"...recent research indicates that an increase in endurance is associated more with enhancing the ability of the muscles to utilise a higher percentage of the oxygen already in the blood than with increasing the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream and improving the oxygen supply to the working muscle (Ekblom, 1969; Rowell, 1971; Saltin, 1974). Consequently, it is not simply the magnitude of VO2 max that determines endurance, but intramuscular factors which facilitate adaptation of the muscles to prolonged intense work.... Thus, the development of endurance is associated with functional specialisation of the skeletal muscles, particularly the enhancement of their strength and oxidative qualitites, rather than improvement of cardiorespiratory ability." (Siff, Mel. 2000. Supertraining. p. 248)
There were many a-ha moments from Mel Siff's Supertraining and his listserve - many more than I could recall in a short post, but here is another :
Algebraic Relations and Training
Two algebraic laws may be applied to the interaction of between different means, methods and techniques in strength (and all sports) training, which are important because they are not generally obeyed in training:
* The Commutative Law A*B=B*A
* The Associative Law A*(B*C)=(A*B)*C
...The non-commutative and non-associative nature of sports training is central to its overall prescription, organisation and management, and should be recalled whenever there is any temptation to design training programmes or periodisation schemes solely on the basis of individual exercises, techniques, volumes, intensities and phases. Every exercise is followed by after-effects, the nature, duration and magnitude of these depending on factors such as intensity, duration and pattern of loading, and these after-effects deem that exercises in different parts of a workout, on different training days and even separated by several days or weeks can interact positively or negatively.
Therefore , it is vital that the context of any training situation in space and time be considered when drawing up a training programme. Remarks such as "plyometric training is dangerous", "power cleans are useless", "periodisation doesn't work", "weight training is contraindicted for endurance athletes" and "circuit training is excellent for general preparation" may then be seen to be simplistic and misleading. Virtually any training method may be rendered impotent or harmful if it is administered in an inappropriate manner for a given individual at a given stage of his/her career. Conversely, methods which may appear to offer only modest improvements on their own, may in optimal combinations yield results which clearly show that "the whole is greather than the sum of its parts". (pp. 204-205)
This short passage alone made purchasing the book more than worth its cover price. It served me in two ways, to make me even more critical of hyperbole surrounding "magic routines" and "Holy Grail exercises", and also to keep me open-minded about the possibities that new exercises and programs may present if utilized effectively.