Read more: Training Methodologies, Conditioning
Edited by Reaper
Metabolic conditioning or "metcon" refers to conditioning exercises intended to increase the storage and delivery of energy for any activity. The first thing that comes to mind for most people when training to improve endurance is conditioning the cardiovascular system to improve transport of blood to the working muscles. Concurrently, metabolic conditioning is conditioning the muscles to better use the fuel delivered to them by improving the efficiency of the different metabolic pathways. While it was once believed that only aerobic conditioning served to increase cardiovascular health, studies have now shown that anaerobic conditioning may also condition the heart to a same level as aerobic training alone. Dr. Izumi Tabata successfully produced excellent improvements in anaerobic and aerobic conditioning in a group of accomplished athletes using interval training. It is of note that Tabata's four minute high intensity group experienced better V02 max improvement than the control group, which followed a 60 minute moderate intensity regimen.
The premise behind this type of conditioning is to condition the phosphagen and glycolytic pathways adequately (with enough volume to create significant improvement); it is much easier to accumulate volume in "aerobic" training (oxydative) because it requires less energy. Using the phosphagen pathway for example: when performing exercise at an intensity that requires energy to be supplied through the phosphagen pathway, the intensity is so high that the work can only be sustained for 10-30 seconds. In order to continue training at this intensity (to "metabolically condition" the body to work in this pathway), one must follow this by resting from 30-90 seconds before repeating the process. This is why high-intensity interval training is the principle method of metabolic conditioning.
Sprinting Mid-distance Distance
Primary Energy System Phosphagen Glycolytic Oxydative
Duration of Work (secs) 10-30 30-120 120-300
Duration of Recovery (secs) 30-90 60-240 120-300
Load:Recovery Ratio 1:3 1:2 1:1
Reps 25-30 10-20 3-5
The phosphagen pathway is primarily responsible for providing energy for the most high-powered activity lasting less than ten seconds.
The glycolytic pathway is responsible for powering moderate-powered activities which last up to several minutes.
The oxydative pathway's role is to provide energy for low-powered activities lasting in excess of several minutes.
Competitors compete in a division, determined by their body mass. There are currently eight (8) divisions for men, and seven (7) for women.
These classes are currently:
MENS: 56kg, 62kg, 69kg, 77kg, 85kg, 94kg, 105kg, and 105+kg
WOMENS: 48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg and 75+kg.
In each weight division, competitors compete in both the snatch and clean and jerk, and prizes are usually given for the heaviest weights lifted in the snatch, clean and jerk, and the two combined. Each competitor will get three (3) attempts at each lift.
The order of the competition is up to the lifters. The competitor who nominates to attempt the lowest weight on the barbell will go first. If they are unsuccessful at that weight, they have the option of reattempting that lift or trying a heavier weight later (after any other competitors have made attempts at that weight or any intermediate weights). Weights are set at a minimum of 1 kilogram increments.
The title Best Lifter is sometimes awarded in competitions, which is an award based on the lifters' Sinclair Coefficients. This calculates strength-to-weight ratio of the lifters. Typically, the winner of the heaviest weight class will have lifted the most weight, but a lifter in a lighter weight class may have lifted more in proportion to his/her bodyweight.
The Sinclair Coefficients are a means to compare different weight classes in olympic weightlifting.
There are eight bodyweight categories for male athletes: 56 kg, 62 kg, 69 kg, 77 kg, 85 kg, 94 kg, 105 kg and +105 kg, and seven for female athletes: 48 kg, 53 kg, 58 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg, 75 kg and +75 kg.
There are also two types of lifts: snatch, and clean and jerk. However, at the championships, medals are presented in both lifts separately, and in total (the combined result of the best snatch and the best clean and jerk).
To compare and rank the results, especially between bodyweight categories, the International Weightlifting Federation uses the Sinclair Coefficients which are derived statistically and calculated for one Olympic cycle (for four years, starting in the Spring of each Olympic year).
The total for each bodyweight category is a projection of the Total for that weightlifter if he/she were a competitor in the heaviest bodyweight category with the same level of ability. It is done in four body weight categories for the males (56 kg, 69 kg, 77 kg, +105 kg). For the other four categories (62 kg, 85 kg, 94 kg, 105 kg) the Sinclair Total represents the World Standard because nobody as of March 2008 has lifted the predicted total. Those projections using the Sinclair Total are shown below.
The Sinclair Coefficient is if x
Then, the Sinclair Total is simply the obtained total multiplied by the Sinclair Coefficient.
For example, in 2008, a calculation of the Sinclair Coefficient might look like this:
A=0.845716976 for males
A=1.316081431 for females
b=168.091 kg for males
b=107.844 kg for females
Assume that we are assessing a male weightlifter weighing 56 kg with a total of 305 kg.
Then, x=56 kg, and we have
Sinclair Total = Actual Total x S.C. = 305 kg x 1.558521584 = 475.349 kg
To understand the whole idea, here is the chart with all male bodyweight categories (in kg) and its world record Totals, Sinclair Coefficients, and Sinclair Total. By looking at the Sinclair Total we can determine the RANK. * denotes a World Standard rather than a world record.
# Weight Class (kg) World Record (kg) Sinclair Coefficient Sinclair Total Rank
1 56 305 1.558521584 475.349083 3
2 62 326 1.441035030 469.7773733 7
3 69 357 1.338020780 477.6734183 1
4 77 377 1.250896723 471.5880646 6
5 85 395* 1.186208968 468.5525422 8
6 94 417* 1.132098286 472.0849853 4
7 105 440* 1.084720914 477.2772023 2
8 +105 472 1.000000000 472.0000000 5
The same is done for the seven female body weight categories.
The Annual Plan
The annual plan is important in that it directs and guides athletic training over a year. It is based on the concept of periodization and the principles of training. The objective of training is to reach a high level of performance (peak performance) and an athlete has to develop skills, biomotor abilities and psychological traits in a methodical manner.
This phase consists of the general preparation and specific preparation. Usually the general preparation is the longer of the two phases.
This phase may contain a few main competitions each containing a pre-competitive and a main competition. Within the main competition, an uploading phase and a special preparatory phase may be included.
This phase is used to facilitate psychological rest, relaxation and biological regeneration as well as to maintain an acceptable level of general physical preparation. This phase lasts between 3 – 4 weeks (maybe longer) but should not exceed 5 weeks under normal conditions.
A training program should always be considered as ongoing and should be broken down into long and short term blocks or periods of time that can be termed “cycles.” Breaking a program down into cycles is helpful for prioritising your training goals and requirements. The cycles can vary greatly in the amount of time that they span. They are designed to apply more focus on certain goals and needs while placing less attention to others based on established priorities. Macrocycles are long term cycles that may take several months to a year and help to set the priorities and time lines to accomplish training goals or address individual needs. Macrocycles will need to be broken down into more manageable segments called "mesocycles."
Mesocycles would enable a person to better track their progress, reassess their goals, design new routines and make any needed adjustments (to training, diet, sleep, rest etc) in order to stay within the time lines of the macrocycle. Mesocycles can vary widely in length, usually ranging from 3-12 weeks. A normal 6-8 week mesocycle works well for most people. This is enough time to experience significant and measurable results, yet not become bored with the resent routines. This time frame is also short enough to allow a person to identify and correct controllable problems and adjust for uncontrollable variables that may have surfaced before they can inhibit further progress. People should reassess and gather as much pertinent data as possible between mesocycles to help design the new routines and appropriately for continued success.
The mesocycles (phases in a macrocycle) are planned to focus on certain training priorities, but other goals should not be completely ignored in the process. Competitive athletes normally need to focus on specific training phases such as strength, endurance, and/or speed. But most benefit from improvements in several if not all of these areas. If a person spends a 6-8 weeks in a mesocycle completely striving for strength, that person may lose endurance or mobility if training for these parts are not also reinforced to some degree. Balancing priorities within a mesocycle is exactly what training phases are designed to do.
Many studies have shown that it is ineffective to attempt to improve on every bio-motor ability simultaneously during each training routine, because there is not enough time in a training session to apply that and adapt to that much varied muscle stimulus. Therefore, a mesocycle can be divided into training phases lasting 1-3 weeks that focus primarily on only certain neuro-metabolic adaptations. These shorter time periods allow for progress in one area without loss in others. However, training phases must be planned appropriately throughout the mesocycle to ensure that all priorities are addressed. For example, an 8 week mesocycle focussing primarily on strength could include a 1 week phase of endurance training and a 1 or 2 week phase of hypertrophy work in order to maintain the conditioning goals and body composition the person may also desire. The following are different types of training phases that could be included in a mesocycle to address different priorities.
This phase is typically the first week of a mesocycle and is characterised by low intensity and low volume training. This phase is normally used to begin a mesocycle when the previous mesocycle has ended with high intensity strength or power phases. During this week, assessments are done to measure progress and to identify any adaptations achieved in the previous mesocycle. The new program is designed and introduced to the body with an emphasis on training technique. New movement patterns are learned, and the planned exercise sequence is practised. Diet and nutritional strategies are also reviewed. The recommended volume for this phase is 1 or 2 sets per exercise for about 10 to 12 repetitions.
These phases typically consist of lower intensity and higher volume routines. Muscular and cardiovascular endurance is the primary focus. However, this is also a logical phase for focusing on repetitive performance of new or difficult exercises because the intensity loads are low, which will help with attempting to master new movement patterns. Exercises that require different stabilisation strategies or have higher balance demands are ideal for additional practice during these phases. Further descriptive titles can be used for a phase if endurance weeks are combined with other complementary phases, such as a transitional-endurance phase or an endurance-hypertrophy phase. Volume recommendations range from 1-3 sets for about 15-20 reps per exercise but occasionally are prescribed with as high as 50 reps in extreme cases.
These phases are designed to apply the greatest combinations of intensity and volume in order to give muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth. This overlap of increased intensity and the maintenance of high to moderate volume also make these phases highly metabolic and induces greater hormonal responses than other training phases, making the great for bodyfat reduction as well as hypertrophy. Hypertrophy phases can be appropriate even for those people not interested in large increases of muscle mass, as long as exercise selection and volume for specific muscles are properly planned. Recommendations for sets and repetitions span from 3-5 sets per exercise for 8-12 repetitions. Hypertrophy training covers a wide range of time under tension, so more descriptive titles can be used to designate the training priorities, such as hypertrophy-endurance phases or hypertrophy-strength phases.
These phases are characterised by high levels of intensity and reduced volumes of work. Greater rest periods and slower training tempos are also typically implemented to maximise motor unit recruitment. These phases focus on more neural and intramuscular adaptations than hypertrophy and endurance phases. Stability is a prerequisite for maximal strength: therefore, fewer exercises are selected and fewer positioning options and techniques that overlap with other training phases, such as strength-hypertrophy phases and strength-power phases. Volume recommendations are from 5-8 sets with 3-5 repetitions per exercise. With that recommendation, you can see why most people prefer combinations of hypertrophy and strength because this many sets of heavy loads are often too high risk for perceived benefits.
To produce power, the speed or rate of force production is as important, if not more so, as the amount of force produced. For this reason, power phases of training are characterised by the use of moderate intensity and even low intensity loads, with low volumes of sets and repetitions and faster tempos. Power training is difficult with standard resistance exercise movements because a proportional amount of effort that does not promote gains in power must be spent on decelerating the weight loads. Power training will often incorporate different more ballistic movements like power cleans, snatches, plyometrics exercises. Power training exacts a high neural demand for the quick productions and reductions of force, plus the increased need for dynamic stability and balance. Therefore, volume recommendations for power typically range from 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps.
The division of a macrocycle into a manageable mesocycle and the division of mesocycles into the various training phases may seem like a difficult process, but its well worth the effort. Once someone clearly knows their goals from a given period of time, this sets the priorities for the macrocycle. Whether the overall goals are related to endurance, strength, hypertrophy, or weight loss, the next step is to create the different sub goals that are set at reasonable time periods throughout the year, and then design the appropriate mesocycles to achieve them.
We are all going up the same mountain, through different paths - Dan inosanto
Philosophy and theories
According to Williams Belle, the philosophies and theories behind parkour are an integral aspect of the art, one that many non-practitioners have never been exposed to. Belle trains people because he wants "it to be alive" and for "people to use it". Châu Belle explains it is a "type of freedom" or "kind of expression"; that parkour is "only a state of mind" rather than a set of actions, and that it is about overcoming and adapting to mental and emotional obstacles as well as physical barriers.
A newer convention of parkour philosophy has been the idea of "human reclamation". Andy (Animus of Parkour North America) clarifies it as "a means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it.""It is as much as a part of truly learning the physical art as well as being able to master the movements, it gives you the ability to overcome your fears and pains and reapply this to life as you must be able to control your mind in order to master the art of parkour."
A point has been made about the similarities between the martial arts philosophy of Bruce Lee and Parkour. In an interview with The New Yorker, David Belle acknowledges the influence of Lee's thinking: "There’s a quote by Bruce Lee that’s my motto: ‘There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. A man must constantly exceed his level.’ If you’re not better than you were the day before, then what are you doing—what’s the point?".
A campaign was started on 1 May 2007 by Parkour.NET portal to preserve parkour's philosophy against sport competition and rivalry. In the words of Erwan LeCorre: "Competition pushes people to fight against others for the satisfaction of a crowd and/or the benefits of a few business people by changing its mindset. Parkour is unique and cannot be a competitive sport unless it ignores its altruistic core of self development. If parkour becomes a sport, it will be hard to seriously teach and spread parkour as a non-competitive activity. And a new sport will be spread that may be called parkour, but that won't hold its philosophical essence anymore." According to LeCorre, those who truly practice Parkour have the same mind aspect of each other, therefore it brings people to work together rather than compete, it allows them to be united internationally and forget the social and economical problems which separated them globally, ultimately leading one giant community working and growing together.
Main article: Free running
Another saut de bras
The term "freerunning" was coined during the filming of Jump London, as a way to present parkour to the English-speaking world, although, parkour and freerunning are considered to be slightly different.
The founder and creator of freerunning Sébastien Foucan defines freerunning as a discipline for self development, of following your own way. His dissatisfaction with the limited creativity and self-expression in Parkour was the motivation for Sebastian Foucan to develop a similar but also very different art of movement that became known as freerunning. He notes "Understand that this form of art has been created by few soldiers in Vietnam to escape or reach: and this is the spirit we'd like parkour to keep. You have to make the difference between what is useful and what is not in emergency situations. Then you'll know what is parkour and what is not. So if you do acrobatics things on the street with no other goal than showing off, please don't say it's parkour. Acrobatics existed a long time ago before parkour."
When questions are raised between the differences of parkour and freerunning, the Yamakasi group deny the differences and say: "parkour, l'art du deplacement, freerunning, the art of movement... they are all the same thing. They are all movement and they all came from the same place, the same nine guys originally. The only thing that differs is each individual's way of moving". 
Free Running and Parkour
Another contentious issue that may either continue to make a rift between the parkour and the free running communities or possibly strengthen their bond is the idea of professional and amateur competition. From the start the parkour community has been always against the idea of serious competition as it violates the foundations of the philosophy of parkour. Sebastien Foucan mentions in an interview that although they do hold competitions, he doesn't like competition, and it's not "his way", but it may be someone else's "way".
The perceived conflict between free running and parkour occurred when the term parkour was translated as free running for the English-speaking public, and the misconception arose that they were separate disciplines. Some state that free running is a variation on parkour, and that the definitions are interchangeable. This argument has validity due to the fact that the creators never specifically defined the disciplines as "separate". However, free running does employ superfluous movements which would seem to be in conflict with the original ideology of parkour.
sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (common in bodybuilding) involves the growth of the sarcoplasm (fluid like substance) and non-contractile proteins that do not directly contribute to muscular force production. Filament area density decreases while cross-sectional area increases, without a significant increase in strength. Myofibrillar hypertrophy occurs due to an increase in myosin-acting filaments. Contractile proteins are synthesized and filament density increases (Zatsiorsky 1995). This type of hypertrophy leads to increased strength production. Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy Muscle fibers adapt to high volume training by increasing the number of mitochondria (organelles in the cell that are involved in ATP production) in the cell. This type of training also leads to the elevation of enzymes that are involved in glycolytic and oxidative pathways. The volume of sarcoplasmic fluid inside the cell and between the cells is increased with high volume training. This type of training contributes little to maximal strength while it does increase strength endurance due to mitochondria hypertrophy. Growth of connective tissue is also present with sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
Myofibrillar hypertrophy occurs due to increases in the number of myosin/actin filaments (sarcomeres) inside the cell. This leads to increased strength and size of the contractile unit of muscle. Ultimately this means greater force production. This is often referred to as functional muscle, while sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is referred to as non-functional muscle. ATP and Muscular Growth as we said earlier, increasing the number of mitochondria in the cell means increased ATP production. ATP is required for protein synthesis to occur. Low levels of ATP will halt muscular growth as well as inhibit other metabolic functions that take place inside the muscle cell.
Size vs. Strength
In general, bodybuilders are more muscular than powerlifters, but powerlifters are stronger. How does training with weights that are 90% of 1RM develop strength and power, but do very little for hypertrophy? Studies have shown an intense set of 5 reps involves more fibers than an intense set of 1rep. Research has shown that using loads in the 90% range causes failure to occur before a growth stimulus has been sent to the cells. Therefore other factors besides muscle fiber fatigue result in termination of the set. The muscle simply does not have sufficient time under tension to stimulate the growth process. High rep training produces high levels of phosphate and hydrogen ions, which enhance the growth process. Research has shown heavy lifting enhances neural efficiency (improved motor recruitment, and firing rates), which enhances strength, but does not necessarily result in muscular growth.
With this information you can see why the strength, and size levels are different between bodybuilders and powerlifters. There are powerlifters that possess muscularity comparable to bodybuilders. There are also bodybuilders who have equal or greater strength than powerlifters. Do not misinterpret this article to mean there is no relationship between strength and size.
If you gain 30lbs. of lean tissue you will probably become stronger. The basic idea presented in this article is there is a relationship between size and strength, but strength increases can occur due to other reasons. Just as size increase can occur with a non-linear strength increase.
The weight trainer (2001) Muscle Growth part 1811: Why, And How Does A Muscle Grow and Get stronger? http://weightrainer.virtualave.net/training/growth/.html Zatsiorsky, V. (1995) Science and Practice of Strength Training. Human Kinetics. Copyright 2001 Jamie Hale
Realization of training goals
According to popular theory:
Sets of one to five repetitions primarily develop strength, with more impact on muscle size and none on endurance.
Sets of six to twelve repetitions develop a balance of strength, muscle size and endurance.
Sets of thirteen to twenty repetitions develop endurance, with some increases to muscle size and limited impact on strength.
Sets of more than twenty repetitions are considered to be focused on aerobic exercise. They do still use the anaerobic system, but usually at a rate through which it can consistently remove the lactic acid generated from it.
Individuals typically perform one to six sets per exercise, and one to three exercises per muscle group, with short breaks between each set - the specific combinations of reps, exercises, sets and break duration depends on the goals of the individual program. The duration of these breaks determines which energy system the body utilizes. Performing a series of exercises with little or no rest between them, referred to as "circuit training", will draw energy mostly from the aerobic energy system. Brief bursts of exercise, separated by breaks, are fueled by anaerobic systems, which use either phosphagens or glycolysis.
For developing endurance, gradual increases in volume and gradual decreases in intensity is the most effective program.
It has been shown that for beginners, multiple-set training offers minimal benefits over single-set training with respect to either strength gain or muscle mass increase, but for the experienced athlete multiple-set systems are required for optimal progress. However, one study shows that for leg muscles, three sets are more effective than one set.
Beginning weight-trainers are in the process of training the neurological aspects of strength, the ability of the brain to generate a rate of neuronal action potentials that will produce a muscular contraction that is close to the maximum of the muscle's potential.
Load (% of 1RM)
Reps per set
Sets per exercise
Rest between sets (mins)
Duration (seconds per set)
Speed per rep (% of max)
Training sessions per week
Table reproduced from Siff, 2003
Weights for each exercise should be chosen so that the desired number of repetitions can just be achieved
Intensity (% of 1RM)
Volume (per muscle)
If you have a specific goal in your training — top-level competitive mountain biking, bodybuilding, a 600-pound deadlift — then CrossFit isn't for you. You need to specialize. If you want to be good, but not great, at a variety of athletic qualities, then CrossFit is a good option. And that's the truth.
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