Water Workout

During my 18 years as a competitive swimmer, there were few joys simpler than poking fun at the “happy hippos” who bobbed around on Water Noodles at the far end of the pool. I dismissed any water exercise that traded heart-pounding laps for Styrofoam dumbbells as child’s play. So when the assignment for this story landed on my desk, I couldn’t stop laughing – until I jumped in.

Solutions for Back Pain in Athletes

Back pain in athletes' presents in several different patterns relating to the origin of the pain source. In spite of advances in imaging and other diagnostic testing most often the diagnosis is made by the clinician analyzing the pain patterns, (i.e. when it hurts). Pain while sitting or difficulty standing up straight after sitting, and pain with a cough or sneeze or lifting heavy items all indicate the pain maybe from an injury to the intervertebral disk.

New Sport at Lincoln & John Adams Middle Schools: Wrestling

Wrestling New Sport at JAMS and Lincoln
Four years after starting the process, the Santa Monica Bay Wrestling Club (SMBWC) has secured a grant to establish an Interscholastic Wrestling Program at John Adams (JAMS) and Lincoln Middle Schools in Santa Monica.

Grapling with funding

Four years after starting the process the Santa Monica Bay Wrestling Club has secured a grant to establish an Interscholastic Wrestling Program at John Adams and Lincoln middle schools.

The season will begin April 2 and run through the end of May and will include at least two duel meets and a tournament at the end of the season. The program will be instructed by the Santa Monica High School coaching staff, said
Robert Forster, one of the club’s founders.

Lactic Acid - Friend or Foe: Why Test For It?

An Interview with Robert Forster P.T.

Q: There has been a lot written about Lactic Acid and its role in exercise physiology and endurance cycling. What is the importance to the cyclist?

The Science of Building Early Season Strength

It’s springtime and you’ve logged long workouts to develop a sound foundation of fitness.  You have focused on the goals of Base training: aerobic development, cleaning up your diet, stretching, drills and some form of strength development.  You trusted the science behind these long slow aerobic workouts of the last months and accordingly have developed a better metabolic infrastructure.

The Science of Base Training

By Robert Forster, Physical Therapist

This article can also be read in Triathlete Magazine January '04 issue.

Off-season is the most important season.

The Science of Recovery

"Recovery should be so well understood and actively enhanced that it becomes a fixed component of your training," Tudor Bompa

"Recovery is when your body actually grows stronger and more efficient. It is when the benefits of your hard training are realized. Working hard is easy, everyone knows how to work hard, but those who know how to recover hard (well) are the ones who win," Bob Kersee, Track & Field Coach to 24 Olympic medal winning performances.

This column has dealt with the importance of Periodization Science in training for the triathlon. We have defined Periodization Training as a systematic way of developing fitness in a scientifically rational sequence. We have discussed the specific physiological and structural adaptations sought through the various phases of the training process and their importance in your success. Although this month's column doesn't have a phase named for it, it is the most important aspect of your training. Without recovery all your hard work is futile.

Progressive Overload and Supercompensation

The foundation of all successful training is the concept of increasing stress on the body as a means of triggering an adaptive response, resulting in a strengthening of the physiological systems to a degree greater than they were before (the Supercompensation Principle). Following periods of hard work, fatigue and an initial decrease in performance occur before the body becomes stronger or more efficient. However, this occurs only if time for recovery is provided. Periodization Training Science was born of the need to avoid mental and physical burnout and peak performance when it counts most. The well-constructed Periodization Program manipulates intensity and volume (generally inversely related) to create the right amount of stress on metabolic and structural systems of the body. After an appropriate time for recovery the adaptive process occurs. Using progressive build periods of training followed by a week of decreased workload allows for proper recovery-to-work ratio. Overload of stress without the reprieve of recovery leads to a breakdown of the systems involved and not a strengthening adaptation. The body can only reach an ultimate level of fitness following these principles. Focus on the recovery of the metabolic and structural systems is critical. In endurance athlete's, limitations of the structural system (tendons, bone, fascia) to withstand the rigors of the training load necessary to peak the metabolic systems (energy production) is often their demise. Additionally, the metabolic system can be overtaxed and weakened not strengthened with inappropriate balance of stress and recovery.

The Science of Power Development for Great Performances

In the January and April issues of this column I described the use of the Periodization Training model for the pursuit of endurance sports fitness. Akin to following a recipe for the right blend of ingredients to create a tasteful meal, Periodization Training dictates a scientifically rational sequence of fitness development to make the perfect outcome.

We first created a stock from the basic fitness attributes of aerobic capacity, musculo-skeletal resiliency, flexibility and skills. As with cooking, timing is critical, in April we resisted adding the final spices and instead took the recipe of your fitness to the next stage by adding strength work. Utilizing low heart rate climbing on the bike and run and specific strength exercises in the pool and gym we improved your ability to generate force. Now it's time to add the spices that create the "Punch" in your fitness recipe: POWER. Power is a function of strength with the element of time added. If strength is the ability of muscle to generate force then Power is the ability to develop force quickly. In triathlon the quicker your muscles generate force and apply it to the ground, pedals, or water the faster you will go.

Power is the most elusive of fitness elements for the endurance athlete as many athletes lack the necessary strength. Others simply overtrain with too frequent overdistance workouts that leave them constantly "leg dead" and unable to produce truly Powerful efforts.

The Science Of Fat: The Importance of Base

By Robert Forster, Physical Therapist

There has been a lot written about fat in both the popular press and in sports related journals and magazines. We are, athletes and the sedentary alike, a society obsessed with fat. We are obsessed with fat in our diets and on our bodies and with good reason. Over 1 million people worldwide are overweight and in many countries including the U.S. these numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. Sixty five percent of U.S. adults are overweight compared with 56% a decade ago. Since 1980 obesity in children has escalated three-fold and now 15% of children over six are overweight. Some scientists think this generation may actually have a shorter lifespan than its immediate predecessor. Additionally, two effects of obesity; high blood pressure and heart disease have recently made the top ten list of global health risks from the World Health Organization.