Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

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KoolaidMannn
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Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#1

Post by KoolaidMannn » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:15 pm

Hey everyone! I am happy to announce our fourth Q&A with Zac Robinson from Data Driven Strength. Their whole goal is to translate current research into methodologies that produce strength gains.

Zac is currently doing research at the FAU muscle physiology lab under Dr. Michael Zourdos. He also successfully coaches many people of all demographics in strength training.

If you have any questions on programming, training related things, or about pursuing academics let's hear them!

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Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#2

Post by KoolaidMannn » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:03 pm

I’m interested on your thoughts about emerging strategies/bottom up programming vs peridoization for meet peaking and just general training, what are the pros and cons of both to you?

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Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#3

Post by mgil » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:12 pm

Assuming that the vast majority of the influx of trainees in powerlifting and barbell training in general are training without the assistance of PEDs, does the data influence a revision thinking in regards to volume and intensity for the changing population?

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Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#4

Post by zacrobinson5 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:32 pm

KoolaidMannn wrote: Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:03 pm I’m interested on your thoughts about emerging strategies/bottom up programming vs peridoization for meet peaking and just general training, what are the pros and cons of both to you?
Huge topic so bear with me,


First, I just want to give Mike T. a ton of credit. Obviously this isn’t the first time he’s applied an innovative idea to strength sport, the implementation of RPE/RIR has given all of us a ton of ideas to pull from, and I see much of the same happening with the ideas brought forth with discussions of emerging strategies.

So, i think the ideas are sound, if you look at John Kiely’s work, you realize some of the foundation that periodization stands upon is likely pretty reductionistic. If you’ve read some of Barbell Medicine’s stuff on pain and the implementation of the Biopsychosocial model, I don’t think that is the only context in which this stuff applies. I believe Mike T. has talked about this very same model applying to the success or lack thereof of a given training stimulus. This is where I think the bottom up style thrives, standardize the goal posts and observe, rather than trying to fit a peg you’ve worked so hard on making perfectly square (a 12 week training cycle) into a hole that you now realize is a circle (the unpredictability of life/non gym stressors that literally influence the observed training effect). It also takes away some of the “noise” that can cloud a coaches analysis of how the training cycle went with an elaborate plan with a million fluctuating variables. You can better identify the “broken cog” in the machine per say, although I don’t think you can ever have perfect accuracy with the amount of things we can’t control about human physiology. This could, in theory, give you a more confident answer in saying this did or didn't’ work and then make adjustments from there.

Now with that in mind, I think this is largely dependant on the individual, I know a sucky answer. When examining the periodization literature as a whole (Greg Nuckols at Stronger By Science has a great in house meta analysis on this) we do see small effect sizes in favor of periodization for strength. Given, that data has a ton of limitations. One of the main being, in general, non linear plans lacked high specificity efforts, in which the periodized models included them. Greg rightfully points out, sometimes they aren’t really testing the inclusion of periodization but rather specificity. Another important distinction to make is that periodization doesn’t really seem to have an effect on hypertrophy so long as volume is equated. Since we know that hypertrophy seems to be very important for strength, especially as training advancement increases, it's important to note periodization doesn’t seem to have a meaningful effect on that outcome. With that in mind, if you have aquadquate volume, and frequent exposures to efforts specific to the test, I think that is a good recipe for success, periodized or not.

I think a ton of the benefits observed of periodization simply come from the psychological benefit of not constantly being challenged to improve on the same task as the week before (ie if the rep targets drop each week, ex. 8 to 7 to 6, that almost artificially gives your the subjective sense of progression, if strength is the goal). Even if this confidence is artificial, it can provide momentum nonetheless.

You could also make the argument that, in general, repeating that same task over and over increases rates of athlete burnout, but because of carefully monitoring time to peak and the whole point of pivot cycles is to prevent that from occurring, I don’t think it’s a particularly strong argument. One last huge huge caveat to this is the lifter’s own psychological buy-in to the program they are given (Kiely mentions this also). Some lifters will be up to that challenge (in which ES could be a great option), others not so much and maybe would favor a more periodized approach. Trying out both styles, monitoring objective response of each, and finding which creates the best combination of progress and enjoyment is a solid plan.

I also could see using the two in combination, where you would use a mesocycle or two as the stressor to be repeated. This could still follow the general framework of a periodized macrocycle but still maintain some of the reactivity, pun intended, that ES provides. That is just an example, but I don’t think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive.

At the end of the day, training response is so hyper individualized that so long as the main boulders are in place (volume,intensity, frequency, etc.) the exact configuration is extremely flexible. Keeping in mind specificity, adherence/buy-in, and actual response, you can’t really go wrong. I think that favoring the athletes intuition on how its set up exactly will likely yield the best results.

SBS Periodization Meta Analysis:
https://www.strongerbyscience.com/periodization-data/
John Kiely
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29189930
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22356774

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Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#5

Post by augeleven » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:25 pm

Thanks for doing a Q&A @zacrobinson5.

What do you think the role of the squat is for non strength sport related training?

Or more specifically, how would you recommend programming lower body strength stuff for people who are actively trying to build (or rebuild) their endurance base?

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Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#6

Post by cwd » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:55 am

How do you program around a tendon overuse injury, i.e. a sore knee from pushing squats too hard?

How much initial reduction in load/volume, for how long? What pain markers do you use to guide the rate you increase load?

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Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#7

Post by zacrobinson5 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:00 pm

mgil wrote: Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:12 pm Assuming that the vast majority of the influx of trainees in powerlifting and barbell training in general are training without the assistance of PEDs, does the data influence a revision thinking in regards to volume and intensity for the changing population?
If I understand your question correctly, you are asking if recommendations should be evolving due to the greater proportion of natural lifters these days. I don't know much about the PED realm, but as far as I know, sport science subjects for the most part have been natural. With that said, the principles of individualization always hold. We can use current best evidence as a starting point to determine volume and intensity based on goals. From there, we can react to the response of the training stimulus and adjust variables accordingly. When considering the difference between a natural and someone using PEDs, an enhanced athlete will likely be able to handle a greater amount of training stress. But again, that's not my realm at all.

Just in general, I do find some of the newer studies examining the “upper ends” of training volume interesting. I think they show that in certain circumstances we can tolerate more than we think. We all have our own “inverse U curve" of progress in relation to training volume, but to add complexity it's a moving target. Now the question is, when does using these huge volumes make sense, how do we best configure it, and how long is it sustainable, to which I don’t have a confident conclusion quite yet.

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Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

#8

Post by zacrobinson5 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:17 pm

augeleven wrote: Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:25 pm Thanks for doing a Q&A @zacrobinson5.

What do you think the role of the squat is for non strength sport related training?

Or more specifically, how would you recommend programming lower body strength stuff for people who are actively trying to build (or rebuild) their endurance base?
Super grateful for the opportunity,

For the squat specifically, I don’t think there is anything particularly advantageous in addition to any other compound lower body exercise that has a good propensity for overload. You can squat, leg press, hack squat, split squat, really whatever you find enjoyable. Resistance training is, by definition, a general development activity for an endurance athlete so the modality will lack specificity regardless.

That being said, I think resistance training for endurance focused athletes can have a ton of benefits. A few things observed have been improved time trial performance, running economy, velocity and power at at maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), and improved muscle power tests specific to endurance training like maximal anaerobic running velocity.

For the most part, I think the interference effect can be mitigated. So long as you program your training logically, I don’t it should really be an issue. A few programming considerations would be the following:
    If looking to get the most out of the strength training, perform Resistance Training prior to endurance training if both sessions are on the same day
      Don’t precede a high priority training session with a very stressful strength session
        Follow much of the same basic principles as training for strength, having some undulation in programming within the mesocycle and training week, use appropriate volumes, and I would probably include some higher intensities to gain any neurological efficiency that come along with getting stronger.
          Consider polarizing endurance training intensities (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29863593) this could help save some of your recovery capacity for strength training, eliminating some of the training that seems to have less of a favorable fatigue to stimulus ratio.
            Keep fatigue from strength training in check. If you notice your efforts in the gym are affecting your ability to perform running/cycling/rowing what have you, it probably is a good idea to strip away some of the stress. As the endurance performance is the focus and what we are trying to get better at. Following a periodized plan is probably a good way to do this, as you get close to a competition both running and strength training volumes will taper off, but probably more so of the stuff in the gym. A really practical way to do this is just keep the majority of the strength training fairly submaximal (3-5 RIR). The unproportionally high fatigue cost of failure or very near failure training, doesn’t seem to be worth it for endurance athletes with already high aerobic training volumes ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19997025).

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24532151
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29249083
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26932769

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            Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

            #9

            Post by zacrobinson5 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:22 pm

            cwd wrote: Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:55 am How do you program around a tendon overuse injury, i.e. a sore knee from pushing squats too hard?

            How much initial reduction in load/volume, for how long? What pain markers do you use to guide the rate you increase load?
            First disclaimer, I am not a physical therapist so I would highly recommend talking to the Clinical Athlete/Barbell Medicine Guys about this, as they are much more qualified to answer this question.

            Very general advice is to find a combination of the exercise, range of motion, intensity, and volume you can tolerate and slowly work things up from there. Probably err on the side of doing too little at first, but still do what you can. It's a fine line of showing yourself that you’re capable of doing something (in this example squatting) and being patient as you acclimate to the workloads. As far as markers to guide the rate of return, this is so individual I hesitate to give a specific answer. Again, probably erring on the side of going too slow at first, but still being progressive. As a last thought, the recovery process will likely not be linear, good and bad days will happen, but if the overall trend is positive, you’re probably headed in the right direction. That’s all i really feel comfortable recommending.

            Here is a paper talking about how Periodization can be implemented into a rehab context, could be helpful.
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26679784

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            Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

            #10

            Post by mgil » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:29 pm

            Just tagging @MikeTuchscherer in case he logs in and wants to weigh in at some point in the future.

            Good discussion. Thanks, @zacrobinson5!

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            Re: Q&A #4 with Zac from Data Driven Strength

            #11

            Post by Wilhelm » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:37 am

            Thank you, @zacrobinson5, for making yourself available to us for questions and for your coaching services.
            Much success to you in your studies and work.

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