents walking with older players, and parents carrying blankets to keep warm and one even carrying a portable heater – it struck me that many of these parents were planning on hanging out on the sidelines for practice.
I know how rewarding it can be to watch your child practice and improve. As I watched from my car, the anticipation and excitement of many of the fast-walking parents as they herded their players along was nearly palpable, as I have felt it before.
Up until this year, for the past 3 years, I had attended just about every single one of my daughter’s practices. I wasn’t on the sidelines watching, I was on an adjacent field coaching and only periodically involved with her training. While my attention was obviously on the players I was working with, I couldn’t help but steal a glance in the direction of my daughter at a water break and I will even admit a time or two when the water break was extended for an extra 30 seconds or so, in order for me to watch her on the ball.
I loved watching her practice.
I loved watching her practice because of how it made me feel….Never really taking into account how my presence in her team environment made her feel.
Now, after 6 months of not being at the fields for her practices, I clearly see the benefits of my distance.
Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

For Teen Runner With MS, a Season of Change

Kayla Montgomery finishes her first college cross country season at Lipscomb University.

December 10, 2014
Image by

Kayla Montgomery, the North Carolina teen who suffers from multiple sclerosis and gained a national following last year as she developed into a top high school runner, has completed her first season of collegiate cross country.
Montgomery, 19, was diagnosed with MS as a high school freshman. Although medication helps control many of her symptoms, she still experiences numbness in her legs after intense exertion.  She loses all feeling in her legs toward the end of races, and she needs a coach, stationed just beyond the finish line, to catch her after every competition.
As a senior at Mount Tabor High School, Montgomery won the North Carolina Class 4A state cross country championship and completed the 2013 Foot Locker South regional 5K in 17:22, failing to advance to the national finals by a single place. She continued to excel on the track, with a 17:16.82 eighth-place 5,000m finish at New Balance Indoor Nationals and an outdoor state victory at 3200m.
Ranking among the nation’s top college prospects, Montgomery began attracting interest from leading programs as a junior. Yet most Division I coaches shied away upon learned of the MS. One of the few to look beyond Montgomery’s health challenges was Bill Taylor of Lipscomb University in Nashville.
“Before Kayla’s official visit, I talked with my athletic training department and team doctors, to try to understand what we’d be looking at,” Taylor said. “And what I learned is that symptoms are different in each person and they change, so there really wasn’t a clear sense of how things might go once she got here. But we felt very comfortable with her character and personality and fit with our program and school. And later I also talked with her high school coach [Patrick Cromwell] to learn what we could do to prepare and if she’d need any modifications to workouts.”
When Montgomery arrived in Nashville last August she quickly bonded with team members, who recognized the diminutive freshman’s special qualities that aid her struggle with MS. “It’s just really inspiring to know that she’s not guaranteed anything,” teammate Avery Franklin said. “She could wake up one morning and not be able to run any more, so she really gives her all every single practice. She just makes the best out of everything and never gets upset, or at least doesn’t ever show it.”
Montgomery’s condition is exacerbated by heat, because the more quickly her body warms up, the sooner she begins to lose feeling in her legs. So Taylor held her out of Lipscomb’s first meet, held on a hot late-August afternoon. Instead, Montgomery began her collegiate career at the Commodore Classic, hosted by Vanderbilt, where she ran 17:34.8 to finish 18th in a field of 293. “I think it was Kayla’s best race of the season,” Taylor said. “It was an incredible debut.”
All through high school, Cromwell caught Montgomery after races. At the Vanderbilt meet, the job went to Lipscomb assistant coach Jenny Randolph. At the team dinner afterward, Montgomery and Randolph decided they needed more practice. “While we were eating, Jenny had Kayla run up to her and collapse to practice her catching technique,” Taylor said with a laugh. “They repeated this probably 10 times.”
Montgomery must also be caught at the conclusion of certain workouts, when her body’s rising temperature brings on the leg numbness. “Kayla usually can make it the first two or three intervals with the same recovery as the team,” Taylor said. “It’s rough, but she can do it. After that she often needs double the recovery. In those workouts, Jenny is always at the finish positioned to catch her.”

Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link below:
Click on the link below to see the ESPN video 'E:60' - Catching Kayla:


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Here’s a Big Secret For Overcoming Fatigue In Your Strength Training

Lift heavy weights fewer reps, rather than lighter weights many reps.

By Mark Rippetoe
February 4, 2015

Zhanna Ivanova (UKR) squatting 207.5kg Women’s 67.5kg class at the 2002 European Junior Powerlifting Championships (K√∂berich photo).

As we get older, many of us go to the doctor more than we should. We ask the doctor about things doctors don’t really know much about, like diet and exercise. Doctors – having had no institutional training in diet and exercise while at the same time feeling as though they must maintain their authority over all things physical – most usually provide advice about these things anyway. They advise you to eat less fat and go walking every once in a while.

If you ask about strength training – since you have heard that it was a good idea and you know that walking is not strength training – their advice will be to just lift lighter weights and do more reps. Lighter weights and higher reps, that’s the ticket, right? Same effect, less risk, lighter is safer and more reps make up for the lighter weight, right?
It could be that doctors tell older people to just lift lighter weights because they have a genuine interest in not hurting older people, and they perceive that heavier weight is more dangerous than lighter weight. If they didn’t tell this to everybody else too, I might believe this was their intent. Hell, if they didn’t tell this to everybody, I wouldn’t be writing about it.
You have never seen an article here that I have written about diet, because that is not my field of either expertise or experience. I know something about it, most likely more than your doctor, but I reserve my public opinions on things about which I am not qualified to opine. When your doctor tells you to just use lighter weights and higher reps, he is wrong. Like when I refrain from writing about brain surgery, he should refrain from giving this advice about exercise. Here’s why.
Strength, as I have said many times, is merely the production of force by your muscles. The more weight you lift, the more force you produce. Since you can’t lift as much weight 10 times as you can 5 times, 5 reps allows you to use a heavier weight than 10 reps. Therefore, 5 reps with a heavier weight than 10 reps makes you stronger.
And that’s really all you need to know, because it really is this simple. The more weight you can lift, the stronger you are, and the heavier the weight you use in your training, the stronger you will become. Even you. A heavy set of 10 is mathematically lighter than a heavy set of 5. And there you have it.
But more importantly, sets of 10 are not just inefficient for building strength – they are counterproductive in a couple of ways. First, fatigue is the result of more repetitions of a weight, even a lighter weight. You know this yourself from working with your body. Any task repeated many times produces fatigue, and the heavier the task the more rapidly fatigue sets in. Walking doesn’t count because walking isn’t hard. Shoveling snow is a better example, and it’s easy to get pretty tired pretty quick with a big shovel.
Here’s the critical point: fatigue produces sloppy movement, and sloppy movement produces injuries. A set of 10 gets sloppy at about rep number 8 or 9, unless you’re an experienced lifter, and even then it’s damned hard to hold good form on the last reps of a high-rep set. A set of 5 ends before you get fatigued – 5 reps is an interesting compromise between heavy weight and work volume. Unless you’re a heart/lung patient, 5 reps won’t elevate your breathing rate until after the set is over, but a set of 10 will have your respiration rate elevated before the end of the set.

Click on the link below to read the rest of the article: