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Training Principle You Have To Live By : SECOND WIND EFFECT

You have most likely heard of and experienced the Second Wind Effect.

This is a real physiological phenomena. Typically used in reference to long distance running, but in fact can be applied to anything.

In the gym you can take advantage of this phenomenon by switching exercises (see Novelty). Think about cross-fit : how do people do it without burning out in the first couple minutes? Well, it is impart due to the second wind effect.

20 minutes of continuous squatting would be impossible. But doing rounds of 5 pull up, 10 push up and 15 squat for 20 minutes is not actually that bad.

I am not a proponent of cross-fit because Strength should be prioritized. However I am not against learning from cross-fit and taking the good things from it!

Try this out:

  • test how many reps you can do of a certain exercise (lets say bench press)
  • the next day: do 20-30 swings and then immediately test out your exercise from the previous day.
  • you will surprise yourself at how closely you come to your maximum reputations – in fact – I have experienced/witnessed many times an increases in maximum reps (see P.A.P.)

There are 101 ways to organize your training to take advantage of this and all the other principles you have to live by. The point of these short, almost-daily posts is to drip feed you information that you really should know in order to optimize your training. I encourage you to join me in implementing these principles into your / your athletes training.

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Training Principles You Have To Live By: RECIPROCAL INHIBITION

(RI) Reciprocal Inhibition – describes the process where the muscles of one side of a joint relax in order to accommodate a greater contraction in the muscles on the other side of the joint.

Without RI muscles on both sides of a joint may fire simultaneously and work against each other.

RI is typically used to achieve greater range of motion in a stretch. You may have heard of “Contract/Relax” – yea thats RI and the Golgi Tendon Organs at work.

How it occurs doesn’t really matter to you.

What does matter is what you do after.

The only reason to stretch a muscle is to promote length and greater range of motion. Once that extra range is created you must then train it!

Mobility is Posture Specific: I would not suggest stretching any muscle in isolation – but to do mobility exercises that relate directly to a functional movement (like a squat).

This way you point all your arrows in the right direction.


This process takes advantage of the stretch reflex and is an effect way of literally training your reflexes. Something you will want to have later in life.

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Training Principles You Have To Live By: NOVELTY

In this context Novelty means variations in exercises (specialized variety) and volume (load/reps/sets) – at StrongFirst they call it simply “waviness“.

Your body and your brain need novelty to stimulate progress.

If you are doing the same workout everyday, you will quickly plateau. Your body will adapt so that those same exercises are easier and easier to do – and after about 3 weeks they will be completely ineffective at promoting change.

The easiest thing to do is to vary each day by 20%. Choose which exercises you will be focusing on and stick to them for at least 3 weeks. If you are training 3 times a week then you have an 90% day / a 70% day / a 50% day.

90% of what you may ask?
– reps done
– weight used
– difficulty of the exercise selection

I suggest choose one variable. track it and adjust it for each session – and record any notes / progress / soreness etc. However you will be adjusting more than one variable per workout as you progress (and this is were programming gets tricky!)

Honestly, following this principle makes the whole training process easier and ensures you don’t train at a constant intensity, which leads to plateaus and burnout.

Do NOT go hard every day. Your muscles need novelty of intensity as much as volume and exercise selection in order to get stronger.

Apply this principle into your training and reap the benefits! An added bonus if you can incorporate the topic from the last post : Progressive Overload.
– week 1 = 80%/60%/40%
– week 2 = 90%/70%/50%
– week 3 = 100%/80%/60% … rest 2 full days …. then test your new 100%

Let me know how it goes. Until then,
Stay Strong

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Training Principle You Have To Live By: PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD

Progressive Overload describes how to effectively train the human body.

The body / nervous system work best and learn best when the intensity of a stimulus is gradually increased. The key term here is ‘best’ – you will still experience adaptation if you don’t progressively increase intensity (or load) of an exercise – but the adaptations won’t last as long nor be as abundant.

How to apply P.O. into your training is very simple: start with an easier exercise / light load / low volume – and increase it every set or session depending on your individual recovery time.

from wiki:

The loss of 10 pounds of muscle per decade is one consequence of a sedentary lifestyle. The adaptive processes of the human body will only respond if continually called upon to exert greater force to meet higher physiological demands.

To me this means that Training is something we have to do for our entire life… Remember the phrase : “If you don’t use it, you loose it.” – well it’s true…

Following this principle is following the natural processes of the human body.

Following this principle will reduce the chances of injury while maximizing results.

Following this principle will make training feel easier! -> This will be further explained in the next post ūüôā

Until Then,
Stay Strong

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Principle Based Training: Workout Organization


1) Mobility  2) Reactivity   3) Speed/Power

4) Strength  5) Endurance 6) Relaxation/Recovery


Training Principles

This topic is important for those who desire efficiency and want to get the most out of their workouts.

If you want to get in shape (whatever that means) and not just be OK at a bunch of different exercises, you will have to plan out -step by step – the path to your goal.

Since most people don’t have fitness goes beyond simply ‘getting fit’,

This article will be about the very general goal of getting fit.

With this goal in mind, we can begin laying out the step by step process towards ‘fitness’.

> If you follow this workout organization,  you will find yourself on the fast track to fitness success.


  • Soft tissue work first. Do this in order to get the tissue moving in the right way.
  • Foam roll, Band work, Active Stretching
  • Write down a mobility goal, ideally have it relate to an exercise you know you will be doing later i.e. better hip mobility in the deep squat.
  • Some Movement Patterning work for the exercises you know you will be doing later is a good idea.

2) Reactivity

  • Having slow reactivity means you have a slow nervous system, this is an indicator of how much time you have left.
  • you can train reactivity in many ways:
    • vision training
    • balance training
    • catching and throwing exercises
    • changing directions (of any movement on demand)
  • It is important to do this prior to lifting, because the effects of this type of training will increase your ability to produce¬†strength later in the workout.
  • Doing this after a workout will reduce the training effect.
  • This is also a good time to practice a new skill

3) Speed/Power

  • Must be done prior to any excess fatigue.
  • Speed development means fast twitch muscle fiber development.
  • Metabolic waste is detrimental to speed development I.E. no one gets faster as a¬†game progresses.
  • This section will recruit high threshold motor units and will encourage myofibrillar hypertrophy
  • Choose compound movements – jumping, explosive kettlebell movements, Olympic lifting, sprinting, plyometrics etc.
  • keep reps LOW (1-5 reps) and rest HIGH (3-5 minutes)
  • complete recovery between sets is required, don’t confuse speed training with conditioning…. it is trained more like strength.

I want to remind you that this is not THE way, this is just one of many ‘ways’.

All I am trying to do it make your life easier.

If your reading this then you more than likely care about your body, you already workout and want to know more about the health and fitness world.

If you order your workout according to this template, you will be following the body’s natural way of optimizing and improving your energy systems.

You will therefore be getting the most out of each workout.

Damn love efficiency…

4) Strength

  • this section of your workout is where you stress your body for 3-5 sets with 1-3 different exercises.
  • choose a grinding, compound movement for sets of 3-6 repetitions with about 3 minutes rest. (Ex. Deadlift, Press, Pull Up, Squat…)
  • this section will encourage sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

5) Endurance

  • Conditioning in this template means anything more than 6 reps
  • If your ‘explosive’ movements stay explosive, and form remains strict – this section can last for as long as you do.
  • this section is highly goal dependent:
    • if you want slow-twitch muscle hypertrophy = sets of continuous movement for 40 – 120s, equal amount of rest.
    • if you want to burn calories = heavy 3-5rep Deadlift/ followed by 30-60sec Swing/ followed by Plank until you ‘recover’…
  • Find yourself a qualified strength and conditioning coach – one who doesn’t confuse strength and conditioning with conditioning and more conditioning.
    • This is because there is a difference between muscular conditioning – and – cardiovascular conditioning … each has its own considerations and ideal training methods.

6) Relaxation/Recovery

  • this section should be as long as needed, some need 5 minutes, others 15.
    1. breathe deep
    2. decompress your spine.

    • decompression exercises include : hanging, child’s pose and cobra, cat-camel, Sphinx pose etc.
  • Post Workout Window for Improved Recovery: there is a 6-9 hours window post workout that if you time either your recovery procedures or sleeping cycle to correspond with this window you will enhance your recovery and your ability to train the following day.
  • Meditation and other mental practices will help tremendously for those athletes committed to their progress. Since mental practice takes time – However, even 5 minutes will go along way!


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Martin Colangelo

‚ÄúThe Better Movement Specialist‚ÄĚ


Stay Strong my friends!