Training Theory

The following video is of Dr Brad DeWeese presenting on Training Theory at The International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program in 2013 I think. Brad is an assistant professor in the Exercise and Sport Science Department at East Tennessee State University.  He has also served the United States Olympic Committee as the Head Sport Physiologist for the Winter Division at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York. He has coached numerous Olympians, World Champions, Olympic Trials Qualifiers, National Champions, All-Americans, and NCAA Championship performers in a variety of sports, including bobsled, skeleton, canoe/ kayak, and track and field, and many more. He can be found on Twitter @DrBradDeWeese.

Brad starts his talk explaining that he comes from a track & field coaching background, and felt like he needed more information to influence his coaching. He clearly believes that science influences the decisions we make when coaching  and removes assumptions, myths and speculation, stating that he is a scientist in the field, rather than in the lab.
Here are some key takeaway messages from Part 1:

  • It is a coaches role to improve/produce well rounded athletes – physiologically, technically, tactically, psychologically, and theoretically, with coaching underpinned by physics, physiology and psychology. Brad argues the case for a multi-lateral, holistic development model in order to improve a wide variety of biomotor abilities so that the pillars are strong in order to build on solid foundations.
  • To get to the next level, doesn’t always mean add more volume, everything has to be moderated and have a purpose.
  • Volume of training can be influenced through motion analysis (competition data in order to modify training training loads).
  • Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) can be influenced by sleep, stress, hydration. A planned 90% lift for a given day may actually be 100% taking these factors into account. Simply asking “How did that feel” can be effective in manipulating the days training.
  • Volume load (sets x reps x load) correlates to how athletes recover. Manipulation of VL is key to periodization, as too much VL can lead to over training syndrome (OTS).
  • Over-reaching is delaying the taper. For more on tapering strategies see the work of Inigo Mjika .
  • Over-reaching is a short term increase in volume – and can be done every 4-6 weeks, sometimes in competition.
  • All athletes should over-reach, targeting a threshold of fatigue.
  • Volume load should be reduced every 4 weeks but consider the paradigm for team sports with many competitions (3:1), injured athletes (1:1), and youth athletes (2:1).
  • Think long term lag training effect – what you do today, may not be seen for 6-8 weeks. Consider it as making an investment in long term development rather than seeking instant effects.

Periodization Strategies

  • Most work
  • Decisions should be guided by science
  • The body bases protein transcription on the last thing you do – consider concurrent training
  • Tapering prepares for readiness – highest level of skills and psychological state for competition
  • Strategically cycle training – increase load > pull back > increase load > pull back
  • To run fast you have to be strong, don’t put the cart before the horse
  • Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) – athletes never get to truly develop as there is no long term focus
  • With start players you can manipulate playing/training time, or target specific competitions to step back and allow recovery to develop later in the competition schedule
  • US sport = too much competition = reduced training and recovery = increases the likelihood of injury
  • “Once you know something it’s your responsibility to make a change in your world, change culture”
  • General Prep (train to train) > Special Prep (train to compete) > Competitive period (max performance)> Transition period (active recovery)
  • Change things up – use games in warm ups or for conditioning as hidden volume
  • Sometimes competitions can’t be graded equally, sometimes you want a loss as a ‘teaching moment’
  • “When you know something it’s not good just for you to know it”

Conjugate Sequence / Block Periodiztion

  • Dedicate blocks to one specific training factor (strength endurance, strength, power) – take the time to develop strength endurance will improve strength, which will improve power
  • Doesn’t mean every other factor shifts off, it’s just reduced in volume
  • DUP interferes with development of many biomotor abilities, reducing the potentiating effect
  • Take away an exercise for 4 weeks, reintroduce 4 weeks later and performance will improve (back squat > front squat > back squat)
  • Over-reaching prevents decay of certain biomotor abilites – increase CSA, increase in connective tissue, and increase metabolic activity

Part 2 to follow.


2 thoughts on “Training Theory

  1. Pingback: Science of Sports Performance | Training Theory Parts 2 & 3

  2. Pingback: Science of Sports Performance | Training Theory Parts 4 & 5

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