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Alex | Evolutionary Athletics

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  • Alex 6:09 pm on May 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: areg, autoregulation, Training   

    Rating Your Training Sessions 

    This idea comes from Paul Carter’s book Base Building.
    “Rating Training Sessions

    All training sessions should have a rating assigned to them. Basically, my rating theory exists in this format:

    80% session – This is what most sessions are. It is getting in, getting the work done. You didn’t hit a PR, but you didn’t feel horrible either. This is what the majority of your sessions should be like.

    +10% session – You feel awesome, you hit PR’s and everything moved fast and easy.

    -10% session – Opposite of the +10%. Everything felt heavy and awful. You may have even missed some reps or cut some sets/movements out.

    The goal in training, especially when base building, is to have as many 80% sessions as possible. These are the bricks and mortar that make up your training foundation.

    Dealing With +10% And -10% Sessions

    I used to call +10% sessions “strike the iron” sessions because well, you use those to go after your PR’s and hit your big numbers. In recent years I have changed my opinion about that, for a few reasons.

    The +10% sessions arrived because up to that point, you were doing all the things necessary in order to facilitate it. It arrived because your programming and recovery were on point.

    Then what happens? You take advantage of that session and you throw the fatigue curve into a steep descent. Now, the training that you had used to get to that point has to change because the recovery from the extra fatigue and stress has to be accounted for. You simply cannot ask the body to do more than it had been doing and not expect it to ask you to be kind in return.

    Without fail what most guys experience after a +10% session are lots of poor 80% sessions mixed in with lots of -10% sessions…

    My suggestion is for a +10% day, do not deviate from your programming… The training that got you there (to the +10%) is working so trust that it will continue to take you to bigger and better places.”


    While I feel that this tidbit is pretty self explanatory I would like to comment/make some suggestions on how to implement the ideas.

    First, I think rating your training sessions based on how you feel is a good idea. Keep the workout structure out of it. Was it doable? Were you successful? Did everything feel hard/easy? Were your lifts and movements crisp with good form or was everything a grind physically and mentally? Was this a

    punch the clock type session? Hint: punch the clock sessions that aren’t great but are not miserable are your 80% sessions.

    Second, lets think about implementation. Give an 80% session an “=”, a +10% a “+”, and a -10% a “-“. You can write this in a workout log or in a note on your cell phone. We don’t need a thorough description so a weeks note may look like this:

    Week 1: ===+=

    Week 2: ==—


    If you see a bunch of “-” it may be time for a couple days off.

    Finally, I was always a “strike the iron” kinda guy. As I grow wiser, and grayer, I agree with Paul’s idea of just sticking with the plan. Your plan is working AND if you can rack up a bunch of +10% sessions in a month your progress will be amazing. I guarantee it.

    That is the goal: get as many = and + sessions as possible with as few – sessions as possible.

  • Alex 3:32 am on February 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    GPP: Strength Aerobic Method 

    Here is a video outlining how I like to prep and program strength and endurance training for power sports in a GPP phase

  • Alex 7:36 pm on November 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Great summary of Current SC research 

    Current Research in Strength and Conditioning

    There are some great takeaways from this presentation.

    My take aways are:

    1. Strength training shifts the force end of the force velocity curve.
    2. Power/velocity training shifts the velocity end of the curve.
    3. For a complete shift of the curve we need to train both strength and power.
    4. Strength training has more impact on velocity than velocity training has on strength.
    5. Thus, strength is the foundation.
    6. The benefits of strength training start to decrease around a 5-6 week break from training.
    7. Block periodization may be an effective strategy to manage all of this.
    8. 6-9 weeks of strength training
    9. 3-4 weeks o a Power phase. The one day a week at 80% may be enough to maintain the strength benefits. If not the break away from lifting heavy weights would be short enough to avoid the deterioration of strength benefits.
    10. 2-3 weeks of high velocity peaking.
    11. A strategy like this should continually push the force/velocity/power curves in the direction we need for elite athletes.
  • Alex 11:31 pm on August 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mark rippetoe, sports performance, starting strength, , strength training   

    Utilizing the Starting Strength Model through and Athletes Career 

    Utilizing Starting Strength through Athletes Career

    This is a short (30 page) booklet exploring the Starting Strength system and its various adaptations which can be applied through and athletes training career. Am I saying that Starting Strength is THE way to prepare an athlete? No, but it is a popular system among athletes and coaches ad can be utilized throughout ones career with proper manipulation.

    Utilizing Starting Strength through Athletes Career




  • Alex 12:14 am on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply  


    Crossfit is obviously taking over the world as we speak. I wanted to chime in on my experiences with GPP, their method of programming, as well as problems with interpretation of implementation. This is more GPP oriented and less Crossfit oriented. BTW a former coworker and Division 1 Strength Coach (Crossfit Certified) has made it onto the Crossfit Fail video series. Sad. Having watched him work I have some experience with Crossfit based coaching. I am gonna be honest, this is a collection of thoughts not an “article”.

    1. Crossfit is a GPP program. We can discuss “neuroendocrine response” to death but it is GPP.
    2. Being GPP, as a stand alone program it has a ton of shortfalls.
    3. The biggest shortfall is the lack of strength development.
    4. Strength is the ULTIMATE GPP program. Getting stronger will improve strength, power, strength/muscle endurance, and economy.
    5. Economy is the ability to perform work at a lower metabolic cost.
    6. Economy has been called the most significant factor in determining and predicting endurance performance.
    7. Economy is best improved with heavy strength training and plyometrics.
    8. So for the simplest road to strength training for endurance athletes you want to lift heavy (but not hard, aka to failure) for < 6 reps/set. Add in 1-2 plyometric exercises for 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps.
    9. Use a squatting pattern and a posterior chain exercise each workout. I like Squats and GHR’s or Deadlifts and Bulgarian Split Squats. You could alternate each workout.
    10. Strength and plyos are the best strength training option for endurance athletes. They also work for sprinters, football players, and just about every athlete. Maybe your sport is not as specific as you think it is.
    11. Heavy weights and plyos is a simple and effective GPP program.
    12. Kettlebells are also excellent GPP. Vorobayev found that they improve strength, power, aerobic endurance, muscle endurance, etc…
    13. Heavy weights, Plyos, and Kettlebells may be the BEST GPP program one can do!
    14. In the generic Crossfit templates you only lift heavy a few times a month.
    15. It is hard to get stronger with that low level exposure.
    14. Crossfit biases toward endurance by emphasizing stressing the capacity of the glycolytic system and aerobic energy system. The templates in the Journal stress these two systems 4-6 out of every 6 workouts.
    16. Of course no one thinks Crossfit is all anyone needs. Sadly many people do think this.
    17. If you are going to incorporate Crossfit programming first LIFT.
    18. Next, if you are an athlete be sure to get some high intensity jumps in. Don’t make it a “metcon”. This is all about power.
    19. Use kettlebells after the lift. They can be part of the “metcon”
    20. Do your metcon after the lift. As stated this can include your kettlebell work.
    21. In the olden days we called the “metcon” a finisher.
    22. High rep Olympic lifts are dumb. use the ketllebell variations for safety.
    23. If you have to ice after your workouts you weren’t training you were injuring yourself. There is a difference. Getting hurt is not a badge of honor.
    24. Always use the path of least resistance.
    25. Sample total body GPP workout: Warm up, Core, Vertical Jump 2×6 reset every rep, Bounding 2×5, Press 3×5, Pull Up 2×8, Squat 3×5, Glute Ham Raise 2×8, Double Kettlebell Swing 3×15.
    26. You could pick a Crossfit metcon or a distance run, swim, or cycle for your finisher.
    27. Rest on your days off or practice your sport.
    28. I never said you need to be a competitive powerlifter. You just need to be stronger than a runner, cyclist, or boxer, etc… Stronger than the athletes you are competing against. That may not be very strong.
    29. The fastest way to get there is by lifting heavy things.
    30. Heavy weights, Plyos, and Kettlebells may be the BEST GPP program one can do! Sound like Pavels Easy Strength? Sure does. Of course my masters thesis was on strength training for distance running so the relationship between weights, plyos, and economy was based on my research.

    Just wanted to add that cause I felt like ending on #30.

    The thesis is Start training by getting stronger. If you want to be more athletic add in some jump training. Want more conditioning start swinging. Finally you can add in your Crossfit if you want.

    Anything you’d like to add?

    Alex Vasquez

    Evolutionary Athletics

    Fair Oaks, Ca

  • Alex 11:39 pm on July 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Program Design Worksheet 

    Here is a simple program design worksheet. I have broken it down into a basic template which I adopted a few years ago when I was trying to get more posterior chain work into the Triphasic Training model. Lo and behold I recently read the Greyskull LP and it is the same weekly template used there.


    Following the training template I have included a bit on periodization.

    Then the sheet goes into different loading parameters for the exercises in the basic template.

    Following this are the different layers or add in’s that one could use to modify the program to suit various goals like mass gain, conditioning/crossfit, athletic development, etc…

    I think the worksheet could be helpful to a number of athletes.

    The methods are all things I use and have used with clients.

    They come from the works of Cal Deitz, Pavel Tsatsouline, Dan John, Jim Wendler, Frans Bosch, Yuri Verkhoshansky, John Sheafley, Justin Lascek,



  • Alex 11:30 pm on June 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Jump Training 101 

    This is an excellent read from Dr. Natalia Verkhoshansky I found at cvasps.com.  It covers the differences between Depth Jumps and Drop Jumps, how to tell when an athlete is ready for depth jumps, the role and programming of extensive and intensive jump training methods, and how to tell when an athlete is ready for an increase in the intensity of load or means.

    Being heavily influenced by Verkhoshansky, this is a great read.



  • Alex 7:15 pm on June 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: diet,   

    As promised I have added a Nutrition page! You can find it here


  • Alex 7:15 pm on June 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    The Mountain Dog Diet 

    I read a ton about diet and nutrition and am asked questions periodically. Honestly I think that John Meadows Mountain Dog Diet espouses honest, sound nutritional principles. I have decided to share the series of articles he wrote on his website. Future installments will cover proteins, fats, carbs, etc… This is a long and informative series. I will be posting a Cliffs Notes version later.Without further ado here is the introduction.

    So what is the Mountain Dog diet, and what will this way of eating do for me? First, it will improve your body composition. You will lose fat, and you will gain muscle, plain and simple. Many of the clients that I work with are involved in a sport involving physique display, whether it is bodybuilding, figure, or fitness competitions. The truth is though, that the type of eating necessary to be successful in those endeavors, also applies to the general population, albeit less intense, and less restrictive. Second, the best part is that this way of eating creates optimal health. You will feel more energized, will have less carbohydrate comas mid-day where you nearly pass out, and your endocrine system and vital organs will thank you as well!

    I think you will love this way of eating. I say way of eating because it is really not what I would call a “diet”. Even my physique competitors often remark about how easy their “diets” are and how they could eat like this year round.well you should!!

    The diet itself is based on many many things that I plan on adding to this site as it matures. For now, here are a few of the key concepts that you will learn in my nutrition programs:
    You are what you eat has eaten
    Fat is not the enemy, not even saturated fat
    Fat soluble vitamin intake is essential to great results
    Timed carbohydrate and supplement consumption is an excellent aid for enhanced fat loss
    and muscle gain
    I would love to sit here and tell you that I am a member of Mensa International, and that my intellectual capacity is off the chart. That would be a bit of a stretch though..ok..a big stretch. What I am saying is that I didn’t wake up one day with all of these ideas and put it all together on my own. I have been very lucky along the way to have met some very bright people, been involved in some great organizations, and I happen to have a lot of real experience that I have acquired along the way.

    What is so different about this diet compared to standard fat reduction diets in general? In addition to melting fat off your body, this diet will improve your health. You may find that your cholesterol levels improve due to less inflammation in your body, your joints feel better, your skin looks better, you don’t feel as lethargic, or many many other nice side effects that go along with eating this way. You will see and become a believer.

    So without further a due, go ahead and check out some of my favorite food sources for protein, fats, and carbohydrates! This is not everything allowable; it’s just a small sample of some of the better food sources that fit into my plan and a little detail about each one. This will give you a bit if a feel for how I think. In my programs, we go deep into what each food is going to do specifically for you, and why you are eating it. It’s not me saying “eat this because I said so” (unless you want me to do that).

  • Alex 7:30 pm on June 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply  


    My site was just hit by a spammer. Sorry if there was any unusual posts.

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