Monday, June 26, 2006

Speed Training - Part II

Summer Training for Speed Part II

By Patrick Beith
Complete Speed Training

Most coaches agree that conditioning work is a must for summer training. What they don't agree on is what conditioning is. Conditioning should not be referred to as just aerobic training.If you are a speed and power athlete and you are running mileage, I truly feel bad for you. You are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage and are actually hurting your performance.

Some of our conditioning work focuses on recovery. Thereare so many programs that are just hammering athletes with sprints, agility work, plyos, weights, etc. These modalities should be worked on but there needs to be a structured recovery program in place. You can't overload the central nervous system day in and day out, recovery is essential. As they say, you don't get stronger and faster from theworkouts, you get stronger and faster from recovering from the workouts.

What types of conditioning should you do?

Continued > > >

Sunday, June 25, 2006

5 New Fitness and Training Articles

Reverse Grip Curls - Want to learn a shortcut to bigger arms? Check out this powerful information on the Reverse Grip Curl. You're leaving potential arm size on the table if you neglect this exercise. (6/25/06)

Training With Muscle Soreness - Muscle soreness is something that every trainer has experienced. The typical advice is to wait until you're not sore to train that muscle again. But what if you can actually get BETTER results by training when sore! (6/25/06)

Catapult Your Muscle Gains With Proper Post-Workout Nutrition - Explains why the post-workout period is absolutely critical to building muscle and how you can take full advantage with proper nutritional and supplementation strategies. (6/24/06)

The Dramatic Muscle-Building Benefits Of Glutamine - Outlines the reasons why bodybuilders should be supplementing with this incredible amino acid, listing the benefits and proper dosage methods. (6/24/06)

Hemp Protein - Hemp protein is an up-and-coming protein supplement that I tested for 2 months as my ONLY protein supplement. Find out how hemp stacked up! (6/23/06)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hypertension and Your Arteries

High Blood Pressure’s Destructive Diseases of the Arteries

You may know that high blood pressure can cause the heart to become enlarged through years of overwork. But did you know that the disease called hypertension – the technical name for high blood pressure – can also do some serious damage to the arteries?

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)

One type of hypertension is called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) because it is a condition where the pressure on the pulmonary artery is too great. This becomes an area of concern when pressure is above 25 mmHg. Normal pressure on the pulmonary artery is 14 mmHg. In PAH the inside of the arteries becomes narrower because the muscles along the wall tighten up. The arteries can also become thick from the increased muscle mass in the arteries due to their “workout.” When this happens the thicker walls create a narrower passage way for the blood flow and blood pressure increases.

The pulmonary arteries can also form scar tissue. This narrows the artery even more. Blood clots can cause further blockage and make blood flow difficult. All of the factors that narrow the arteries can also cause them to harden.

As time goes on without treating PAH, the right side of the heart is forced to work harder. Eventually it becomes so weak that it completely fails. The number one cause of death for people with PAH is heart failure. PAH is either inherited or comes about as the result of other conditions such as chronic lung disease, blood clots in the lungs or heart disease which can be caused by other types of conditions such as hypertension or high cholesterol.


Atherosclerosis is another condition of the arteries brought about by high blood pressure among other diseases and conditions. The risk of developing this hardening and narrowing of the arteries is increased with age. If you have a close relative with the condition you are also at greater risk.

Basically, atherosclerosis starts because of a buildup of plaque in the arteries by damage to the artery’s lining. High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol all contribute to damaging the artery walls. When plaque builds up it can lead to blood clots that narrow the arteries even more. With increased blood pressure on the arteries and the clots, there is a greater chance of heart attack or stroke.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is when the arteries leading to the heart become hardened and narrower. There can be different types of CAD, the most common being angina and heart attack. Angina is a condition of chronic chest pain because the heart is not getting enough blood. A heart attack is the result also of the blood not making its way to a portion of the heart. Complete heart failure which can result in death happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood through the body.

To treat CAD, it is recommended that blood pressure is kept in check. High blood pressure adds to the strain on the arteries and the heart. A healthy diet and lifestyle will reduce the chances of developing CAD and other diseases or conditions of the arteries. Learn how to reduce your blood pressure to a healthy level by reading this special report:


Frank Mangano is an active member of his community
who works diligently providing assistance to senior citizens
and probing as a health advocate to discover new and innovative
ways to promote well being. Find out how you can maintain
healthy blood pressure at:

Monday, June 19, 2006

Complete Speed Training

Summer Training for Speed

By Patrick Beith
Complete Speed Training

Summer training is a critical time for all athletes regardless
of their sport. It is possibly the most important season with
regards to training especially for high school athletes. Most
high school athletes are 3 sport athletes so they go from
soccer, to basketball, to baseball, football to track to lacrosse,
field hockey to gymnastics to tennis, etc.

So coaches have a problem. Do they just try to get you ready
as quickly as possible for your current sport? Do they try and
work on the overall development of the athlete? Are they
concerned about conditioning levels of the incoming athletes?
Are they concerned about the condition of the athletes leaving
after their sport season is over? Is there enough time in 3 months
for a coach to put together a great periodized training program?

Now there are certain coaches that focus on different aspects
of what they feel is important to work on during the season.
And most state athletic rules are set up so the coach can not
work with their athletes out side of that sports season. This is
why summer training is so important. The athletes get to work
on and focus on improving all biomotor abilities.

Some consider the summer GPP (general preparatory period)
work of there training plan. I wrote a few months ago about
periodation (Periodization - structure of a continuous training
plan) and structure of a work out plan/program so I am not
going to go into this too much. A great resource that discusses
periodization and program design is Alwyn Cosgrove's Training
Design Program:

I am going to break this Summer Training Plan Recommendations
Article into sections so I can cover in detail each aspect of
speed training. To start off, let's hit the topic that everyone is
mostly concerned about: Training Speed over the summer.

Speed Work
I hear that speed training should not be worked on in the off
season. I still have not heard a good reason for this. Why would
you stop speed training when this is the skill that you are trying
to improve?

I have seen athlete's work on their 'conditioning' in the off
season and not perform any speed work. Then when they
show up to camp for pre-season they are expected to sprint
and time and time again, injuries occur. Sprinting is high
intensity work that involves recruiting specific groups of
muscle fibers, improving the efficiency of neuromuscular
firing patterns and is extremely taxing to the central nervous
system. To not have your athletes train for this complicated
process then all of a sudden you want them to perform at full
speed at practice or a game is crazy.

Now, volume, intensity and density of your speed work will
change throughout your training program. You should not
drop speed training from your program at any part of the year.

Let's begin first, with saying what speed training is not. Speed
training is not running at speeds/intensities less then 90-95%.
So, running a 40 yard dash at 100% is speed work, while
jogging a 100 meters at 65%. (65% is a tempo run and we
will get more into tempo running during the Conditioning for
Summer Training article in days to come).

Now, you maybe thinking, 'well, if I run a 400 meter (800 meter,
1 mile, etc.) at 100% intensity, then that must be speed training

Wrong. This is where we need to drop a little science and physiology
to clarify.

Athletes' Acceleration's own Speed Expert Latif Thomas wrote
a great energy systems article last year and I will just para-phrase
it for you.

'Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP, is the immediate usable
form of chemical energy for muscular activity. Any forms of
chemical energy that the body gets from food must be converted
into ATP before being used by muscle cells. ATP stores in muscle
is limited and will deplete in 1 to 2 seconds unless restored.
Resynthesis of ATP must occur immediately for muscular activity
to continue. There are three systems available within the body
to replace concentrations of ATP.

Anaerobic Phosphagen (ATP - CP) Energy System
Creatine Phosphate (CP) is an energy rich compound found
in muscle cells. After high intensity exercise, creatine
phosphate immediately restores ATP in the muscle without
forming waste products (lactic acid). The amount of ATP
that can be resynthesized from CP can last for 4 to 5 seconds.
So, add that to the 1 to 2 seconds of original ATP stores within
the muscle and you have about 5 to 7 seconds of ATP
production from the ATP-CP Energy System.

According to the USA Track and Field Level II Sport Science
manual, to really challenge this system, you need workouts
of 7 to 10 seconds of high intensity (sprint) work. This means
running at full speed or near full speed, but with no fatigue

So, basically as Latif stated in his energy systems article,
your 'true' speed work cannot be longer then 10 seconds
or 100 meters for those elite runners.

OK, so now that we know what true speed work is, what should
we focus on during our summer training plan?

The focus of speed training during the summer is going to be
primarily on acceleration development. Acceleration is the
key to most sports and needs to be constantly worked on and

Acceleration work is considered from 0-30 meters in distance
for each repetition. We start out with shorter distances at about
15-20 yards. The reason we start with such short intervals, is
that we want to make sure that our athletes are accelerating
correctly. Your drive phase, which is your first 6-8 strides,
is primarily what we are working on here.

We are looking for during each repetition for acceleration work is:

* Your body is driving out at approximately a 45 degree angle

* Your legs are driving down and back, attaching the ground in
a piston-like action

* If you are driving your legs down forcefully, your heel recovery
will be kept low

* The foot should strike directly below or slightly behind the hips

* As we discussed in many newsletters before, you are
stepping over the opposite knee and driving down (again in an
almost a piston-like action)

* Arm action is tight, not crossing the body, at a greater
than 90 degree angle (your arm angle will open up a little
more since your steps are greater and your ground contact
time in longer then at top speed)

When you mastered intervals at 20 yards, we start to extend
the distance looking for the same form perfection.
If you are having form issues, we break down the training
because we have found that many athletes are not strong
enough to hold and maintain that ideal drive phase. What
we do is trick the body to maintain the proper form by having
our athletes start using different positions. For example, we
will have then starting their interval on the ground seated, lying
down in the push-up position, on one knee, etc. So we really
bring them to the ground to make their bodies reach the proper
position. Another great way to do this is through short hill
training. So now you can bring the ground to them to put
them at the correct angles and positioning.

Example of an Acceleration Workout:
* 3x 20 meters - push up (down position) start
* 3x 20 meters - push up (up position) start
* 3x 25 meters - seated facing 'forward' start
* 3x 25 meters - seated facing 'backwards' start

Rest interval in between each repetition is 2-2.5 minutes
and 3-5 between each set.

Acceleration is the 'easiest' form of speed work because
they are performed at such short intervals but don't
underestimate it's importance. Acceleration work must be
done before you can even look at starting maximum velocity
(top speed running) work.

Maximum velocity work is when you are running at full speed,
so your body will be completely upright (perpendicular to the
ground), and you will no longer be leaning at an angle as you
were during acceleration. You will want to relax or 'float'
during maximum velocity. What this means is you want to
ease back in the amount of effort you are expending while
running but without slowing down and losing any speed.

This idea sounds contradictory, and like any new skill, it
takes some practice to perfect. While running, you want
to continue to step over the opposite knee, but you do not
want to drive the ball of the foot down into the ground.
This is tough to do but it is essential if you want to maximize
your speed and reach your full speed potential. If you are
not relaxing while you are running, your body is really
fighting itself and causing you to slow down. Relaxation
while at top speed must be practiced. A great work out for
maximum velocity training is called 'Ins & Outs' or
'Sprint/Float/Sprint' or 'Fly Runs'.

Example of a Maximum Velocity Workout:

Flying 40's

Place a cone at the starting line, at 20yards, at 60 yards and
at 80 yards. Accelerate hard to the first cone (20y). Maintain
the speed you have generated by running relaxed and following
the maximum velocity cues from 20-60 yards. Once you hit 60
yards, slowly decelerate for the next 20 yards, coming to a full
stop at the last cone. This is a fly 40. Total volume for these
workouts should be between 250 - 350 yards.

Workout 6-8 x Fly 40's

Rest interval is 5-6 minutes between each bout.

Start with 2 days a week of acceleration work. Once you
feel comfortable and are performing each rep with proper
form and you have reached running 30 meter intervals
with no problem, add a day of maximum velocity work in.
The summer is not that long and there is a lot of training to
get done. The first 2 weeks of the summer will look like this:

(**Note the days that I left blank I will fill in as we discuss
other aspects of summer training in future newsletters)
Also, it is summer so we can give our athletes the weekend
off to 'recover'.

Tuesday: Acceleration
Thursday - Acceleration

Next 2 weeks
Monday: Acceleration
Wednesday: Maximum Velocity
Friday: Acceleration

Depending on your improvements and progressions:
Next 2 weeks
Monday: Maximum Velocity
Wednesday: Acceleration
Friday: Maximum Velocity

I will discuss Speed Endurance when I cover Conditioning
as they will be easier to explain both topics together, but this
is what your speed training days will look like at the end of
the summer:

Monday: Maximum Velocity (w/ Acceleration)
Wednesday: Speed Endurance
Friday: Maximum Velocity (w /Acceleration)

The sport requirements and goals of the athlete will influence
the workouts but those are some general recommendations.

Other Summer Training Speed Guidelines:

Intensity 95-100%

Distance of run 20-60 meters

Rest interval approximately 1 minute rest for every 10 meters
(this is what Charlie Francis recommends and it has worked
amazing for our athletes)

Number of reps/set 2-4

Number of sets 2-4

Total distance in set 80-160 meters

Total distance in session 300 - 500 meters

Rest at least 36-48 in between each speed session

Be on the look out for next week's continuation of Summer
Training for Speed where I will give you more training modalities,
concepts, exercises, drills and workouts perfect for this coming

If you want even greater detail then this with structured
workouts done for you, sample programs, descriptions and
reasons behind why you perform each speed training exercise,
here is the top resource I recommend:

Complete Speed Training

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Stand up for a free and open Internet

Dear Friends,

The giant telephone and cable companies are trying to take control of the Internet away from the public.

They're asking Congress to give them the power to tell you where you can go on the Internet-and what you can do.

Please, join me in standing up for the Internet as we know it. Click here to learn more and to tell Congress "It's Our Internet":

Together, we can ensure that the Internet remains free and open.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Measuring Your Blood Pressure

Dangerous Shortcuts Your Doctor May Be Taking When Measuring Your Blood Pressure

Did you know that your trusted family doctor may be taking a shortcut during your office visits that might be putting your health at risk? I know it sounds hard to believe, but it's true. As a result of trying to squeeze as many appointments as possible into their daily schedules, doctors sometimes skip vital steps during your physical exams.

It starts when you are rushed into the doctor's office and the very first thing they do is take your blood pressure. This actually may be the worst time during your visit to do such a test, because the rushing and hurrying combined with the anxiety of being in a doctor's office to begin with can automatically cause your blood pressure to spike.

In situations like this your blood pressure readings can be inaccurate or misleading. There are serious health consequences that can happen to you from a misdiagnosis - in either

For someone with borderline high blood pressure, a false low reading may delay the necessary precautions to lower it. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to serious heart disease even decades down the road. On the other side of the coin is the scenario that a false high reading is recorded and a patient gets put unnecessarily on medication -- medication they will likely have to take for the rest of their lives. For these reasons, it is critical that health care providers give accurate blood pressure readings.

Continued > > >

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Summary of Articles Published in May

4 Harmful Muscle-Building Myths Uncovered - If you’re serious about making a solid commitment to a muscle-building program, you need to be very careful of who you take advice from. (5/28/06)

When One Side Of a Muscle Group Is Smaller Than The Other - How To Train to Fix It - If you've got a lesser-developed muscle on one side of your body, give these training techniques a try. (5/27/06)

5 Reasons Why Alcohol Will Destroy Your Muscle Gains - Alcohol is far more harmful than most people think, and it’s very important that you understand how this drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) is affecting your progress. (5/25/06)

Cardio or Weights. Weights or Cardio. What's It Going To Be? - Knowing how to balance cardio with weight training can be one of the most challenging aspects of putting together your training program. Learn how to do it here. (5/21/06)

Easy-To-Follow Nutrient Ratios: One Minute Lesson - What you are about to discover is a sure-fire, effortless way to easily determine an appropriate nutrient ratio for your own personal goals. (5/18/06)

Massive Shoulders In A Matter Of Minutes - If you’re looking to develop an impressive, muscular physique, well-developed shoulders are an absolute must. (5/18/06)

The Secrets of Negative Training - Think you know everything about Negative Training? Check out this eye-opening information on how to REALLY maximize your strength-building results from it. These never-before-seen training techniques will take your gains through the roof! (5/17/06)

Easy-To-Follow Nutritional Principles - BASIC Nutrition - A Quick, Common-Sense Guide To What You Should Be Eating to Stay Healthy and Get Results Right Now. (5/16/06)

2 Simple Steps To Ripped Summertime Muscles - Summer is on the horizon, and the time has come to kick back and relax under the sun. It’s time for beach days, barbecues and pool parties, and for any serious weightlifter these activities also mean one thing: it’s time for the shirts to come off and to showcase that rock-solid physique they’ve been working on all year. (5/11/06)

4 Harmful Muscle-Building Myths Uncovered - In this article I’m going to expose 4 very common muscle-building myths in order to keep you on the proper path to the mind-blowing muscle and strength gains you deserve. (5/9/06)

10 Simple Steps To Skyrocket Your Natural Testosterone Production - Testosterone is the most important muscle-building hormone in your body and is one of the limiting factors that determines how much muscle a person can build. (5/9/06)

The Scary Truth About Soy Protein and Bodybuilding - Inevitably there’s a myth that soy protein is horrible for bodybuilding and that if you are any where near serious about working out or building muscle you will stay away from it. (5/1/06)