Hello everyone. Just wanted to let you guys know that from now on I am moving the q&a into the newsletter. So if you wanna continue reading the q&a's after this week subscribe to my No BullCrap Sports Training newsletter here
I'm also gonna start to include interviews with various coaches and rants about a variety of topics so don't miss out!
Q: How do you recommend warming up for a speed, agility or jumping type workout? I typically jog just a bit and then do some low intensity hops and jumps and get after it. Last week I set a PR but I wanna make sure I'm doing things correctly.
A: It's really kind've variable and the only rules I really follow are:
1. "Warm-up" enough that you are "ready" to train and don't hurt yourself in your workout.
2. Don't warm up so much that you create unnecessary fatigue so that you start your main workout in a state of fatigue.
Obviously your warm-up seems to be working for you otherwise you wouldn't have hit a PR but I kind've frown on jogging to get warmed up as it can generate excessive fatigue.
Generally speaking, younger people can get away with a lot less of a warm-up then older people and people with postural and mobility restrictions need more of a warm-up then people whose body is in good working order. If you have mobility problems and can't activate your muscles correctly or get into the positions you need to get into for your sport, you risk tears, sprains, and poor performance.
At the very minimum I generally recommend people go through a short 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up including mobility drills for the calves, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and lower back along with activation drills for the glutes.
For a complete list, explanation, and video of about every dynamic mobility exercise you can think of I recommend you take a look at Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson's Magnificent Mobility DVD.
The dynamic mobility work would be followed with a few reps of submaximal reps in whatever the first exercise of the day is for you. If you're running sprints you'd do several reps of submaximal sprints or form drills. If you're jumping you'd do several reps of lower intensity jumps. If you're lifting you'd do a few sets with lighter weight on your first exercise of the day before getting into your working sets. That's about all there is to it!
Q: Hi Kelly, I really enjoy all of your insight on training. I'm
following your workouts and had a couple of general questions. First, when it
comes to depth jumps, what kind of surface do you suggest doing them on (hard
or soft). It seems like grass tends to be easier on my knees, but I tend to
get higher when jumping on harder surfaces. Second, do you prefer Olympic or
powerlifting style squats for jumping and speed development? Or a combination
A: Preferably you want something harder then grass yet softer then concrete. Rubber mats work really well as does "hard" grass or dirt. I feel very leery about guys going out and doing plyos on concrete though. As for squats that's a tough call. I usually recommend a style that would favor olympic style squats until a person develops sufficient general lower body strength particularly of the vastus medialis. After that, I tend to recommend more low bar powerlifting squats and box squats as the emphasis shifts towards posterior chain. Here is an article that'll give you some of my insights on that topic: Squats and Speed
Q: My question is in regard to the affect that being in a hypercaloric
and well fed state has on strength and muscle mass gains. First, I have seen
you state before that having full glycogen levels in the muscle and carrying a
little extra bodyfat can aid heavy load weight room strength by giving a
leverage advantage. Can you explain exactly how it is this works? Also, does
being in a well fed state help muscular recruitment ability in some way, and
are these one of the two reasons why dieting during a cutting phase in
bodybuilding results in strength loss even if myofibril muscle mass remains
fairly the same? Finally, you said that genetic potential for muscle is really
a matter of how much muscle you can carry at a certain bodyfat level and that
if you ate your way up to about 100 or 200 pounds of scale weight you might be
fat as hell but will have more muscle. My question to this is, are you saying
that you have to continually increase your bodyfat percentage and storage in
order to grow to your fullest potential? I mean, how does having excess fat
allow you to grow and carry more muscle?
A: If you've read those articles you know the importance of hormonal signaling and eating and their impact on muscle growth. Good nutrition tends to positively impact the endocrine system and a muscle full of glycogen is stronger then a depleted muscle.
There's a range of bodyfat that each person carries where the endocrine factors such as testosterone level, growth hormone level, and insulin sensitivity are "optimal" for lean muscle mass gains. Get too thin and those endocrine factors start to go down the drain. If your testosterone levels are shot and your stress hormone levels are elevated, (like they are if you're well below your bodyfat setpoint), putting on muscle will be a chore and putting on lean muscle without fat will REALLY be a chore. That's why a severely dieted down bodybuilder (bodyfat 7% or less), finds it extremely difficult to gain good muscle while maintaining that ultra lean state.
If you get leaner then your body wants to be it will try very hard to put fat back on you.
However, get too fat and you start to become insulin resistant and the acquistion of pure lean gains becomes difficult as well. That doesn't mean a fat person can't continue to eat their bodyweight up and gain more muscle and strength but they also tend to gain more fat with that muscle then if they had maintained a semi-lean state.
The optimal range for most people for lean gains is around 10-17% bodyfat or thereabouts.
Now, carrying a heck of a lot more fat then that allows a person to carry more muscle simply because they never have to worry about shedding fat and cutting up and, even though they might gain more fat then what is "optimal", they will build quite a bit of muscle too. It also allows them to carry more strenght because that fat also gives the muscles some leverage.
I was talking to a good ol' boy the other day who works in a manufacturing facility and part of his job requires him to periodically push around heavy 300 pound barrels. He goes about 220 and is interested in losing some fat. He didn't wanna lose too much fat though. Why? Well, in his exact words, "Boy you gotta have some ass on you to push around those barrels like I do every day." That about sums it up. A bigger ass tends to have more leverage then a skinny ass even if the big ass ain't all solid!
Say you take two 150 pound twins at 10% bodyfat and you bulk them up to 200 lbs at 15% bodyfat. Twin A decides to reduce his bodyfat back to 10% before starting another bulking cycle. So he drops his weight down to 185 and then builds himself back up to 220 pounds at 15%. Twin B says to hell with it and, starting from the same 200 pounds at 15%, decides he dont wanna waste any time cutting and just decides to eat and train himself up to 250 pounds scale weight. Will he have more muscle mass and strenght at 250 pounds then the other twin at 220? Yeah sure...but he'll also have a lot more fat and look like crap compared to the other twin. If you're only referring to the muscle mass and strength carried though, he'll have more of it cuz he never wasted time dropping back down in bodyweight.
Q: Hi Kelly, I recently purchased your vertical jumping book and I think it is the best investment of 40$ ever. Although being able to dunk is definitly one of my goals, I bought the book mainly to help me with my jumping events in track: triple jump and long jump. Do I need to modify any of the exercises to improve for these two events?
A: Glad you enjoyed it. For jumping events, the only I might recommend is that you cut down on the plyometric work and just replace with the actual events. You could actually practically eliminate it completely. Since the number of jumps you do in training for the events is quite large anyway that's what I would recommend particularly inseason.