My Top 7 Recommendations
I covered some of these topics two years ago in this article but I’ll elaborate more here.
1. Get Fit First
GPP (General Preparation) workouts all the way, especially for leg strength and power, and core workouts. Tempo workouts (with light circuit training) will help melt the fat, trust me on this.
2. Lose Weight and Regain Flexibility & Range of Motion
Unless you resemble your College body, any excess weight will increase the stress on your body. Using traditional height and weight numbers won’t cut it, as you can gain fat and lose muscle and still have the same bodyweight.
3. Strength, Speed, and Explosive Power are Synonymous
Running fast in workouts are great, but you need strength and power from plyometrics and weight training. Hills are great for power and stride length. 2X per week is sufficient. For a balanced training plan, see article here.
Outside of your competition event, I believe here is the key to success: a balance of various isometric strength, dynamic strength, speed strength, power, and explosive power. The number of sets, reps, and load (i.e. weights) will vary.
You are basically trying to prepare your body for the physical strain of a particular movement. Unfortunately, the only way you can get better at pole vault is pole vaulting. The only way you can get your muscles and tendons ready for pole vault is pole vaulting.
So you want to prepare the body the best you can in all forms of movement. If you are still getting injured, you’ll have to revisit the Injury Bug section.
4. Recovery is King
World Class athletes do not work in an office 40+ hours a week, train after work, and sleep 5 hours a night. So how do you expect world class results?
Hopefully if you are over 40 or 50, you now have the disposable income to pay for extra physio, chiropractic, and massage services. (As I said, hopefully, but I don’t mean to offend anyone. Times are tough!)
Here is my quick checklist on ways to recover. Some of these topics overlap into injury prevention and treatment. You can use the Blog’s search function to research these articles as I’ve covered each of them several times over the past 4 years. I’ll write more in detail in the future if there is a demand.
- active recovery
- passive recovery
- water and proper hydration
- massage, ART, trigger point therapy, foam rollers
- microstretching, resistance stretching, yoga
- compression clothing
- supplements (i.e. ZMA, glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, etc)
- breathing techniques
- ice baths, contrast baths (hot/cold)
- Active Therapeutic Movements
- ASTYM treatment
- Low Level Laser therapy
- Copper, Magnetic & Titanium Bracelets, and PhysioBalm
- muscle rubs, arnica, traumeel
5. Nutrition is Queen
You’ll need to get your weight down and lose the excess fat. You’ll be surprised what 5 pounds of weight loss will feel like. Avoid dieting, using caloric expenditure as your weight loss mechanism. Many people try to substitute supplements in exchange for bad nutrition, which is a bad idea. Whatever you eat, try to have the foodstuff packed with vitamins, minerals, good fats, and fiber.
6. Train on Grass… Surfaces, that is
NoRoss Rebagliati jokes please!
Get an old pair of spikes, get long spike pins or needles, and do sprint work on grass surfaces. You’ll want to go on a synthetic track and run fast just to feed your ego, but your legs and joints will pay the price the next day (or two!) Since I recommend running top speeds at 95%, there’s no need to go 100%, especially in practice. In the World’s Finals, well, that’s a different story.
Bud Winter was the first person to prove the idea that the key to winning in sports was not to extend a 100 or 110 percent effort. He said “Far more can be achieved with a four-fifths effort”. His book So You Want to be a Sprinter covers this topic, and his classic book Relax and Win is scheduled to be re-released.
Speaking of World’s, some athletes worry about running the rounds, but you have to get to the starting line of the heats first!
7. Growth Hormone and Testosterone… naturally!
I don’t have to tell you that Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Testosterone is the holy grail to staying young and being stronger (but I just did?). For those who want to cheat, that’s your prerogative, but I rather get mine naturally. Here are 3 ways:
I mentioned ZMA in past articles on the Blog. ZMA is simply Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B-6, and taken before bedtime (in the correct formulation) to increase natural testosterone, and provide a deeper sleep. A new formulation is available. I’ve used this in the past, and I feel it works. Some experience lucid dreams.
But the good news is exercise is known to stimulate HGH release, and the higher the intensity of the exercise, the more HGH will be released.
Phil Campbell, author of the book Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness, recommended limiting carbs up to 2 hours after exercise so it does not inhibit the natural Human Growth Hormone (HGH) from being secreted from post-exercise activities. Remember, this advice is for those who want to benefit from natural HGH, and not fat loss or recovery. For recovery, you’ll need a good post workout shake. You’ll have to decide what works best for you.
Good Luck to everyone on your comeback trail!