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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Protein & the vegan diet

I was asked to do a bit about protein for Natures Whey makers of Ignite Ultra V (who despite the name are a vegan company).  It is really a basic primer about protein & the research as it stands right now in terms of protein & athletic performance, size & strength you can find it as a guest post on their blog here
If you like it let them know by leaving a comment a comment or emailing them.
The link again, just in case

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Power: Are we missing something?

I've been considering 'power' in the same way you can break down strength.  You know you can have absolute strength (think powerlifting 1 rep max lifts), low volume strength (think 6-12 reps bodybuilders typical range) & strength endurance (doing a fair amount of reps needing strength, but repping out - think push-ups etc).
Well I was thinking of power in the same way.  Wouldn't it make sense that there is (& I'm still working this out):

Heavy implement power (think barbell movements like O-lifting variations)

 Joni snatches his way to power

Light implement training (thin med ball, kettlebell etc) 

 Not just for get-ups.  Kettlebells can also be used 
explosively in swings, snatches or other movements
Bodyweight power (think of plyometric work & other explosive actions like sprinting & some extreme callisthenics). 
   Dan show us some extreme callisthenics

I believe that power may be at least as important as strength in many ways - power goes more quickly than strength for a start, as you age you can lose power up to 50% faster than strength!  Power is often the key to healthy living, if the power is there, the strength HAS to be there.  Strength is the base of power to be sure, but power sits on top kind of like the king when everything else is in place. 
So, how should we include power training into our training?
I’d consider cycling in all the forms of power mentioned about, heavier O-lifting variations at some points, lighter implement training like kettlebells at another time, mid-range dumbbells or med-ball work & some times when plyo or sprinting hit centre stage.  The best time to do it is to do your foam rolling & warm-up stuff then do the power stuff, then the strength stuff.  One caution here;  Only add power once you have some strength, adding power to a weak body doesn’t work, it is the quickest way to injury so spend a while building up to reasonable strength first, then add in the power work.
You do not have to stick to conventional plyometrics  work, power can also come from some extreme callisthenics like muscle-ups, clapping push-ups, even clapping handstand push-up.  When starting begin with easier power work then move on to harder movements, medball work can be started fairly easily & jumping onto (not off of) low boxes or short sprints can also work (uphill sprints might be an easier start on the joints), but start much easier than you think & work into it very, very slowly.
Anyway these are my first thoughts in this direction.  I imagine if you became pretty good at some heavy, some light & some bodyweight power production then you will become a great all-round athlete & be in a better position to fight off the aging process as well.
Final point, I’m not sure you need power training year round, it may be that you can drop most for some of the off-season, or if you are not an athlete drop it at certain times of the year, but certainly you should pick times of low stress & focus on building up the power if you wish to maintain maximum physical performance.  I know I am now thinking more about types of power & how I should fit them into my training & I hope you are as well.  I’m sure we’ll return to this as I start to put together my thoughts & I’d love your input & views on this subject; do you think the type of power matters (heavy, light, bodyweight)?  Do you think you can do it all the time or should cycle it?  Would you arrange power differently to my categories?  Have you found specific forms of power training particularly beneficial?  Anything else you think we should have covered? I know this is only the opening look at this, so I look forward to your input as well as spending some time pondering this myself.