Saturday, 2 July 2011

Wild Physique Unleashed : My Journey Into Strength PT 5

"The quality of your recovery is proportional to the quality of your surrender."
- Anon

By Coach Cj Swaby

A common mistake we make when engaging in a training program, is that we often spend time finding out the latest and most effective training methods. We will dedicate hours on end, reading article after article, rummaging all over the internet for this invaluable information. I say this is a mistake, because we are often too focused on the Imposed Demands, and do not spend as much time looking into creating the correct environment to achieve the Specific Adaptations (S.A.I.D principle), I know this is certainly something I have been guilty of in the past. Your training adaptations will be greatly enhanced by implementing recovery and regeneration strategies (of which nutrition is a key part). In this week’s entry I will look at two other key areas of my R&R strategies that helped to yield fantastic results.

STEP 5: Recovery & Regeneration

Soft Tissue Management

Training is trauma. Repetitive training is repetitive trauma. Muscle fibres, fascia, tendons and ligaments are being pulled this way and that, broken down and remodelled on a continued basis. Your tissues can withstand great loads but there is a critical limit to this capacity, this can vary between individuals. Overuse injuries, such as sprains, strains, stress factors and even injury due to biomechanical malalignment can be caused by passing the critical limit threshold. My first line of attack in helping to restore tissue function and recovery was trigger point therapy, and massage, combined with static and dynamic stretching on a daily basis.

Louisa Grovesnor and Trevor Spellor at Balance Performance Physiotherapy, were my team captains when it came to Sports Massage and soft tissue release squad. I would endeavour to get a massage every 10 days, this combined with the trigger point therapy kit helped to reduce DOMS massively and kept me moving freely, with minimal aches, pains or restricted movement.

Trigger Point Therapy (TPT)

TPT is a tidy and ingenious bit of kit. A trigger point is an area within a muscle fibre which can cause referred pain patterns, restrict movement and cause muscle weakness. Therefore the effects trigger points can have on strength training are quite obvious. While the causes of Trigger Points are hotly debated, its generally accepted that acute trauma, and repetitive microtrauma are partially responsible. The TGP system is designed to release various trigger points throughout the body to restore function and improve athletic performance. The TPT system has two main cycles as outlined below.

Pre- GEN

The Pre-Gen cycle is best done on a daily basis before activity for a 7 – 10 minutes, this is to enhance movement, and performance. The principles of the Pre-Gen Cycle are



Is undertaken post workout and is used to restore tissue function, range of movement, and encourage circulation. TPT advise that it be done either daily, or at least once per week for 30 – 60 minutes. The principles of the Re-GEN cycle are


You can find out more about TPT on their website HERE.

HOW Did I Use The TPT Kit?

I used mainly the ball and the quad roller as these fitted snugly into my gym bag. When I was down at Balance Physiotherapy I utilised the whole TPT kit or the GRID. This I did more or less daily, or at least 4 times a week, and more post workout then pre workout. Having started, I noticed the days when I trained heavy and didn’t use it, as my movement quality was that of a inactive 90 year old! Aches were common place. When I did use it, and got regular massages in I had less soreness, and moved with the grace of Carlos Acosta in Spartacus(ok, not quite, but you get the idea).


I was becoming more familiar with the importance of sleep to strength training. In early 2011 Mike Mahler was over in Edinburgh for some workshops which I attended. Mike is BIG on sleep in relation to hormone optimisation, and there were regular discussions on Straight To The Bar about sleep cycles and how to maximise optimisation. I was intrigued. Here is the abridged version of the theory in a nutshell.

In the book, The Promise Of Sleep, Author Dr Dements of Stanford University, states that growth hormone "stimulates protein synthesis, helps break down the fats that supply energy for tissue repair, and stimulates cell division to replace old or malfunctioning cells." Also while you are in deep sleep (Phase 4) Growth Hormone (GH) is increased due to the release of the cunningly called Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH). Inadequate sleep, and poor quality sleep disrupt your body’s production of GH and importantly Testosterone which will negatively affect your quest for strength and muscle mass. Sleep is the key part of your body’s restorative process ,and must be respected.

Dr Dements also talks about the concept of “Sleep Debt” if you have inadequate sleep, your body’s system will keep a “ledger” and the debt must be paid back eventually, otherwise your mood, mental function and your physical capacity will be inevitably impaired.

HOW Did This Effect My Training

Well, I tried to ensure that I got 8 hours sleep. I kept track of this, alongside my training log, and nutrition modifications. If I had stuck to a program and wasn’t get the lifts that I had calculated that I should be, I would then go back, and look at one of the following variables

• Training Program
• Nutrition
• Sleep

If my training program was on point, as was my nutrition, yet for some reason I had gained less than 8 hours sleep per night for that week, and I wasn’t hitting the numbers, I would make a conscious effort to ensure I would get the sleep the following week. If my sleep and training was on point, I would look at my nutrition, and so on. I found that when I did get 8 hours sleep, I was more energetic during the day and could take advantage of my natural rhythm, If I didn’t, I noticed I was irritable and sluggish during the day. The results were plain as day, when I got it the triad right, I was hitting my lifting targets with relative ease.

HOW Can This Help You?

is critical for muscle function, recovery and strength gains. I would advise getting a massage in at least once a month. Invest in a TPT kit or a GRID, foam roller or the like. This was you can administer it yourself and get daily benefit and safe yourself some pennies in the process (by not visiting your massage therapist week in, week out).


If you are serious about getting results in your strength training, and even just having a better quality of health, get your sleep in. There are some things you can do to get some quality sleep in (so that you don’t wake up 8 hours later still feeling tired)

Set The Scene: Get curtains that black out the room from all light. Eliminate any noise that will prevent you from dropping off. Make sure room temperature is ideal.
Cut Out Caffeine After 4-5pm: The half life of caffeine in the blood stream can apparently be from 5 – 7 hours. This can disrupt your sleep patterns , especially if you are sensitive to it.

Get Into The Habit: If possible get into a routine of when you go to bed and wake up, this will enable your body to adjust to the rhythm and your are more prone to drop off to sleep more easily.

If you want to find out more about Trigger Point Therapy check out the website HERE
Mike Mahler has some great stuff on Hormone Optimisation on his WEBSITE

The Promise Of Sleep by Dr to William C. Dement (Delcorte Press: 1999) is worth checking out

In my next blog post I will be looking at HOW by getting expert help I managed to cut my learning curve drastically, plus we have a special exclusive interview.

Yours In Strength

Cj Swaby

1 comment:

John said...

Great Post CJ