Some random stuff off the top of my head (and sometimes the bottom of my heart!):
The part that most trainers miss as regards training (that I’ve always felt) is that Olympic lifting and powerlifting are designed to move as much weight as efficiently as possible (ie as little “work” as possible ). Competitive kettlebell lifting is the same – make the movement as efficient (and therefore as least demanding) as possible.
Bodybuilding is about creating as much tension and overload on a single muscle as possible, regardless of load (ie make everything feel “heavy”). That’s the reason machines were invented – to isolate and overload muscles.
Cardio training is about becoming as efficient as possible in a usually cyclical repeated movement so that it becomes easier and easier over time.
General fitness and metabolic training for fat loss might be about creating as much IN-efficiency as possible – creating as much systemic stress overall as possible with as little localized joint stress or repetition as possible. So the body can never habituate, and there is no risk of overuse injury.
So why did we copy lifting sports, bodybuilding and endurance sports when we wanted to train general fitness athletes? We can’t just copy other modalities when we want a completely different outcome.
Bernard Hopkins just won the World light-heavyweight championship at 46 years old beating Jean Pascal – a 29 year old once-beaten fighter.
Contrast that with David Reid – a former World Champion boxer who won Olympic Gold, and the World Championship in his 11th pro fight, but who’s career was over by the time he was 28. Joe Calzaghe retired undefeated at 37. Fernando Vargas was finished at 29.
What’s the difference?
Or in other sports, David Beckham who at 36 is way into the latter part of his career and seemed to go from one of the best in the World to average in record time. With millions of pounds at different team’s disposal for trainers, nutritionists, therapists – why the decline?
Staying with football – Ronaldo (from Brazil), widely considered to be one of the best of all time – World Cup winner, Golden Boot winner… retired at 34.
Tom Watson just won the Senior PGA championship at age 61.
And why is Hopkins getting better at a far more physically demanding sport than football or golf, at a much older age?
We spend so much time studying athletic development. More fascinating to me is athletic longevity. With all of our knowledge on sports science, nutrition and training – why do some athletes have longer careers than others? What are we missing?
If we could extend an athlete’s career at the top level just one year, by knowing what the difference makers are, that could be worth millions of dollars….
Speaking of longevity – we’ve been wrong about training seniors. We started with cardio because the heart is important — and they lost muscle mass and function. Then we embraced strength training to maintain muscle and got closer…. now finally we’re understanding that seniors need explosive power training… we lose power long before we lose muscle mass or cardio conditioning, and it’s been shown that power training maintains muscle and improves balance and co-ordination.
Maybe the only reason muscle sticks around is because the body senses the need for it to produce power. Power training tells the body it needs the muscle to stick around – and moving fast tells the body to shift the excess baggage (bodyfat)….
Maybe we’ve been thinking about the whole thing backwards….
(reprinted from late 2011)