Each exercise or strength related thing that you do is an individual skill. They, in and of themselves,are not "strength" but are a display of skill which shows specific strength. You put a bunch of these diverse skills together and you have something that can be called overall strength.
Continue Reading » Strength and Exercise Myth: Skills are Always Developed in a Sequence
Repetition: Usually called "rep" for short. One complete movement of an exercise, usually consisting of a concentric and eccentric muscle action. The term repetition is usually reserved for practicing discrete skill movements and some serial movements rather than continuous skills. A predetermined number of repetitions done in a group is called a set.
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By Eric Troy
Have you heard the one about the guy who walks into the gym, bends over and tries to touch his toes, does a deadlift, touches his toes again, scratches his head, does a squat, touches his toes again, does a barbell curl, touches his toes one more time, and decides, due to the biofeedback he got from trying to touch his toes, that the barbell curl is indeed the best exercise to perform that day?
Continue Reading » Biofeedback: A Misapplied and Misunderstood Term in Strength Training
There is a lot of talk about Michael Phelps and his many, many medals. Is he the greatest Olympian ever? Well, it depends on your perspective. As has been said already a thousand times, a case can be made that he is the greatest Olympian ever. But what is true of athletics in general is true of the Olympics. In fact, the Olympics is a case study in athletes with a capital A.
Blocked Practice: A type of practice in which one skill or "motor program" is practiced alone, in a repetitive fashion, before moving on to another motor skill. This is a traditional way of practicing and learning new motor skills and the idea is that the skill is set in before moving on to something new.
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I once wished that strongman was a more popular sport. Well, I am beginning to get what I wished for. However, I failed to foresee the unfortunate side-effect of this popularity: Trendy "Strongman fitness" programs thrown together in slapdash fashion for mass consumption. Case in point, this news program from NBC Today showing a Strongman circuit program for women.
Continue Reading » Dangerous Strongman Circuits for Women (or Men!)
An open skill is a skill performed in an environment that is unpredictable or that requires the performer to change the movement in the response to the dynamic variations in the environment. Most team sports and many individual ones involve the performance of open skills, such as wrestling, boxing, martial arts, basketball, soccer and other ball sports. Driving in traffic is another example. The opposite of a open skill is a closed skill.
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A serial skill is a skill that involves two or more discrete skills linked together in a predefined sequence. Examples in sports are numerous, such as tumbling skills done by a gymnast, catching and throwing a baseball during an important play in Baseball, and a executing a punching combination in Boxing. Other examples are hammering a nail, and brushing your teeth.
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A discrete skill is a skill that contains a single unit of activity in which the action is brief and has a well-defined beginning and end. Examples of discrete skills are lifting a weight, throwing a dart, serving a tennis ball, swinging a golf club, kicking a ball, and snapping your fingers. More generally in sports, the acts of hitting, jumping, kicking, throwing, and catching are all discrete skills, and these are prominent in many sports.
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A continuous skill is a skill that may last for many minutes or hours and is carried out in such a way that there is no recognizable beginning or end. These types of movements are performed in a rhythmic or cyclic fashion.
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Closed Skill: What is a closed skill? A closed skill is one that is done under conditions that are stable and predictable. Pretty much every exercise you do at the gym is a closed skill. Strength training exercises are closed skills. Much of gymnastic performance are closed skills. Once these skills are learned, you should be able to repeat them, over and over again under the same conditions without having a lot of variation. The best way to understand what a closed skill is is to contrast it with it's opposite, open skills. This way of classifying movements, as open or closed, was originally presented by the British psychologist Poulton in 1957, who used it for industrial settings, such as working on a conveyor belt but it was later expanded for application to sports.
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Imagery is simply the process of "picturing things". In other words it involves forming an image in your mind. However, when we speak of imagery in sports and strength training it is important to know that an image does not have to be confined to a visual picture in the mind but is better thought of as any mental representation or reproduction of sensations or perceptions. The term visualization is sometimes used to describe imagery relying only on the visual sense but imagery should be thought of as using all of the senses to create or re-create an experience in your mind. Vision and kinesthetic sense are however the most important aspects.
As part of my newly found passion for punching and kicking things I have begun subscribing to few websites. This morning I received an email newsletter from one of them titled; "Hammer knockout blow for street fighting!". Of course I was immediately intrigued, especially since there was a video demonstrating the technique.
Following the link in the email, I was brought to this article.
Continue Reading » The One Punch Hammer Fist...Or Not
In the first post I introduced the idea that much of the strength training and fitness information, and the attitudes of trainers themselves, seems to be based on a failure oriented philosophy rather than a success oriented one. We seek ways to get around failure, or to avoid failure, or even to use failure as a means to training. Rarely do we discuss "ways to succeed".
Continue Reading » Training to Fail Part 4: Optimal Training
This post is a continuation of Training to Fail Part 2: Intensity Cycling and High Intensity Overtraining.
Part one of this post showed that it has been very difficult to elicit performance decrements using high intensity overtraining protocols and extreme protocols had to be undertaken to do it. Yet, high intensity in these studies meant MAXIMAL INTENSITIES. What's more these intensities were used over and over, rep after rep, for relatively long periods of time for such training.1 Intensity cycling is used for what is considered relatively high intensities as compared to hypertrophy parameters but nowhere near maximal intensities. The mean intensity of the so-called intermediate 5x5 programs is closer to 80% of maximum and sometimes lower.
Continue Reading » Training to Fail Part 3: The Failure of Intensity Cycling