Weight training or strength and Conditioning?

I went to see David Sutton a few weeks ago, (UKSCA strength and conditioning coach, and @PerformTrain on twitter) having listened to a talk he did at my triathlon club. I was impressed and intrigued by his slightly different approach to strength training. His philosophy seemed to be around training the muscle groups together rather than in isolation, as this is how you use them he said, exercises specific to the sport you take part in. All seemed quite logical really, so I wanted to see what he said about me.

I was told that it may take an hour to an hour and a half, and that I would need water. He was going to beast me he said. I felt scared!! I had a run hills session lined up that day as well, and really feared for what I had let myself in for!!

David has a very matter of fact theoretical approach, and constantly relates and transfers the exercises swimming, running or biking. This is one thing I like about him, no messing straight to it, and equally he takes no messing, which is good, because when it comes to pain and discomfort I am usually full of excuses!!

He took me through a series of exercises and drills, all of which sounded easy. He says that there is no point in doing more than 6 reps, and you are better in the long run doing less, with more weight. WHY? See my write up and his presentation which contains references here… http://www.melanieryding.co.uk/#/strength-and-conditioning/4546299698) or here for the mobile version (doesn’t include the powerpoint  unfortunately) http://melanieryding.blogspot.com/2010/12/philosophy-behind-strength-and.html

This seemed like an odd way of doing things to me. I felt like I was doing an awful lot of sitting around in between sets!! However, don’t get me wrong, the exercises I was doing were flipping impossible at times!! Sometimes, I wasn’t able to even resist the pressure of his little finger!! I couldn’t even get up from seated using only one leg!! He had an amazing way of uncovering ALL my weak areas and declared it a wonder that I could run at all I had that many weaknesses that hadn’t been picked up before!

I mean, have you ever tried this: from standing, both feet slightly apart – jump forward, onto only one leg, knee slightly bent, and stay there so nothing moves. Do that 6 times on each leg, without wobbling.. harder than it sounds, I can tell you!

At the end of a session where I did only 3 x 6 reps and 2 min recoveries, it took 1 hour 20 mins and I actually felt ok. I thought I would be hanging off the doorframes sweating buckets. But it wasn’t like that. However, the aches came… it was 2 days later!!! I had serious abs aches, and I didn’t even do sit ups!! That’s what strength training is about, training your muscles together, rather than in isolation

Since the visit, I have been doing the sets he gave me, which are all based on ham strings, hip flexors and unilateral balance, (my weak areas). I come away from the gym sweating and aching every time! I never do stand alone sit ups yet my abs haven’t stopped hurting since I saw him 2 or three weeks ago!! I daren’t complain though, because he accuses me of being a girly footballer if I do!!

I have noticed marked improvements already, however. I can in fact perform the exercises much better already, I can indeed now get up from a chair standing on one leg, and I cant wait to see how it transfers into running abilities later on down the line.

I look forward to our next rendezvous in a few weeks or so, and I have so far found it and incredibly enlightening experience.

Strength and conditioning versus weight training? Strength and conditioning gets my vote so far!!  

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