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Old 07-21-2010, 09:11 PM   #45
Donald Lee
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 620

I understood that the HICT was meant to stress the fast twitch fibers as well, but i misunderstood the purpose. i thought it was to prevent them from much atrophy after weeks of excessive cardio.
By doing cardio, you don't become a marathoner. The longest you'll probably do cardiac output/steady state work for in a session is probably 60 min. Some like to do up to 90 min and do it fewer times per week, but cardio adaptations tend to respond better to higher frequency.

Also, irrespective of recovery issues, cardio doesn't affect your maximal strength that much unless you're doing high intensity cardio. This is partly why walking/jogging a ton doesn't negatively affect bodybuilders' muscle mass when they're cutting.

Once the volume and intensity of your cardio starts increasing, that's when it'll start interfering with muscle mass/strength.

For each block, you have a primary emphasis and a secondary emphasis. If you're weak in two areas, you can improve in two areas at a time. You need to understand what different adaptations occur with different types of training though. For example, aerobic and glycolytic adaptations are contraindicative. Generally, the secondary emphasis is something you want to keep at maintenance. Joel allows quite a bit of flexibility in designing your own blocks, but if I recall, he gives enough options to be able to follow whatever's in the book. You could follow the entire progression (1st block to the last) or you could do the 1st and 2nd and repeat, etc. Like Yael was saying, it's kind of hard to figure out all that on your own. Reading Issurin's Block Training book helps to organize your own blocks because he explains all the different adaptations and what complement each other and how to sequence adaptations.

One of the good things about block training is the secondary emphasis and the smooth transition between blocks. It's an improvement from linear periodization because you're not switching focus abruptly and you're not losing as many of your adaptations. It's an improvement from complex or concurrent periodization because it allows you to concentrate/focus more on 1 or 2 adaptations at a time. Like I said, some adaptations interfere with one another, so if you keep on working them together, you don't get anywhere. Also, some adaptations don't improve very much, and some benefit from having developed other things prior.

For the most part, I've always felt that if my conditioning was off, I just needed to roll more. I would do cardio bouts for fat loss, but gassing out was never really the issue. Thus I mostly focused on strength. Now I'm curious to see if I can have some improvements by doing more actual focused conditioning.
Conditioning has two components like I said earlier: the supply side (heart) and the utilization side (muscles). That's sort of simplified, but it's a good enough working model. Exercise physiologists debate which component is the limiting factor for endurance, but the fact still remains that you need both sides developed. Rolling will work both components somewhat, so even if you did a lot of cardiac output (LSD) type stuff, you're still liable to gas. A crude way to tell which area you're weak in is whether your muscles tire first or whether your your heart/lungs feel like they're on fire first. You could need to develop both equally or emphasize one over the other. Also, try testing your resting heart rate. A resting heart rate of about 45-low 50's is good enough for MMA. I'd test is seated or lying down, and consistently at the same time of day, preferably in the morning. It'll be about 5-10 BPM lower when you're lying down than when you're seated.

Oh yeah, Joel doesn't really think most MMA guys need much strength. His BioForce program will let you compare yourself with some other top MMA guys' numbers, but I think he's said that a deadlift of 2x bodyweight is sufficient.

I just need to buy the book (which I'll do in a month when I start my new job).
I'm sure you'll enjoy it. You don't really need to wait to start implementing some of his stuff though. He has a few articles on his website, and he has a couple sample endurance templates on his forum. There's also the long Sherdog thread where he outlines a lot of his methods.
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