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adarqui

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Making Progress - Keeping A Journal
« on: February 08, 2010, 04:35:58 am »
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02/07/2010: Making Progress - Keeping A Journal

By: Andrew Darqui



Athletes that don't keep track of their training are selling themselves short. That's just the cold hard truth. In this blog entry I will go over how to keep track of training data, various types of training data, and how to make sense of it all.



*** For an example journal based on the concepts described in this article, check out my old High Frequency Squat Experiment journal entries below:
*** http://www.adarq.org/forum/index.php?topic=441.0



OK, so why keep track of your training? Well, there's a bunch of reasons:

  • It allows you to more efficiently use of progressive overload.
  • It allows you to track your successes and failures over time.
  • It allows you to analyze your past programs, deciphering why you succeeded or failed.
  • It allows you to more efficiently tweak your current program in order to avoid setbacks, injuries, or failures.

Once you truly have goals, the only barrier in the way of tracking progress, is laziness. Do athletes who want to run faster, jump higher, punch harder, or perform better avoid training because of laziness? Well the answer is no. Tracking progress is a crucial element responsible for making training as efficient and effective as possible. Keeping a journal can be extremely detailed or very simple. So if you're not already keeping a journal, I urge you, keep one. It could be on my forum, another forum, your home computer, just start keeping a journal, preferably on a computer, since keeping a journal on paper is just not as versatile.

The First Entry

The first entry in most people's journals is usually:

Quote
Hey broz, whatsup? I'm 6'5 48% bodyfats and wants majer hops.

EDIT: (October 7, 2010): Fill out this questionnaire, put that in the original post, this will give everyone a great idea of where you're coming from athletically, injury history, diet, training history, etc: http://www.adarq.org/forum/performance-training-blog/free-training-free-customized-athletic-programming-free-online-coaching/

That's ok, but it's missing a ton of information. Intro or not, there should be a few sections that make up your TRAINING HISTORY:

TRAINING HISTORY:

  • GOAL HISTORY
  • PROGRAM HISTORY
  • PROGRESS HISTORY
  • FAILURE HISTORY

GOAL HISTORY

Each goal listed identifies a major focus of your training at that time. Long & short term goals should be listed. Once a goal is obtained, keep it listed but check it off by editing the journal entry.

Note that ATOW means "At Time Of Writing", simply meaning your current performance level at the time of writing that goal.

Ok so for our example, we are coming up with an initial GOAL HISTORY. We can always add new goals or uncheck old goals. Try to never actually delete a goal so that it doesn't show, since that will skew how you analyze your training when looking back into the past. For the sake of this example, it was initially written on 02/06/2010.

Quote
GOAL HISTORY:

02/06/2010: Running Vert: Long term goal of 10" gain. ATOW 30". []
02/06/2010: Running Vert: Short term goal of 2" gain. ATOW 30". []

02/06/2010: Broad Jump: Long term goal of 14" gain. ATOW 100". []
02/06/2010: Broad Jump: Short term goal of 5" gain. ATOW 100". []

02/06/2010: 40 Yard Dash: Long term goal of 4.60s. ATOW 5.14s. []
02/06/2010: 40 Yard Dash: Short term goal of 4.99s. ATOW 5.14s. []

So now let's assume it is 4/15/2010, 2 months later, and progress was made. Short term goals in vert & broad jump were achieved, and somehow a long term goal was achieved for the 40 yard dash.

Quote
GOAL HISTORY:

02/06/2010: Running Vert: Long term goal of 10" gain. ATOW 30". []
02/06/2010: Running Vert: Short term goal of 2" gain. ATOW 30". [04/15/2010]
04/15/2010: Running Vert: Short term goal of 2" gain. ATOW 32". []

02/06/2010: Broad Jump: Long term goal of 14" gain. ATOW 100". []
02/06/2010: Broad Jump: Short term goal of 5" gain. ATOW 100". [04/15/2010]
04/15/2010: Broad Jump: Short term goal of 4" gain. ATOW 105". []

02/06/2010: 40 Yard Dash: Long term goal of 4.60s. ATOW 5.14s. [04/15/2010]
02/06/2010: 40 Yard Dash: Short term goal of 4.99s. ATOW 5.14s. [04/15/2010]
04/15/2010: 40 Yard Dash: Long term goal of 4.39s. ATOW 4.59s. []
04/15/2010: 40 Yard Dash: Short term goal of 4.49s. ATOW 4.59s. []

So, as you can see, when you complete a short term goal, it's time to add a new short term goal. When you complete a long term goal, well, either create a new long & short term goal, or feel content :) Also, you can see how to check off goals when they are completed, just fill in the date. So that's all there is too it, just re-edit the first post of your journal when you achieve a personal best, that way you & others reading your journal can make more sense of how and when you achieved your successes.

The goal history can consist of, but is not limited to:

Performance markers: vertical jump, broad jump, high jump, timed sprints, timed agility drills, timed conditioning drills, timed distance runs, etc.
Strength & Power markers: squat, REA squat, bench, pullups, achieving reps on natural ghr's, achieving proper single leg bounds, etc.
Biometric markers: body fat percentage, lean mass gain, total mass gain/loss, muscle circumferences, etc.

Since performance improvements were the primary focus of my training, all I listed in my goal history were running vert, broad jump, and squat PR's.




PROGRAM HISTORY

This section simply lists programs you have completed, or are currently engaged in. If it's not a known program, then you could always just generalize the goal of the program, ie: "Increase squat & lunge, run 400's". If it's a known program you could easily just write the name: VJB, 5x5, CFTS, The Perfect Rep 5000. Optionally, you could also include the ATOW stats.

Here is an example:

Quote
PROGRAM HISTORY:

02/06/2010: VertProgram2000. ATOW SVJ=35", RVJ=40", 40 Yard Dash=4.51s. [06/11/2010]
07/11/2010: SpeedProgram90201. ATOW SVJ=39", RVJ=44", 40 Yard Dash 4.39s. []

The above example would tell us that VertProgram2000 was very effective, yielding a 4" gain in SVJ, 4" gain in RVJ, and a .12s drop in 40 yard dash.



PROGRESS HISTORY

This section lists all important successes you have achieved. These entries don't even have to be related to the GOAL HISTORY. Entries can consist of PR's/PB's in a lift, sprint, agility drill, jumping drill, etc. Any PR you achieve, stick it in here. So, using the information from the GOAL HISTORY above, we could have:

Quote
PROGRESS HISTORY:
02/25/2010: PR for walking lunge (205 lb. x 3), PR for back squat (295 lb. x 1)
03/05/2010: PR for RVJ (31"), PR for Broad jump (103"), PR for 40 yard dash (4.71s)
04/01/2010: PR for walking lunge (225 lb. x 3)
04/10/2010: PR for back squat (315 lb. x 1)
04/15/2010: PR for RVJ (32"), PR for Broad Jump (105"), PR for 40 yard dash (4.59s)




FAILURE HISTORY

This section lists all failures. Failures could includes injuries, unexpected roadblocks, bad training ideas, failure to meet a certain goal within a certain time limit, and sub-par performance competition performances. Some people or coaches are against listing out failures, I'm the exact opposite. Each failure is a lesson learned, fuel for training, and should try to be avoided in the future. If certain failures happen over and over, then something is wrong with the programming, tweak it.


Quote
FAILURE HISTORY:
02/30/2010: Slight pull in hamstring, too much volume on squat after sprinting.
03/16/2010: Don't do 48" depth jumps, knees very achy, bad idea.
04/01/2010: I wanted to be 175 lb today (after 3 weeks cutting), instead im 180.
04/20/2010: Ate way too much ice cream the day before my track meet, felt sluggish all day.





Logging Sessions

This is where each session is logged, in it's own separate entry. The TRAINING HISTORY first entry can now be used to go back in and locate / analyze workouts from the past, this will paint a better picture of what was done right and what was done wrong. These entries also allow for proper progressive overload to be used in the current training program because there is no need for guess work. Technically, the more data you include in each entry, the better, but just do what feels comfortable at first since more detail can always be added later.

Each entry should include:

  • DATE (self explanatory)
  • PREFACE
  • BODY

the PREFACE can include any of the following, not all are required (more about this stuff in a separate blog coming soon):
  • Bodyweight that morning
  • How you feel prior to training
  • Resting heart rate in the morning
  • Stopwatch double click in the morning/afternoon
  • Brief or detailed nutritional info, especially drastic dietary changes (including the use of stimulants such as caffeine)
  • Sleep habits (how many hours you slept)

the BODY includes:
  • Performance numbers if any: This include jump heights, sprint times, conditioning times, agility times, etc.
  • The exercises performed. This includes the intensity, sets, and reps. Optionally, rest intervals can be included.
  • Brief description of how the session went.
  • Possible video links, or anything else.

EXAMPLE 1:

Quote
02/05/2010

Weight: 164 lb.
Fatigue: None, felt great
Slept: 8 hours
Stopwatch double click: a few 0.07s clicks!

Worked out at 3pm-4:30pm

10 yard sprints: get CNS firing
- feeling real fast

Standing vertical jumps:
- 12 jumps
- Hit a PR of 30" twice on my 6th and 8th jumps
- overall consistency of jumps were very good

18" Depth jumps:
- 3x5, 5 minutes rest between sets
- PR in set 2: 124" touch on vertec
- 3rd set was bad, died out
- Set 1 (121", 122", 123.5", 123", 123.5")
- Set 2 (122", 123.5", 124", 121", 122")
- Set 2 (120", 122", 121", 119", 119")

Barbell squat:
- 45 @ 4x5 warmup
- 135 @ 1x5
- 185 @ 1x5
- 225 @ 1x5
- 245 @ 1x5
- 265 @ 1x5, grinded out fifth rep, very hard

Core:
- Circuit of: v-ups, leg lifts, dead bug, unsupported situps, bicycle crunches
- 30 seconds for each exercise, ~10 seconds of rest between each
- 3 total rounds

Stretch


So in example 1, a PR was set, time to modify the first entry in the journal. A line would be added to PROGRESS HISTORY, and if a goal was met, to GOAL HISTORY as well.



EXAMPLE 2:

Quote
02/06/2010

Weight: 164 lb.
Fatigue: None, felt great

Worked out at 11pm-12:30am

Full speed shadow boxing:
- 8 rounds @ ~3+ minutes each
- hand speed felt great
- worked on throwing lots of jabs, defending, and throwing 4-8 punch combos

Weighted neutral grip pullups:
- Bodyweight + 10 lb: 15, 12, 8
- lats / biceps were dead

Safety squat bar 18" stepups:
- 75 lb. bar @ 9 x 20, 1 x 30
- ~30 second rest intervals
- light conditioning


Nothing to modify in the first entry, no pr's/goals/failures occurred. Progress did occur but it was not substantial enough to be added to the first entry.







Making sense of it all

This is a pretty hard section to write, i'm not going to lie. Analyzing your training gets better with experience. There are a few things you should look at:

  • How the overall training volume, frequency, and intensity is affecting your training & performance.
  • How the introduction of new exercises or removal of old exercises is affecting your training & performance.
  • How a specific exercise is affecting your training & performance.
  • How the cessation of training or deloading affects your performance.
  • How strength gains & losses in certain exercises affect your training & performance.
  • How drastic dietary changes affects training & performance.
  • How sleep habits affect training & performance.
  • Correlating how you feel in the morning with how you perform during training.

I'll give you an example of what I have noticed about my own training, using the key points above:


- How the overall training volume, frequency, and intensity is affecting your training & performance.

Quote
High frequency, low volume, and high intensity training has had the most profound effect on my performance. I feel my strongest, most explosive, and most refreshed with this style of training. I also have set my biggest PR's during these types of training blocks.

However! Utilizing a high frequency approach for too long (5 weeks) starts to burn me out. So to avoid completely burning out I seem to slip right back into a higher volume less focused training routine, with an emphasis more on maintaining my performance gains.

My training seems to have oscillated between very high volume and very low volume over the years. This makes alot of sense consider my Progressive Overload approach.


- How the introduction of new exercises or removal of old exercises is affecting your training & performance.

Quote
The incorporation of low box (18") depth jumps, stiff leg ankle hops, LBJ's, double leg hurdle leaps (Multi Response), IES, reverse hypers, heavy barbell lunges, REA squats, barbell calf raises, squat singles (above parallel close stance or slightly below parallel medium stance, for both - feet neutral), and chain squats (accommodating resistance) have had the most impact on my running vertical jump.

Very intense depth drops, weighted isos, LDISO's, pistol squats, deadlifts, poor man's GHR's, too much food the day before jumping, and too much stretching always made me feel like crap, and even resulted in some injuries.

The most potent per-session potentiators (stim) for VJ for me was: heavy db swings (both hands on one db, 50+ lb), IES (iso extension stim, wish my back-extension didnt break), and stiff leg ankle hops.

Ironically, not getting enough sleep didn't seem to affect my vert much. Maybe in a few cases, but for the majority of them it didn't seem to have any noticeable effect. In fact, some of my best jump sessions (at that period in time) came when I had 3-5 hours sleep. I simply would get too excited to dunk the next day.


- How a specific exercise is affecting your training & performance.

Quote
This kind of goes with the stuff above ^^


- How the cessation of training or deloading affects your performance.

Quote
Not long after deloading I would feel like crap. My performance would drop if I didn't maintain some kind of maximal or near maximal intensity squatting.

I attribute this mostly to my genetics, as I am of long-distance runner genetics.


- How strength gains & losses in certain exercises affect your training & performance.

Quote
Getting stronger definitely helped my vert. However, I did make significant gains in vert while my squat stagnated or decreased. Most of the time this had to do with me cutting volume on squat while simultaneously spending alot of my resources on depth jumps or some type of explosive strength exercise such as REA squats or Barbell Jump Squats.


- How drastic dietary changes affects training & performance.

Quote
Eating ALOT of bananas & spinach made me feel excellent. I would say it definitely had a positive impact on my performance & strength.

Eating light, with enough protein, made me feel my best.

Eating too heavy made me feel like crap, sluggish, and less powerful.

Drinking milk makes me fat, regardless of how much conditioning is in my training.


- How sleep habits affect training & performance.

Quote
As stated above, lack of sleep didn't really effect me much at all. I wrote an article about sleep that no one read because they think it's boring, but it's worth it. :F


- Correlating how you feel in the morning with how you perform during training.

Quote
If my stopwatch doubleclick was consistently at blazing speeds (0.07-0.10), I knew for a FACT my training, jumping, and overall performance would be at peak levels.

If it suffered (0.11+), I knew i'd have to dig deep in order to pull out a great training session.

A future brief blog entry will discuss stop watch double click etc. It is a powerful "CNS" analyzer.




Ok so there you have it. Progress faster by keeping a journal, not getting lazy on your "first entry", doing it right, and analyzing your training.

Feel free to post questions and comments.

-- adarqui

ARowe

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Re: 02/07/2010: Making Progress - Keeping A Journal
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2010, 05:09:55 pm »
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Hey broz, whatsup? I'm 6'5 48% bodyfats and wants majer hops.

LOLZ     soo true

What is best exercise for verticals?

What iz da perfect programz?
Stats as of October 15, 2010
age: 20
weight: ~153 lbs
height: 5'7", 5'8" with shoes
reach: 7'5.5" in shoes
svj: 30 (vertec)
rvj: 35 (vertec) ~36 (dunk)
full squat 1rm: 315 (msem) ~325 (estimate)