Ever wondered why some training programmes work for some athletes and not for others? Why some people are genetically gifted athletes? Why there is a fixed set of intervals for all athletes? Why certain drugs work for some and not others? Do compression socks work? What the hell does a VO2 max test tell you, is it just useless information? Is lactate friend or foe? I delve into the sport science world and try to find the answers to train smarter and hopefully become a better athlete. This page is written in my own thoughts and words with a cross-pollination from several other sites and links to the original articles. Some of it might sound like a rant but it is written to make you think. So if you read it without a open mind then your in the wrong place. Enjoy and open your mind.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The FaCT way of looking at the body!

I have a keen interest in the FACT - Feldmann and Chlebek Testing System, mainly their way of looking at the athletes body from a alternative angle to the usual University text book answer.  Instead of only looking at lactate as a marker of performance/fatigue one should look at the process that is going to lead to the "lactate threshold point" or as FaCT test it LBP (lactate balance point).

The body has three trainable systems: The heart, the lungs, the muscle. Did I just say lungs? yes the lungs are trainable in the same way the heart and muscle is.  More on that topic in another post.  Each person has a weak link in their body. Some have strong lungs but weak muscle system, others strong heart weak lung system etc.   FaCT calls this weak link the limitation or limiter.

Your body will only go as fast as the weakest link, at some point your body is going to have one of the other two main systems that is going to compensate for this limiter.  So if your respiratory system is weak then there could be a poor gas exchange, the diaphragm is weak then you could for e.g. start having a lower TV (tidal volume) and a increased breathing rate.  The heart might compensate by increasing the cardiac output which will increase heart rate to compensate for the loss in incoming oxygen or not getting rid of the CO2 in the gas exchange.  At the LBP your CGM (Central Governor Model, Noake's) is going to "kick in" to save the body's vital organs.  Similar will happen if you have a muscular limitation.  Either there isn't enough capillarization, mitochondria etc which could affect muscle utilization of the oxygenated blood to the muscle. once again there will/should be a compensator such as lungs or heart.

The body can only go as hard and fast as it's weakest link before the CGM or ECGM, metaboreflex etc "kicks in".

Each athlete will have a different limiter, and the same workout for two athletes will have a different training effect based on the above.  This is why some training programs will work for some athletes and not for others, as the coach hopes that he's workout is training VO2 meanwhile athlete 'A' has a muscle utilisation problem so will never stress his VO2 while athlete 'B' has great utilisation but a VO2 weak link so will benefit from the VO2 session.  Are you starting to see the picture?  The coach has 5 athletes but only 2 improve and he wonders why!

The FaCT solution to this problem is to test the body for the three trainable systems the FaCT way  and then to train the weak link without guessing and hoping hopelessly that a programme that has worked for 60% of athletes over the past 20 years will work again.  Here is a short article on the limitation subject from another athlete Rethinking current exercise physiology.

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