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  • #23274
    disi
    Guest

    The two props that i play with are both very good players and although they both weigh around the same (100 kilos) there make up is very different. I understand about somatotypes etc but i can never fully grip just why my tighthead who has a fat content of 20% performs so much better in aerobic testing than the loosehead who has a fat content of just 11%. Now both these guys push around similar weight in the gym (give or take a few kilos on certain movements) but the guy with more fat content appears to have a better vo2 max, surely his body would store less fat because of this??

    just wondered if u guys had any thoughts on this?? Ive been dying to hear peoples points of view on this

    #24300
    ashley
    Guest

    Hi there, well there is a very high correlation between VO2 and body fat, ie the higher the VO2 the lower the body fat of the person, but there are always exceptions to the rules, that is what makes our job so much fun, ah the individual nature of genetics, it is just the size of the engine in the machine (central issues), as well as the peripheral issues (mitochondria etc), and two people are the same, I have th esame situation with 2 of my props, but you have tio ask the question would the prop who is 20% be even better if he were to drop to 15%, and is it worth spending all that time getting him there in the first place if he can still do well aerobically, so your question will produce many more I am sure, all good, ashley

    #24313
    onspeed
    Guest

    Interesting thread guys – thank you

    with rugby players do you have targets such as skinfolds etc or just work within a reasonably healthy range? Within reason (say 15% vs 22% bf) does it really matter for a prop as long as he has all the requisites needed to perform? Do some positions really require a strict BF (or is it really enough lean muscle and power weight to do the job).

    In the gym we usually see our T and F athletes train heavier when they carry a little more coverage and they seem to recover better form the heavier weight sessions.
    We often have throwers who could profit from a little adipose loss – at least proportionally – mass is essential in throwers but so is the muscle to accelerate ! – by temperament, training and nutrition its not an easy task
    to ask a thrower to lose weight!
    Personally I felt the skinfold thing has been overdone and can set unrealistic targets for guys who basically run a bit endomorphic –
    what we do is instead of worry about weight is try and set them a target goal of adding lean mass – so paradoxically they might actually gain weight to improve lean-fat ratio. Obviously the demands on throwers aerobically is not high :>>>> they only move 2 metres and then rest for 5 minutes!! That said I have seen more than a few 120kg plus boys run around 12 min 3 km!

    This forum is great – so much variety in thought and experience! Thanks again

    #24306
    fergus
    Guest

    As Ashley says there is a corrleation with Vo2 max and Skinfold – so there is a factor there.

    I must say I’ve never encountered a case where more bodyfat is an advatange in any sport – (once it’s not below 3% or something!)

    One point that is important to bear in mind (in my opinion) though is that while higher body fat is a disadvantge … aiming to reach unrelaistic goals of body fat is an even greater disadvantage. I’ve seen many cases where the athlete concetrates on the skinfolds more than performances.

    I’ve done a lot of work on body fat in fact studied thousands of skinfolds in rugby, position specific, rates of decrease and standards for elite players… there are certainly patterns and some interesting ones.

    It is good to have goals and to have targets for each position – for example a back should be getting close to a sprinters body comp (9-7%) as it is very similar in demand.

    To be honest the whole area of Body Composition (or Anthropometrics as I now refer to it since I’ve started to try and look at girths also) is very interesting especially when you look at the influence of hormones on bodyfat sites, Estrogen & Bicep, Insulin and Supscap etc etc.

    But for practical pruposes it’s very simple – stay lean & get stronger … the actual figures (within reason) don’t matter too much.

    #24307
    fergus
    Guest

    @onspeed 379 wrote:

    Personally I felt the skinfold thing has been overdone and can set unrealistic targets for guys who basically run a bit endomorphic –
    what we do is instead of worry about weight is try and set them a target goal of adding lean mass – so paradoxically they might actually gain weight to improve lean-fat ratio. Obviously the demands on throwers aerobically is not high :>>>> they only move 2 metres and then rest for 5 minutes!! That said I have seen more than a few 120kg plus boys run around 12 min 3 km!

    While I agree completely where I think this may be an positive influence is that the less bodyfat the greater and faster the rates of recovery … just a thought.

    #24308
    fergus
    Guest

    Two other (useless) bits of information …

    1. Skinfold Patterning
    If you compare males across elite team sports there are very few differences in skinfold pattern distributions – ie. same ratios of peripheral to central fat storages

    2. Fat Intake
    The type and ‘stickiness’ of the skinfold as you lift it will tell you alot about the genetics and the type of fat intake – the tougher it is to grab the more transfats digested and stored

    #24301
    ashley
    Guest

    I don’t have a firm set in stone attitude towards skin folds, although there are many fitness coaches in rugby that live and die by the caliper readings, if a player is carrying a bit but still is performing on the track I am happy with this but if there level of fatness is adversely effecting their ability to do the job on the paddock then we will change a few things and monitor more closely, and too true I have seen some big boys 120 deliver in a 3km time trial, and also be very explosive overe 10 metres as well, but with the new rules I do believe that aerobic fitness demands has increased a wee bit, but not too much to considerably alter our overall fitness plan, power to weight is the key, ashley

    #24314
    onspeed
    Guest

    great comments thank you!

    Fergus I agree with you to an extent that a better bodyfat may help recovery especially if we are talking say 22% vs 15% – and especially I think aerobically!

    Interestingly though at really low bodyfats – our sprinters hit around 5-6% peak competition and they really struggle to recover yet at 9-10% they fly through – guess it all about limits eh.

    I remember John Mitchell telling me that across a rugby season he found that playing at 15-16% bodyfat gave him a greater resilience to recovering from game impact that when he was 9% or in others in the team who were under 10% but that was a different era of rugby when I was still a young guy many gray hairs ago!

    Really interesting too Fergus on the body site fat deposition – I am not quite sure I completely buy the Poliquin bioassessment ideas but top throwers never have much fat on their triceps (proportionately) nor chest and their trunks while typically big and lifter like are damn solid – but they can carry some scapular and oblique fat!

    Thanks mate appreciate the thoughts!

    #24309
    fergus
    Guest

    I’ve studied bodyfat to try and see if there is much more I can learn from it for sports performance and while there are some things you can learn I find it varies for bang-for-buck effectiveness.

    In Rugby at lower levels I think it may have some merit or as a baseline, but in elite or disciplined groups it may actually work against the player.

    I sports like boxing, where I currently have an interesting project ongoing, it is certainly critical in the lower weight classes to know, so that you are maximising lean mass and power/weight ratios and even more important if you are going to try and change a boxers composition.

    I feel it is also very useful for younger players when tied into food education to show them and reinforce positive changes as their bodyfat goes down. Of course we can be simplier too – The mirror never lies … and as a great Canadian sprint coach used say … “If it jiggles when you jump then it’s fat!”

    Some players love to know their fat% and others are better not knowing. I think for me the biggest thing is that the player is happy … and for this reason if a player is lean and playing well I’d rather focus on that than the fact they may have gone up slightly .

    The point about recovery at lower bodyfats is interesting – is it the calorie/food restriction to reach the lower %’s that effects recovery or food choice at that levels? Or is it simply an innate survival mechanism that is effecting recovery – it is interesting and something I will look at or keep an eye on.

    Poliquins Biosiganture is very interesting and while I don’t agree with it all there are some aspects I found science does support. There are also some that science does not at all! This is actually what lead me to start to look at girths as well. I was interested in it originally to see if there was such a thing as spot reduction and after all the research and study I am not sure there is from a practical sense.

    There are some interesting things in relation to spot reduction from an exercise point of view, as in – the part moved having lower bodyfat than others and also how some sports have different ‘site profiles’ than others – but as I said not much difference in team sports from my epxerince.

    The example you give about throwers with more central and less peripheral bodyfat is also potentially interesting with respect to some hormones – but I need to look at some of the research in more detail to draw certain conclusions.

    Again for someone like me who has yet to have the experience I love researching and watching these things! But like many coaches I guess I can see myself moving away from it as a practical tool in time apart for some sports like possibly boxing.

    “If it jiggles when you jump then it’s fat!” !! … you gotta love it eh?

    #24305
    bris83
    Guest

    after using a large majority of Charles Poliquin’s biosignature principles at my rugby club (Bristol Rugby) I can say it works and it produces damn good results. Quite often as coaches I think we can be too over reliant on science and sometimes we just have to accept that it works.. ‘because it works.’

    I have also used the principles on myself and seen good results. For people wanting more information, I suggest googling it or if you have the time and money take one of his seminars.

    #24302
    ashley
    Guest

    @ashley 384 wrote:

    I don’t have a firm set in stone attitude towards skin folds, although there are many fitness coaches in rugby that live and die by the caliper readings, if a player is carrying a bit but still is performing on the track I am happy with this but if there level of fatness is adversely effecting their ability to do the job on the paddock then we will change a few things and monitor more closely, and too true I have seen some big boys 120 deliver in a 3km time trial, and also be very explosive overe 10 metres as well, but with the new rules I do believe that aerobic fitness demands has increased a wee bit, but not too much to considerably alter our overall fitness plan, power to weight is the key, ashley

    Actually I do not have a firm set in stone attitude towards anything in Strength and Conditioning anymore, I love Louie’s quote, “everything works, but nothing works for ever”, for me now there is no longer black and white, just a thousand shades of grey, therein lies the frustration and the enjoyment of what I do, as I sit in yet another airport lounge, time to ponder, reflect and write away the hours, I once said, “if it stops being fun, it stops being” and nothing has changed, if it is fun for you then there is a good chance it is fun for your athlete’s as well, enjoy, ash

    #24303
    ashley
    Guest

    @onspeed 385 wrote:

    great comments thank you!

    Fergus I agree with you to an extent that a better bodyfat may help recovery especially if we are talking say 22% vs 15% – and especially I think aerobically!

    Interestingly though at really low bodyfats – our sprinters hit around 5-6% peak competition and they really struggle to recover yet at 9-10% they fly through – guess it all about limits eh.

    I remember John Mitchell telling me that across a rugby season he found that playing at 15-16% bodyfat gave him a greater resilience to recovering from game impact that when he was 9% or in others in the team who were under 10% but that was a different era of rugby when I was still a young guy many gray hairs ago!

    Really interesting too Fergus on the body site fat deposition – I am not quite sure I completely buy the Poliquin bioassessment ideas but top throwers never have much fat on their triceps (proportionately) nor chest and their trunks while typically big and lifter like are damn solid – but they can carry some scapular and oblique fat!

    Thanks mate appreciate the thoughts!

    I do not know about anyone else out there but I am learning so much from Fergus and onspeed, wish I had the financial luxury of having you both on my team to spin my wheels each and every day, thanks for being involved you guys are truly making a difference, cheers, ash

    #24304
    ashley
    Guest

    @fergus 386 wrote:

    “If it jiggles when you jump then it’s fat!” !! … you gotta love it eh?

    Ah Charlie Francis is always good for a great quote, reminds me of the Simpson’s episode when Homer is trying to break through 300 pounds so he can get disability and work from home, and the doctor flicks his stomach and times how long his belly keeps moving for, remind me not to jump whilst you guys are around, eh, ash

    #24310
    fergus
    Guest

    John Berardis Principles are also a great guide for athletes – simple rules that any player can stick to and get his body composition improved safely.

    Berardi makes things very simple for players.

    #24315
    onspeed
    Guest

    Hi Bris

    good comments thanks!

    I tend to agree with that adage if it works it works! I think with science its more the data overload than the science principle – in effect most of what we do as conditioners is science process – we hypothesise – we test – we decide if it works on the basis of the results we see – I think condiitoning to a large extent is the ability to innovate on your feet and intutiution is really just practical science!

    On the biosignature – do you think it is more applicable to higher BF?

    We had a guy come in and do a study on 100 T and F athletes across their season – these were college level ahtletes with BFs ranging from 5 to 17%

    Across the season Biosig showed no relationship to hormones (testosterone, cortisol, estradiol) nor to performance or training ability. We found testosterone was highest in the 9-14% range, a little lower on either side and estradiol a little higher at 16% and 17% fellas.

    Other than that we found the biggest relationship to performance prediction was cortisol – if it rose over 3 days or more performance dropped off

    while that was interesting we cant monitor cortisol every day in all our athletes so we were looking for hints in mood scores etc

    to be honest we were a little disappointed with the biosig outcome – but maybe it was because we had quite a narrow specific group with relatively low existing BF?

    That said my friend I also tried Biosig on me and it related damn well to my aging fattening throwers body hormones!!!

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