Post season detraining

As we draw to the end of the season, it’s easy to start thinking about getting the feet up and having a few weeks off. Here’s a little food for thought though as you think about when to start your off season and pre season training. You’d be surprised at how quickly training effects can be reversed.

In the first couple of days, hormone levels will be effected negatively effecting mood states. By days 3-5 muscles start to lose elasticity and aerobic qualities can drop by up to 5%. At just over a week, VO2 max can drop by up to 10%. 10 days without training and your metabolic rate will drop meaning you’ll have to drop the amount you eat or you’ll start to put on weight.

Getting up to 2 weeks you’ll see changes in muscle tone and the amount of work your heart can do can drop up to 15%. At the start of week 3 loss of muscle mass and strength will occur along with a drop in your cell’s ability to create energy. By the end of that third week your VO2 max can drop by up to 20% and by the end of the 4th week you can lose 10-15% of lean muscle mass to be replaced by a nicely padded increased fat mass.

That’s a lot of scary numbers but these only apply if all training is stopped completely. It’s important at the end of the season to mentally recover from the stresses and strains of a competitive season, but this doesn’t mean that all training should stop though. This will reduce the chances of detraining and mean you start at a higher level of performance when you get back into full preseason training.


It’s all connected

On the tenuous strength and conditioning link line of thinking again, this week I went along to the royal observatory in Greenwich. Now, having previously posted a somewhat abstract blog about time, I have to look elsewhere. So then, space it is.

One of the exhibits at the royal observatory was the planetarium, it was basically a tour of the universe (a very small part of it iI guess) showing you around some constellations, the solar system and some highlights of deep space. Apart from a nagging feeling of how inconsequential and small we all are, something else stood out to me. N.B. Incidentally, if you are prone to bouts of depression, perhaps avoiding the planetarium and maybe physics in general is a good idea.

The interaction between the very big and the very small is what stood out though. The gravitational forces at play. Moons orbiting planets, planets orbiting around stars and stars around galaxy centres but also electrons around nucleii in atoms. It’s all connected. It’s exactly the same thing in the human body. We strive to know the interactions and how certain things impact upon each other. A lack of flexibility in the big toe for example completely alters running efficiency, the muscles that become active and dominant, the direction of ground reaction forces and the torques placed on joints. The better we understand those connections, the biomechanics, and use them, them better we do by our athletes.



Secrets to England’s cricketing success

After another demolition of India this weekend, England’s cricket team are now the number 1 test team in the world. How have they done it? What’s the secret to their success, that silver bullet that perhaps we can apply to our athletes? I’ve been doing some deep thinking, research and analysis and I think I have it. Over the next few paragraphs I’m going to divulge those secrets. For only £25 you too can learn the secrets to success….ok, that bit’s a joke unless you do want actually want to pay, then please get in touch.

Now I’m sure a lot of commentators and writers will talk about the cyclical nature of the sport and the dissipation of a great Australian team and the coming to an end of a very good Indian team. Those though are external factors not under the control of the England team, I’m going to concentrate on things they have done themselves. So timing of development, for me, isn’t the secret of their success.

One thing the England team does do is work very hard. On all aspects of their game. Their fielding, batting, bowling, psychological skills and their conditioning. They work hard at all of them. Secret 1 is hard work.

The other thing the England team does is that they work hard over a long period of time, they do it consistently. Not just for a couple of weeks or a single series. They work hard, consistently. Secret 2 is consistency.

There we have it. Apologies if it’s not what you wanted to hear or you were expecting a quick and easy solution to make it to the top. There isn’t one. For coaches, athletes or anyone who wants to get better at something, your silver bullet solution is consistent hard work.