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Thread: Dr. Mel C. Siff: In Memoriam

  1. #1

    Dr. Mel C. Siff: In Memoriam

    Dr. Mel Siff, a leader in the area of strength training and athletic conditioning, passed away suddenly on March 19, 2003. Provided below is a brief bio on the man that has left a significant impact on the strength training world.




    (Adapted from Mel’s bio on www.sportsci.com):

    Mel Siff was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand (popularly known as 'Wits' university), Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was been on its staff for about 30 years.

    He had a PhD in physiology specialising in biomechanics, MSc (Applied Mathematics) awarded summa cum laude in brain research, BSc Honours in Applied Mathematics and a BSc (Physics, Applied Math). His serious involvement with the Internet began when he devised the unique concept of electronic education in sports science based on methods of propositional analysis pioneered by the ancient Grecian philosophers. This enterprise created the well-known weekly P&P's (Puzzles & Paradoxes) and F&F's (Facts & Fallacies) which he wrote for various user groups, including Sportscience, Physio, PTHER, FIT-L, Sport Psycho and Weights.

    His main teaching duties at his university were in applied mechanics, biomechanics and professional communication. Previous appointments have included Acting Headships of the Sports Administration and the Communication Studies Division at his university, the latter post having involved him in researching communication models, the visual image, human symbol systems and language processing. Besides lecturing to engineering students, he regularly lectured to physiotherapy and physical education students at several universities in his country.

    He has presented numerous papers at over 100 conferences in sports science, sports medicine, physiology, physical education, ergonomics, engineering, psychology, chiropractice, communication and linguistics. He has written more than 150 papers and books in these disciplines and was author/co- producer of the rock opera 'Genesis Won'. He has addressed numerous conferences of the NSCA in the USA and Australia, as well as IDEA in the USA and the Exercise Association in England.

    After several working visits to Russia, he and renowned Russian scientist, Dr Yuri Verkhoshansky, wrote the major textbook 'Supertraining - Special Strength Training for Sporting Excellence'. This extensive volume offers one of the few definitive treatises available on integrated Western-Eastern methods of sports training. His other book 'Facts and Fallacies of Fitness' has become very popular among fitness professionals and the general public.

    He was the longest-serving Chairman of his university's Sports Council (1971-78) and was largely responsible for establishing its professional Sports Administration. He was Vice-Chairman of the S African Weightlifting Union, Chairman of the Weightlifting, Karate and Trampoline Clubs at his university, as well as the national Chairman of the combined S African Universities Weightlifting Association. He is also a qualified weightlifting referee.

    He was manager-coach for the South African Weightlifting team (1983-84) and received many awards in Olympic weightlifting at university, inter- university, state and national level. A former Sportsman of the Year at his university, he also represented the university in karate, track-and-field, trampolining and cricket. He introduced and taught the first aerobics classes at his university, later becoming an international judge in competitive aerobics. His services to the university were recognized in the form of two Meritorious Service Awards 'for exceptional contribution to sport', as well as a Sports Council Resolution (1978) that 'This Council thank Mel Siff, ex- Chairman and more recently, Sports Officer, for doing more for Wits Sport than any other individual in the history of the university'.

    He has devised and co-ordinated for many years the highly successful Continuing Education Fitness Instruction courses at his university (in Personal Training, Sports Massage & Restoration, Aerobics Instruction, Exercise Science and Seated Fitness). As a highly experienced sports massage specialist who has trained with Bulgarian, Rumanian and other Eastern European experts, he introduced the first certificated Sports Massage courses to be offered at any university in his country. He and Dr Michael Yessis co-edited the textbook 'Sports Restoration and Massage' to provide a solid scientific foundation for this and other massage courses.

    He has consulted for numerous sports organizations, teams, athletes or coaches in several countries in sports including track-and-field, weightlifting, rowing, tennis, swimming, karate, American football, rugby, boxing, fencing, basketball, volleyball, baseball, hockey, squash, gymnastics, competitive aerobics, cricket, underwater sports, golf, bodybuilding, dance and cycling.

    His presentation of physiotherapeutic PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) as an entire system of sports conditioning at the NSCA conference in Denver in 1989 marked the first steps of any scientist to take PNF out of the rehabilitation and stretching setting so as to provide a comprehensive system of sports training. A particular interest of his was the design of low-cost biomechanical research, training and rehabilitation devices to enable less affluent countries and institutions to undertake sophisticated work which would normally be beyond their reach. His collaboration with fellow engineering staff and senior students in this enterprise led to his establishing the first biomechanics facility at his university, as well as a comprehensively equipped weights gym and research facility at his home to enable him to extend his working day with minimal interruption. This facility also allowed him to continue weightlifting training three times a week with other lifters, bodybuilders and athletes.

    He was a member of the Technical Committee of the Australian Strength & Conditioning Association, he is or has been a member of the NSCA, the Coaching Association of Canada, the US Weightlifting Federation and the Australian Coaching Council.

    He was married to Lisa Ericson, an American former ice-skating professional and vivacious disabled expert in seated fitness training for able-bodied and disabled individuals. She created the well-known SMART (Seated Movement Aerobic and Resistive Training) fitness system which has been presented at many international conferences. Former Fitness Director at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver and recipient of many fitness industry awards, she introduced the first ever Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp to South Africa which was attended by President Mandela. This led to considerable collaborative work with President Mandela's Children's Fund, culminating in his requesting her to organize thousands of disabled children for his 1996 birthday function.

    More recently, Mel was know for his Supertraining internet list, which discussed, “the theory and practice of sports science, biomechanics, physiology, medicine and psychology in sport, fitness and general health.” It covered many different topics related to “strength training in Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, competitive sport and general fitness.”


  2. #2

    My Remembrance

    For those other "old timers" (and I know some of you are out there) who have been following Dr. Siff and his writings since way back on weights.net and then supertraining, you know how much Dr. Siff has contributed to just about everything that has to do with physical training. From his online battles (especially on weights.net) with some of the current gurus, to taking time explaining the basics to beginners, he was a genuine and sincere contributor to the overall body of sporting/training knowledge.
    Dr. Siff is a leader in the training community, he was a great influence on me and many others, he will be missed.

  3. #3
    Administrator Charlie Francis's Avatar
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    Some old posts I made on the Super Training site

    Re Fibre Type
    Is it a shock that the body can adapt to demand? As a sprint coach, I was counting on it! As for the motor neurons, they can be made more effective by lowering their electrical resistance by heating them through increased local blood supply (capillary density). This is why, perhaps counter-intuitively, 65% of our running volume was low intensity. As well as enhancing capillary density, this interspersing of low intensity training allowed the volume and frequency of high intensity work to be lowered to level that could allow for the continual, and, ultimately, extreme intensification that could bring these changes about.
    Best Wishes
    Charlie Francis
    Toronto, Canada
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: sprintcoach2
    To: Supertraining@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 5:02 AM
    Subject: [Supertraining] Re: Muscle fibre transformation


    "Rickard Andersson" <swe_power@h...> wrote:

    <"The aim with the first phase of the training program is to
    transform the type 1 fibres (which are endurance profiled) into the
    more explosive type 2A fibres. When this phase is completed the
    training changes direction with the aim to transform type 2A fibres
    into the strongest type of fibres, namely type 2X"I like to know if
    this is even possible. Can one type of muscle fibre
    transform into another? >

    ****
    I'm not an expert in this area, as a sprintcoach I find the topic
    extremely interesting though. Transformation of fiber types still
    seem to be one of the most disputed issues in exercise physiology.
    Professor Bengt Saltin and his group at the Copenhagen Muscle
    Research Centre has in the last couple of years done some great work
    in this area. Their work seem to indicate that fibers are much more
    plastic than we perhaps believed in the past (at least on a molecule
    level).

    It seems like a undisputed fact that most (all?) types of resistance
    training are pushing MHCIIX towards IIA and the only stimuli that
    really changes the different MHC proteins towards a faster character
    is rest.

    There are several studies indicating the same thing showed with
    ordinary ATPase staining as well.

    To change type I to IIX through IIA might seam appealing but I can't
    really see how it can be practically done. Remember to that it is
    highly unlikely that the nerve supplying the fiber ever will change
    its character. I small alfa-motor neuron is and will stay a low
    threshold motor neuron, no matter how you are training.

    I don't know if it essential with a great IIX population in the
    muscles of a powerlifter. Even elite weightlifters seems to do well
    with mainly IIA.

    Suggested reading, start with:

    Myosin heavy chain IIX overshoot in human skeletal muscle.
    Andersen JL & Aagaard P Muscle Nerve 2000 Jul 23:1095-104

    All the best

    Håkan Andersson
    Sundsvall, Sweden


    Dear Henk:
    I though I'd get a rise out of somebody with this proposition, though I wasn't sure if you would reply. (For those on the list who aren't familiar with the sprint scene, Henk is one of the world's leading authorities on sprinting, having coached Merlene Ottey, among others.)
    First, I agree that speed and power work are paramount in the development of sprinters and that low-intensity work (runs at 75% of best time or slower) is, in large part, a form of active recovery between explosive sessions, but I don't think it's the only role it plays.
    21 years ago, I worked with Dr Joseph Cywinski, The Director of Medical Engineering at the Harvard Medical Centre and President of the American Society of Electrical Engineers, creating muscle stimulating equipment and protocols for their use. Dr. Cywinski was, arguably, the worlds leading expert on EMS, with over 200 patents, and, while still in Poland, developed EMS equipment for Soviet National teams as early as 1952. During the course of our work, he explained why subjects receiving maximal EMS exhibited stronger contractions on reps 3 through 6 or 7 (out of 10x10sec contractions with 50sec rest) without any change in input. Increases in temperature, due to increased blood flow, lowered electrical resistance. The implication was intriguing.
    Now, I'll try to answer your reservations:
    1: The fact that FT fibres have fewer capillaries is immaterial as they are already doing the job- it is the others we want to influence.
    2: Increased capillarization generates more heat throughout the muscle, which, as Dr. Cywinski pointed out, allows the fixed nervous system output to spill over to a larger percentage of a muscle's fibre, ultimately influencing its characteristics.
    3: Increased capillarization maintains the increased heat longer. As you know, the fantastic speeds being generated in training by sprinters today can require recovery breaks of up to 35 minutes to insure optimal intensification and International Competitions may keep athletes in the control room for up to 30 minutes before the event.
    4: For decades, athletes have been adamant that ATP supplementation boosts performance in power events, but scientists could see no means by which muscles could be supercharged with ATP and, even if they could, it wouldn't explain any instant power increase. Recently, however, scientists began looking at ATP's role in stimulating the circulatory system as the means by which performance is enhanced.
    5: Low intensity work will not lower testosterone levels unless the demands of effort and volume far exceed the conservative threshold proposed by me ( 75th percentile for no more than 2200 meters/ session)
    Of course, enhanced circulation isn't the only means by which increased heat is generated as athletes improve. Increased muscle density and leanness will increase the metabolic rate, and improved recruitment will generate more heat in a given muscle volume, and, given the small low intensity load, capillary enhancement must be modest, but it does appear to play a role.
    Henk, it seems unbelievable that it's been 8 years since we did that seminar in Holland! I hope you'll send a few posts along to my website- Charlie Francis.com. Ange says hello, and we now have a son, James, who's 3 1/2.
    All Our Best
    Charlie Francis
    Toronto, Canada
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Henk Kraaijenhof
    To: Supertraining@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2002 9:13 AM
    Subject: RE: [Supertraining] Re: Muscle fibre transformation


    Responding to Charlie Francis' remarks:

    What puzzles me is that the Fast Twitch fibres have fewer capillaries
    around them than the Slow Twitch fibres.

    Probably the low-intensity work, (what is the definition of that
    anyway) increase performance even in sprinters, but most likely by
    balancing out the high sympathetic activation by sprinting, bounding ,
    weights and explosive work by increasing the parasympathetic part of the
    nervous system, thus preventing overtraining in sprinters or burnout of
    the sprinter.

    I have no indication that low intensity training which might induce a
    higher density of capillaries, will lower the threshold for firing.
    Would this mean that middle- and long distance runners or athletes with
    more capillaries would have a lowered threshold than explosive athletes.
    Also low-intensity training at high volume is known to decrease e.g.
    testosterone, which is a pre-requisite for explosive muscular
    functioning.

    And low-intensity training will probably (dependent on the definition)
    shift muscle fibre composition and fuel use from anaerobic to aerobic
    energy systems.

    Even stronger aerobic training is known to decrease the power of the
    lactic anaerobic system e.g. by lowering the LDH enzyme and shifting
    isoenzymes from LDH-5 to LDH-1.

    In short: I agree with the fact that low-intensity work has to be done,
    even for explosive athletes, but my opinion is that the mechanism
    through which this might be beneficial is not through capillarisation
    or increasing the work capacity of the muscle, but through balancing the
    autonomic nervous system back to the parasympathetic side
    But like all of us, I might be wrong...

    Best regards,

    Henk Kraaijenhof
    Amstelveen
    Holland

    ----------

    >From Charlie Francis ,Angela@CharlieFrancis.com> :

    Re: Fibre Type

    Is it a shock that the body can adapt to demand? As a sprint coach, I
    was counting on it! As for the motor neurons,
    they can be made more effective by lowering their electrical resistance
    by heating them through increased local
    blood supply (capillary density). This is why, perhaps
    counter-intuitively, 65% of our running volume was low
    intensity. As well as enhancing capillary density, this interspersing
    of low intensity training allowed the volume
    and frequency of high intensity work to be lowered to level that could
    allow for the continual, and, ultimately,
    extreme intensification that could bring these changes about.

    Best Wishes

    Charlie Francis
    Toronto, Canada

    ----------

    "Rickard Andersson" <swe_power@h...> wrote:

    <"The aim with the first phase of the training program is to
    transform the type 1 fibres (which are endurance profiled) into the
    more explosive type 2A fibres. When this phase is completed the
    training changes direction with the aim to transform type 2A fibres
    into the strongest type of fibres, namely type 2X"I like to know if
    this is even possible. Can one type of muscle fibre
    transform into another? >

    ****
    I'm not an expert in this area, as a sprintcoach I find the topic
    extremely interesting though. Transformation of fiber types still
    seem to be one of the most disputed issues in exercise physiology.
    Professor Bengt Saltin and his group at the Copenhagen Muscle
    Research Centre has in the last couple of years done some great work
    in this area. Their work seem to indicate that fibers are much more
    plastic than we perhaps believed in the past (at least on a molecule
    level).

    It seems like a undisputed fact that most (all?) types of resistance
    training are pushing MHCIIX towards IIA and the only stimuli that
    really changes the different MHC proteins towards a faster character
    is rest.

    There are several studies indicating the same thing showed with
    ordinary ATPase staining as well.

    To change type I to IIX through IIA might seam appealing but I can't
    really see how it can be practically done. Remember to that it is
    highly unlikely that the nerve supplying the fiber ever will change
    its character. I small alfa-motor neuron is and will stay a low
    threshold motor neuron, no matter how you are training.

    I don't know if it essential with a great IIX population in the
    muscles of a powerlifter. Even elite weightlifters seems to do well
    with mainly IIA.

    Suggested reading, start with:

    Myosin heavy chain IIX overshoot in human skeletal muscle.
    Andersen JL & Aagaard P Muscle Nerve 2000 Jul 23:1095-104

    Håkan Andersson


    * Don't forget to sign all letters with full name and city of residence if you
    wish them to be published!

    Re Cadence:
    Both Ben Johnson and Marlies Gohr exceeded 5 strides per second, in full flight in actual races, many years ago (Ben 5.1, Marlies 5.3). While decreases in contact time are the principal reason, they are not the only one. Limb length, flexibility, and the intersecting points of the maximums of frequency and length, which occur at different points in the race, all combine to create variations in swing time, however slight, even with the same individual. It seems that everyone is trying to adjust observations and reality to suit the study done by Peter Weyand rather than asking Weyand to explain reality. In fact, this argument is trivial compared to the observation that action must be automatic during the ground contact phase and any attempt to alter the action during this phase (driving, pushing, etc) will have a negative effect.
    Best Wishes
    Charlie Francis
    Toronto, Canada
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Joe Cole
    To: Supertraining@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Saturday, August 17, 2002 9:00 PM
    Subject: Re: [Supertraining] Re: Maximal cadence rate


    From: ddavis_21042

    <Joe -- First off, I think you have a couple typos. 300 times/sec? I think
    you mean 300 times/minute (5 x 60s = 300s, right?)Also, later on, you
    write: 1second/0.2seconds = 5 reflexes a minute. I think you mean 5
    reflexes/second. >

    ** Oops. I wrote that late at night

    < In any case, I don't think the logic holds. I know that I
    personally can achieve over 6 steps/second going up stadium stairs
    and probably more if I simply do the "buzzing" drill on flat ground. The
    buzzing drill is simply pitter-pattering you feet as fast as
    possible while standing still.

    Charlie Francis often makes the point that virtually anyone can cycle
    their legs faster than 5 strides per second. It is likely that the
    reason a sprinter's cadence is limited is that they need to be
    concerned not just with quick turnover, but also with delivering
    force into the ground. That is, they need to stay on the ground long enough
    to deliver optimal levels of force for the speed they are running.
    The more force they can deliver in a shorter period of time (impulse?)
    the faster should be able to go. Comments? >

    ** I agree to a point, but the buzzing drill is not a pure cyclical movment is it? I could speed up to
    10 strides/sec if I were to be on flat ground, (maybe ;-P) if I were to limit the ROM extensively, and
    just use foot taps. Maybe I should have said "movments with the application of force"

    In elite sprinting, ground contact times lower to the point where they are 0.07-0.12 seconds at maximal
    velocities(11.5-12.5m/s).

    You are right in saying that sprinting is about developing force quickly. As speed increases, and ground
    contact times decreases, exponentially more force is needed to have further increases in speed, and
    further decreases in GCT.

    I am not arguing this point though. Why is it that most sprinters even at elite level only seem to go
    4.5 strides/second, about the same as a top cyclist?

    If the only way currently to increase speed is to decrease GCT and increase force production, is it possible
    that by increasing the firing rate of the crossed extensor reflex, the turnover can be greater as well?

    We have all heard of peter weyands research into flight times, basically saying that no matter what
    your maximal velocity, the swing time is approximately the same for everyone. Now, I don't know if I agree
    with this, but what would happen if it were correct? Could my theory be an explanation for what they saw
    in this study? (limitations of the study are noted, and have been discussed elsewhere).


    Joe Cole
    Dunedin New Zealand


    Re Maximalist vs Minimalist Sprint Training
    As an avowed Minimalist, I will only make a few comments.
    1: The warm-up requires a progressive raising of the core temperature, which is incompatable with a large numbers of drills, as they would have to be introduced too early in the warm-up in order to be completed in a reasonable time-frame. (You then have to warm-up before you can warm up.)
    2: The facilities to execute large numbers of specific drills are not always available (hurdles, track,etc) In Zurich, the biggest of all GP meets, you have a grass field for the warm-up- that's all.
    3: If you really need rehearsal at this late stage, you're in a world of trouble already.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Keats Snideman
    To: Supertraining@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 10:06 PM
    Subject: [Supertraining] Maximalist vs. Minimalist Sprint Training


    In searching the Supertraining archives, I found the articles regarding minimalist vs. maximalist training
    very intersting. The posts on low-tech vs. high tech training were also thought-provoking. My question
    to the forum is regarding sprint training; drills in particular.

    As a sprinter, I have studied and read from so many of the speed experts out there and have tried and
    accumulated an entire library of so called "sprint specific" drills. There have been times in my training
    where I have done many drills prior to my sprint workouts (maximalist approach) and times where I have
    done hardly any at all (minimalist approach). Regardless of whether I did a few or many drills, it doesn't
    really seem to make a difference in my final times during a meet or a timed practice sprint. If anything,
    prior to a race, I may feel physically and mentally more prepared because of the lengthy warm-up but it
    never reflected on my final time for the race.

    What do any of you think are the bare minimum drills for a sprinter and is there really any research
    proving that all those fancy drills are any better than just doing repeated sprints at ever increasing
    intensities (speed) as a warm-up? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Keats Snideman
    Lakeville, MN




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    Re Swing time
    The claim is that this aspect of sprinting is not trainable. But, since everyone can move their limbs (in the air) faster than any conceivable running frequency, why would you try to train it anyway?
    Best Wishes
    Charlie Francis
    Toronto Canada
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: JRTELLE@AOL.COM
    To: Supertraining@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 1:51 AM
    Subject: Re: [Supertraining] Maximal Cadence Continued


    Ken,

    Great answer. Ive spent a ton of time developing exercises and resistance to
    increase speed but obviously not much in a deep understanding of sprinting.

    See below for comments

    Ken Jakalski writes:

    << It is true that the vertical ground force increases when the ratio of
    foot-ground contact time to the total stride time increases. However, those
    who have done extensive work on human locomotion (Farley, Kram, et. al) would
    agree that increasing the vertical ground reaction force is not a mechanism
    that a runner can use to increase sprint speed. Why? >>

    Telle:

    so longer GCT always equates to a greater % increase of verticle
    force(s)?

    <<In terms of the mechanics of human locomotion, what seems consistent in
    the research is that decreases in contact time are basically unavoidable with
    speed increases. Shorter GCT is apparent in all sprinters at their top speed.
    No disagreement here. >>

    telle--

    I still cant intuit that but the idea of doing "duck walks" down the
    track isnt real inspiring either. I have a strong feeling that youre
    right--but I still need to have an internal experience of the dynamics to
    totally (98%) agree.

    <<However, these reductions in impulse result in
    reduced aerial time available for sprinters to reposition the swing limb.
    When aerial times diminish to the minimums providing sufficient time to
    reposition the swing limb (in other words, minimum swing time), the runner
    has reached his/her top speed. >>

    Telle:

    well thats interesting --that suggests training the hip flexers even
    harder--standing cable plyos for hip flexion ???!!! dumbbell plyo hip
    flexions on a incline board as shown in "Super training" Does the knee
    extension occur rather as an extension(sorry) of the hip flexion ? Like a
    whip ?

    << What seems to have generated so much interesting and enjoyable discussion
    relative to the barriers to speed is, in part, the conclusion derived from
    the Harvard study that the maximum speed at which the limb can be
    repositioned doesn't appear to be a trainable entity. >>

    well with your knowledge base I assume you feel as I do, that that is
    ridiculous--did Charlie Francis have anything to say about this?

    Thanks again for your consideration.

    Kindest regards to you,

    Jerry

    Jerry Telle
    Lakewood Colorado
    jrtelle@AOL.com

    Re Swing Leg
    The point I was trying to make is that the return rate is controlled primarily by the ground contact phase, as, given sufficient flexibility, the leg will reposition to a point requiring very little input from the hip flexors at that point. An emphasis on hip flexor exercises may lead to more tightness, which leads to a more open swing phase, which leads to the need for more power for the swing phase, which...... you get the idea. Additionally, weighted hip flexor exercises often teach the athlete to swing the leg up and towards the torso instead of up and forward.
    Best Wishes
    Charlie Francis
    Toronto Canada
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: JRTELLE@AOL.COM
    To: Supertraining@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2002 2:20 AM
    Subject: Re: [Supertraining] Maximal Cadence Continued


    Charlie Francis writes:

    << The claim is that this aspect of sprinting is not trainable. But, since
    everyone can move their limbs (in the air) faster than any conceivable
    running frequency, why would you try to train it anyway? >>

    Ken Jakalski wrote previously:

    << ....reductions in impulse result in
    reduced aerial time available for sprinters to reposition the swing limb.
    When aerial times diminish to the minimums providing sufficient time to
    reposition the swing limb (in other words, minimum swing time), the runner
    has reached his/her top speed. >>


    In my knowledge-impoverished state there seems to be a discrepancy here. If
    coach Francis is reading--under what conditions were the above mentioned
    swing leg speeds attained ? I have this picture of an athlete suspended in a
    harness with their legs spinning away.

    Seems to me that if the swing leg is swinging opposite a drive leg making
    ground contact, the physics-physiology of the swing leg is altered
    dramatically. That is the vertical downward force through the drive leg/foot
    of a swing leg(and arm) driving forward and up imparts a useable force
    through the drive foot (hamstrings also to a lesser extent?)--tending to
    increase dorsi flexion accel/deceleration, thus contributing to stretch-
    shortening elastic energy use and may be stretch reflex also ?? Furthermore
    if there is a useable verticle force imparted to the drive leg the
    reverberation up from drive leg would effect the swing leg ??

    thanks for the sprint theory series--Cant wait until I have the time to read
    them.

    PB's to all,

    Jerry Telle
    Lakewood Colorado USA

    jrtelle@AOL.com

    Re Mach Drills
    Many years ago, Gerard Mach invented a few simple drills to facilitate the learning of sprint mechanics. Unfortunately, he failed to make them fool-proof, as fools are so ingenious. Over the years, everyone under the sun has bastardized these drills, under the guise of "improvement", until they've become a dog's breakfast, in an attempt to lay claim to the drills as their own. Gerard's drills were very helpful, but now, sadly, hardly anyone knows how to do them properly, or even where they came from. Gerard must be appalled.
    Best Wishes
    Charlie Francis
    Toronto Canada
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: CoachJ1@aol.com
    To: Supertraining@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Friday, August 23, 2002 1:00 PM
    Subject: [Supertraining] Making sense of cadence


    Charlie Francis writes:

    > The point I was trying to make is that the return rate is controlled
    > primarily by the ground contact
    > phase, as, given sufficient flexibility, the leg will reposition to a point
    > requiring very little input from

    This is a sound analysis from a coach who has known intituitively for years
    what current research (regardless of how we interpret it) really seems to be
    confirming. As Claire Farley said in a recent note regarding the
    practicality of doing drills to increase the speed of the free swinging limb
    back to the track--or what is often referred to as "negative vertical
    velocity":

    "I'm not sure that I understand what you mean by this [negative vertical
    velocity]. My best interpretation is that you are referring to the stance
    limb, and that many coaches believe that if people can make the stance foot
    move backward faster relative to the trunk, then the ground reaction force
    will increase. It is true that the vertical ground force increases when the
    ratio of foot-ground contact time to the total stride time increases.
    However, I don't think that increasing the vertical ground reaction force is
    a mechanism that a runner can use to increase sprint speed. [By this she
    means that contact time decreases with speed]

    According to the spring-mass model, if a runner can increase leg stiffness,
    the runner will be able to run faster. If the leg is stiffer, the foot-ground
    contact time is shorter, and the person can run faster. This does lead to a
    greater vertical ground reaction force but it is a by-product of having a
    stiffer leg."

    Focus on hip flexor training via specialty machines or weighted thigh cuffs
    has increased over the past several years, and is often considered essential
    to improving top end speed, because the athlete benefit from strengthening
    what Dr. Michalow refers to as the forward propulsive muscles.

    This concept of swing mechanics improving ground forces was introduced to me
    back in the early eighties, along with several specialty drills for speed to
    enhance these mechanics. Since then, many of my prep colleagues have used
    the Mach series (or A-B-C's) as drills to mimic/enhance correct leg swing,
    and Charlie, please correct me if I'm wrong here, I don't think Gerard
    intended these drills as a way to model swing mechanics in isolation

    There is still much confusion here. In fact, we had a discussion on Supertraining a
    while back as to whether Mach should be given "credit" for these drills in
    the first place. I'm sure you can clarify this for us. Like Brent
    McFarlane and several others, I 've always referred to these as the Mach
    drills. Of course, everyone has a variation of this marching, skipping,
    sprinting series, and maybe that's why it's hard to attribute these A-B-C's
    to a particular individual. However, from your perspective, is this another
    example of a good thing coming via a Canadian coach who hasn't received the
    proper credit, or is there a different origin to these widely used but often
    misapplied drills?

    Kindest regards,

    Ken Jakalski
    Lisle High School
    Lisle, Illinois

    Dear Andy:
    Usually it's the other way around! (Will success in Track and Field have
    favourable repercussions on their sex life?)
    Seriously, though, the East Germans looked into this carefully and concluded
    that sex was generally beneficial. (At the World Cup in Rome in 1981, they
    took the whole team to the porno movies before the event and encouraged
    "team pairings". I remember joking with their top male distance runner: "Who
    gets Slupianick (Women's WR holder in the Shot)? He replied: "Me- if I
    lose!"
    Best Wishes
    Charlie Francis
    Toronto, Canada
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Andy Eggerth" <aeggerth@hotmail.com>
    To: <supertraining@yahoogroups.com>
    Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 4:00 PM
    Subject: [Supertraining] Effects of Sexual Intercourse on hormone levels


    > I'm curious. I had an athlete ask me what the reprocussions of sex are on
    > track and field training/competition. I have had coaches in the past tell
    > me that one should not have sex so that the testosterone levels will
    remain
    > high, but I suspect that many were speaking from a moral standpoint (about
    > fornication), making up a 'scientific reason'. Obviously, there are
    > psychological issues, but I'm interested in the biochemistry. Does anyone
    > know of any studies that have looked at the fluctuations of sex hormones
    > after intercourse, compared to a duration without having sex?
    >
    > Andy Eggerth
    > Minneapolis, USA
    >
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  4. #4
    Moderator xlr8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    1,339
    Charlie,

    Those were great discussions on SuperTraining...I have them all saved in my "Sports training" mailbox!

    xlr8

  5. #5
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    2,376
    I just received this email:

    Dear Supertraining Members,

    It is with great sorrow that I have to report that Mel passed away suddenly
    on Wednesday March 19, 2003 at his home in Denver. He was 59. The cause of
    Mel's death is still unknown, but may have been a heart attack.

    The Family has made the folowing funeral arrangements:

    Location: South Holly Baptist Church. 7101 S Holly Street. Centennial Co
    , 80122
    Date/Time: March 29 2003 at 2:00pm.
    The Family is requesting: Please do not send flowers make a donation to
    your favorite local charity.

    For those who may have signed up for Supertraining camps (April 11-13, May
    16-18), regrettably these must be cancelled. - There is no one who can
    replace Mel.

    Regarding the Supertraining Group on Yahoo, myself and John Gray have
    moderated the group on Dr Siff's behalf when he was away and we take on this
    project permanently, in his honour. I have only just gained access to the
    group and with the funeral being tomorrow, we may not be up and running for
    a few days, but we will continue Dr Siff's selfless contribution to the
    Sports Science field as best we can.

    Lisa has been in Craig Hospital, in Denver since Mel's death and has just
    recently returned home. I am with her now and she has said that she would
    love to hear from all of those people who lives Dr Siff has positively
    influenced. If you would like to contact her, her email is lislann@aol.com
    although it may be a while before she is able to respond. (It would be a
    great tribute if everyone could post their notices with correct punctuation
    as well as sign the letter with your full name, town and country of
    residence, as we all know how passionate Dr Siff was about this!)

    Words cannot describe the personal loss to those who knew Dr Siff and the
    strength and conditioning world, in my opinion, is now at a loss as Dr Siff
    had no equal. While Supertraining camps will no longer be run, Dr Siff's
    books will still be available, but for those people wishing to purchase (and
    those who have recently sent money) we ask tht you give us a few days to
    sort out all of Mel's affairs.

    I, like most of you, have lost a great friend who has influenced my
    professional and personal life in so many ways, words cannot describe. I am
    thankful for the time that I had with Mel, and along with John Gray, look
    forward to continuing Dr Siff's legacy with this group.

    David Driscoll
    Exercise Physiologist and Sports Dietitian
    BEFITting Image Training and Nutrition Service
    B Sc - Exercise Science & Nutrition
    M Sc - Exercise Rehabilitation and Dietetics
    APD AEP AMS CSCS
    MAAESS MSDA

    Sydney, Australia.
    Tom Green, CSCS

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