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    Understanding the Training Factors Pyramid

    November 14th, 2012

    This is the 11th blog post dedicated to write my next book called “BEYOND Functional Training: Maximizing the Transfer of Training Effects Through Science-based Exercise Selection.”

    Below is an excerpt from section 1.1 What is a Needs Analysis

    1.1 What is a Needs Analysis?

    At the largest perspective, the needs analysis answers the question “What is needed to survive the environment?”  I typically prefer to slightly rephrase the questions and ask “What is needed to DOMINATE the environment?”

    What is the “what” in the above question, you may ask?

    A the largest scale, a very rough model to understand the “what” in the above question is The Training Factors Pyramid.(4)

    Table 1.1: The Training Factors Pyramid(4)

    The Training Factors Pyramid shows how performance in sports depends on physical factors, technical factors, tactical factors and psychological and mental factors.

    The psychological and mental training are placed at the top of the pyramid to emphasize that without proper use of the psychological and mental faculties, an athlete will not be able to properly express his or her tactical, technical or physical abilities during competition.

    Example (box): An athlete possesses a high level of physical abilities
    (strength, power and endurance). The athlete also has great technical
    skill and performs extremely well during practice. However, during
    competition this athlete tends to get nervous and often performs
    at a lower level compared to practice.

    However, proper use of the psychological and mental faculties strongly affects physical training, technical training and tactical training, for example, through focus and self image. To communicate this point, I tell athletes and clients that “strength and conditioning is a mental event with a physical outcome”.

    4. Bompa T. Preparation For Training. Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training 4th Ed. Chapter 3, p 54. Human Kinetics. 1994

    Karsten Jensen, MSc.
    Strength Coach, CPTN-CPT.M
    Author, Lecturer, Founder of Yes To Strength
    Yes To Strength publishes the FREE No Gimmicks Ezine. You can sign up to the right, if you are not already a subscriber.

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    What does it take to dominate the environment?

    November 7th, 2012

    This is the 10th blog post dedicated to writing my next book “BEYOND Functional Training: Maximizing the Transfer of Training Effects Through Science-based Exercise Selection.”

    Below is the introduction to chapter 1: The Needs Analysis

    1.The Needs Analysis

    “What does it take to dominate the environment?”

    When I started working with Danish wrestler Mark O Madsen, in 2006, Mark had already won silver in the world championships. One of Mark’s stated goals was to improve his ability to lift his opponents off the floor. Previously, Mark had been advised to use Power Cleans to stimulate strength and power in this movement.

    When I worked on the needs analysis for the movement of lifting the opponent off the floor, I concluded that the pattern could be either a bending pattern (more movement from the hip joint than from the knee joint) or a squat pattern (more movement from the knee joint than from the hip joint). Thus, as you will see later, following this analysis, barbell power clean could definitely be a relevant exercise.

    Primal Patterns is a registered trademark of the C.H.E.K Institute (www.chekinstitute.com ). Primal Patterns include: squatting, bending, lunging, pushing, pulling, twisting and translatory movement (walking, jogging and sprinting). Primal Patterns, developed by Paul Chek, HHP, is a tremendously effective tool for understanding movement. (Read more about Patterns in Paul’s highly recommended book “Movement That Matters”)

    However, the needs analysis also included how the wrestler (Mark) was gripping the opponent. To lift the opponent off the floor, the wrestler wraps his arms around the opponent (“bear hug”) and, with each hand, grips the opposite forearm, almost like gripping a fat rope. No chain is stronger than the weakest link and strength, including grip strength, is very specific. The ability to grip an Olympic bar (as in a Power Clean) does automatically ensure that the wrestler is also strong in this wrestling specific grip.

    We decided to use an exercise that would ensure that the wrestling specific grip would become as strong as the rest of his body. Mark was, at that time, around 75-80 kilos. He was a high priority athlete in the Danish Sports system, thus we had the funding to have sandbags of 10-80 kilos made especially for his training.

    He began the training with the 80 kg sandbag only. The sandbag was on the floor. He knelt down and grabbed it in the exact way that he would grip an opponent. He stood up and from there mimicked the whole body action he would use to throw his opponents. Mark gradually added the 10 kg and then the 20 kg sandbag and in his next training competition, he lifted a 100 kg guy off the floor for the first time.

    His other main lower body exercise was Deep Barbell Front Squats, with added elastic bands to allow him to lift explosively without the bar flying of his shoulders.

    The point of this story is how the thorough needs analysis brought the need for specialized grip strength to light and the dramatic result that was achieved emphasized for me that the needs analysis really is the foundation for effective training programs.

    Overall, the needs analysis identifies the movement patterns of the activity, the conditions during which they are executed, common injury sites and relative contribution of energy systems is the foundation for exercise selection. Without knowing which movements are relevant, it is not possible to choose the right exercises.

    Karsten Jensen, MSc.
    Strength Coach, CPTN-CPT.M
    Author, Lecturer, Founder of Yes To Strength
    Yes To Strength publishes the FREE No Gimmicks Ezine. You can sign up on the right, if you are not already a subscriber.

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    Break The # 1 Barrier to Success with Olympic Weightlifting – PART III

    June 26th, 2012

    Dear Strength Coach and Personal Trainer,

    Today’s blog features Part III of our three part series “Break The # 1 Barrier to Success with Olympic Weightlifting”.

    If our athletes or clients overhead squat, snatch, jerk or overhead press with restrictions in their thoracic spine, the following may be observed or experienced

    1. At the top point, the center of gravity of the weight is in front of the shoulder joint and thus an extension torque around the shoulder joint is created and the lift is missed.
    2. The extension of the spine that should have been distributed throughout the spine is localized to the transition point between the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine with hyper-mobility in that area as the result.
    3. Shoulder impingement and shoulder pain.

    Straighten that spine with Thoracic Mobilization Back On Ball.

    Dedicated To Our Success,

    Karsten Jensen,MSc.
    Strength Coach, CPTN-CPTN.M
    Author, Lecturer, Founder of Yes To Strength

    Yes To Strength publishes the FREE No Gimmicks Ezine - dedicated to the education of Strength Coaches and Personal Trainers (Available at www.yestostrength.com)

    PS: Thoracic Mobilization is a preview from our “Olympic Weightlifting For The Fitness Client” program (scheduled release summer 2012). Introductory offer to No Gimmicks Ezine Subscribers only. www.yestostrength.com

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