This week’s guest is Angus Ross Ph.D, physiologist and strength expert working with High Performance Sport New Zealand.
Angus is currently employed by High Performance Sport New Zealand in a power physiology and strength and conditioning role, primarily working with track and field. I first discovered some of his work in my own research on muscular overshoot, where I came upon a slideshow he had done on special strength concepts for sprinting and jumping, and it was one of the best I’d ever seen. Angus has also written a couple (1) A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development (2) A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development 2 of great articles on the idea of eccentric strength training on Stuart McMillan’s excellent blog, which I highly recommend reading.
There were so many great topics that Angus has spoke on across these three mediums, such as eccentric overload, chasing weightroom numbers, building rate of force development, foot training, and more. Angus delivered on these topics in our podcast, and then some!
Today, we’ll get into these concepts, as well as some ideas on other strength topics, such as “concentric only” work, muscle slack, core stiffness training, and more. This episode is particularly useful in the sense of how Angus really quantifies examples of athletes who will particularly benefit from eccentric training methods.
I can’t leave out the intro without mentioning the kBox, which is one of the most effective, if not the most effective way, to deliver high, specific eccentric loads to athletes.
Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.
- Angus’s background in the field of sport performance
- Considerations on eccentric resistance training for building jumping and speed abilities
- Ideas on utilization of eccentric training in periodization schemes and long term athletic development
- The “chicken and egg mentality” with speed power athletes and maximal strength in the weightroom
- Principles on ballistic weightroom work, where one drops and catches weights very quickly
- The value of “concentric only” based strength training
- Ideas on the weightroom possibly having an influence on contact times and forces produced in under .15 seconds
- Thoughts on muscle slack and squatting
“You need to have a rationale for an athlete to be using (eccentric training) with…. If you have an athlete who is already a very “stiff” athlete already in a sprinter jumper scenario, the adaptations might not be as favorable as if you have a floppy, compliant, athlete who has enormous range of movement, powerful, but spends a lot of time on the ground. That athlete typically seems to go very very well with eccentric training, and you may see some positive adaptations from it that you might not see from the other guy”
“Eccentric training will do damage and it will compromise other training units. You need to build it into your periodization, allowing for perhaps a depression of performance initially, and allowing for time for that to rebound, taper the training, and show some real positive adaptations down the track…. you need to have a plan”
“I would be using eccentric training in a preparatory period, not competition”
“You detrain much more slowly from eccentric training than concentric training… it doesn’t take much to maintain it”
“With eccentric training, you need to start it off conservatively and then start ramping it up”
“Eccentric stimulation gets greater cortical (motor cortex) activity than anything else”
“We know that eccentric training and high loads develop tendon cross-sectional area”
“We know that eccentric training will develop stiffness of the whole leg spring”
“At some point, doing boatloads of strength training, particularly traditional strength training, will give you a slower muscle, rather than a faster muscle”
“Some people can do a lot of strength training and not compromise their speed, other people do more than two sessions per week, and they get slow”
“To produce force in under 150 milliseconds, you want fast motor units, so you better be training fast motor units. The eccentric modaility seems to be one was of getting a greater abundance of those fast twitch motor units. So you could make the argument that you should be using that in your training.”
“(In regards to muscle slack and deep squats) There is some degree that the body will self optimize, get enough co-contraction of muscles around the joint to develop it’s own joint stiffness, so it self optimizes to what it has and how it’s been trained”
About Angus Ross
Angus is currently employed by High Performance Sport New Zealand in a power physiology and strength and conditioning role, primarily working with track and field. He has worked with a number of sports at an elite level within the NZ system including sprint cycling and skeleton in recent years. Angus has a PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Queensland and has also worked within the Australian institute system with stints at both the Queensland Academy of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport. He is also a Winter Olympian in his own right having competed at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Games.