Archive for Competition

Progress Update

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , on May 29, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

So last time I posted, I mentioned that I was trying an aggressive approach to building up my squat to new strength levels.

The truth is, I am doing it because the squat is the ultimate foundation lift for all things strength and power. Being strong doesn’t guarantee you speed and power but you can’t expect those things if you are weak.

So i’ve just started my 4th week of Smolov Squat Program, an old russian formula for aggressively improving your strength. Week 1 was three days in a row, week 2 was another 3 days of squatting but with very little volume and high intensity. Think singles, triples, doubles, and a five rep set.  Each day I basically worked up to 1 working set. So it was about staying familiar with the squat and heavy weight, but giving the body a bit of a rest. I’ll talk some more about that in a bit.

 

Week 3 is when the fun starts, because there is 4 squat workouts. Since I was coming off the Victoria Day weekend, that put me at Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. So I didn’t get a full weekend off to rest up for Week 4. It’s the same protocol, same 4 workouts with the same rep scheme but with 20lbs added to each day. So in week 3 I lifted 235 day 1, 250 day 2, 270 day 3 and 285 day 4.

So far this week i’ve done 4×9 at 255, and 5×7 at 270. I get a rest day tomorrow (where i’ll focus on bringing my max bench up, which i hit a PR of 285 last week) and then the heavy days are Thursday and Friday.

Here are the videos from the last two workouts.

 

 

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

The key to bringing up a key lift, or really accomplishing anything related to your body is to do it often. Frequency is key. Adjust the volume and intensity when you need to in order to stay healthy, but you need to constantly remind your body of something if you want it to adapt. If you want to lose fat, do SOMETHING everyday…if you want to get huge, lift SOMETHING everyday. Even if it’s just pushups. If you want to improve a lift, practice it at every workout.

Hope this helps keep you going in the right direction for your current goals!

 

It’s About Getting Better!

Setting Goals for Success

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , on November 18, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Hey Everyone,

Been really busy lately so I haven’t had a chance to post. Excited to say that I am done the 1st semester of my MSc in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning).

I also had a great week for performance in my workouts, and I thought i’d share what happened because it has some good lessons for goal setting and mindset.

A couple friends of mine have been making me jealous by banging out a ton of muscle ups. I am a competitive guy, so I decided I wanted to be able to do some as well. This is the kind of thing they’ve been doing. If you don’t know Jose or Kane, they are some impressive guys in terms of feats of strength! (Especially relative to body mass…)

So after seeing this I got motivated to figure it out…I figured, I can do plenty of dips and pullups, so it can’t be that hard right?

The first time I tried it, I could barely get over the bar. I could not imagine how to get over and be in a position to press-up. Round 2, I fly over the bar, but can’t stop myself from falling back down again. Round 3, I narrow my grip a little bit, and BAM, knock one out, easier than I expected.

That’s when I texted Kyle and said I wanted to do 5 in a row by Thursday November 24, 2011. This was on Saturday November 12, 2011. I thought it was a little aggressive but doable.

Check out this video of me hitting my goal on November 18, 2011.

So how did I do it so fast?

I’m awesome, that’s how. In all seriousness though, it was the desire to accomplish a huge performance goal. I am lucky that I am in the gym for big chunks of time each day, so once I got my first one, I decided to do a muscle up whenever I got a chance. I can’t tell you how many reps total I have done in the past 4 days, but it is quite a few. If you think about weightlifters (i’ll use this term for those that compete in the snatch and clean and jerk), and especially those in eastern Europe, they perform squats, cleans, jerks, and snatches daily. They just cycle the volume and intensity of each for an appropriate mix between progression and fatigue. So when you have a performance goal, if you want to be aggressive with it, make sure you do it a lot. Don’t just do a once a week pulling lift if you want to improve your pullups drastically. Obviously you need to monitor your fatigue and soreness daily, but singles are always doable!

The next big lesson that I take from this goal, is not necessarily supported by evidence but anecdotally I believe, that performance goals are easier to achieve than body composition/aesthetic goals. It’s way easier to see what it takes to go up one rep at a time, or put 5 pounds on the bar at a time, but if you don’t lose weight one day it is easy to get mentally discouraged. Sometimes you don’t know what it will look like to lose 10 inches, or decrease body fat % by 10 points, so how do you stay focused daily? It’s easy to get side tracked when the end goal is hard to picture. But as I experienced, it was easy to tell when I was getting close to putting multiple reps together, so I slowly progressed to doubles and triples.

There is a lot more that goes into appropriate goal setting, but I feel that having a feel for the process is a very important part of the journey. I also believe that accomplishing certain performance goals can really boost self-confidence and give you the personal satisfaction to keep achieving great things.

So go ahead, make a goal, and work daily to accomplish it!

It’s About Getting Better!!

Believe it or not…endurance running is about power!

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Sprinters versus marathoners…Nothing alike they say…A whole different can of worms…Well, I’m here to tell you they are closer than they appear. Sure there is a definite difference in which energy systems are used as the primary fuel source, but there are also many commonalities. For example, they both race for time, so at the end of the day, the fastest runner wins. With that in mind, ground contact time on each stride is the enemy. The longer we are on the ground for each step, the slower our time will be, since it means we are not going anywhere!

So how do we reduce ground contact time? Essentially it comes down to stiffness. When preparing to strike the ground, we need to activate a whole bunch of muscles in our legs along with having good stiffness in our connective tissue. This way, after driving downward, our leg essentially bounces off the ground as quickly as possible. If our muscles aren’t trained to withstand the high ground reaction forces, some of our joints will bend, absorbing much of the energy and sticking to the ground. This can cause some overuse injuries, and also slow us down.

Why power training? Stiffness is another word for tension. The ability to create tension is basically strength. Strength in a short period of time is power. A running stride definitely falls into the category of short period of time! Power training involves any exercises that involve creating a high level force, but at the fastest rate possible.

Most endurance runners spend almost all of their time doing long distance running assuming that the more they run, the better they will get. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The more we run, the more efficient our body becomes at running. This means we use less energy to create the same result. It doesn’t necessarily mean we increase our maximum running speed. As I mentioned earlier, marathons are still a race, the fastest runner for 26 miles wins.

If you want to really drop your time in your endurance event, start putting more focus on sprints and strength training. Don’t worry, you won’t immediately turn into a meathead. What you will do, with the proper guidance of course, is improve your ability to transfer force through the ground in order to propel your body forward. This means more speed, and a better time!

Remember, it’s about getting better!

Razor’s Edge is Representing

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

It’s official: Razor’s Edge Performance is going to bring some awesome to the National Invitational Combine in Toronto this coming friday. I’d like to wish Willie and Mario luck in showing off their athleticism and skills for the attending CFL scouts. Both of these guys have been working their tails off and we’re proud to say they train with Razor’s Edge Performance.

Not only do we have athletes showing themselves off and measuring up to competition this week, in a way we’re also doing the same. This is our first year doing combine prep with CIS players. This is exciting because it’s a whole different type of training. Training an athlete over a long offseason for their sport is much different than a 2 month intensive program for a specific battery of tests. Not only is strength and power essential but the technical aspect of all of the tests cannot be overlooked. These athletes are training for agility, power, top end speed, lateral speed, explosiveness, as well as a significant mental component. That’s a lot of different things to try and focus on in such a short period of time! Due to the strenuous nature of this type of training, recovery is crucial. That’s why it’s important to have our guys eating and drinking well as well as taking care of their soft tissue, mobility and flexibility.

For those of you who don’t follow football or the scouting aspect, you now have an idea of the immense effort needed for such a short time. This is essentially the biggest job interview of their life thus far and depending on their success, may be the only one. The days are winding down and we’re excited to see Willie and Mario show off all their hard work. Look forward to a post next week with their results and other observations from the NIC and CFL E-Camp this coming weekend.

NOTE: Here’s a video of Willie’s results at the NIC.

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

Awesome Results From…

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Awesome efforts. I’ll repeat that. Awesome results come from awesome efforts. We here at REP love to talk about awesomeness because when you see some it really makes it all worthwhile. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who wish for awesome results but just aren’t ready to put the effort in to make it happen. You would be surprised how often I get a client who asks me “what is the minimum amount of work I have to do to accomplish this goal?” Unfortunately, with that mindset you’ve already ensured you won’t make it there. I’ve never understood why people imagine they can get amazing things out of a workout program without putting much in. Sorry to say that this formula isn’t balanced.

Now, we will be the first to tell you that excessive volume will keep you from optimal results. Instead, I’m talking about intensity. Do you need to workout for an hour or two hours a day? Maybe not. But trying to only workout 2-3 days a week won’t cut it either. If you only worked out 15 minutes a day, 7 days a week, but they were AWESOME EFFORT workouts, you’d be blown away with AWESOME RESULTS. If you are only coming in twice a week and plodding through a 2-hour workout, I wouldn’t call that awesome.

Take 3-4 weeks and dedicate yourself to AWESOME EFFORTS. You’ll be surprised what you get out of it.
“The best program is the one you’re doing” – A wise person once said.

It’s About Getting Better!

Sport Specific Training – Are You Doing It?

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Recently, the term ‘sport specific training’ has become a must for every athlete and their parents. Visions of having your kid become a first-round draft pick? Gotta go somewhere for some sports specific training…how else will he improve?
Well, I loved the idea of it too. It seemed to make so much sense, train the way you play and you’ll improve dramatically!

Now though, I think I know better. In fact, I think I figured it out (the concept; not all the details…yet…work in progress). Improving sports performance is about 3 things. Injury prevention, strength training, and skill training. The first two belong in the gym with your strength and conditioning coach, the latter with your sport coaches.
Injury prevention is about taking care of the little things. Self-myofascial Release (SMR) to ensure your tissue is in the proper state to do awesome things. Specific corrective exercises to ensure symmetry. Finally, proper hydration, nutrition and rest to cap it off.
The specific details are individualized but that’s the main structure.

The second part is about adding horsepower. This is the strength training component and its importance is immense. You need to get strong if you want to be fast, quick, and powerful! Don’t worry about agility ladder drills for quick feet, worry about how much force you can put into the ground. I don’t care how quick you can pick your feet up, if you can’t put force in the ground you won’t be better at your sport. Let’s take the pro shuttle for example. This is a staple in Combine testing. It involves starting in the middle with a cone on either side of you, each 5 yards away. You turn one way, run 5 yards and touch the ground, turn back and run 10 yards (touch) and return to your original spot. Done at full speed this drill seems all about quickness, and it is. The key though is taking the fewest steps possible, not the most. In order to accomplish this you need each step to have a large amount of force behind it. This comes from being strong!
Sprint work and plyometrics are also an important part of the strength program.

Finally, we have skill training. This is done often and involves drills and games of your sport. This is where you hone your skills, not in the gym on a bosu ball. Your skill work will improve a lot of things, but injury prevention or strength isn’t one of them. A good chunk of your conditioning will also come from the skill training. As an athlete, this should take up the most time. Will it be the most influential part of the process? Depends on where you are in your journey…some need the injury prevention the most, others the physical development, and some the skill work.

When you hear somebody talk about sport specific training make sure they aren’t just making a sales pitch. There is nothing sport specific about making your body more awesome and able to handle ANY sport! It’s about getting better!

Good Luck Vince!

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by razorsedgeperformance

This summer, we at Razor’s Edge Performance had the pleasure of working with a new client named Vince. Vince is a professional hockey player from the GTA who has been playing in Europe for the past 4 years and has come back to play in the AHL this season. Vince is in training camp with the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, and hopes to not only make the team, but make an impact this season and catch the attention of the big club.

We  had 6 weeks to get Vince and his body in the best possible shape in order to perform on the ice. The first week we tested his abilities, taught some routines and exercises, and started building a foundation of fitness.  From then on, we trained 4 days a week for the final 5 weeks.

One of the biggest improvements we saw, came in his bench press. In 5 weeks, his projected maximum went up just over 30lbs! The exciting part is that we didn’t have enough time to focus on his bench press. We had to make sure his speed, power, agility, strength, and conditioning were all improving at the same time. We had to make sure his risk of non-contact injury on the ice was reduced as much as possible.

So why did his bench press improve so much when we only benched once a week? This one comes down to the central nervous system. When we are talking about improving strength and power, we often overlook the fact that the nervous system is one of the most important factors. Too many people focus on the specific muscles involved, then isolate and superset them for a huge pump. This is the definition of bodybuilder training. This may help you build definition, but it will decrease performance, and here is why. Doing high-energy, high-power movements like plyometrics, olympic lifts, and sprints improve the coordination between your brain and your muscles. Moving quickly increases your rate of force development, and the number of motor units activated. Since these improvements are related to your nervous system, the benefits are applicable to all movements, across all muscles. This way, every time we did a box jump or a sprint, we indirectly improved his bench press performance. Remember, the reason sports teams test the bench press is because it is a great measure of upper body strength and power.

Let’s all wish Vince good luck in San Antonio. I will try to update his progress regularly. For all the athletes out there, drop the body part splits, and start getting better at your sport!

PS – Vince scored a goal in each of the first 2 intrasquad scrimmages of training camp with the Rampage!

%d bloggers like this: