April 2007 Vol. 11 No. 4   
 Editor: Dr. Lonnie Lowery

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Editor's Corner
Metabolic Mythbusters: The ASEP National Meeting
Diboll, D.

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Comparison of Body Composition Techniques to Determine Body Fat in High School Wrestlers (fifth on page)
Brown, D., et al.


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This month: Periodized Training
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Editor's Corner
Metabolic Mythbusters: The ASEP National Meeting
Lonnie Lowery, PhD
ASEPnewsletter Editor, ASEP Board of Directors

As a brief update this month, I would like to take the opportunity to share a few thoughts about the American Society of Exercise Physiologists annual meeting, which took place last weekend. Always a high quality, rather intimate event, the meeting took a leap this year with truly textbook-changing information. It was a "Metabolic Mythbusters" of sorts. Although many readers will expect literature support, I'll instead simply summarize and let you look for the material online or wait for the manuscripts to be published in various publications. Here are a few things I felt were very worthwhile:
  • Educating clients and patients with various wellness facts is not enough. The development of (scope of practice-respectful) counseling skills could be a next step toward enhancing the EP skill set.

  • Traditional warm-up before exercise has been overrated. In fact, It appears that super-cooling muscles prior to anaerobic exercise may be the rather opposite-looking new trend.

  • VO2max testing has taken too long to get accurate (higher) values for the athletes who undergo it. The longstanding "12-minute rule", which is indeed often exceeded, appears to be based on relatively little data. A look at remodeling this important assessment is underway.

  • Bone remodeling has advanced to consider blood flow as a mechanism. The older (but not invalid) concept of "axial loading" may only be the beginning.

  • "Lactic Acid" has become the "Voldemort" of exercise biochemistry. That is, just don't say the word; bad things happen - like misinforming students about the true nature of our helpful three-carbon friend. 

If any of these topics are of interest, ASEPnewsletter readers should to be sure to attend the next ASEP Annual Meeting and Conference. It was so fascinating, I hope to include select abstracts in this space in coming months. Big things can and do happen. Hopefully, in this case, they can be shared (albeit months later). As ASEP President, Jesse Pittsley stated: "And to think... we'll be able to say it all started right here!"

Ask the EP:
Your Inside Scoop on Tough Questions

Ask the Exercise Physiologist (EP) is intended for informational purposes only. It is
not to be taken as healthcare advice. Please do not submit questions of a personal nature (e.g., fitness programs and nutrition advice solicitation). Thanks.

Question:  In general, what are some periodized models for strength training for sports? 

The EP Answer! 

Athletes must focus on their primary sport and be sure their abilities are sharpened to perfection to perform at their best when it is required. For a weightlifter, this might mean a state or national championship event. A football player normally peaks for maximum performance on the field in the fall. A swimmers season usually coincides with summer months, at least for outdoor meets. Though creating and following a periodized sport training program can be a difficult task, athletes and their coaches are often unsure how to integrate effective resistance training into this structure.
Endurance Sports
Those who engage in long-duration, mostly aerobic sports, such as distance running, swimming, or cycling, generally fall into the category of endurance athletes. Because actual in-season sport training takes a great deal of time and energy, the same quantity and quality of effort cannot be placed on strength and power training. With endurance athletes we normally look at the off-season as the time for general preparation work in the weight room. This is followed by increases in strength and power during the early preseason. As the competitive season approaches, resistance training shifts to an emphasis on either muscular endurance or power endurance training. The endurance athlete continues to engage in some form of in-season resistance training to maintain his gains in strength and power. Many coaches refer to this as maintenance training, but this is not an adequate description as we want to see actual improvements in strength and power, not just maintenance. But endurance athletes are unlikely to achieve personal bests in the weight room in-season. Athletes from endurance sports often skip resistance training entirely during their competitive season, either because of a lack of energy or a general belief that resistance training is unnecessary in-season. Some endurance athletes believe in-season resistance training will slow them down in their events. But this is the one time when we want performance, strength, and power to remain at their highest levels. It takes a minimal amount of time and energy in-season to hold onto those hard-won gains from the off-season and preseason.
Skill Sports
Sports such as volleyball, racket sports, and soccer, are often referred to as skill sports. Many skill sports include resistance training in-season. In-season workouts are reduced in frequency, as is the overall workload, but the emphasis on power remains. This sharpened power is used daily in training and regularly in competitive arenas. Many skill sports use plyometric drills during in-season training in place of some resistance training. Athletes in sports that require explosive vertical jumps may wish to focus on plyometric training in-season, however, plyometric training can easily overload the joints and connective tissue of players who frequently practice or play their sport. Reliance on explosive lifting and its less-intense shock to the body may be a more appropriate form of plyometric training in-season for athletes who play skill sports.
Strength and Power Sports
Sports that involve moving objects, such as football, wrestling, weightlifting, and many track and field events, rely on strength and power for success. The sport-specific training for these sports permits the continued use of weightlifting or explosive training throughout the selected sport season. Strength/power athletes often need to reach their best results in both explosive resistance training and their sport at nearly the same time.

-Jonathan Mike, MS, CSCS


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