Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Muscle balance the key to athletics legend Steve Backleys' success

I realise I haven't really talked much about the training that I have done in the past and what I have learnt from it and what things I have learnt from others that improved my training. Here's an excerpt from a mail I just sent a friend. It explains the reason
I've trained long and hard both physically and mentally many times. The thing I always remember is how boring and tedious it gets no matter what you do. So a huge part of your plan is to know how to reinvigorate things so you maintain your passion and focus. Also you can spend very little time training but get lots out of it. That's crucial when you've been doing it for weeks on end. If it's just a short session then mentally it's easier to face than a big struggle.

For example when I was training at the gym when I worked at an IT helpdesk. My weights programme was just 20 minutes, yep 20 minutes and I worked my entire body.... twice and I knew it was the most I could do because I couldn't physically do another set.... My improvements were through the roof considering I trained once a week, I never plateaued just kept on improving and it didn't hurt. The reason was, I knew what it was doing to my body and why I was improving. I'd been training on and off for 10 years so I knew what worked for me, kept me fit and motivated and fitted with my life.

Have a read of this article about Steve Backley. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Backley He was a top British athlete in his day and taught me something very important about training. I watched him countless times at the Olympics and world championships as a world class javelin thrower. He was Rafael Nadal to his Federer of Jan Zelezny. I once listened to an interview with him about how he overcame serious injury in his shoulder joint which is obviously the most critical joint to a javelin thrower.

The previous article I wrote on muscle balance is really a tribute to what he said in that interview. He learnt that it wasn't about having one muscle that was stronger than his opponents. It was about having a package that's better balanced because for example his triceps complements his biceps. To throw furthest he can only get the most out of his arms when all the muscles involved work really well together in a good balance.
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