Athletic Dark Holes

Some debate on the validity or concept of the dark hole in physics, there is no doubt that they exist in training athletes. Throughout my career I have had athletes disappear into dark holes never to reappear or if they did they were a shadow of their former selves. What is an athletic dark hole? Biased one sided training that emphasizes development of one physical quality to the exclusion of all others. The two biggest and most frequently occurring dark holes are strength training to the exclusion of everything else an emphasis on aerobic work to build a base that then takes away all explosiveness. Neither physical quality is bad unto themselves but without context they possess the potential to kill an athlete. All components of training must be trained during all phases of the training year in the context of the objectives of that phase and the needs of the individual athlete. No physical quality is an end unto itself, they all must interact with the result a synergistic effect producing a highly adaptable athlete.


At 3/29/08, 11:55 AM, Blogger Swim Coach Tom Sweeney said...

Assume a mature person desires to be lean, strong, healthy--able to run, bike, swim, hike etc.

This mature person finds that the current theme in many places online is strength training circuits with less than 30 seconds between stations with interval training on off days, or the second workout of the day (which I do because I write a lot sitting on my physio-ball).

There is a drumbeat against aerobic cardio, something Dr. Cooper advocated back in the day.

If I must do intervals rather than steady-state cardio sessions, what I've come up with is alternating days of more and less intense intervals.

On my Lifecycle during our crummy winter-spring weather, a less intense day: 5 minutes warm-up; 55 minutes alternating 2 minutes at level 11, about 108 revolutions per minute with 1 minutes at level 10 at 100 revolutions. Since I have a heart monitor, I can make the intervals "reasonable."

On more intense days, I vary using the random setting which changes the resistance nearly every 10 seconds; I keep the revolutions at 100 at the low resistance levels and 106-8 at the higher resistance levels; or, up the ladder 9-10-11-12-13 one minute each; or, each 2 minutes 8-10-15-20 second all out "stingers"/bursts for 50-55 minutes; or, after a warm up, varying revolutions from 100-110 and varying resistance from 10-13, I do (in minutes) 2-1-2-1-2-1-2-2-2-1-2-2 3xs thru (this is pretty intense)

The message I'm sending is that as a 68-year-old I'm trying to fight gravity and often workout at levels prescribed for 35-year-olds because recommendations for my age are astoundingly easy.

A second message: a mature person interested in being lean, healthy and climbing to Lake Solitude in the Grand Tetons next August with three 30-year-olds puts together his own fitness routine.

At 3/29/08, 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"training that emphasizes development of one physical quality"

Who is emphasizing this the coach, or the athlete?

At 3/29/08, 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You certainly are good at coining terms and phrases, but it does not hold good for most smart or experienced coaches. No one in his right mind will emphasize one physical quality over another. Program designs may differ but most coaches are not idiots as you claim. You make it sound like you are the one with all the answers.

At 3/30/08, 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No one in his right mind will emphasize one physical quality over another" Look again

"You make it sound like you are the one with all the answers" Try again

Socrates taugh not by giving answers, but by asking questions.

At 3/30/08, 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Socrates taught to ask but he never wanted to solve for answers.

Just another whinning philosopher who never wanted to work.

At 3/31/08, 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

work perform a given task? They look really busy instead of being productive. watch for those midlife crisis.

At 4/8/08, 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon who brought up Socrates - So Vern is Socrates eh? LOL. These are common strategies used by people who do not want to take a position on anything. So they use semantics and unquantifiable methods. Real coaches, produce real world results. We don't need philosophers we need genuine coaches.


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