The Deload

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version=”7″ style=” bac

Deload week for miss @bellaogrady 🤗🤗 . One of our strategies to manage fatigue and keep our athletes progressing and healthy through periods of overload training is to peak each training block with a deload week. . 📈📈📈📉🎯🔄 . A deload week serves to 👇 . 1️⃣Reduce cumulative fatigue while providing enough of a stimulus to conserve most training adaptations. 2️⃣Promote a restocking of energy stores, tissue healing and recovery of many of the body's systems. 3️⃣Reduce lethargy due to inactivity, and reduce soreness that can occur with a new training cycle. 4️⃣Increase sensitivity to the training stimulus and prepare the athlete for another productive training cycle. . 😴🔋🙋💪🏋️‍♀️🏃‍♀️⚡️💨🏅🔄 . What can you do? 🤔📝 . 1️⃣Provide enough of a consistent overload to garner cumulative adaptation and fatigue to need a deload in the first place 🤔 2️⃣At the end of each overload period (typically between 3-5 weeks) train one week with reduced loading. 👉working with 50-70% of your usual volume and intensity works well. 👉🔎Half sets, half reps, half load. . Specific needs will vary depending on the individual athlete and training type. 🏋️‍♀️@bellaogrady 🎥 @dannyleejames #deload #rest #recovery #weightlifting #olympicweightlifting #olift #clean #powerclean #sprinter #hurdles #track #athletics #movement #flexibility #mobility #stability #strength #power #speed #physiotherapy #performance #fitness #health #exercise #training #surryhills #sydney #australia

A post shared by Danny James (@dannyleejames) on


The Benefits Of A Pre-Activity Movement Screen


Once the athlete or client’s training goals have been established it is important that we as coaches identify potential limitations and risks that may impact our chances of success.

Simple logistical constraints such as availability of training time and equipment can be a limitation and need to be considered, however these are of lesser importance than reducing the risks that are inherently involved with training in the weightroom or practice.

Before seeking enhancements in fitness, the Strength and Conditioning professional’s primary concern is injury prevention. If a client or athlete is hurt through the training process it will be necessary to place restrictions on their program which may slow the rate of improvement towards the goal. For the athlete or client, an injury can mean diminished movement capacity and quality of life. Injuries can lead to missed practice and missed games, lost opportunity and income, and perhaps the end of a career. These are all very possible scenarios and all parties involved should be leaning as close as possible to the side of prevention.

In order to attenuate the likelihood of an injury occurring we need to be aware of the factors that heighten risk. As it relates to endeavours of physical activity, it is documented that the main contributory factors to injury, in order of greatest to least are:

1. Previous injury
2. Right vs left side asymmetry
3. Motor control deficit
4. BMI
5. Poor training Choices

Knowing the evidenced predictors it is imperative that we use a system of screening and assessment that identifies these factors before implementation of a proposed training solution. Such a process would be highly influential toward addressing an individuals needs, maximising the return on our efforts and minimising future risk.

We use the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) as the first step of our appraisal process. The FMS is a system to evaluate current movement quality for people who wish to increase physical activity. It is designed for those that do not have pain or injury as a way to prioritise further assessment where necessary, and help decide the appropriate entry point for an individual onto the training path. It is simply the beginning of the information gathering process.

FMS what

The screen is composed of seven fundamental movement patterns and three clearing tests that require a balance of mobility and stability and place the individual in extreme positions where deficits in these areas are noticeable. The FMS aims to set a minimum standard of movement competency, provide insight into potential movement problems if the baseline is not met, and guide appropriate exercise selection and progression. If an individual can not display an easy access of fundamental movement availability as per the FMS criteria, then the training program becomes dialed to match the outer reaches of the individuals current ability. A low FMS score does not necessarily exclude an individual from the training process. It simply means that our exercise selection is directed towards not exploiting those areas where limitation is present. Advancing into higher-stage activities with a movement foundation that is poorly prepared incurs a greater training cost and if the athlete is not injured, at best there will be a higher need for recovery to offset the increased physiological price and a reduced level of preparedness can result.

Low Score = You can still go, you just might need to go a little slower for now
Low Score = You can still go; you just might need to go a little slower for now

The screen is an objective, reliable and repeatable baseline standard of movement, that filters out many of the contributing factors to damage risk such as poor movement quality, right-left asymmetries and presence of pain. The FMS is not a diagnostic tool, however, presence of pain while undertaking the screen is a red flag that requires treatment by a medical professional until it is resolved.

As Strength and Conditioning practitioners, we would like to know if joints can get into trainable positions that we need to meet our end goal – where training those positions only contributes and does not impair movement or system, and produces a more robust and prepared performer. In under fifteen minutes, the FMS can provide an answer. It is a first stage audit of our exercise choices and a guide for best practice.


Lauren and Bella


Gathered here are some of the better reads that I’ve come across recently, bookmarked in one convenient location to refer to later. I hope readers will also find something interesting and of benefit as well.


”As complexity raises, meaningful statements lose precision and precise statements lose meaning.”
Lofti Zadeh

10 Leaders Share The Habits That Help Them Be Freakishly Productive
From Entrepreneur

Resources To Keep Yourself Updated
By Iraki Nutrition

Peer Leadership: 8 Thoughts On How To Make The Most Of An Opportunity, Others And Yourself
Guest post by Greg Robins of The Strength House and Cressey Sports Performance on

Building Bridges: leveraging Your Employer To Enhance Your Personal Brand

5 Habits Of Effective Coaches
also from Greg Robins

8 Must Read S&C Articles

from Science For Sport

Five Resistance Elements that Develop Athletes
from Carl Valle at SimpliFaster

Why and How We Program Breathing Exercises 
By Kevin Carr of Movement As Medicine

Periodisation for the Everyday Athlete
by Mike Robertson

Wellness Monitoring
From Greg Dea and
from Mark Watts at EliteFTS

A Simple Approach to Running Analysis for Clinicians
from Chris Johnson at Zeren PT and Performance via Mike Reinold

Solving the Riddle of the Shin Splint
by Ken Jakalski

Nervous System Training 101:The Creation of Superhuman Strength and Athleticism
from Joel Smith and

3 CNS Hacks For a Better Workout and

Jeff Moyer Q&A on Strength Training Dose and Transfer
from Joel Smith at Just Fly Sports

Guidelines for the General Preparation Phase 

Writing the General Preparation Phase

and Free Downloads
By Coach Nick Newman

Purposeful GPP: Applying Science to Your Conditioning
From Bryan Mann at EliteFTS

from Science For Sport

Agility In Team Sport: How To Crack the Code
by Carl Valle at SimpliFaster

Barriers to Championship Performances  and again

from Altis and FreeLap USA
from Freelap USA and Altis

The Terms Of The Deal
The Scientific Principles Of Strength Training
By Dr. Mike Israetel of and Juggernaut Training Systems

Top Ten Must Reads: #10 – #6
Top Ten Must Reads: #5 – #1
Via Juggernaut Training Systems

What Are The Real Elements Of ”High Performance?”
From Chris Gallagher at Freelap USA

Setting Rehabilitation Goals And Reducing Energy Leaks With Movement Efficiency and
Retraining The Injured Athlete, High Performance Training For Sports on The Strength Coach Podcast
with David Joyce

Just Load It
by Erik Meira

Warm Up And Motor Concepts and
Developing a Full, High-Performance Program From The Ground Up
By Charlie Weingroff

Talking About Warm-Up?!?
From Dustin Imdieke of Altis

Warm Ups
from Science For Sport

Your Warm-up Doesn’t Need to Be That Complicated
from Jesse Irizarry at Strength Theory

A Guide To Movement Prep
from Nick Winkelman at Exos

Get More From Your Sprint Workouts
via Bret Contreras

How To Warm Up Before Your Workout

from Robbie Cannon via My TPI

Daily Undulating Periodization & Performance Improvements In Powerlifters
A research review from Patrick Ward

Becoming A Strength And Conditioning Coach
From Michael Favre Via NSCA

6 Ways To Simplify Your Coaching For Better Results
From Eric Cressey

The Ultimate Conditioning Guide

Conditioning And Mental Toughness

3 New Conditioning Rules

The Truth About Injuries
From Joel Jamieson of

You Need Long Duration, Low Intensity Cardio
By Mike Robertson of Robertson Training Systems

Reactive Strength Index
From Science For Sport

Velocity Based Training
From Carl Valle Via Freelap USA

Beast Blog contains a tonne of great content on performance tracking.

Breathe New Life Into Your Performance
From Chris Gallagher Via Freelap USA

A Week At The WAC
Also By Chris Gallagher

Coaching The Individual In The Athlete
From Nick Sheuerman

Coaches Are Not Mind-Readers … The Art Of The Daily Debrief
Insights from Coach Kyle Hierholzer

The 16 Characteristics Of Greatness
From award-winning leadership speaker, Don Yaeger

A Pocket Guide To Coaching Wisdom
From Altis

35 Secrets Of Brilliant Coaches
By Ann Josephson shared on the Strength Coach Blog

Via Negativa
Set And Rep Schemes In Training
Twelve Principles of Agile Periodisation
6 Weeks Running Program for Soccer Players
Running Based Intervals-Velocities Table
By Mladen Jovanovic at Complementary Training

Okinawan Strength: Developing the ‘Iron Body”
By By Dr. Suart McGill via Strongfirst

Exciting Free Content From Dr. Stuart McGill

Human-Specific Training and
The Importance Of Unilateral Training
By Devan McConnell Via Volt Athletics

Commentary From Jeremy Frisch
Saved by Kelvin Giles at Movement Dynamics

Individual Training In A Team Setting

Olympic Lifting For Athletic Performance
From Mark Watts of EliteFTS

Olympic Weightlifting – The Biomechanics
From Strength And Conditioning Research

Olympic Weightlifting
From Science for Sport

Plantar Fasciitis – Important New Research By Michael Rathleff
From Tom Goom, Running Physio

The Complete Guide To Foundations & Fallacies Of Tissue Regeneration
From Dr. John Rusin

Treatment Fundamentals: A Simple Framework To Reconceptualize Pain And Injury Treatment
By Greg Lehman

Back Pain – Separating Fact From Fiction

Core Stability: Winning Popularity, Losing Science
By Ramsey Nijem Fitness

Which Strength Sport Is Most Likely To Cause An Injury?
From Bret Contreras and Chris Beardsley at

Implementing High-Intensity Aerobic Energy System Conditioning For Field Sports
From Dr. Dan Baker Via Freelap USA

Adapting to High Altitude
Via Human Biological Adaptability

It’s All About Motor Control
From Gray Cook at

Rocky Road To The Top: Why Talent Needs Trauma
Dave Collins and A ́ine MacNamara, Sports Med 2012; 42 (11)

The Science And Application Of Coaching Cues
From Coach Sam Leahey

Coaching Movements And Skills
From Nick Winkelman of Exos featured at On Target Publications

Coach Like A Caveman – How The Environment Shapes Our Movement
Also with Nick Winkelman on The Strength Coach Podcast

What We Say Matters – Uncovering the Truth About Cueing (Lecture)
What We Say Matters, Part I
What We Say Matters, Part II
With Nick Winkelman on NSCA

Coaching Cues That Actually Work
With Nick Winkelman Via Stack

Coaching Instructions And Cues For Enhancing Sprint Performance
In NSCA Strength and Conditioning Journal

35 Recommendations For Building Better Horizontal jumpers
With Nick Newman Via Freelap USA

A Systems Perspective On Motor Control, Part One
From Todd Hargrove at Better Movement

Notes From Frans Bosch – Transfer Of Strength Training: Implications from The CNS
By Simon Nainby at Underground Athletics

Review Of “Strength Training And Coordination: An Integrative Approach” By Frans Bosch
from Todd Hargrove

McMillan Coaches Guide To Strength Development (Series)
With Stuart McMillan, Matt Jordan and Brett Bartholomew

Gill Apprentice Coach Program – April Highlights 2015

Gill Apprentice Coach Program – May Highlights 2015
By Ellie Spain Via Altis

Another Training Talk With Dan Pfaff part 1
Another Training Talk With Dan Pfaff part 2
By Martin Bingisser at HMMR Media with Coach Dan Pfaff of Altis

5 Coaching Cues To Immediately Improve Basic Movements
From Dean Somerset

How Does Foam Rolling Work? And Why “SMR” Should be Called “SMT”
Via Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy

Rest, Recover, Regenerate Part 5: Massage
A great series of articles on rest, recovery and regeneration by Pat Ward

Can Stretching Really Make You A Better Athlete? The Truth Behind Static Stretching And Power Development
From Joel Smith via Just Fly Sports

Stretching For Recovery

The Physiological Basis for Tapering in Endurance, Strength, and Power Athletes

The New Science of Embracing Performance Anxiety

Why Do You Lift — Defining Hope, Motivation, and Risk By

Marilia Coutinho at via Elite FTS

The Top Ten Brain Science And Psychology Studies Of 2015

Questioning the Use of Static Stretching Before and After Athletic Activities

Towards A Grand Unified Theory Of Sports Performance 
By Paul Glazier

Attentional Focus and Motor Learning: a Review of 15 Years

Publications By Brad J Schoenfeld via ResearchGate

Mechanisms of Exercise-Induced Muscle Fibre Injury

The Architecture Of The Connective Tissue In The Musculoskeletal System—An Often Overlooked Functional Parameter As To Proprioception In The Locomotor Apparatus

The Fitness-Fatigue Model Revisited: Implications For Planning Short- And Long-Term Training

Stretching The Truth. A Review Of The Literature On Muscle Stretching

Questioning the Use of Static Stretching Before and After Athletic Activities

Effects of Resistance Training in Youth Athletes on Muscular Fitness and Athletic Performance: A Conceptual Model for Long-Term Athlete Development

Understanding The Stress Response
from Harvard health

The Unhappy Truth About Positive Psychology
By Jeffrey B. Rubin, Truthout

A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’
From Gordon Morino

US Navy Admiral Bill McRaven’s 10 Lessons From Basic SEAL Training

The Best Job On The Planet (TEDx)
A TED Talk with the exemplary Jeff Oliver

A special mention must be made of Greg Nuckols who puts out a tonne of quality content over at Strength Theory. Highly recommended.

”It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”
W. Edwards Deming


What silence is to sound

Although high intensity interval training or (HIIT) has become extremely popular over the last decade or so, it seems as though many coaches and trainers are still unsure of the underlying physiology of HIIT and exactly how best to merge it into a program.

For anybody looking for a crash course on why HIIT works and how best to implement it, Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition recently reposted two informative articles on the topic.

All About High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Interval Training – Are You Doing It?

I also like the following video in which strength and conditioning luminary Michael Boyle shares his thoughts and experiences on interval training in the context of athletic preparation.

Context is the key here. Let your unique goals and the demands of the activity determine the training modality that you use. If you are a distance runner who is preparing for an upcoming race then it may be beneficial to perform some form of steady-state conditioning to adequately prepare the body for the impending stress of the race. If however your goal is body composition change, or sports performance enhancement in which your chosen sport is predominated by bouts of higher intensity efforts followed by periods of lower intensity efforts, then perhaps HIIT may be more suited.

What are your thoughts?

How have you incorporated interval training into your regime and what kind of results have you seen?

Related post: In stillness what benefit?

Big doors on little hinges swing

Stemming from my recent forays into research on the risks and benefits associated with exercise using Kettlebells, I was asked by a fellow coach for my thoughts on safety considerations involved in the Kettlebell Swing, and its potential benefits.

As with most exercises, the inclusion of which into a program is obviously individual and end-goal specific.
That said there exists little evidence on resulting joint loads of the kettlebell swing (KS), despite the re-emergence of kettlebell use in recent years as a popular training modality. This makes it difficult to gauge specifically who may be at risk by performing the exercise.

In this study (1), researchers set out to quantify spine loading during various kettlebell swings and carries, and provide further insight into the mixed anecdotal response experienced by lifters. Some individuals have attributed the KS with being inflammatory of lower back conditions, whilst barbell lifts involving more of an axial load vector are accomplished pain free. Others have attributed the KS with facilitating the rehabilitation of a lower back injury and enhancing athleticism.

Focusing on the swing portion of the study, electromyography, ground reaction forces and 3D kinematic data was obtained during exercises using a 16 kg kettlebell, performed by seven male subjects, excluding any participants reporting with previous or current low back pain or injury.

It was shown that as the swing progressed from beginning, through its arc towards the top of the movement, low back extensor activation peaked first at about 50% MVC. This was followed by the rectus abdominis and external oblique at under 20% MVC, over 30% MVC in the internal oblique, and finally the gluteal muscles experiencing the highest activation levels at 76% MVC at 57% of the movement.

Spinal loading was highest at the beginning of the swing (461 N of posterior shear and 3,195 N of compression) and reduced significantly at arks end (156 N of shear and 1903 N of compression).

Researchers also found that the swing elicits a hip-hinge squat pattern accompanied by rapid contraction-relaxation cycles of muscles of the posterior chain and abdominals of high magnitudes, occurring over half-second intervals.
Further, it appears the effort is mostly concentric with gravity mitigating the eccentric component of the movement.

Also, due to the inertial component to the lift, forces required to accelerate the kettlebell through its curve produce relatively high posterior shear to compression force ratios, which is a unique loading pattern compared to traditional axial loaded lifts, offering insight into the mixed anecdotal evidence provided by lifters as mentioned above (McGill and Marshall, 2012)(1).

It appears then that individuals considering incorporating the KS into a training regime must first display adequate spine stability in shear mode and posterior shear loading tolerance if the unique training effect of the exercise is to be enjoyed safely.

In the video below, Joe Sansalone of Optimum Performance Training Institute displays flawless double KS technique.

In the picture below, extremely poor KS technique is illustrated.

In one clinical trial conducted on workers reporting neck/shoulder and low back pain researchers observed diminished pain in participants after a progressive KS-based training intervention with increased torso extensor strength, although aerobic fitness remained unchanged (Jay et al. 2011)(2).

In contrast, Farrar et al. 2010(3) concluded that ”continuous kettlebell swings can impart a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase Vo2max.”
Subjects were instructed to perform as many self-paced two-handed swings as possible in a 12 minute time frame with a 16kg kettlebell. Heart rate and Vo2 were monitored during the exercise. Average maximum HR and Vo2 achieved were 87 and 65% respectively providing a greater cardiorespiratory challenge than has been noted with traditional circuit weight training.

Some studies support the use of KS’s as a viable surrogate cardiovascular training tool whilst others have reported insufficient markers of an aerobic effect to be considered a useful alternative.
Methodological variances between studies that attempt to quantify the metabolic demand of KS’s may explain the polarity of results (Hulsey et al. 2012)(4).
Specific variances may include load, intensity, duration, frequency, and subject characteristics.

In this study(5), researchers sought to determine the effect that a 6 week bi-weekly KS program had on established maximum (half squat-HS1RM) and explosive (vertical jump height-VJH) strength compared to the effects of jump squat power training (JS-shown to improve 1RM and VJH). Both maximum and explosive strength measures improved with no significant differences between the KS and JS training interventions (Lake and Lauder, 2012)(5).

I also found this study (6) interesting in that although Olympic Lifts were found to be superior to kettlebell training at increasing vertical jump and squat strength, both were effective (Otto III et al. 2012)(6).

Although KS’s were performed by the kettlebell group, they were also assigned kettlebell goblet squats therefore results cannot be isolated to the KS. There was also discrepancy between the loading used by the kettlebell group vs the weightlifting group, 16kg and 80% 1RM respectively. This provides the weightlifting group with a distinct advantage.

It should also be noted when comparing KS’s to the squat, VJ or olympic lifts that the KS is characterised by more of an axial/anteroposterior load vector while an axial vector predominates the latter. This is an important distinction when making comparisons of performance test outcomes.

Practical applications

It appears that there is a large mechanical demand during the KS (Lake and Lauder, 2011)(7) that suggests it can provide numerous unique training benefits, making it a viable alternative to more traditional exercise modalities. However, the resulting shear to compression load ratios on the lumbar spine unique to the KS may for some individuals contraindicated prove.
For this reason, shear stability and posterior shear loading tolerance is required prior to performing the KS without provocation.

”You’ve got to be rich to have a swing like that.”
– Bob Hope



1. McGill SM, Marshall LW. Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottom-up carry: Back and hip muscle activation, and low back loads. J Strength Cond Res 26(1): 16–27, 2012.

2. Jay K, Frisch D, Hansen K, Zebis MK, Andersen CH, Mortensen OS, and Andersen LL. Kettlebell training for musculoskeletal health: A randomized controlled trial. Scand J Work, Environ Health, ahead of print, 2010.

3. Farrar RE, Mayhew JL, and Koch AJ. Oxygen cost of kettlebell swings. J Strength Cond Res 24(4): 1034–1036, 2010.

4. Hulsey CR, Soto DT, Koch AJ, and Mayhew JL. Comparison of kettlebell swings and treadmill running at equivalent rating of perceived exertion values. J Strength Cond Res 26(5): 1203–1207, 2012

5. Lake J, Lauder MA. Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength. J Strength Cond Res, ahead of print, 2012 May 10.

6. Otto III WH, Coburn JW, Brown LE, and Spiering BA. Effects of weightlifting vs. kettlebell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition. J Strength Cond Res 26(5): 1199–1202, 2012

7. Lake J, Lauder MA. Mechanical demands of kettlebell swing exercise. J Strength Cond Res, ahead of print, 2011 Dec 28: