I was back in at Elite Sports Performance for another Strength & Conditioning Coaching session with Coach Todd Carlon this morning, with the focus of training geared towards improving my Squat using the Cambered Bar and also Lactate Buffering using the Powerbands.  I am not sure where the Powerband Squat with 6 bands idea came from, however I suspect that S&C coach and owner of Elite Sports Performance Martyn Girvan either developed it or came across it somewhere in his many years of training and experience.  It has been an great 6 months training at Elite Sport Performance as I have probably learnt more in this short time than what I would have learnt over the last 3-5 years.  As an Osteopath and someone who has a keen interest in exercise prescription and strength and conditioning, I am a big believer in immersing yourself within as many different training modalities and only through trying things out yourself, will you develop a good understanding of the exercises and why they are performed.  From a coaching point of view and giving advice to my clients, I am also a big believer that having tried the exercise or approach before will mean that I am more likely to be able to help my client out with regards to their learning of this exercise.

A quick run down on lactate buffering…

As many of you who are reading this would know, lactic acid is produced within the muscle as a response to exercise when we don’t have enough oxygen available to allow for the breakdown of glucose.  From a training point of view, this typically occurs when we are training anaerobically for periods of 1-3 minutes and more.  An example of this is when we run at a high intensity for 1-3 minutes and we are not able to get enough oxygen into the system.  At this point we will often start to feel a burning and fatigue within the muscles and this is often when performance can drop off.  To read more about this process and why lactic acid occurs, please check out this article I found on the internet.  Please click here.

When we look at various sports performed at the elite level, more and more we are seeing the game intensity and speed increase.  This is as a result of both rule changes, athletic performance and also a change in the way the game is coached and played.  These days we see many more interchanges due to the high physical demand on players in a short time.  Players are subbed off for a quick break before returning to the field.  The better the players ability to perform at a high level with lactate, the more likely they will outrun their opponent and hopefully their team wins.  This is even more important when players get injured and there are less people available on the bench to rotate out for a rest.

The idea with Lactate Buffering is that we train the individual, we are trying to train them to be able to withstand the physiological demands placed on them during game situations.  Often training individuals requires training to either be more intense than the game day or at the very least, similar.  This approach can be completed by carrying out “like” type training such as running, match simulations etc or can also be performed by cross training.  Depending on the sport, cross training could include running, cycling and swimming etc.  We are also able to create this in the gym environment.   I have seen the coaches at Elite Sports Performance do this via Kettlebell Ladders (where you perform 10 reps of 12kg all the way up to 62kg and then back down to 12kg – each set taking 7-9 minutes) and then resting before completing the set again as prescribed.  The same can be done with pushing the Prowler within the gym where the individual is required to perform as many laps as they can within a certain time frame.  Powerband Squats are another way of performing this and I will go into more detail below.  From an exercise variables point of view, the duration of the exercise, sets, reps, rest breaks, weight or exercise to be performed can all be varied for lactate buffering training.

Powerband Box Squatting For Lactate Buffering

The idea with this exercise is to get the individual used to the feeling of lactate developing in their lower body and have them exercise with this feeling to develop a better threshold.  It is also important to ensure they maintain good form and execute the exercise as it is meant to performed i.e. with powerful explosive movements in order to try and create better carry over.

The great thing about the powerbands is that it is a very safe exercise as there is no weight no loaded on the spine.  Belt squatting is a great way to continue to train the legs without loading the spine.  This can be done with powerbands, weights attached to a dumbbell or on a belt squat machine as demonstrated by Westside Barbell.  Click here to check it out.  The exercise can be progressed/regressed by changing the band intensity, number of bands, reps performed within a set, sets performed and