Friday, 22 May 2009

Under Pressure

I found this graphic on a Health & Safety email. I am not sure where the health and safety guys got it from but, if accurate, it gives a very interesting insight in to the pressures at work in the spine.

You could further extrapolate this to other exercises such as a V-Up and its effects along the spine. It made me reflect upon the pressure exerted during weighted exercises on the spine. Consider the effects of a double-bodyweight deadlift for example.

You might even want to think about other body parts. Given the indication of leverages above, what kind of forces are generated upon ones elbows and shoulder blades during a heavy press or upon the shoulders during lat raises? As a (very) amateur gymnast and aspiring 'plancher' and 'body lever' enthusiast, it makes me think about the forces I impart upon my other joints. During a planche, God only knows what kind of forces are generated within your shoulders!

I have long been a fan of bodyweight exercises and I don't really need a graphic to tell me how much force I am generating withing my body. DOMS and the feeling of exhaustion after a good isometric workout tell me that! What this does do is it gives me a bit of a prompt about the amount of rest I need.

I am currently reading Body By Science - and although I don't agree with all that is written, I fully appreciate their emphasis of resting more. Personally this not only means resting around four or five days between workouts (typically training Monday and Friday of week one and Wednesday of week two), but also emphasising sleep. Lots of it - aiming for around nine hours a night.

I don't agree with training to failure. My paleo compass tells me that this would be a VERY traumatic signal. Maybe it is this signal that requires HITters to rest so long? This does not seem practical to me. I want to leave the gym with something left in the bag - in case I get jumped on the way home.

I am a fan of HIT and try to compress my whole workout in to a time 'window' using saw-tooth intensity. Unlike BBS, rather than trying to maintain TUL at an exercise level, I try to fit the whole session in to a workout window - which is a similar idea. If my TUL at exercise level is shorter as I workout faster, I try to get more sets in. This way there is always multi faceted variation in my workout.

Anyway - IMHO BBS is really worth getting - and I may well incorporate this mode of training in to my schedule. Secondly - get with the planches and levers - for here lies brutal forces. If there is ONE thing that demands adaption, it is brutal force!


Methuselah said...

"I want to leave the gym with something left in the bag - in case I get jumped on the way home."

Excellent point - this is where I am still struggling. Although I am trying out the BBS approach, instinctively, from a paleo perspective I can't help liking the idea of leaving the gym feeling as if I could do more and therefore being able to do this more often. Depends whether I want progress or variety I guess, as we have been discussing!

Asclepius said...

I have no doubt that BBS works and is effective but I have a few concerns.

There are questions such as what does the science show long term training this way? As you point out, if you don't do HIT, then the novelty to the body of a HIT session might prove to be a potent stimulus. but then another training mode would provide a similar spur to adaption.

My feelings lie with simply engaging with intense, brief, fatiguing variety. Supplemented with a good diet and lots of sleep. In between, play as this gives 'active rest' and is de-stressing.

So as I have written elsewhere, run, lift, throw, carry, push and pull. Use bodyweight as a guide to the weights you should be using. Mix up sets and reps. Move weight sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Do isometrics.

As a rough guide, aim for around 8 reps. Sometimes less sometimes more. If you become VERY fatigued in a session, walk out with gas in the tank. Rest around four days between sessions for a body part, and take a week or two off every month or two (listen to your body).

The is no prescription for the way kids become strong as they grow. HGs routine was prescribed by his/her environment.

We evolved by chaos in our pattern of energy expenditure. Physically you should seek to 'generalise'.

Methuselah - Train Now Live Later said...

How about this: we use BBS as an occasional plateau shifter. A natural course of steroids, if you like. Perhaps it equates to a period where, in evolutionary terms, we had a month or two of traumatic, but well-spaced, events. The rest of the time, workout as you describe. Variety of activity, protocol and intensity.

This assumes, of course, that BBS even works, which my own experiment will hopefully give at least some clues on.

Asclepius said...

I kind of want to expand on my earlier comment. Although BBS is based on a comprehensive analysis of the science, you have to ask, has science looked at sport and athletic ability comprehensively? Have all avenues been explored?

It is like the anecdote of the policeman who finds a drunk on all fours in the street one night. He asks the drunk what he is doing. The drunk replies "Looking for my keys". The policeman says, "Did you drop them around here?". The drunk replies "No". So the policeman asks, "Then why are you looking around here?". The drunk replies, "Because that is where the light is!".

BBS has looked where the science is. My paleo compass tells me the fitness landscape has much more to be explored!

I'll be interested in your experience with BBS. I will be using some of the ideas but will keep it a bit more mixed up. So as you observe, yeah, it should be a nice little tonic to training and certainly help add variety to any plateau.