Thoughts On Concurrent Training

More often than not, my clients and athletes wish to obtain every performance attribute all at once. They want endurance, strength, power, hypertrophy and fat loss, simultaneously. Unfortunately, concurrent training does not yield optimal results in each area, unless you are completely novice and or recovering from serious injury. The body cannot concurrently train to squat as much weight as possible while training for a marathon because of the competing metabolic and hormonal pathways.

WHAT'S THE ISSUE?

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Training to squat as much weight as possible whilst concurrently training for a marathon simply doesn't work. In order to optimize strength, high rates of force development are required as well as greater proportions of Type IIx fibers and higher muscle glycogen stores. These are all blunted when endurance training is performed, which ultimately decreases overall rate of force development, shifts Type IIx fibers towards Type IIa and Type I, and depletes glycogen stores. Done concurrently, endurance training will decrease protein synthesis, and serve as a competing pathway way to strength training during recovery. All of this is only an issue if your goal is to increase strength and optimize performance in sports that require powerful explosive movements. Paradoxically, endurance athletes can benefit from the addition of strength training. Contrary to popular belief, these athletes will not "bulk up" or slow down when adding resistance training to their program due to the mechanisms previously mentioned above. They will benefit from an increase in overall power generating capacity, and rate of force development that is ultimately beneficial.

HOW SHOULD YOU TRAIN?

In most cases, however, athletes compete in sports that require high levels of fitness using multiple energy systems. More common are general population clients of mine who are seeking to improve overall health and improve incrementally in all areas of fitness. It must be understood that all of the previously mentioned information above is describing optimal performance in one area at a time. It is possible to improve in multiple areas at once, however, full potential will not be reached in anything specific. If you are seeking to become a more well-rounded individual in regard to your fitness, some general guidelines can be followed to help you maximize your results. First, periodize your programming. What this means is focus on building general endurance and hypertrophy first for a few weeks, then transition into to a strength and power phase. Second, separate your strength and conditioning sessions. If possible do them on completely separate days, but if you must do them on the same day, aim to have at least 6 hours of separation between each. Last, fuel for whatever it is you are about to do or have just completed. Long endurance type training is highly lipolytic, therefore good fats are essential to use for fuel whereas as brief intense weight training or sprints are highly glycolytic. This require glucose and stored muscle glycogen to perform optimally.

I hope what you've gained from this article is that fitness attributes are a lot like running a business. You have to decide what it is you'd like to specialize in, and how you will devote your resources to making it happen. In training, you have to also decide what it is you'd like to specialize in, and then make a plan of how you will get there. My goal with this is to help inform you of how to make it possible. Thanks again as always for reading.



Feet Are Your Foundation

Human kinematics is of keen interest to health and fitness professionals alike. No matter the type of movement, the goal remains to move in the most economical, safe and advantageous manner possible. Whether it is rehabilitation of an ACL injury or squatting 600 pounds, kinematic proficiency is priority No. 1.

Solving what's to blame for improper execution is typically the most difficult part in movement correction. Some professionals believe they can pinpoint specific muscles that lack the ability to "fire" or use the "weak core" cop out term with their clients. Unfortunately, it's not that easy, as the body works synchronously in what is called the kinematic chain. One joint or body part movement has direct correlation with the next and so on throughout the entire body. Back issues may not be solved by simply foam rolling the affected area, but it may take some correction in posture and hip mobility, for example.

It can get tricky when looking at how one moves, and where to start if faulty movement patterns are seen. In any case, I begin with the easiest place to look, the feet. I equate the feet to the foundation of a house and take a bottom up approach to analyze movement. If somebody cannot execute a squat without a foot collapse, they run with a poor foot striking pattern or deadlift with their heels coming off the ground, then it is no mystery that they are feeling pain elsewhere. The rest of their body is compensating for poor fundamental movement. In many cases, correcting foot placement and/or weight distribution can solve numerous problems.

One of the best anecdotal experiences I can provide is from a former athlete I trained with who had an extreme valgus knee collapse in her squat pattern. She had been told that her glutes were not firing, her core was weak, her knees were bad and a whole host of other diagnostic statements.

Upon initial evaluation, I asked the athlete to demonstrate a few repetitious body weight squats so I could see the issues for myself. Right away, I took my focus to her feet and watched as they collapsed inward and rotated a bit with each rep. What I did next was ask her to imagine standing on train tracks, trying to load her weight on the outside edges of her feet and her heels, as well as spreading her toes wide in her shoes. She went ahead and implemented my cues as she began another set of squats, only to find her knees in perfect alignment and that her glutes did in fact work.

The ever so simple technique of foot correction completely changed her squat pattern and allowed her to enjoy training again — simple yet effective.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

While foot placement is only a starting place in the greater picture of overall locomotion, the major point I contend is that it is useful at times to look globally at movement and move to smaller pieces as each box is checked.

Sometimes the answer is simple or needs to be viewed from a greater lens. Cueing is a fascinating subject as well, and I learn a great deal of mine from one of my mentors, Nick Winkelman. He is a magician at helping athletes get themselves in proper alignment when moving. Some of the best physical therapists and strength coaches I've met implement external cues and begin with gross movement patterns before diving into finite details.

Certainly, there will be cases that require extreme detail and analyzation from highly skilled professionals. In the case of many others, simply starting from the most primitive places and moving upward from there will help solve a lot of issues.