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Rafe Kelley
04-16-2009, 03:17 PM
Just came across this Mell Sif quote in the andy bolton.
"It is relevant to note that competitions involve very few attempts to reach a maximum, yet they are far more exhausting than strenuous workouts with many repetitions, since they involve extremely high levels of psychological and nervous stress. The high levels of nervous and emotional stress incurred by attempting a competitive maximum require many days or even weeks to reach full recovery, even though physical recuperation would appear to be complete, so that this type of loading is not recommended as a regular form of training."

I also came across post by I think Glen Pendlay which I unforunately can not find? Which stated that in his experience the ability to recovery from exercise seemed to be more correlated with the emotional intensity then physical intensity. Basically saying if you can keep a calm state of mind as opposed to getting hyped up you will be able to do more work and recovery faster?

This has got me thinking, I have always felt like my recovery was not as good as it could be, when I have experimented with the full on crossfit I have just stalled out and felt crushed. I also notice I tend to get very intense when I train, like hyping myself for a fight I Try to narrow my focus I do breathing exercise to raise my excitement level, I pace and kick the floor, .

I am what evidence there is for this corelation how many other people have noticed this trend or experimented with how they approach trainig. Has anyone experimented with lifting unexcited vs. getting amped up first? Trying to stay calm during metabolic training? How does it effect recovery and progression?

Arden Cogar Jr.
04-16-2009, 03:27 PM
Rafe,
Don't know if this answers your question or not, but I feel as though my recovery ability has improved 2 to 3 fold since I made yoga/tai chi and meditation part of my daily routine.

I've recently added a lot of self myofascial release and I believe that his furthered my ability to train harder more often.

I wish I would known about this stuff when I was in my early 20s.

All the best,
Arden

Dave Van Skike
04-16-2009, 03:41 PM
Super Great topic!!!!

Two things...maybe more later. I have had a similar experience where the emotional build up of a big lift is more depleting than the lift itself..one of the reasons I have shifted my training over time away for big 1RM and more towards hitting 2RM and 3RM as sustainable progress benchmarks.

Second. back in the super way olden days I used to compete in breathing sports like cycling. at the time I read this great book called Body Mind and Sport by I think, John Doullard...It's full of a bunch of Ayurvedic stuff which did not resonate for me..However, it had a this whole angle on endurance training where you focused on nose breathing only and worked towards maintaining a breath rate of less than 12 breaths per minute even in super intense efforts...this forced several weeks of purely slow and low work where I'd be riding a bike at about 13 miles per hour trying not to breathe...
intensity went waaaaay down.

But, eventually I'll be damned if it didn't work a charm. I never fully mastered the breath out through the nose thing but got very good at regulating my breath in nose/out mouth even on climbs, ..less than 12 times per min regardless of how short or intense the effort.

The biggest benefit by far was mental calm. Even in Kilo time trial on the track (think running the fastest 400 of all time only keep going for another 25 seconds), criterium bunch sprints or in chariot race (3 up) sprints, it was like I was seeing things in slow motion and reacting instantly.

even now as a bloated dabbler in strength atheltics, I can calm my mind and focus my effort by going back to the breathwork.

Garrett Smith
04-16-2009, 04:14 PM
I second the in-nose / out-mouth breathing on the bike.

Steven Low
04-16-2009, 05:54 PM
I try to stay calm generally during any activity. When I did amp myself up my results were more or less similar so that's generally why I try to stay calm now. No use getting unnecessarily worked up.

I personally haven't noticed anything with recovery though since I don't emotionally amp myself up anymore enough to determine whether I feel more drained or not.


Like stated, I do like deep or quick nose breathing & mouth exhaling before I do ANY exercise.

There's something about it... probably a primal thing where smells help activate the sympathetic nervous system or CNS better. Shrug.

Enrique Billington
04-17-2009, 02:10 AM
http://www.mikesgym.org/programs/uploads/abadjiev1.pdf

Frequent emotional excitation should enhance recovery, not hamper it.

Scott Kustes
04-17-2009, 06:55 AM
There is definitely something about the competitive atmosphere. I noticed it last year when I spent 4 months training for a single track meet (this year, I'm doing 4 meets). I could go out and do 400m repeats 4-8 times. Maintaining good intensity, though calmness in training kept my recovery good.

Fast forward to the two-day meet. I ran the 200m and 100m the first day, then a 400m and 4x100m relay the second day, a total of 800m in two days. That's about 1/2 to 1/3 of what I was doing in a single day on some of my training days. I was worn out for 3 or 4 days afterwards.

I think more competitions this year though will knock down some of the nervous energy that I experienced last year.

Garrett Smith
04-17-2009, 07:52 AM
Enrique,
You might want to do some research on Selye's "General Adaptation Syndrome".

Stressors, including emotional excitement, encountered or engineered too often, will eventually result in an overwhelming of the body's ability to adapt.

This is a very short intro to Selye's GAS:
http://www.intropsych.com/ch14_frontiers/selyes_concept_of_a_general_adaptation_syndrome.ht ml
Selye proposed a three-stage pattern of response to stress that he called the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) . He proposed that when the organism first encountered stress, in the form of novelty or threat, it responded with an alarm reaction. This is followed by a recovery or resistance stage during which the organism repairs itself and stores energy. If the stress-causing events continue, exhaustion sets in. This third stage is what became known popularly as burn-out. Classic symptoms of burn-out include loss of drive, emotional flatness, and (in humans) dulling of responsiveness to the needs of others.
If emotional excitement enhanced recovery, we should all have competitions where we get amped up and give 100% in front of a crowd every day. This simply can't be maintained long-term by mere mortals.

glennpendlay
05-05-2009, 07:12 PM
I did write something on the net about this, cant remember where or when though. It is something that anyone who coaches a few hundred lifters will eventually see. Some kids can lift 90-95% of their maximum with about as much excitement as getting out of bed in the morning. Others need to psych up. The kids that can do it without psyching up can lift very near their maximum many times per week, those that need to psych up, can do it much less often. I personally believe that learning to lift weights over 90% of your maximum with no emotion is one of the keys to frequent training.

glenn

Rafe Kelley
05-05-2009, 09:57 PM
How does one learn to lift maximal weights without pysching up?

glennpendlay
05-05-2009, 10:07 PM
lift 80% calm, then 85%, etc...

Steven Low
05-05-2009, 10:54 PM
How does one learn to lift maximal weights without pysching up?
lol, take a few deep breaths and relax yourself before you do your set. That's what I do.

I haven't noticed any difference within the past few months from psyching myself up or just staying relaxed for my sets... I think they're fairly close together now.

Rafe Kelley
05-05-2009, 11:04 PM
Haha doesn't hurt to ask.
After I posted this thread I have tried to stay calmer and still do for everything except my work set but I just don't feel the same if don't psych up. The thing for me is focus if could maintain the same focus calm then i don't think I would have a problem but my attention has a tendency to wander I am ADHD hyping up gives me the tunnel vision I need to concentrate completely on technique and it seems like with that focus I can just access muscle more effectively.

Justin Chebahtah
05-08-2009, 03:41 PM
How does one learn to lift maximal weights without pysching up?

You must first learn to snatch this penny from my hand grasshopper....

Garrett Smith
05-08-2009, 09:38 PM
Haha doesn't hurt to ask.
After I posted this thread I have tried to stay calmer and still do for everything except my work set but I just don't feel the same if don't psych up. The thing for me is focus if could maintain the same focus calm then i don't think I would have a problem but my attention has a tendency to wander I am ADHD hyping up gives me the tunnel vision I need to concentrate completely on technique and it seems like with that focus I can just access muscle more effectively.
I agree. I have the same "mind wandering" issue.

We have adrenaline for a reason, we call it up when we need it (which can include competition). I don't think there is any substitute.

I can't get anywhere near the focus I have on the platform in front of people trying for a PR when I'm simply training at home (even if I'm trying for a PR). I also take a full week off after meets from lifting because I feel "drained" unlike I do from other types of training (not physically so much, but I definitely lose a drive to train).

I don't know of any world-class athlete that would say they could go 100% effort (emotional and physical) every day. If there is one who spent a long time at the top, please enlighten me. Heck, even Michael Phelps held back in his early swim events in Beijing...

glennpendlay
05-09-2009, 12:34 AM
LEARNING to give as close to 100% physically as is possible without undue emotional involvement is a... LEARNING experience, for most people at least.

Just because you cant do it doesnt mean it isnt valuable, or that you cant learn to do it better.

Just as with most things, it will be hard at first, keep trying, and you will get better.

If you never plan to get anywhere near your physical limits or really push yourself, this isnt really important. But if thats not the case, the closer you get, the more advanced you get, the more important this will become.

glenn

Craig Loizides
05-12-2009, 10:52 PM
I think 1 of the great things about interval workouts is they don't cause an emotional response the way an all out timed effort does. I don't get psyched up for an 8x400 workout the way I would for a mile. Double the volume, half the recovery. Of course this doesn't help you with a 1RM effort.

George Mounce
05-13-2009, 04:28 AM
If we were meant to relax before doing anything exciting we wouldn't be human. Its a built in response.

You see a woman/boy/husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend you want, heart pumps faster, you don't all the sudden attain the lotus pose and chant OM. I believe Bruce Lee in his writings called it our "killer instinct". Of course he also had you relaxing your punch until it was 3" into the target which unfortunately is metaphorically correct, but physically a bowl of jelly. He just wanted you to punch farther and used that to help people do it. Watch some video and you'll see he has max muscle tension before the fist/foot goes through anything. Fluidity is not relaxation, its fluidity.

Sure can you learn to relax? Absolutely. But why? Tony Blauer has an entire self defense program based on the flinch reflex, and we all know that isn't relaxing. Funny thing is as far as any program I've seen in some time, it actually has very definite real-world application, can be understood quickly and efficiently, and uses something we already know how to do.

Relaxing is great for mental clarity when the body isn't doing anything. When the body is doing something, I agree with Garrett get the blood and adrenaline pumping and kick some ass.

glennpendlay
05-13-2009, 06:40 AM
George,

Watch a bunch of videos of great OLers. 9 times out of 10 you see them visibly trying to relax before even a max attempt. thats why the crowd gets really quite when the lifter approaches the bar in OL, instead of cheering and yelling. Good lifters try to relax and focus. Not get all hopped up. This is not unique to weightlifting.

Glenn

Gant Grimes
05-13-2009, 07:19 AM
Haha doesn't hurt to ask.
After I posted this thread I have tried to stay calmer and still do for everything except my work set but I just don't feel the same if don't psych up. The thing for me is focus if could maintain the same focus calm then i don't think I would have a problem but my attention has a tendency to wander I am ADHD hyping up gives me the tunnel vision I need to concentrate completely on technique and it seems like with that focus I can just access muscle more effectively.

Actually, people with ADHD are capable of hyperfocusing under pressure, so you don't get a pass!

You need a routine. Watch a basketball player shoot free throws. It's the same thing every time. It helps you relax, and it puts you in a familiar place, which gives you confidence.

1) Relax. Reach a meditative state. Tune out the crowd, your coach, your bad day at work, your angry girlfriend, etc. It's just you and what lies before you. Mind like water. Re-read Arden's post.

2) Visualize what you're about to do. Now that you're relaxed, you concentrate only on the task at hand. If it's a lift, mentally burn the bar path into your head, ending with a successful lift. By the time you grasp the bar, you have already lifted the weight. The actual lift is just a formality of what's already happened a few seconds ago.

3) Mental checklist. EVERY TIME. Even the most experienced pilot goes through this pre-flight checklist (right, George?). At this point, you are very near the moment of truth. Outside thoughts or doubt can invade your head. Going through a checklist keeps you centered and allows you to stay relaxed. Limit this to 3-5 cues, something easy to remember.

E.g. for DL I use [stance-grip-shins-chest-pull]. For judo, I use [grip & move-sweep-turk-punish on the ground-look for the double].

I am in the same state of mind whether I'm in a garage or in front of hundreds of people.

Sure can you learn to relax? Absolutely. But why? Tony Blauer has an entire self defense program based on the flinch reflex, and we all know that isn't relaxing. Funny thing is as far as any program I've seen in some time, it actually has very definite real-world application, can be understood quickly and efficiently, and uses something we already know how to do.

I wouldn't apply anything Blauer does for CQC to lifting. Blauer is all about managing the Amygdalic Reaction that precedes all the hormonal stuff (fight dump/"fight or flight"/adrenalin, etc.). The flinch doesn't have anything to do with a big lift. Whipping yourself in a state of tachypsychia might help you get a few more pounds up in training, but it's not worth the cost IMO.

Jon Brody
05-13-2009, 08:47 AM
Interesting you mention the "visualization", which I def think it can reap huge benefits for performance in sports. But ya, when I gave it a 2nd thought, I personally can't even truly visualize -- at least not well and with searing focus -- if I'm all hopped up, antsy, and trying to (artificially?) boost my adrenaline first and foremost.

Rafe Kelley
05-15-2009, 02:23 PM
Thanks for the reply Gant, I went back and tried to lift calm all this week too decent effect hit a 5 rep set of 155 on the squat which is just 2kg of my max. I am aware of the ADHD hyper focus its wonderfull feeling one I chase but its not something I can access automatically the best way for me to get into it is honestly to have someone through a punch at me, it why I enjoyed working as bouncer cause every time there was confrontation I got to hit that state.

For me I don't have so much life distractions I don't think about stuff going on but its like I am trying to vizualize trying to focus to almost slow down time and sometimes the focus just doesn't come. Its like trying to focus on digital camera were it almost comes in focus but then get hazy and you can't seem to find the way to make it stay in that clear focus. Still going to work on it my recovery is enough of an issue that the potential benefits of lifting calm are compelling.

Reed Winn
05-19-2009, 09:44 AM
In the Weightlifting Encyclopedia the author says basically the same thing Pendlay said on page 1, ie that people that have less arousal when they lift intensely can go heavy more often. In the WL book he talks a lot about "nervous energy", how it needs to be controlled by mental training and used sparingly.

It's interesting to see another aspect of the "mind-body connection" at work.

A fellow on the first page said various mental practices lead to a 2-3 fold increase in recovery ability. I don't doubt it helped recovery but surely if it doubled or tripled recovery ability that would mean he could apply 2-3 times the stress per workout and progress 2-3 times faster. This seems quite unlikely.

Personally I try to do sets of a 5x5 with "calm confidence" talking myself through it but not getting worked up. When I do speed doubles I try to work myself up for each set to do them faster. When I do the classical movements I try to be calm and just think a few works as self-cues.

Gant Grimes
05-19-2009, 09:57 AM
Rafe, I know exactly what you are talking about. The hyperfocus related to ADHD is different than the one you're describing when someone throws a punch. They are both stress induced, but the first is a mental response, and the second is hormonal (adrenaline, time dilation, etc.).

Rafe Kelley
05-19-2009, 12:33 PM
Didn't realize their was difference. A more mundane example of hyperfocus for me ADHD related or not that I still couldn't control was in school. I pretty much was unable to force myself to study unless I hit a state of panic when I started university I would usually panic 3-4 days before Paper or test was due. I did pretty well academically this way I quit school when I was unable to panic anymore.

As far as I understand it hyperfocus is not voluntary at all for ADHD individuals, in fact rather the opposite studies have shown that ADHD brains become increasingly less able to focus the more effort the put into trying to focus. Studying for math exam focusing is ridiculously hard when there an emergency at the gym broken wrist, dislocated shoulder then it comes easy.