Mixed Message- Precision Signaling and Adaptation

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Many coaches wonder why some workouts work, and why some seem to just create fatigue. Today we are seeing a huge influx of the dreaded tuna fish smoothie, two or more ingredients that are great in isolation but perhaps are not a great pair or combination. Training seems to be about fusion and combinations, and at times this is a good thing. When I saw the Single Leg Pullup-Inverted Row-Hip Thruster Combo by Ben Bruno, my question was not if he was the lost third Gallagher brother from Oasis, but what role did that exercise have in a training program. People are surprised that I view his youtube channel and check in with the Diesel Crew, as expansion of exercises is actually helpful. Mr. Bruno and Mr. Smith provide proper technique and taxonomy, something that is valuable. Each year those two will create at least a few exercises that may help in a circuit for general fitness because training sometimes does need entertainment and variety.Still, don’t we need more actual historical records of what is working with the workouts and results of the training? It seems like most blogs are jokes without punchlines, and we need to see more effects and less cause. Most of the time fundamental exercises are the root of results, and doing them better is better than adding different exercises. I am not interested in muscle confusion, I am interested in muscle mastery and performance.

Without getting into training theory with compatibility of training units, something that I was fascinated to read about at the USATF II school, a good question is how much clarity is necessary. Watching someone do single leg kettle bell swings with the TRX made me think that perhaps we need to go back to Frank Dick and seeing that while the biomotor skills are not artificially segregated, stimulating occurs by creating an imbalance or overload. If you are diluting the load among too many variables, the signal is not strong, as it’s spread thin. What to get faster? Sprinting. Want to get stronger? Choose an exercise that allows a safe and measurable way to load progressively. Want to get flexible? Choose something that shows improvement over weeks with clear evidence. Want more endurance? Choose a test that transfers well to the game at the right time. Want to work on skills? See your team coach, not the agility guy with speed ladders and bosu balls.

Clear signaling is not just modality specific, it’s also time specific. You need time to get better. Reps and Reps. This is not popular or talked about because farming style training is not marketable. Athletes have come to me and talked about this season being special because it’s the Olympic year. That’s nice but I need time for Rio, as they can’t drop 3 tenths in the 100m dash at age 26 without a lot of right things going for them. Blocks or Phases or even seasons are necessary to tell the body we want change. If the adaptation doesn’t happen soon be patient, but if no progress is occurring think less about intensity or volume and think about clear communication to the body.
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Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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