Physical Characteristics of sprinters and runners

Sprinters are clearly differentiated from endurance athletes. Simply look at their physiques and you will note the remarkable muscle bulk of the sprinter in the key prime movers especially.

Workable periodisation for MMA

I get a lot of emails from grapplers and MMA fighters asking about training and planning questions. While I enjoy helping people out, one issue seems to reoccur, most people have no sort of plan!

Child/ Youth section

Information on strength and conditioning for the child or youth.

Setanta College

Setanta College is a blended learning institute which offers players, coaches, managers, teachers, physical education teachers and sports science graduates the opportunity to pursue practical coaching courses via the internet learning process (blended learning).

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Muscle Architecture - Part 1

The following article will be divided in three sub-articles. On the first one I will briefly define muscle architecture, then (on a 2nd article) I will describe what are the functional implications on the variation of each muscle architecture parameter. Finally, the last sub-article will cover the most practical part of the question: the adaptation of muscle architecture parameters to training.
In the Human skeletal musculature there are as many different architectural arrangements as the number of muscles (1–3). Roughly, there can be distinct two main classes of skeletal muscles according to the arrangement of their fibers: the fusiform or parallel muscles (e.g. biceps brachii) whose fibers are oriented in parallel to the line of action of the muscle (4,5) and the pennated muscles where fibers insert in the aponeurosis with a certain angle to the line of tension (4–7). Pennated muscles can be further divided into unipennated muscles (e.g. semi-membranous) and multipennated muscles (e.g. deltoid) depending respectively if muscle fibers insert in aponeurosis at a single angle or several angles (1,2). As we will see later, this angle that characterize the pennate muscles, has a determining role in muscle function.

Figure 1 An example of a parallel (A) unipennated (B) and multipennated muscle (C) (1)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Less is more!

It is not uncommon for a coach to feel that as the championship approaches that he or she has to ramp up the volume of training. In other words there may be self imposed pressure on the coach to do more work with his team. After all this is what he did as a player. And the harder you work the better you get is an often cited comment by many players and coaches. Also the Coach  may have heard of the great volume of training that the opposing team has been doing and in the desire to make sure that he leaves no stone unturned he piles more work on to the players in the weeks coming into the all important championship game.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Key Distinctions Between The Squat And Standard Deadlift

by Brandon Richey

So how many times have you been to a day to day health club or local gym only to see those brave young inexperienced lifters over by the squat rack curling the weight instead of squatting it? I know I know...they’re curling in the squat rack. We live in a crazy world! In addition to this have you also noticed many inexperienced trainees attempting to squat when they are seemingly attempting a standard barbell deadlift?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Bringing Strength and Conditioning into the Real World for GAA Coaches

By Ainle Ó Cairealláin

Math was never my strong point in school. Maybe I didn’t have the grey matter to process the formulas and equations that I was presented with at an adequate rate. However, I do know that at a certain point during my secondary school education at Meánscoil Feirste on the Falls Road in Belfast, things started to get a bit ‘easier’ to understand. At 15, we had a fantastic Math teacher named Joe, who looked rather like Moses, but could get the message across in an clear way that seemed to be well suited to the speed of my internal calculator. It was after this point that I started to think that it wasn’t the actual Math that was it the problem; n’or was it my own lack of prowess with algebra, but in fact, the method of delivery had a lot to do with it. This was reinforced even more when I started my Sports and Exercise Science degree in 2003 in UL. Here, ‘Science Math’ was a requirement (and still is). It sent me right back to square one, and after the first two lectures, I vowed never to return to that class due to feeling completely inadequate. I also thought that a few pucks of a sliotar up against a wall would be a better use of my time. However, I committed to attending the brilliant ‘Math Learning Centre’, crowned the ‘Early Learning Centre’ by some of our witty classmates, twice per week, every single week. They came in at my level, and through some hard work, I got a C3. In my 3rd year, I got my Math score up to an A, again thanks to the Math learning center, and a few extra classes from my old school teacher Joe. Anyway, the point is not that I am now a mathematical genius, but that I was able to learn and excel most effectively when the subject in question was brought to my level, and taught in a way that made complicated things seem quite manageable and easy to understand. From then on, I made a vow that whatever line of work I ended up in, I would make every effort to take the things I understood well, and make them easy for others to understand and apply. This brings me to the purpose of this article.

Monday, 3 February 2014

A Method For Eliminating Your Joint Pain And Stiffness

So the topic for today is about joint pain. You see I believe there are essentially 2 types of people in this world. There are those that have experienced joint pain and then there are those that are going to experience joint pain at some point in their lives. Today, I want to talk about how to subdue this problem.

You see over the years if I’ve learned one thing that’s consistent with most anyone it’s that everyone at one point or another will experience some type of joint discomfort. Now having said this there can be a number of different factors involved that can cause this problem to arise.

I mean in reality it’s just plain ‘ole simple physics my friend. In other words there is just nothing we can do about entropy. Wow, did I just drop a knowledge bomb like entropy on this discussion? Yes, I did! I mean look I know that word “entropy” ranks pretty high up in the vocabulary list of fancy words, but the fact is that it’s just something that we all have to deal with.

The bottom line is that things at one point or another are just going to weaken, wear out, and sometimes even breakdown altogether. Now having said this the good news is that our bodies aren’t just stagnant objects that breakdown too easily. The fact is that we are essentially an ever adapting biological organism and a walking miracle for the most part.

Because our bodies have this ability to adapt to various environments, stresses, and to physical change we have essentially formed our own unique double edged sword. I know what you’re thinking “So what do you mean by that coach?”

What I mean is that with too much physical activity/stress we can sometimes cause injury, pain, or discomfort. Likewise with too little physical activity/stress we can cause much of the same problems. I tend to fall on the side of engaging in a great deal of physical stress, but there is a smart limit to everything.

The point is that with a large portion of today’s society ailments such as knee, hip, low back, and shoulder pain can generally be chalked up to one having a lack of mobility or stability in certain areas of the body. The fact is that certain lifestyle factors associated with a lack of self maintenance generally end up being the source of what plagues a great deal of the population, especially with much of my fellow countrymen here in the states (the U.S.).

If any of this sounds familiar to you then you may want to take a minute to check out this simple solution that I offer in the following video. If you are suffering from any joint pain or discomfort then you may be surprised at just how simple the problem may be to fix. 

Oh and by the way I live in the state of Georgia (U.S) and in case you weren’t aware we got dealt a crazy hand with some winter weather this past week. It was only about 2 to 3 inches of snow, but for this area of the country where we never get it the storm proved to be a challenge. We just simply aren’t prepared for this type of weather like our neighbors to the north.

It came early in the middle of the workday and for us the timing proved to be crippling to the city and much of the state. The storm kind of became known as SNOWMEGADDON, so I filmed this video outside right after SNOWMEGADDON. Enjoy.

Hopefully I was able to shed a little light on this particular situation, especially if you are experiencing some of these issues for yourself. Just like I said both earlier in the article and in the video our bodies will adapt in the way we train it. If you are used to moving then you are going to move better at it than a person that is more used to sitting!

I know I may sound like Captain Obvious by saying that, but the fact is that many people just tend to fall out of practice with movement over time. Now obviously the lack of movement may not be the case with competitive athletes.

However athletes can develop stiffness and other issues as well that obviously are never really derived from a lack of movement, but usually from having developed imbalances or asymmetries due to some type of faulty movement pattern. As we know this can usually be due to either a current or past injury, or from poor programming specifics related to their strength training habits.

Just as I pointed out in the video as it relates to the joint by joint approach to training the stiffness associated with these imbalances/asymmetries that can somewhat compromise a mobile or stable joint will potentially affect the surrounding joints. This is where stiff hips can cause lumbar pain, or even knee pain.

Aside from engaging in mobility based training remember to work on mobilizing your joints further both by implementing some good old fashioned static stretching and soft tissue work. Remember the process of self maintenance should be a regular ingredient and part of one’s regular training method. Correction of movement is a continuous process just like the progression of obtaining strength and performance is in the same way.

I just wanted to once again thank The Strength And Conditioning Blog for allowing me to come on again and do my usual rant and rave. I hope you enjoyed today’s article and if you are looking for other killer methods for developing your own level of strength, performance, and optimizing your own level of mobility then make sure you take a minute to look into my Brandon Richey’s Unconventional Conventional Method Of Strength ebook.

In addition to this please stop by and visit me at my blog here below. I always offer deals to my most engaging and committed readers. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart my friend.

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Parents perspective : The Pathway of Long Term Player Development

A Parent’s key role

As a parent you will watch your child grow up, you better than anyone else are often able to see the different phases in your child’s development. You will know when your child has hit a growth spurt or when puberty has started. You have a perspective that your child’s coaches do not and this can be immensely valuable to the coach and to the long term development of your child physically and specifically when it comes to hurling.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Need for Balanced and Appropriate Flexibility

Flexibility development is not only for many sports men and women but also for our children and youth a neglected component of fitness. This may be because of the seeming lack of applicability of flexibility to performance in team sports And awareness of the relevance of flexibility to better fitness and mobility in general. Whereas a Gymnast and dancer can see the immediate benefits of excellent flexibility as it is a key component in their relative activities, the game player’s need for good flexibility is less obvious. Also, a lack of flexibility can contribute to many of the hypokinetic diseases and movement dysfunction that contribute to poor fitness. A normal balance of flexibility and stability about the joints is a basic requirement not only for all sports participants but also for recreational individuals and indeed the population in general if various conditions such as back ache, knee pain and many other musculo-skeletal disorders are to be minimised (1,2,3,4)

(Hypokinetic disease – those related to general lack of movement).