Wednesday, September 30, 2009

That quick response to your athletes' training needs. - By Ken Mannie

Ken Mannie is the Head Strength/Conditioning Coach at Michigan State University. email:

Reaction time is a commonly overlooked or underestimated element of the coaching program. What we refer to as "explosiveness" is usually just great reaction time. Every sport we watch is constantly marked by exciting reactions to auditory
and visual cues. The athlete's ability to respond quickly and precisely to the message being sent to his mind and body is of the utmost importance in the conditioning protocol.

Before outlining a game plan for the training process, we would like to clarify a few vital points. The term "reaction time" (RT) actually has a different meaning than the context in which it is usually couched In the motor-learning literature, it is defined as "the interval of time between the onset of a signal (stimulus) and the initiation of a response." It is important to note that reaction time does not include the movement itself, but only the time prior to the beginning of the movement.

Whereas the term movement time (MT) is used to define the interval of time between the initiation and completion of the movement, response time refers to the total time interval represented by RT plus MT. As you can see, the improvement in response time involves RT, MT, or both. Four factors can help athletes develop a strategy for improving their response time to various cues.

Proper training with visual cues can hone your player's reactions and improve his performance:


The task can be accomplished in various ways, with some being better than others and a few being considered the best.

The fact is that the average person has a limited ability to acquire, store, and use meaningful information in learning specific tasks. The wise coach will focus on teaching a few things very well rather than a lot of things poorly or just adequately.

Choices will often have to be made on the run, especially in "open skills" - those that depend heavily on feedback, particularly after movement has been initiated.

Unlike a "closed skill," the open skill involves much more than merely moving from Point A to Point B with no concern for making adjustments in between (such as running a 100-m. dash).

The option play in football offers another prime example. When the QB has to make a decision while on the ran, it becomes imperative to focus on a specific key to make the decision.

Football coaches know that a good option game must be defended with numerous "looks" and change-ups; and since this obviously calls for a lot of extra preparation time, it makes limited response choices all the more important.

Experienced players tend to make better use of vital cues in determining their responses, as they are more capable of penetrating the "surface" of things. This enables them to process the information quicker and make better responses to what they see.


How often have you heard an athlete say, "I knew what was coming because they telegraphed it."

What actually happened was that the athlete had more time to prepare a response because he anticipated the opponents' move. The more predictable the stimulus, the quicker and more accurate the response.

This element is closely related to the minimization of stimulus responses, as the athlete learns what is important and what is not before being required to make a response. In other words the visual cue (or other sensory indicator), such as a "pre-snap" read by the QB, will often narrow the possible options to one or two good ones.

A study by Christina et al (1990) investigated the effect of a four-week videotape training program designed to improve the linebacker's response-selection mechanism ("reading") without sacrificing speed.

The player was asked to view 20 different plays taped at angles corresponding to the LB's views from the field. The player had to respond as quickly and accurately as possible to each cue by moving a joystick in the direction he'd take in a game.

Question: Could this mental practice benefit the player's cognitive ability? Answer: Yes. The subject improved his response selection with each training session, while maintaining his response speed.

It was more difficult to ascertain whether this type of mental practice would transfer to the field - enable the athlete to make his game read and response as quickly and accurately as he did in practice.

The principle of specificity holds that the practice situation must be exactly the same as the game situation for a positive transfer to occur. In this case, the coaches concluded (subjectively) that the training program had a positive effect.

The main reason we study our opponents so intensely (through game tapes, scouting, etc.) is to identify these predictors and utilize them in our preparation scheme.


Get fired up! How often have you heard that exhortation before or during a game? We are speaking primarily of an emotional mind-set, an intangible product of motivation. Many coaches believe that athletes can improve their performance in direct proportion to their increase in arousal.

Coaches must be careful, however. Emotion can carry you just so far in a contest, and emotion without proper preparation and confidence can negatively affect performance.

Proper preparation breeds confidence and confidence usually produces successful performance - "all other things being equal."


Once the best responses have been defined for the situations to be faced, the players should be drilled on the correct cues (keys) and reactions.

Game situations offer the best way to develop motor memory. Proper (specifically designed) practice will reduce uncertainty in situations involving unfamiliar stimuli or extremely complex tasks.

Most game situations require the athletes to adjust their techniques to cues received while on the move. The motor-learning literature refers to this variability as "forced-paced" actions, and these add tremendously to the difficulty of both the teaching and learning processes.

To get the desired result, coaches are obligated to practice under the anticipated game conditions.


Improved reaction (response) time doesn't happen by chance, nor is it just a matter of physical enhancement. With proper planning and the proper specificity of the training medium, you can make inroads in the perceptual, sensory, and motor aspects of performance enhancement.


R.W. Christina, J.V. Barresi, & P. Shaffner: The Development of Response Selection Accuracy in a Football Linebacker Using Video Training. Human Kinetics: The Sport Psychologist, Champaign, IL, 1990. R.W. Proctor & T.G. Reeve: Research on Stimulus-Response Compatibility: Toward a Comprehensive ACcount. In Stimulus-Response Compatibility: An Integrated Perspective, Elsevier Science Pub., The Netherlands, 1990.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Good New Book

I just read WORKFORCE WARRIOR kindly sent to me by the author Todd Baisley. It is a quality book filled with good information, straight to the point and no B.S. Highly recommended. - Bob Whelan,

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

ENDURANCE by Earle E. Liederman - Author and Publisher, (1926), - Chapter 15 (Last Chapter)

It is almost unbelievable what the human body can endure. To the average person it seems impossible that a man can outrun a horse; and yet it has been done. But the runner who can accomplish probably does not think any more of it than does the average office worker of going out on his day of recreation and playing a game of baseball or indulging in some other pastime, to give his inactive muscles the activity for which they are craving.

My friend, Ottley Coulter, knowing that I contemplated writing a book of this nature, was kind enough to supply me with a few records of endurance feats, which he thought might interest my readers. I am giving them to you just as I received them. Some seem almost incredible—but there are the records! I sincerely hope that none of you will be foolish enough to attempt to beat them, for, as I told you previously in this book, my main object in offering it to you was to help you attain that degree of strength and endurance as would enable you to save your own life. Aspiring to dance, run, swim, or what not, longer than anyone else is, in my opinion, folly. All you should strive for in the physical line is robust health, vitality and a well-proportioned body. To try to become a muscular monstrosity and to strive for laurels that will probably mean creating a mental obsession that will be just as much of a drain upon your system and life as that obsession caused by breaking the Tenth Commandment in hectic lustful cravings.

Max Danthage of Vienna, Austria, performed the deep knee-bend 6,000 times in four consecutive hours, on June 4, 1899.
Max Danthage on April 19, 1899, pressed with two hands, 74.9 pounds 845 times and followed this with 1,505 knee-bends.
Georg Ernst, on March 27, 1899, at Vienna, pressed 84.2 pounds 720 times in half an hour, and in the following hour performed 1, 450 deep knee-bends.
4-pound dumb-bell put up, one hand, 6,000 times in 59 minutes and 53 seconds at Lynn, Mass., on June 22, 1885, by Ed. C. Stickney.
10-pound dumb-bell put up, one hand, 8,431 times in 4 hours and 34 minutes at New York, December 13, 1870, by H. Pennock.
12-pound dumb-bell put up 14,000 times with one hand by A. Corcoran at Chicago, on October 4, 1873.
25-pound dumb-bell put up 450 times by G.W. Roche, San Francisco, Calif., November 25, 1875.
162½-pound dumb-bell, raised with one hand from floor to shoulder and then pushed to arms’ length above the shoulder 36 times by Louis Cyr at Chicago, May 7, 1896.
C.O. Breed lifted with one hand, from the floor, a barrel of flour weighing with fixtures 219½ pounds, 240 times in ten minutes at Lynn, Mass., on December 13, 1884.
110-pound dumb-bell put up with one hand from the shoulder, 27 times by William Conture, weighing 149 pounds, at Bath, Me., on February 11, 1892.
Henry Saltiel put up a 71½-pound dumb-bell 118 times, changing hands each time, Newark, N.J., June 12, 1897.
Anthony McKinley at Philadelphia on November 28, 1895, put up a 10-pound, 1½-ounce dumb-bell 10,000 times in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 20 seconds, averaging over 75 times per minute.
Frank Delmont roller-skated 50 miles in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 45 seconds, at Buenos Ayres, S.A., on October 22, 1893.
222.7 pounds pressed on feet 241 times by Anton Endres on April 8, 1986.

Captain Webb swam from Dover, England, to Calais, France, a distance of 35 miles, in 21 hours and 45 minutes on August 24-25, 1875.
Captain Webb swam 74 miles in 84 hours, restricted to 14 hours per day in Lambeth Baths, England, starting May 19, 1879.
T.W. Burgess swam the English Channel, Dover to Cape Grisnez, September 6-7, 1911, in 22 hours and 35 minutes.
Captain Alfred Brown swam through the Panama Canal, 48 miles, at the opening in 1914; also from Battery, New York, to Sandy Hook, in 13 hours and 38 minutes on August 28, 1913.
10 miles, 2 hours, 30 minutes and 49 seconds—L.B. Goodwin, St. Louis, Mo., September 5, 1910.
20 miles, Dover to Ramsgate, England, 6 hours and 35 minutes—Jabez Wolfe, July 6, 1906.
34½ miles, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 28 seconds, July 10, 1910, by Charles Durborow.
23 miles, 7 hours and 1 minute—Miss Eileen Lee, London, England, June, 1916.
23 miles, 8 hours and 11 minutes—Miss Annette Kellerman of Australia, at Vienna, Austria, June 12, 1906.
36¼ miles, 10 hours and 17 minutes—Miss Eileen Lee, London, England, Thames River, August 18, 1916.
35 miles, 11 hours and 35 minutes—Miss Ida Elionsky, New York, September 24, 1916.

N.B. Coykendall
In June, 1918, swam from Milford, Pa., to Delaware Water Gap, Pa., in Delaware River, 39 miles, in 6 hours and 22 minutes, at a flood or freshet swim (meaning high rivers after a rainfall).
In September, 1919, pulled 27 people in 2-ton motorboat one mile with hands and feet shackled in regulation handcuffs, at Silver Lake, Fairmont, Minn.
In July, 1924, swam one mile roped to a 110-foot, 1-inch rope. The police and two navy captains declared him to be absolutely helpless at the time.
About same time as above, swam 150 feet standing on his head; time, 1 minute and 45 seconds.

Henry Elionsky
Swam continuously for over 60 miles. He started from 189th Street and Hudson River and swam to Swinburne Island in the Lower Bay and then from there to Fort Lee, N.J., and from there to Woolworth Building. The judges of the swim judged the distance or mileage to be over 60 miles. This was in August, 1914.
Swam from the Battery to Swinburne Island and returned to the Battery, a distance of over 25 miles, with hands and feet shackled. Time, 11 hours and 30 minutes.
In November, 1915, swam from Brooklyn Bridge to Bay Ridge, with hands and feet shackled and towing 7 men in a sea dory. The distance was 7 miles, and the time, 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Swam from the Battery to Fort Wadsworth in the Narrows with a 200-pound man tied on his back. Distance of 10 miles, and time, 4 hours and 50 minutes.
Swam Hell Gate bound in a straightjacket with feet tied with 15 feet of iron chain. Distance, 5 miles; time, 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Swam Hell Gate with hands and feet shackled and two men bound on back in November, 1915.
Swam from Bay Ridge to the Battery tied in a chair. He made it in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
In October, 1913, swam from Battery to within a quarter of a mile of Coney Island in 5 hours and 30 minutes. The distance was 14 miles.
At Palm Beach, Fla., hauled a sea dory containing 9 men and carried two more on his back, with his hands and feet shackled, five miles, through a heavy sea, in 2 hours and 50 minutes.

15 miles, 1 hour, 20 minutes and 4 3-5 seconds—F. Applegarth, Stamford Bridge, London, England, July 21, 1902.
20 miles, 1 hour, 51 minutes and 54 seconds—G. Crossland, Stamford Bridge, England, September 22, 1894.
25 miles, 2 hours, 18 minutes and 57 3-5 seconds—Hank Zuna, Boston, April 19, 1921.
26 miles, 385 yards; 2 hours, 32 minutes and 35 4-5 seconds—Hannes Holehmainen, Antwerp, August 22, 1920.
30 miles, 3 hours, 17 minutes and 36 1-5 seconds—J.A. Squires, England, May 2, 1885.
45 miles, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 2 seconds—E.W. Lloyd, Stamford Bridge, England, on May 12, 1913.
100 miles, 13 hours, 26 minutes and 30 seconds—Charles Rowell, New York, February 27, 1882.
200 miles, 35 hours, 9 minutes and 28 seconds—Charles Rowell, New York, October 24, 1882.
300 miles, 58 hours, 17 minutes and 6 seconds—Charles Rowell, New York, February 28, to March 2, 1882.
400 miles, 84 hours, 31 minutes and 18 seconds—James Alberts, New York, February 9, 1888.
500 miles, 109 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds—P. Fitzgerald, New York, on week of May 2 and 3, 1888.
In a 142-hour go-as-you-please running race distances are: George Littlewood, England, 623 miles; James Alberts, United States, 621; P. Fitzgerald, 610; Charles Rowell, 602; George Noremac, 566; Frank Hart, 565; E.P. Weston, 550; H.O. Messier, 526; Peter Hegelman, 526 miles.

100 miles, 18 hours, 4 minutes and 10 1-5 seconds—T.E. Hammond, London, England, on September 12, 1908.
97 miles, walked in one day by James H. Hocking, New York, Times Square to Philadelphia City Hall.
67 miles without a rest, by James H. Hocking, June 5, 1919.
600 miles, New York to Cleveland, May 30 to June 10, 1919, by James H. Hocking.
Dan O’Leary walked 100 miles in 23 hours and 54 minutes on his 79th birthday.
Dan O’Leary walked 503 miles in a 6-day race in Chicago in 1875.
Edward P. Weston, age 70, New York to San Francisco, 3,895 miles in 105 days.
Edward P. Weston, age 75, New York to Minneapolis, 1, 546 miles, June 2 to August 2, 1913.
John Ennis walked from Coney Island surf to the surf in San Francisco, 4,000 miles in 80 days and 5 hours.
Mrs. David Beach walked from New York to Chicago in 42½ walking days.

25 miles, 1 hour, 31 minutes and 29 seconds—J.F. Donohue, Stamford, Conn., on January 26, 1893.
50 miles, 3 hours, 15 minutes and 59 2-5 seconds—J.F. Donohue, Stamford, Conn., on January 26, 1893.
80 miles, 5 hours, 41 minutes and 55 seconds—J.F. Donohue, Stamford, Conn., on January 26, 1893.
100 miles, 7 hours, 11 minutes, 8 1-5 seconds—J.F. Donohue, Stamford, Conn., on January 26, 1893.

Roller Skating
15 miles, 49 minutes and 15 seconds—William Blackburn, Toledo, O., 1910.
24 hours, 279 miles, 319 yards—Jesse Carey, Paris, December 25, 1910.
281 8-14 miles—Robert Wheeler, Denver, Colo., February, 1917.

Bicycle Riding
72 hours, 1,163.2 miles at Paris, by Charles W. Miller.
100 miles, 2 hours, 50 minutes and 17 2-5 seconds, by F.C. Armstrong, August 16, 1898, at London.
24 hours, 452 miles, 1,715 yards, Louis Grimm, Cleveland, O., August 25, 1895.

50 miles, 8 hours and 55 minutes, single scull, C.A. Barnard, near Chicago, on May 12, 1877.
91 miles, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 3 seconds, single scull, John Williams, August 13, 1832.
50½-pound dumb-bell lifted from floor, right hand only, 7,600 times, by Charles Breed, Lynn, Mass., December 2, 1882 in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
50-pound dumb-bell put up, over head, 94 times with one hand by A.A. Hylton, San Francisco, Calif., May 19, 1885.
Captain Webb swam for 74 hours with only 4 minutes rest at Scaraborough, England, August 9-12, 1880.
John P. Theis played a piano without stop for 27 hours ad 19 seconds at Philadelphia on July 5, 1893.
C.A. Harriman at Truckee, Calif., on April 6-7, 1883, walked 121 miles and 385 yards without a rest.
Peter Crossland at Manchester, England, walked 120 miles and 1,560 yards on September 11-12, 1876, without a rest.
2,280 miles in 912 hours, consecutive, by William Gale, concluding at Bradford, England, May 14, 1879.
Chinning 78 times, Anton Lewis, Brockton, Mass., April, 1913.
Skipping the rope 11,810 times, J.M. Barnett, Carlisle, N.S.W., on February 5, 1913.
Martin Dobrilla swung a pair of 3-pound, 4-ounce Indian clubs 144 hours at Cobar, N.S.W., Australia. Harry J. Lawson did the same for 134 hours at Bundaberg, Australia, on March, 1913.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Reprinted with permission of Hardgainer, Vol. 9, No. 2 (September-October 1997)

“All of us were young, healthy, tough, and had the attitude
that you had better throw everything you’ve got at us, because
we came to train!”
—Dr. Ken Leistner

There are many people who truly believe they are doing the best they can, but they are holding back. I get them all the time. Sometimes it takes them weeks or even months before they really understand what an all-out set to failure really is, and the total commitment it takes to do it right. Usually it is a casual attitude and a lack of preparation that holds them back. They are either mentally or physically unprepared to give an all-out effort. Subconsciously they do things to sabotage their training because deep down they really don’t enjoy it.

To get the most out of your training you must want to train hard. No one can help you if you don’t help yourself.

Once you decide that this is what you really want to do, and it is not just the latest fad you are involved with, you must seriously prepare for each workout. Training success is nothing more than a long string of consistent high-quality workouts. You take each “one at a time” while being prepared to make each set as productive as possible.

Mental Preparation

Clear your mind of problems and other concerns before you being training. You need to have all your mental energy focused on battling iron. Talking should be kept to a minimum, and if you do talk, don’t jump into your next set without refocusing your mind. Take about 20 seconds to get your mind in gear (tell you friends to shut up!) and totally concentrate on how you will very shortly be going all out. If you don’t do this, your mind will be on what you were just talking about, not on training, and you will produce a submaximal effort. Remember, you should have your mind ready for war when you train.

I have all my clients order The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, one of the best motivational/positive thinking books ever written. You should do the same. You can order it at any major book chain (Crown, Olson, Borders, etc.). And order (cassette tapes) The Psychology of Winning by Dennis Waitley, and Mental Toughness by Dr. James Loehr, from Nightingale Conant, 7300 North Lehigh Ave., Niles, IL 60714, USA (800-525-9000).

Warming Up

One of the most neglected and important elements of productive training is a good warmup. Your chance of getting injured is considerably lower if you take the few minutes to warm up. you will also perform better because your muscles will be prepared to go all out.

Before you lift any weights, a cardiovascular warmup (stationary bike, stairclimber, etc.) should be done for 5-10 minutes—to “preheat” your muscles and elevate your core body temperature. But don’t go too long as this is just a CV warmup not a CV workout. Once you are warm and sweating—after about 5-10 minutes—that’s long enough. Going longer is not beneficial and may make you weaker by robbing glucogen from your muscles and liver that should be used for your strength-training workout. This warmup should be followed by a series of static-hold stretches of at least 20 seconds each for the whole body. This should be done before every workout.

Metabolic/Cardiovascular Conditioning

Your metabolic conditioning (i.e., your ability to train hard, without excessive rest between sets, for the duration of the entire planned workout and without getting KOed) is greatly enhanced if you are doing regular CV training.

One of my pet peeves is the abundance of wrong information in “muscle magazines” about CV training. Many authors, usually ex-bodybuilders with no formal education in the exercise field, frequently recommend doing CV training only twice per week. They are concerned with cosmetics (their bodyfat level), not training their hearts. Twice per week is not enough, and three times per week is only the minimum for cardiovascular exercise. Three to five times per week is the proper range. This is not my opinion but that of The American College of Sports Medicine and almost every respected organization in the fitness field.

USA Today had an article a few years ago which stated that “weekend warriors,” or people who do less than the minimum of three times per week of CV training, are at higher risk of “sudden death” in exercise because they never get the desired CV conditioning effect from such a low training volume.

Don’t lump exercise into one category, as strength training and CV training are separate and have different rules. Strength training should mainly be considered only as training for your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, etc. And CV training should mainly be considered as working your heart muscle and burning fat. Although any exercise is better than nothing for your heart and muscles, in reality your muscles get only minimal strength benefit from CV training; and your heart gets some benefit, but minimal, from strength training. You must do both types of training to be totally fit.

Strength training works the fast twitch fibers and burns only carbohydrates, not fat; CV training works the slow twitch fibers and burns fat predominantly, and, depending on the intensity level, a percentage of carbohydrates. Just because you train with weights twice per week does not mean that you can subtract from the minimum for CV training.

Living a long and healthy life is a higher priority than adding 5 lbs to your bench press, but you can do both! Remember, your goal is not to look big in your coffin!

Your Muscles Can’t Compensate for Poor Fuel

Since you can’t use your fat storage for an energy supply during strength training, it is critical that you have a good supply of glycogen stored in your muscles and liver before you work out. You should consume about 300-400 calories of carbohydrate approximately two hours before you train. People who don’t train hard probably don’t need to do this, but if you are doing a high-intensity workout, especially if you train for over 45 minutes, you burn a tremendous number of calories (from carbohydrates).

If you ever have that weak feeling during a workout, like you are “out of gas,” it is because you have burned all your carbs and are out of fuel. Top of the “tank,” like you do with the car before a long trip, and you should not run out. Have some pasta, rice, potatoes, etc., about two hours before you train and you will be breathing steam! But for those who train early in the morning, it’s nearly impossible to do this without ruining a good night’s sleep. Getting up at 4 am to eat for a 6 am workout, for example, would ruin your night’s sleep. If you train early in the morning you can drink a high carbohydrate drink immediately upon rising. Many types are available at most health food stores. (Everything at health food stores is not garbage, just most things—and I’m only half kidding.)

Getting ALL Your Work Done

Tim Denhoff has been training with me for about four months, and has made good progress. It took him about six weeks, however, before he could train for an hour without feeling sick. We experimented with every possible exercise sequence, doing legs last, taking long rests between sets, keeping reps for legs in the moderate range, etc. But I always managed to get his whole body worked even if the planned workout was cut short. Your top priority should be to finish the planned workout. It is better to modify your exercise sequence to accomplish this than to stick with a larger-muscles-first (legs) philosophy if you can’t then finish your workout.

Most of the people that I like and respect the most, guys like Dr. Ken and other hardcore high-intensity types, usually do their leg work first. This starts off the workout with a bang! You are breathing heavily and dripping in sweat right off the bat. This sets the tone for the rest of the workout and is probably the norm for many hardcore guys. This makes the rest of the workout harder and raises the intensity level “big time.”

Doing a couple of sets to failure in the squat or Trap Bar deadlift to begin a workout is also good when you want to send a message. For example, I remember a couple of years ago when a guy (who made sure, over the phone, I knew how tough he thought he was) called me about training. I didn’t like his overly cocky attitude and, since he was not a beginner, and claimed to have been training hard for years, I thought I’d test him. In his first workout I hammered him right off the bat with high-rep leg work. I had him do 20-rep Trap Bar deadlifts immediately followed by 20 reps in the Hammer Leg Press. That knocked him out, workout over! The guy’s attitude was permanently changed.

Working legs first is great if you like to do it that way. But it is very tough. Some people, and especially beginners, would be better off doing legs at the end of their planned workouts. I know from experience that people don’t like paying for an hour’s workout if they train (doing legs first) for only 15 minutes and then spend the next 45 minutes hugging the toilet bowl! Training hard should be everyone’s goal, but if you knock yourself out early and don’t finish all the planned work, you are selling yourself short. Design your program in a manner that makes you enjoy your training and enables you to finish all the planned work.

There are few absolute rules in strength training, and this applies to exercise sequence. Working the largest muscles first is usually a good rule, but I believe a better description of this rule would be to work the largest muscles of either the upper body of lower body first (by the use of mutli-joint movements), before you do any isolation exercise for the same areas. By using this revised rule you can work upper body first, which for some people is better. If, for example, you are wiped out after deadlifts or squats (or even just impaired) and you do them first, the rest of your workout will suffer. If you get KOed, the workout will be over. My goal as a coach is to get you through the entire workout but have you teetering on the edge the whole time. A work of art would be to have you KOed on the last set of the workout.

Enjoy your training but be prepared both mentally and physically before each workout. Many of the elements of preparation are small details, but they add up to a big difference in the results you achieve.
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