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Donald Lee
02-12-2010, 09:43 AM
As Gant was interested in hearing about Mike T.'s (RTS) stress tests, I asked Mike T. about them and here's what he said:

It began anecdotally. I noticed that deadlifting had no residual effects that were unique to it. Basically, it was the same as other lifts. And if you think about it logically, there is no reason it should have some magical taxing properties either. At least it's logical if you understand how the body responds to stress....

At any rate, more recently, I have developed TRAC. This is a test that tests the total amount of stress that your body is dealing with. It's in its final testing stages now, but I have been using it for close to a year. If deadlifting was super-stressful on the body, it would show up on my TRAC test and it simply doesn't.

Deadlifting could be slightly more stressful than squatting, but this is more of an individual variation rather than a rule.

In my experience, the upper body (smaller muscles) are much quicker to recover. This agrees with Hatfield's work that suggests small muscles recover quicker than large ones. This makes sense when you think about it. Small muscle = less fibers = less total damage that can be sustained.

As far as some more details on TRAC...
I'm still looking for the right wording on this stuff, so bear with me. TRAC consists of a very specific orthostatic heart rate test. If you look at most orthostatic tests, they take two measurements. TRAC takes four. And it's not any one measurement that is all that important -- it's how the various heart rates interrelate to one another. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
The heart is a mirror for all the other systems of the body. So if you can examine your heart in enough detail, you can learn boatloads of information about your body's functioning. In developing TRAC, I wanted to make sure there was no specialized equipment required (although a heart rate monitor is highly encouraged), so we aren't able to determine some things such as energy system reserves, etc. But through a specialized analysis of the specialized Orthostatic test (i know, i know), I can determine how much stress your body is dealing with. I have also developed a way to approximate your Autonomic Nervous System balance through pattern-matching your orthostatic test. It's not perfect, but it provides valuable training information without costing you a fortune.

So what does this mean for your training? It allows you to adapt your training stress to accommodate your total life stress. This is important since it allows you to adjust training to your body's needs in real-time. But TRAC is NOT readiness testing. For now, think of your stress reading as your body's adaptability.

Donald, it's going to tell you systemic STRESS, but not necessarily fatigue (although fatigue plays a part). Localized fatigue will manifest itself in readiness tests, but that isn't what TRAC tells you.


I've asked Mike T. how he tests readiness, so I'll post what he says on that later.

Also, someone commented about deadlifts:

I think this is a question of efficiency. More people squat (or benchpress for that matter) efficiently than they deadlift. This means that a lof of people benchpress a lot (and often) making them even more efficient at that. And squat a lot (but not as much as they benchpress) with the same effect. However, they deadlift heavy only very seldomly which means that when they do, they pull off once-in-a-lifetime-efforts which puts them in bed for 2 weeks. Like how old ladies suddenly feel that they need to exercise and pull off something that's just way out of their league.

Too many people just pull/lift the da*n bar and feel content about it. So this "wisdom" about how deadlifting can and will kill you comes to be and everyone simply repeats it. Deadlifting does place a greater emphasis on general fitness. I believe that for an individual to recover from the workload (the way you get tired from working at a construction site or moving a house), he has to have a longer period of regular work behind him (or her).

Donald Lee
02-12-2010, 07:16 PM
Here's some more from Mike T:

I have heard of the Omega Wave. That was actually one of the catalysts that sparked my TRAC research. I looked into Omega Waves and they cost about $40k. But I read about the technology and there are other ways of getting this information.

TRAC isn't HRV per-se. It monitors traditional heart rates at specific times in the Orthostatic test. However, as I mentioned, a stress assessment is not a readiness assessment. I had to learn this the hard way. I thought low stress should equate to high readiness, but I just didn't see the correlation in the real world. After some more research, I came to the conclusion that the best way to determine readiness is to do the activity itself. My readiness test is still being developed, but it relies heavily on my tendo (another unnecessarily expensive piece of equipment).

More to come on tendo updates, however...

Joel Jamison's test sounds interesting. Any idea where I can find more info?

Another key with TRAC (and the readiness assessment to a lesser degree) is that they are non-invasive and non-stressful in a practical sense.

Garrett Smith
02-13-2010, 06:44 AM
This sounds like it could have a lot of promise.

Derek Weaver
02-13-2010, 11:11 AM
I feel like this is a very smart individual who is on to something very promising. I am embarassed to say I don't think I've heard of him.

Donald Lee
02-13-2010, 01:32 PM
Derek,

Reactive Training System, is the new big thing. It's been around over a year I think. Mike T.'s the guy who's made auto-regulation popular as of late. I like him because he's not like Glassman or Louie Simmons who both say some ridiculous hyperboles. He seems to be a thoughtful person.

Derek Weaver
02-14-2010, 04:53 PM
I went and digged around his site a bit and like what he's got over there.

The only other people I've heard of talking about auto-regulation lately have been Christian Thibaudeau, Jason Ferrugia in that T-Nation article a few weeks back, and now Mike Tuchscherer. Although, 5/3/1 is a plan that really is set up around auto regulation as well.

Donald Lee
02-14-2010, 06:04 PM
I went and digged around his site a bit and like what he's got over there.

The only other people I've heard of talking about auto-regulation lately have been Christian Thibaudeau, Jason Ferrugia in that T-Nation article a few weeks back, and now Mike Tuchscherer. Although, 5/3/1 is a plan that really is set up around auto regulation as well.

Don't quote me on it, but I think they all read RTS and then started preaching auto-regulation.

Steve Shafley
02-14-2010, 08:09 PM
In Dan John's Get Up Volume V, Issue 2, there's an article I wrote about Autoregulation and the ladder set/rep scheme.

Areg can be complicated or it can be quick and dirty. The Reactive Training System is one of the more practical bits on training I've seen in the last two years.

Donald Lee
02-14-2010, 10:15 PM
Shaf,

Are you still using RTS? A couple months ago I read one of your blog entries about your trying it. I've been doing it for 5 weeks now, and now that I have added Fatigue Percents with Medium Stress weeks, it's a lot more volume than I've ever trained with before. I average about 6-8 sets of 3 reps per exercise per day. 6 lower body exercises, 4 upper body push, & 4 upper body pull per week. I can't tell how much better it is than what I've done in the past, since I'm trying to get back to some of my old numbers, but I think within the next month I'll get back to some numbers that I've gotten stuck at before, so we'll see.

Steve Shafley
02-15-2010, 07:41 AM
I'm not using it at this time. I've done about 8 sessions using fatigue percents to get a feel for them and they did tend to be a higher volume than I would use normally.

I think the way MT has it set up to progress is worth doing:

1. Start with alternating blocks of volume and intensity based workouts and recored RPEs.
2 Start using RPEs to guide your top sets (2-3 sets @9)
3. Start using fatigue percents to control volume.

Etc.

Derek Weaver
02-21-2010, 01:35 AM
Any update from Mike on testing readiness?

Donald Lee
02-21-2010, 02:08 AM
Any update from Mike on testing readiness?

Nope. Mike is good about updating the content on his site, but I don't feel like this stuff is about to come out any time soon. It seems like you need to the Tendo to track readiness, which is fairly expensive, but not as expensive as the OmegaWave. I think the Tendo is about 5k. It tracks power output, so I guess it can tell when your bar speed is low. I haven't read too much into it, so I'm not certain.

Mark Fenner
04-08-2010, 06:32 AM
I posted this years ago on the DB Hammer Forums.


As far as building a home made force plate (which I've been contemplating, but haven't gotten around to):

Google: "rod cross" force plate

for ideas about building a force plate for physics classroom experiments. There are a few other sites out there that talk about similar stuff: one is a senior undergrad physics project. He gives a more detailed protocol with tolerances for the steel plate, etc. I don't have that link, unfortunately [update: found it!].

http://www.prin.edu/college/academics/de....ite/althans.htm


Also, Cross emailed me the following:

Quote:

You can buy a fairly cheap ($400 ?) force plate modelled on my design
from Vernier Instruments in the USA. If you want to have the fun of
making your own then almost any piezo will work provided it is about
3mm to 5 mm thick. The piezos I used were about 30 mm square, but
any similar size will work. eg 25 mm x 25 mm or 25 mm x 40 mm will
also work. The Vernier design uses strain gauges rather than piezos,
and is probably better than mine.


Note, the Vernier unit is now about $200 but it's only really sized for one foot at a time (buy two of them?).

See:
http://www.vernier.com/probes/fp-bta.html

Note that I'm note sure that the range of force it measures is suitable for all sports related tasks (what's a reasonable upper bound for ground reaction forces at landing for 200 lbs. from 3 feet?). On the plus side, I think Vernier's stuff will play nicely with various software packages (so you're not locked in to their expensive software ... though, I might be wrong).

Piezo elements can be expensive if they are built to very high tolerances. For our purposes, relatively shoddy piezos would probably do the trick.


Two follow ups:

(1) Piezo film is relatively inexpensive.

(2) More directly related to the tendo unit: Guess what Bluetooth capable device has a built-in accelerometer? The Wii joystick/controllers. Yes folks, that's right, if you have (just a bit of time), you could duct tape a WiiMote (or whatever they are called) to a barbell and just about instantaneously get acceleration data from your lifts. There is even software to grab the data available for free.

I've had a WiiMote in my Amazon wishlist for several years -- just don't have the time to carry the project through. Maybe this summer? :)

Best,
Mark

Shawn Lawlor
04-11-2010, 07:36 AM
The WiiMote thing sounds interesting!

Any idea where I might find some software?

Thanks for the great idea!

Don Stevenson
04-12-2010, 06:59 AM
The Iphone has also got a built in accelerometer and apps available to output the data.

As far as i can see though the current apps just output the peak g force in each direction and don't have output for distance travelled.

I was thinking about this the other day because i've always wanted to do some power measurement stuff but the current devices available are fairly expensive.

I'll download a few of the Iphone apps now and see if there is anything useful and perhaps then someone with a bit more technical know how can tell me how to fudge the numbers to get useful data out of it.

Mark Fenner
04-12-2010, 08:26 AM
The WiiMote thing sounds interesting!

Any idea where I might find some software?

Thanks for the great idea!

First hit on google is:
http://www.wiiprojects.org/bluetooth.html

Generally, google for "bluetooth wiimote software" or some variants.

If your computer doesn't have a bluetooth receiver (many laptops have them built in), you can get a USB bluetooth receiver for fairly cheap.

The Iphone has also got a built in accelerometer and apps available to output the data.

As far as i can see though the current apps just output the peak g force in each direction and don't have output for distance travelled.


Iphones are expensive enough (to me, at least) that I wouldn't use one for this purpose. You can get a WiiMote on amazon for ~$25. Even if the accelerometer doesn't give you distance (directly) you can:

(1) use a tape measure and/or approximate the length of the lifting motion (better for more static positions: deadlift, bench press; harder for squat (did you make depth?); even harder for Oly lifts: was that a power clean or a deep squat clean -- however, you can always approximate).

Or (2), you can always use calculus: rate of change of distance is speed; rate of change of speed is acceleration. Integrate acceleration, you get speed; integrate speed you get distance. Now, you do have those pesky "+ C"s (integrating introduces an arbitrary constant into the process) to worry about: fortunately, we know two constraints for the barbell lifts: at time = 0, the speed is 0 and at time = 0, the distance traveled is 0.

From these you can get power, compute work, etc. Realistically, if you just want to know when you're wearing out you can just superimpose your acceleration graphs and visually compare it. If you want massive amounts of data to toy with, that's a completely separate beast :).

Best,
Mark

Gant Grimes
04-14-2010, 06:35 AM
Thanks for posting, Donald. I'm sorry I'm just getting around to this.

It does sound promising, but I'm hesitant to embrace something that says I should feel differently than I (and many others) have after years of training. However, some good people are following his methods, so this bears watching.

PS This is way, WAY more physics class than birthday party.

Donald Lee
04-14-2010, 08:08 AM
HAHA. I sure hope that birthday party comment comes around to bite him more often.

Joel Jaimeson has also been working on similar low tech stuff, but Joel is working on something for mixed modal sports. He's been working with OmegaWave, so I'm sure it'll be good. I tried to get the two to correspond, but the last time I asked Joel, it doesn't look like they did.

Here's what Mike T. wrote this week:

The TRAC stuff is something that is still in development, but I'm using it in my own training. TRAC stands for Training Recovery Assessment Computer. It's a series of tests that we use to assess total body stress, Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) balance, CNS Readiness, and Adaptive Reserves. We do this with a fairly simple and somewhat commonplace battery of tests. The tests include an orthostatic heart rate test, a reaction time test, and a tap test. What is revolutionary -- and what allows us to make these assessments without special equipment -- is the methods that the data is analyzed. This has been literally years in the making and I've invested quite a bit of my own money in the R&D program. The beta test showed excellent results and we're to the point now where we're moving forward with development.

TRAC has shown a great deal of accuracy. What this allows us to do as athletes is custom tailor our training loads to actual physiological response. For example, let's look at Stress. This is a great parameter to adjust training volume to. And it's not something you would typically "feel". I have felt great some days, but tested High or Severe stress. I've felt terrible some days and tested Low stress (these are the gut-check days). And I've had days where I agree with the stress assessment. The thing is in most cases, the physiological assessment is way MORE reliable than your own subjective assessment.

That's just the start. Stress is a fantastic indicator for appropriate training volumes. ANS can tell you what kinds of stress your body is dealing with and specifically what to do about it. CNS can also guide your training efforts a great deal. Adaptive reserves go hand in hand with stress. It's a really cool system. I'll definitely be writing more about it as it gets closer to release.


Intensity is a bit more complicated. That's actually what our R&D guys are working on now -- how to predict performance, which should give us an idea of how to autoregulate intensity better.

You do the TRAC test every morning. From a traditional RTS approach, you modify your plan based on the TRAC results. Lets say you are supposed to have a GPP day.... Well, if you test Sympathetic Dominant on your ANS, then that will influence what KIND of GPP work you do for that day. It will all be laid out in the Training Recommendations section of the TRAC Report.

Another example... Let's say you are supposed to train today, but when you get up you test High Stress. In that case, if your schedule can accommodate it, you would be best served by bumping the training to the next day. If your schedule can't accommodate it, you would reduce the stress level for that day's session.

Gant Grimes
04-14-2010, 08:21 AM
I like the idea. I get what he's saying about physiological assessments vs. subjective self-assessments. When I incorporated a HR monitor into mountain bike training, my results improved drastically (perceived stress had little to do with actual HR stress).

I'm making my way through Jamieson's stuff right now. I have received his newsletter for quite some time. One of my staples is now doing one of Dan John's complexes (for 5x8, ascending weight) and HRIs on the prowler.

I look forward to seeing more of this.

Mark Fenner
04-14-2010, 09:56 AM
PS This is way, WAY more physics class than birthday party.

Compared to my day job ... this is the birthday party.

Best,
Mark

Donald Lee
04-14-2010, 12:00 PM
I like the idea. I get what he's saying about physiological assessments vs. subjective self-assessments. When I incorporated a HR monitor into mountain bike training, my results improved drastically (perceived stress had little to do with actual HR stress).

I'm making my way through Jamieson's stuff right now. I have received his newsletter for quite some time. One of my staples is now doing one of Dan John's complexes (for 5x8, ascending weight) and HRIs on the prowler.

I look forward to seeing more of this.

The power meter is more accurate for tracking progress in mountain biking than a HR monitor. Power meters are ridiculously expensive, so a Garman Forerunner with GPS and HR monitor capabilities would be the best option for a fitness junkie. HR can vary from day to day, time of day, environmental temperature, etc.

I wanted to get a Garman Forerunner, but after dropping out of the military, I realized I have no interest in running, biking, or any other form of endurance, except for some light cardio benefits.

If you're just looking at the heart benefits, a HR monitor is fine, but for performance, I think something with GPS is better.

Also, there's an iPhone app that can be used with your heart rate strap to monitor heart rate variability, which can be a good indicator of stress levels. It's not likely to be accurate, because the higher end heart rate monitors that track heart rate variability have different heart rate straps, but it seems to be reliable enough to track the variances from day to day. In other words, you can probably use it to determine whether you should go light or heavy on a certain day.

http://www.myithlete.com/

Ryan Hagenbuch
04-15-2010, 04:59 AM
I have a Garmin 305 Forerunner and love it. I don't bike, but they sell an attachment for the bike to calculate distance, calorie expenditure, etc. Definitely worth it to track progress if you do enough endurance work .

Donald Lee
05-27-2010, 06:18 PM
http://www.reactivetrainingsystems.com/store/custom-training?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=84&category_id=4&vmcchk=1

TRAC is out.

Garrett Smith
05-27-2010, 07:56 PM
Donald,
Do you know if this is applicable to other strength training pursuits other than PL? Sorry if I missed the answer earlier....

Donald Lee
05-27-2010, 08:16 PM
Donald,
Do you know if this is applicable to other strength training pursuits other than PL? Sorry if I missed the answer earlier....

No idea.

The training generator may not be, but I'm sure TRAC can be used for anything. I was trying to find that out myself. I purchased Team RTS because the first month is free, but for some reason, my order got cancelled.

Donald Lee
05-27-2010, 08:23 PM
It's been fixed. I'm messing around with the Training Generator right now.

Ian McLeish
06-09-2010, 10:42 AM
Hey Donald, how are you liking the TRAC system so far? I purchased it last night and did my first test this morning. Like you , i figured I had nothing to lose since the first month is free.

Also, are you using a HR monitor for the morning HR test or are you counting a pulse?

Donald Lee
06-09-2010, 11:35 AM
Hey Donald, how are you liking the TRAC system so far? I purchased it last night and did my first test this morning. Like you , i figured I had nothing to lose since the first month is free.

Also, are you using a HR monitor for the morning HR test or are you counting a pulse?

I'm using the HR monitor.

I don't know how it works, but it seems to be very accurate so far. I haven't been able to work out too much in the past couple weeks because of school and irregular sleep. Usually, my CNS and ANS indicators are all right because I have not been able to workout often, but through the heartrate readings, it tells me that I have high stress levels. I also enjoy the training recommendations based on the TRAC results. It'll tell you stuff like, 'continue training normally,' 'if you have a workout scheduled for today, consider moving it back,' 'do some light 10-15 minute cardio,' 'take some extra B vitamins,' 'consider lowering the volume if you have a training session today,' etc.

It also has a graph with all the trends in your stress level, ANS balance, and CNS level.

It's also a great check to your ego. You might feel good enough to do a full workout, but it'll probably have negatives effects the next day and the day after if the TRAC tells you to lay off. I actually sort of had that happen. I recorded a level 10 for stress levels that day, so I probably shouldn't have worked out at all. But I got to get in workouts when I can nowadays, and I felt surprisingly good for not sleeping too much. I ended up having to drastically lower the volume of the workout though, because I just didn't have as much as I thought.

I'd also like to add that it's interesting how stress levels don't always correlate with your readings on the ANS balance and CNS levels. If I get my life/school/study habits in order soon, I'll update more on how my training and using TRAC are coming along.

Edit: If you're looking into a HR monitor, I recommend the Polar RS 100. It has multiple functions. It has a timer, stop watch, and most of the heart rate functions you'll need. The only major negative is that it doesn't store multiple data sets, so you have to memorize or write down a data set before using it again.

Donald Lee
06-09-2010, 11:53 AM
Also, I tried using the Training Generator, but it has a lot of technical bugs, and it's very clunky. I tried probably 10+ times to get it to work, but with so many individual paramters to fill out and without a good editing feature to go back and make changes, it is basically unworkable. It's very hard to understand all the programming terms and organization on there, too. The Training Generator makes you organize every little detail of your training. It's like you're playing chess in organizing your training.

Like I said earlier, one of the problems is, with all the complication, you have to be able to edit and make changes as you learn how to work it, but it has glitches and is clunky in the exercise selection/assignment area. For example, it might have a slot for Deadlift Supplemental High or Low Supplemental, but you might want to use 2 different exercises for that per week. It won't let you do that even if you have Deadlift Supplemental assigned for twice per week, because it only lets you have 1 exercise per type of exercise. You could work around it if it gave you another option like Deadlift Supplemental 2, but most of them don't have that option.

Basically, the Training Generator is unworkable as it stands. If anybody can get it to work without Mike Tuscherer's help, I'd be very surprised. After failing for about 3 hours or so, I finally realized I could do almost the same thing by hand. The Training Generator's only useful when you're changing training stress and intensity and volume every single week. You just put in those parameters, and it'll give you reps per set, goal RPEs, intensity (i.e., 80-85% 1-RM), etc. In the training manual, Mike tells you basics. Then, he tells you another step and tells you when to start implementing it. Then, he tells you another step and tells you when to start implementing that, and so on. In the Training Generator, he puts everything in that he has in the manual and more, and he doesn't give you an option of utilizing some parts or all of it. You have to use it all. You could just choose like medium stress every week and 80-85% 1-RM every week or something like that to get around the complexity, but you still have to click on every little box.

Ian McLeish
06-09-2010, 11:56 AM
Yeah, I have some type of polar HR monitor, not sure what model though. I felt like the HR numbers were dropping pretty bad when i was laying down and I seem to remember that was a problem with them, was that laying down gave an inaccurate reading. my #s were 58, 108, 90 and 77. seemed all over the place. Not sure what that means, but i did a workout today since TRAC doesn't start working for like a week.

The only thing that scares me is that i am like you and in school and can't workout some days, so i'm hoping that it's not gonna end up putting me in the gym 1-2 days/week. I'm afraid of opeining up a can of worms, but i'll give it a shot to see how it works. I'm coming off a bout w/ adrenal fatigue, so i figure it could be a HUGE help....

thanks for the reply...