Countdown to the 2012 Seminar: Q and A with Cal Dietz

JD: Thanks Cal for taking a few moments to talk about your presentation at the 2012 Seminar, “Advanced Principles in Training”.  I know you’ve got a lot on your plate at Minnesota preparing for the Frozen Four so let’s get right to it.

JD: Cal, you’re known quite well for your ability to investigate research and find a useful and practical way of implementing it into your training.  As our attendees have seen over the past 2 years you are on the cutting edge of programming.  So the question is this: what are the latest and greatest changes to Coach Dietz’s programming?

CD: Well Jay, as we read and research here at the University of Minnesota, my staff and I keep coming up with the conclusion that if you can take all the aspects of the type of stress you’re providing and simplify it such that your stress becomes more specific, the organism has a tendency to adapt more quickly because you’re not wasting energy reserves or adaptation reserves on many different signals.  Now, where that will go eventually in the long run is that there are times in the year where there is generalized training (most likely at the beginning); ultimately, however, each stressor must become very specific as it has been said many times by Soviet researchers and Doctor Yessis.  The question is a matter of coming up with the methods to do that.

Understanding this fundamental principle of performance requires a grasp of biochemistry and bioenergetics (which basically go hand in hand), and the specificity of adaptation as it pertains to an individual or group of athletes in the context of their entire training program. This individualization in my program will ultimately be based on different leveling and how much stress can be handled based on the athlete’s work capacity. We may have 3 or 4 different levels with 5 or 6 different programs for a particular team. Those programs would not be recognizably much different for the general person to see but they will be different on many fronts. The next hope in the direction is that we find methods to identify where an athlete is at in his physical capabilities and make sure you train them to the level that they need at that moment.  Along with the physical capabilities, you have the physical needs of an athlete, such as which qualities or weaknesses does he or she possess that could potentially be hindering performance.  

JD: When looking at the idea of advanced principles, I’m sure the first question our attendees and readers will have is, “will this be useful for less advanced athletes?”  Can you talk about that briefly?

CD: The biggest question is will these advanced principles work for any athlete. I guess the best answer to that question comes in the form of a question. If you are not killing the organism, then the organism is going to adapt to the stress that is being applied. Now, I promise you unless we’re looking at extreme diseased cases, the organism will adapt to most stressors. Keeping this in mind, yes I think all components of very specific stress, for example eccentric type training, are useful for lower level athletes.  I find that if you do eccentrics throughout the entire body then they acquire eccentric strength better because the adaptations aren’t just specifically geared towards the movements themselves, but rather oriented systemically, especially when the nervous system is involved. It has been shown and demonstrated often that less advanced athletes adapt quickly because their nervous systems are becoming that much more efficient.  I know the Triphasic book has prompted many questions and I’m actually surprised because the quality of questions shows that people are doing some very creative work after they have read Triphasic Training. Triphasic training isn’t’ a specific system; rather, it’s a general concept that people are placing into their current system and achieving great results because essentially it addresses any weak links in the sequence of a movement pattern to attain a more functional and powerful result. Now I don’t mean “functional training”, but function of the muscle as it relates to sports performance.

JD:  Cal, thanks for taking the time to rap with us a bit today. We’re really excited to have you back here on campus at The University of Richmond for The Seminar for the third straight year.  I’m sure our attendees are just as excited for this presentation as they have been for the past three.  We can’t wait to see the presentation.

CD: Thanks, J, I’m very excited about presenting this year. Looking at your line up I’m very excited about some particulars I’ve seen and heard that are going to take place with Natalia Verkhoshansky, Joel Jamison, and Val. I truly believe this clinic has been building and keeps getting better every year and if you can’t come out with tons of new ideas from this  you basically fell asleep and weren’t listening. I appreciate all of your efforts and am very excited to be there to listen and learn from some of the best clinicians in the country, if not the world.

 

As always, please post any comments in the space below!

 

Comments

  1. Ryan Williams says:

    Cal,

    Can you outline some of the specific means and methods you have started to apply, bio energetically or with biodynamics?

    Thanks.

    • Danny Raimondi says:

      Ryan, I’ll try and answer the best I can as I’m currently a volunteer with Cal out here in Minnesota. One thing we do much of out here is Mel Siff’s “cybernetic” type training. It could also be called autoregulatory training. Basically, the goal(like any monitoring system) is to let the athlete’s preparedness for the day dictate what he/she does. So, some new techniques we’ve been playing with have been, in no particular order: stopwatch tap test(tap the stopwatch 10 times and record number prior to lift), balance/sway tests(athlete stands on a cheaper version of a force plate and we can measure sway, which could indicate the nervous system’s activity), Tendo based speed work(this relates to a prior post by Cal about using drop-off percentages to determine the repetitions in a set), and Timed sets(when athlete no longer stays within a certain percentage of their best that exercise is done). I think one of the biggest changes, and I’m sure Cal would agree with me, is that most of his programs now utilize timed sets rather than fixed repetition schemes. The duration of the set depends on many things, namely the athlete’s sport, day of the week, and time of the year. But at the core of bioenergetics are 2 basic factors: intensity and duration. So much of Cal’s programming now will list stuff like tempo and weights/load to use, and we’ll give the athletes the time frame in which to complete maximal repetitions. We can then track their reps and progress over time. What I think the timed sets are also useful for is that if you’re familiar with Cal’s AFSM method, which basically teaches the body to push and pull using the antagonistic musculature, then during the duration of a set an athlete instinctively will push/pull simply to do as many reps as possible. I hope I covered everything from your question, but if not please let me know and I’ll try again! Thanks for the question, Ryan!

  2. Ryan Williams says:

    Danny,

    Thanks for the reply. Did you mean the athletes readiness for the day? Or the exercises selection is based on their preparedness and in consequence what Cybernetic method they use?

    All of the methods you mentioned would be able to address the bioenergetics demands but all the exercises you mentioned (jumps, weight exercises) would be either general preparatory/developmental, or special preparatory exercises; has the programming moved to any special developmental exercises (sport drills close to competition movement) using a cybernetic method?

    Also do you always employ both a general readiness mean/method (tap test, heart rate, vertical/broad jump, etc.) or do you just let the monitoring take place with the use of timed sets or tendo units?

    I’d imagine it is both and fluctuates but could outline and explain further the specific use?

    Thanks again.

    Ryan Williams

    • Danny Raimondi says:

      The exercise selection stays fairly constant, regardless of readiness; what fluctuates really is just the volume. So like you said, we do use both but priority is definitely given to the monitoring that occurs with our timed sets and Tendo units. The tap test and sway devices have really been more exploratory, as we’re wrapping our heads around what the data could mean and how we would then apply the results to our programming. As far as special developmental exercises go, our programming stays fairly general in the sense that we don’t specifically do much work on the ice with the players. Cal interacts closely with the sport coaches though and does collaborate with them on ways to develop specific energy systems to develop certain qualities we may be lacking at a given point in time, or to peak for a certain game.

      • Ryan Williams says:

        Thanks again Danny; enjoying your responses.

        What are some of the specific groupings and leveling you do with your athletes and teams alike?

        Also what all sports does Cal (and you) work with?

        I believe that in various field/court team games a cybernetic method is very simple to integrate for specialized developmental exercises.

        • Danny Raimondi says:

          The groupings and levels go off of a “block” type scheme, with different aged athletes getting different treatment. We also adjust based on position, so our long distance swimmers do different workouts than our sprinters(same applies for track and field). The teams that Cal directly oversees are men’s/women’s hockey, men’s swimming, men’s track and field, men’s baseball, and men’s/women’s golf.

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