Day 1, Part 3. Lecture on Planning & Measuring Training Loads...and more isometric clam shell testing of hip ER strength!
The first day in China ended with me giving a lecture on Planning and Measuring Training Load to the Guangxi Sport Schools staff of academics, coaches and some students. No matter where I went in China, the complaint of Western sport of S & C staff working there was that "Chinese sports coaches don't plan training loads." Or "Their only plan is to do more than before" Or "They just pull numbers out of their arse, like she must do 2000 curls or 15 sets of 15 reps today". So I gave a lecture on pretty basic stuff, like using the RPE load system of measuring load and then the Acute: Chronic workload rolling ratio, establishing a weekly minimum and maximum for each month and so on. I have no idea on how it was received. Elite Chinese athletes are state sponsored. They live in these Sport Schools or Training Centers, meals are provided and all healthcare etc. It is a job. Work (ie training) starts at 9 am and goes to either 11;15, 11;30 or 11;45, depending upon which province you are in, then they break for 2+hours for lunch and a sleep and then thry return to training at about 2pm for another 2+ hours until the end of the work day. So the number of hours is pretty much set every day, so the only way to vary load is content and intensity, which I have been led to believe they are not so good at. However, the athletes have typically been in this type of system since their early teenage (or before) years, so they are well accustomed to the volume (in terms of time training per day). The foreign coaches I have talked to often say, given the great athletes and facilities that China has, the only real avenue for improvement is through better planning of training and consequent better reactivity to training, testing and monitoring data. Plenty of people in China also realize this. A work in progress. Anyhow at the end of the lecture, "Any questions?" "Can you assess the hip strength of my female wrestler?" Apparently word had got around. All the athletes I saw were strong and flexible in the quads and hamstrings, but obviously a few were developing hip strength/mobility imbalances due to the volume of work where one leg may be in front of the other...lifter, sprinter, wrestler.