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Sporting Excellence #0012 => Feb 2006
February 23, 2006
FEBRUARY 2006

This newsletter is brought to you by:

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com

You can view back issues online here:

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/Sporting_Excellence-backissues.html

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TABLE OF CONTENTS - FEBRUARY 2006

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Here's the contents in brief for this issue of Sporting Excellence

1. How to Design a Resistance Training Program for Your Sport

2. Map Your Runs (And The Distance You Cover) Using This Free Tool

3. Lactate Tolerance Training Drills

4. Don't Let an Injury Set You Back: Use Cross Transference

5. Volleyball Plyometrics Program

6. Endurance Cyclists Should Strengthen Their Legs

7. Side Stitches - Cause & Cure

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1. How to Design a Resistance Training Program for Your Sport

Resistance training is now accepted as an integral and crucial part of any athlete's training plan. Unlike the generic strength training routines found in fitness magazines, sport-specific strength conditioning involves a few more design variables and takes a little more planning. This guide outlines the seven steps to designing effective resistance training programs for sport...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/resistance-training.html

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2. Map Your Runs (And The Distance You Cover) Using This Free Tool

Many people love to run. Some simply roll out of bed, put on some shoes, and start running. Some run for fun, others are trying to get fit and lose weight, while others are training for a specific event. Whatever the reason for your desire to run, it helps to know how far you are running.

You can map your runs a variety of ways. The most widely used way is to jump in your car, reset your odometer, and drive around. This works well, but tends to be time consuming and costly in terms of gas usage. It is also difficult to find routes that are specific distances, without a lot of a u-turns and trying different roads. A more modern approach is to use a GPS receiver. While this is potential more accurate, you still have to drive around with it to find the distances.

Good news is in sight. The internet today has provided a fast and easy way to map your runs. Most sites let you browse a map to find your starting point. You then plot points along roads or trails and a running distance is kept track. You can back up and try different routes easily. The only downside of the electronic mappings is that you do not see the surrounds of your run beforehand, so you might not know about the monster hill at mile 7!

A benefit of using electronic mapping tools is that they allow you to log your runs. This helps you keep track of your training schedule, shoe wear-and-tear, and your performance. Another benefit is that many sites let you share you favorite runs with other people, as well as search for runs in another area. If you travel a lot, electronic run mapping websites will help you find and plan your away runs much easier.

Whatever your preferred method of tracking your runs, the most important thing is to keep running! Dave Stevenson recently completed his first of many marathons to come. Having spent the summer driving around planning his training runs, he developed a free website called Favorite Run that lets you map your runs, log your runs, and share them with others. You can visit his website at: http://www.favoriterun.com

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3. Lactate Tolerance Training Drills

Lactate tolerance training will help you to recover more quickly from successive bursts of speed and power. It will increase your tolerance to lactic acid and allow you maintain a high work rate for longer. Here's some drills with suggestions for a sample session that can be adopted by most multi-sprint spor...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/lactate-tolerance-training.html

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4. Don't Let an Injury Set You Back: Use Cross Transference

By Dr Gabe Mirkin.

Injuries upset competitive athletes because they know their competitors are still training. They can maintain fitness by using a training technique called cross transference, and so can you. Exercising one leg or arm helps to maintain strength, endurance and power in the other limb. The muscles in the injured limb are not strengthened directly because they are not being used.

Cross transference strengthens nerves in both limbs, even though only one is being exercised (Journal of Applied Physiology, November 2005). Each muscle is made of millions of fibers, and each fiber is stimulated by a single nerve.

When you exercise, your brain sends messages along these nerves, telling only about five percent of the nerves to contract at the same time. With training, your brain learns to contract a greater percentage of muscle fibers simultaneously. The more you practice a specific exercise, the greater percentage of your muscle fibers you can contract at the same time.

When you stop exercising, your brain quickly loses its ability to contract as many fibers at the same time and you lose strength, endurance and coordination. However, if you continue to exercise one arm, your brain retains its ability to contract the fibers in the opposite arm. This concept applies only to opposite limbs; you can maintain strength in an injured arm by continuing to exercise the uninjured one, but exercising your legs will not strengthen your arms and vice versa.

So if you are a runner who injures a leg muscle, you can work the uninjured leg on resistance machines to keep up the strength of both legs. If you are a baseball pitcher, you can help to maintain strength in an injured arm by using your other arm to throw and do resistance exercises.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com

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5. Volleyball Plyometrics Program

Volleyball plyometrics can help to increase your vertical jump and explosive power around the court. Use these animated drills in conjunction with a well-designed resistance training program to improve your game...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/volleyball-plyometrics.html

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6. Endurance Cyclists Should Strengthen Their Legs

By Dr Gabe Mirkin.

An Australian research team has shown why training for strength is important for cyclists. Untrained men who were not cyclists used a hack-squat apparatus (a weight-lifting machine used to strengthen the legs and buttocks) to lift 85 percent of the heaviest weight that they could lift once, five times in a row. Then they rested and repeated the sets of five. They did this four times, in three sessions per week. They did no cycling during the strength-training period of the study. They were given cycling endurance tests before and after.

The study concluded that the strength training made men far more efficient in cycling ( Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise , July 2005.) Efficiency is the amount of energy a person uses to perform a certain amount of work at high intensity.

However, strength training did not improve the men's aerobic capacity: the ability to use oxygen or circulate blood. So strength training did not improve heart or lung function, but it did give the participants extra power to push the pedals harder, which helped them ride faster.

Top-level competitive cyclists train for endurance by riding for three to eight hours a day. They usually cannot push heavy weights with their legs because their cycling schedule does not give them time to recover from strenuous weightlifting workouts. Since this study used untrained cyclists, it does not suggest that professional cyclists should change their training methods.

Competitive cyclists gain tremendous leg muscle strength just by climbing steep hills very fast, which exerts as much force on their leg muscles as weightlifting and makes them very strong.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com

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7. Side Stitches - Cause & Cure

By Dr Gabe Mirkin.

It took years for the medical community to finally learn what causes a side stitch. Suddenly a runner develops pain in the right upper part of the belly, just underneath the ribs in the front. With each step the pain worsens. Doctors proposed all sorts of explanations for side stitch and most were nonsense.

A side stitch is not caused by gas in the colon because it is not relived by passing gas. It is not caused by a liver swollen with blood during running, because the liver has a very distensible capsule and does not enlarge much during exercise. It is not caused by cramps in the belly muscles because the belly muscles are not held rigidly when you have a side stitch, and it does not hurt when you push on the belly muscles. Lack of oxygen to the diaphragm doesn't cause them because blood flow to the diaphragm is not shut off by running. They are not caused by trapped gas in the lungs because gas does not get trapped in the lungs during exercise.

The first reasonable explanation and successful treatment came from Dr. Tim Noakes. Thick fibrous bands called ligaments extend downward from your diaphragm to hold your liver in place. When you run, your liver drops at the exact time that your diaphragm goes up, stretching the ligaments and causing pain.

Humans have a fixed pattern of breathing when they run. They have a two to one breathing ratio, breathing once for each two strides. Most people breathe out when the right foot strikes the ground. When you breathe out, your diaphragm goes up, and at the same time, the force of your foot strike causes your liver to go down. This stretches the ligaments that attach the liver to your diaphragm, causing pain. So the cause of a side stitch during hard running is a stretching of the ligaments that hold the liver to the diaphragm and the cure is to relieve the stretching of the ligaments.

When you get a side stitch, stop running and press your hand deep into your liver to raise it up against your diaphragm. At the same time, purse your lips and blow out against the tightly held lips as hard as you can. Pushing the liver up stops stretching the ligaments. Breathing out hard empties your lungs. Usually the pain is relieved immediately and you can resume running as soon as the pain disappears.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com

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That's it for this issue of Sporting Excellence.

Remember if you have any questions regarding this issue's content (or sports training in general) I can be contacted at:

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/contactus.html

Best wishes,

Phil Davies.

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