Posts Tagged ‘Muscular Endurance’

This post is adapted from Matt Fitzgerald‘s article. He’s the author of RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel (VeloPress, 2010) and an expert training content developer for PEAR Sports. Learn more at

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There’s a reason Olympic runners have coaches—the same reason you may need one.

   Meb Kelfezighi has a coach. So does Desiree Davila. So do Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Dathan Ritzenhein. Almost all of the American runners who went to the London Olympics last summer work with coaches.

     Self-coached age-group runners might wonder why. After all, running is not a team sport where a coach is needed to decide who starts and who comes off the bench, who plays which position, and so forth. Nor is running a highly technical sport like swimming, where coaches are needed to observe and correct form flaws. Indeed, one of the virtues of running as a sport is its simplicity. Within a few years of taking it up any runner can acquire all of the knowledge he requires to coach himself.

If you ask America’s Olympic runners directly why they have coaches, most of them will not cite their lack of knowledge of the sport. These runners know perfectly well how to train. They seek other things from their coaches. Kara Goucher has said that she relies on her coaches to help build her confidence and to take the burden of planning and interpreting her training off her shoulders. Many elite athletes rely on coaches to keep them from doing stupid things, like responding to symptoms of overtraining by training harder.

Another advantage of working with a coach is accountability. This advantage snuck up on me when, in my late thirties, I chose to work with a coach for the first time since high school. My conscious reason for hiring a coach was that I had run out of ideas on how to improve and I wanted someone to give me fresh ideas. That’s another benefit of working with a coach. And, sure enough, my coach had me try some new things with my training that worked well. This was expected. What was unexpected was the sense of heightened accountability that I felt. I never saw myself as an athlete who cut corners, but when I had a coach to report back to I suddenly found myself not cutting corners that I had cut unconsciously before.


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As a coach myself, I may be biased, but I believe that every runner can benefit from working with a good coach. Any one of the above-mentioned benefits—confidence building, stress
alleviation, stupid mistake avoidance, accountability,
and fresh ideas—could make the partnership worthwhile. And the knowledge component should not be underestimated. For lack of knowledge most runners, and even most competitive runners, make fundamental mistakes in their training such as not varying the intensity of their workouts sufficiently.

Once you’ve made the decision to work with a coach you must then find one. The first step in this process is deciding if you’d rather work face to face with a coach in your area of work through the internet and/or by phone with a coach who could be anywhere.

The advantages of working face to face with a local coach are obvious. You certainly won’t do every run with your coach present, but he or she can directly supervise some of your most important workouts. You may also enjoy the opportunity to do track workouts and such with a group of other runners working under the same coach. A coach who sees you run can do things that a remote coach cannot, such as correct your form and observe that you look tired and need a rest.

One of the advantages of opening up the map in your coaching search is that you can be very choosy. If you insist on working with a coach who has experience with national champions—well, there may not be such a coach available in
your area.

To summarize, I think you should have a coach. Few runners regret the decision to hire a coach, and it’s a small risk in any case. If it doesn’t work out you can go back to talking yourself out of making stupid mistakes with your training.


A New Way to Get a Coach.

      Technology has recently made possible a new type of coach – with the endless possibilities of the internet today, you can sign up for coaching online! For runners, I recommend Ben Greenfield, author of Author of the popular “Beyond Training” book. He is currently the founder and owner of Human Wellness Solutions, a company that develops innovative and cutting-edge fitness and nutrition services and solutions to help people reach their physical and mental performance goals, whether that be to cross the finish line of an Ironman triathlon, or simply shed a few pounds.

Voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and recognized as the top 100 Most Influential People in Health, Ben Greenfield is a fitness, triathlon, and nutrition expert, and has authored multiple books and DVDs

Voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and recognized as the top 100 Most Influential People in Health, Ben Greenfield is a fitness, triathlon, and nutrition expert, and has authored multiple books and DVDs

    From 2006-2009, Ben was Director of Sports Performance and managed the physiology and biomechanics laboratory at Champions Sports Medicine in Spokane, WA, offering metabolic-based weight loss, bicycle fitting, running gait analysis, swim stroke analysis, VO2 max testing, blood lactate testing, resting metabolic rate analysis, and other cutting-edge procedures for weight loss and performance. He is now a full time coach, trainer, nutritionist and author.

     Ben also owns the Rock Star Triathlete Academy, the internet’s top school for learning the sport of triathlon and how to be a better triathlete, the Superhuman Coach Network, a mastermind and mentorship program for personal trainers and health experts, and Endurance Planet, the world’s leading resource for endurance sports entertainment and podcasts. He was voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year, by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, an internationally recognized and respected certifying agency.

His credentials include:

-Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology

-Personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

-Sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)

-Advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta, the “Harvard” of bicycle fitting schools

-Over 9 years experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports


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The advantage of this online coaching and training course is that you can have access to the products of one of the best athlete and coach there is at any time you want! Ben Greenfield offers lots of advice, lessons, and training plans from the Triathlon Dominator, to  Running pain free, and strength training. Another great advantage of having an Online Coach is that it costs less compared to when you get a personal coach. When you get an Online Coach, you only pay for a one-time investment for the program you choose, whereas having a personal coach requires you to pay him/her for every session!

These programs are proven to work and you can see the many testimonials available for each program. The only setback to having an online coach is that YOU have to push yourself and motivate yourself to be dedicated, consistent, and patient with the program.

Remember that this is not some advertisement that you usually see on the internet claiming instant results – it’s a TRAINING COURSE based on proven exercise programs backed up by sports science. The instructions, demo videos, and even one-on-one online coaching are available with a click from your hands. Like any other training regimen, the results are based on how committed you are to training! The guarantee for each program to work depends on how you guarantee your commitment to it and your passion for running.

Don’t get it if you think you won’t be able to follow consistently and be patient with the results. But if you are passionate with your sport and you really want to commit to train to achieve more, then get coached by one of the best triathletes today – it’s worth the investment!

Ben Greenfield offers numerous eBooks and training courses, and if you are the committed athlete who is wiling to invest time and resources in the best training plan there is, the Ironman Dominator Package is for you:

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few days ago, I saw a interesting video where four people ‘competed‘ to know which person could make the most number of squats with their own body weight. Now, they’re not just the Average Joe’s we see everyday, but seasoned athletes in their own fields.

These athletes are composed of a Powerlifter, a Strongman, an Olympic weightlifter, and a Bodybuilder. The people who put this up might have thought that this would finally determine who is the strongest athlete among the four disciplines. We know that following the Principle of Specificity, these athletes subdue themselves to a training program that would best suit the specific goals of their sport, so it is interesting to see which kind of training and technique would result to maximum muscular strength and muscular endurance.

The Powerlifter and the Weightlifter both train to do a 1-rep max in their competition, so they are used to training with low repetitions but at a high intensity (weight). On the other hand, the Strongman and most especially the bodybuilder are used to training with higher number of repetitions at a moderate to high intensity. Each competitor’s body weight was determined and they were set to squat their body weight as many as they can for 5 minutes.

The whole video is 10 minutes long and I didn’t watch all their grunting and groaning. (Disclaimer: the next sentence is a bit of a spoiler.) There are just some moments you may want to see like when one lifter almost loses his breath, or when another lifter fell on his squat rack! Anyway, if you just want to see the results, you can skip to 6:45 on the video timeline for the last minute of their match.

Recovery is as important as training!

Check out “Power Recovery Method” by Joe Hashey, CSCS to know how to get the best results from your workouts just by utilizing rest and recovery properly.

You can watch the video here:

Assuming that you now have seen the video, I can now ‘spoil’ the details!

As I’ve said earlier, the Strongman and the Bodybuilder are used to training at a higher number of repetitions so it’s safe to bet on one of them. However the Powerlifter and the Weightlifter, who trains with low reps and high intensity are the ones who prove to have a little more edge in terms of muscular strength and muscular endurance.


Work Out Wisely!

Eric Cressey, CSCS developed the “High Performance Handbook” to show how to individualize your workouts to fit your specific goals and needs. Don’t waste your workouts. Working out the wrong way is like not working out at all, or even worse if your workout leads to injury!

One thing I noticed at the start (apart from noticing how the strongman kinda looks like an endomorphic Wolverine!) is how the Powerlifter and the Weightlifter distributed their repetitions. The four were allowed to take rest periods at any time and as long as they want throughout the five minutes. The Powerlifter rests every 6 to 8 repetitions in his first few sets. The Weightlifter, even though he does at least 15 reps in the first sets, takes a longer rest period to recover – the Powerlifter eventually caught up with the Weightlifters’ number at 30 squats. On the other hand, the Strongman did 20 straight repetitions while the Bodybuilder did 17. They did not recover long enough before doing their next sets which was detrimental as they were only able to do less repetitions than before. Of course, there was a time pressure for all of them to do the most number of squats but being ‘strategic’ on how fast each repetition should be and how to distribute the sets and rest period was still important.

First of all, this shows how recovery is very important to strength training! It’s not just about how much you lift and how often, but also how you allow your body to have short term recovery (resting in between sets) and long term recovery (resting in between training days or competition periods; periodization). Joe Hashey, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Top Personal Trainer developed a program for maximum recovery for efficient workouts. Many people waste their time in the gym working out the wrong way by not letting their body recover correctly – this won’t produce the results they want and might even lead to injury! Try Joe Hashey’s “Power Recovery Method” to maximize your workouts and achieve the best results in less time.

Secondly, the video shows how it is important to have the right technique and strategy when lifting. Form and technique matters in any exercise program. To get the best out of your training, you should know the right tools to use! An inefficient workout is like not working out at all and sometimes even worse if you train the wrong way and it leads to injury! Eric Cressey, the founder of Cressey Performance who is another CSCS and is an accomplished powerlifter, author, and coach, developed the “High Performance Handbook” which shows how to program your workouts to fit your individuality and specific goals. The Handbook helps you design a program suitable to your needs and even how to modify exercises based on your level. His program is proven not just by recreational fitness enthusiasts (a.k.a. gym rats) but by known athletes and Olympians. He specializes in applied kinesiology and biomechanics which simply means that he has an expertise in program design and corrective exercise for strength development and athletic performance. Try his Handbook for maximum results from your workouts!

Being fit is not only about being able to meet the demands of your daily activities (work, school, etc) well, but about having that extra energy for other recreational pursuits, unplanned activities, and/or emergencies without getting too tired. These two definitions that I found are what I think the most accurate and complete.

The first definition by Clarke (1976) is the one which was used by most Physical Education subjects:

The ability to carry out daily tasks (work and play) with vigour and alertness, without undue fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies.

Hoeger (2006) rephrased the definition while keeping it specific and complete:

The ability to meet the ordinary as well as the unusual demands of daily life safely and effectively without being overly fatigued and still have energy left for leisure and recreational activities.

Cardio-vascular Endurance, Muscular Endurance, and Speed are the main components in Running.

Cardio-vascular Endurance, Muscular Endurance, and Speed are the main components in Running.

Fitness has various aspects which should be fully understood by coaches and trainers for a more elaborate and complete training program that would help the athlete/client reach his/her goals effectively. It is subdivided into two kinds of components that helps define it more specifically: Health-related components and Skill-related components. This means that a person can be healthy without being fit. Therefore, I believe that for the sedentary individual who wants to change and live life to the full, the coach/trainer should set Fitness as the main goal and not just “Health.”

There have been a lot of variations with regards to the number of Components of Fitness – some say there are as many as 12 while others narrow it down to as few as 4 components. For me, being specific is important to fully understanding the primary goal of achieving Fitness and that there are 11 Components that should be considered with regards to exercise programming. One thing to keep in mind is the Principle of Individuality – for every component each person has a different ‘level of fitness‘ compared to another, and the level to be reached for athletes (ie, ‘high and competitive fitness level’) may be different for regular individuals (average or above average fitness level). For example, some people relate being fit to just body composition and strength, but flexibility should also be targeted even for the office worker to relieve him/her of chronic back pains. However, the target level of flexibility for the sedentary individual would be much lower compared to the target for athletes, like those who train in gymnastics.

Another thing to remember: while it is important to be aware of the specifics, training for these Fitness Components usually overlap and it might not be helpful to over-analyze the training program and develop each component interdependently. A good exercise program whether for athletes or for ordinary individuals would have those components working together, and just focus on a single component to be developed when it seems necessary.

Health-related Components

    1.) Cardio-Respiratory Endurance– the ability of the heart, lungs and blood vessels (Cardiovascular and Respiratory System) to deliver oxygen to the working muscles and remove wastes.

    This component requires the Aerobic (Oxidative) System to provide energy for activities done for prolonged periods (continuous for about an hour and more) and involves the whole body (ie, running, swimming, bicycling). The level of Cardio-Respiratory Endurance can be observed not only by how long a person/athlete can sustain an activity, but also on how fast he/she recovers during rest.

Muscular Endurance.

Muscular Endurance.

    2.) Muscular Endurance– this refers to the local or individual ability of a muscle to sustain work for a prolonged period of time with due fatigue.
    3.) Muscular Strength– this is the ability of the muscles to exert force against a resistance. There are types of Muscular strength: Isometric contraction (resisting force without moving or shortening muscles), Dynamic or Isotonic contraction (ie, pushing, pulling, lifting), and Isokinetic contraction.
    4.) Flexibility– this refers to the continuum of Range of Motion (ROM) that a joint or sequence of joints can fully reach. It can be either static (flexibility without moving) or dynamic (moving a joint through its ROM while doing an activity/sport).
    5.) Body Composition– our body is composed mainly of bone, muscle, and fat. The ratio between the three is essential to knowing the fitness level of an individual, that is, the contrast of the mass of bones, muscle and organs (lean body mass) against body fat. The leanness or fatness of an indiviudal may vary according to one’s somatotype (body type), age, and weight, but there are norms to determine the healthy ratio for a specific person.

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    A significant amount of Flexibility is important even to non-athletes.

    A significant amount of Flexibility is important even to non-athletes.

    Skill-related Components

      6.) Speed– is measured by the distance covered over time, or simply, how fast the body can move quickly in one direction. This is shown in running forward, backpedaling, or side stepping.
      7.) Power– Power is the product of force and speed (Force x Distance/Time). It is the combination of strength and speed which produces the maximal contraction in one explosive act (ex, jumping, throwing).
      8.) Coordination– refers to the ability of the body to control the muscles of the body in a flowing and harmonious way to produce the most efficient desired action. The neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems work together for an accurate execution of a physical task. This is very important in other skill-related components of Fitness.
      9.) Balance– as the name implies, this is the ability of the body to maintain equilibrium whether in a static (single-leg stand or handstand) or dynamic position. Dynamic balance is essential to any sport.
      10.) Reaction Time– refers to the quickness of the nervous system to respond to an eternal stimuli. The brain receives the stimuli (by the 5 senses) and sends signals to specific muscles to respond appropriately. This will show the worth of repeated practice sessions that cause the muscles to “memorize” the necessary movements.
      11.) Agility– this is the ability to change direction quickly while moving at a fast speed. It is a combination of flexibility, coordination, balance, speed, and power. This can be seen in sports such as tennis, football, basketball, and the likes.
    Sports such as Football utilizes all of the Skill-related Components of Fitness.

    Sports such as Football utilizes all of the Skill-related Components of Fitness.

    Note again that these health and skill related components of Fitness are not discrete – they usually overlap and work with each other. Thus, developing a training program need not to be too specific to address each component individually as long as the exercises and drills work the necessary components required to reach the desired goal for the athlete or client.





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Optimum massThe mixed smell of iron, sweat, and rust wasn’t really lovely but I guess my olfactory nerves eventually got accustomed to it. I first took up Weight Training class as my second P.E. of choice, thinking that improving my anaerobic capacity would be of more benefit for me since I have asthma. I thought that getting stronger first would be better for me, before I undertake physical activities that require more aerobic component (The next P.E. I was thinking of taking was Swimming. If you’ve read Part 1, you’ll know why). However – having no background in sports training – it was in that class that I was first able to understand, apply, and experience the Principles of Training.

Here are some of the Principles of Training that would help you train better as well:

  • Individuality. I knew how un-fit I was and I wanted to improve and get stronger. This principle may be one of the most gracious – it implies that each person or athlete has their own individual differences, and the training program must consider those differences. What worked for one person might not work for another. You can’t simply copy what the other person does in the gym and expect the same results in the same time. For a long time -and even until now – coaches have been implementing a ‘one size fits all’ approach to training, sometimes even copying the training program of a winner’s team. This might result to undue load and stress to the athlete.

    Physiological, social, and psychological differences must be considered before doing a training program. I learned about the different somatotypes or body types – the endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. I was somewhere in between an endomorph and a mesomorph, so I should not expect to look skinny like an ectomorph, and I ought to capitalize on my own somatotype. I also realized that I work out better when I am on my own, or at least have my personal space in the gym. Some people won’t work out without a ‘workout buddy’ or a ‘spotter’ – for me, I am able to focus more when there’s no one looking.

    An individualized training program will help the person or the athlete achieve improvements in strength and performance more efficiently. If you are training with a group of people, modifications can be incorporated for your individual needs. Last but not the least, be realistic and set goals according to your individuality.

  • Specificity. This is also known as the SAID principle – Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. This simply means that our bodies adapt to the specific mode of training and stress that we put into it. If you swim, you’ll get faster and stronger at swimming but you won’t be improving at another skill, say, throwing. This means that you have to work the same muscle groups that work for the movement or skill that you want to improve. Also, you have to be specific to the type of training that you will be doing, if it will be aerobic or anaerobic in nature.

    For me, I didn’t improve much of my aerobic capacity when I started because I just focused on lifting weights and training for Powerlifting. If you’re just doing weights at the gym, you won’t develop your legs or any other part of your body if you just do bicep curls.

  • posterior chain

  • Progressive Overload. This may be my ‘favourite’ principle among the list. It suggests that to see improvements in training, a person must exceed the level of stress applied to the body that he/she is accustomed to. You must do more than what you are used to doing so that you will see the results you want to see. Challenge yourself every workout. Give your maximum effort, and may be even a little more. But as much as overloading our system is important, we should remember to do it progressively. The body adapts to the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during training. Additional load can be applied either to Volume – the amount of repetitions that you do the exercise; or the Intensity – the amount of effort to maximal that you apply to do the exercise.
  • Detraining (Reversibility). Our body is designed very well to adapt that it even adapts even if we do nothing! This principle is sometimes referred to as the “use it or lose it” principle. Studies show that athletes who stop their sports and training eventually loses the fitness and skill components over time. You lose fitness when you stop exercising and how quickly you lose fitness depends on factor such as your fitness level when you stopped, how long you’ve been exercising, and how long you stopped. For conditioned athletes, studies show that they become detrained after three months of not exercising. However, for sedentary and beginning athletes, studies shows that stopping exercise only after two months brought them back to their original fitness level!

    All of us has reasons to stop exercising or training for a while. This principle reminds us to take it easy whenever we go back to training. During college and being part of the Powerlifting team, there were many times that I had to stop training for a few weeks and even a couple of months because I needed to study for an exam or finish a paper. This principle works with progressive overload because I had to go back to lighter loads and progress again before training for another competition. The good news according to research is that athletes and more trained individuals are able to retrain faster even after a long break.

  • Recovery. Last but definitely not the least is the Principle of Rest and Recovery. This principle of rest applies to both the short rest needed in between exercise sets and the longer time intervals of several hours up to 2 days after an intense workout. Our bodies need time to recover from the loads and stresses of training and even competition for it to adapt. The body repairs and strengthens itself during this time out period – muscles add up (or enlarge) fibers, additional neurons get recruited, and the capacity of your heart and lungs improve. Apart from the physiological, this principle also allows for psychological adaptations.


    powerful recovery


    Exercise or any physical work damages and breaks down the tissues in our bodies, and intense activity depletes energy stores. Overtraining and not giving the body enough time to repair these tissues and replenish lost energy would then be detrimental to training and might even result to injury. There are times that we can get too hyped up to work out, join races weekly, and cause our body to be overtrained. Remember that Recovery is as important as training – it is during the Recovery period that your body gets stronger and adapts to the stress of training.

  • Applying these Principles of Training definitely helped me improve my strength and performance in my sport. I was able to know if I’m doing too little or too much, and which exercises and type of training would be the best for my sport. Considering these things is important in making an effective training program and achieving fitness and athletic goals.

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