In part one of this article I discussed some points to consider when setting up to monitor athletes on a day to day basis with GymAware. Now I will outline some of the ways I use the results recorded to feed back into my program, to motivate, educate and monitor my athletes.
On the Floor
My original table based analysis format is probably still my most used and important form of feedback to the athletes and that is the creation of simple tables based on best efforts. These take a bit of setting up initially, but as a basic form of feedback, are quite effective. To create your table, you need to consider a few aspects:
- What exercises will you constantly measure? This will be dictated by the number of GymAwares you have, the number of sets and reps in a session or the demands of the sport. I tend to stick with the main exercises of bench press and squat, although it can be used on whichever exercises you feel are appropriate for your sport (maybe it is bench pull for paddling or rowing events, perhaps it is jump squats for monitoring). [see What is GymAware used for? Ed]
- The creation of the table format (an example is below). This is not a difficult task and once you have done one, you can simply copy and paste for other exercises. I believe an important feature is the date and time included in the footer. I make a point of highlighting changes to scores:
- it shows the athletes that the sheet is important to you,
- it shows their peers that they have improved and,
- it publicly acknowledges their efforts.
An example of a printout for Bench Press published in the gym. This specific example has 3 table columns –
130kg, 135kg, and 140kg
The table above for Bench Press is an example of a printout that is published in the gym (I have replaced the athlete’s names for privacy). This specific example has three table columns – 130kg, 135kg, and 140kg (it can be for a load range you are interested in.
I record up to the highest load ever lifted for that exercise). It has the athletes listed in each column by descending order of the best score for each load. Their best rep ever recorded is listed in the table. Immediately this table can tell you the following information:
- It displays the power output at each of the three loads for the listed athletes.
- It displays the strength. Athletes 1, 2 and 3 do not have a power output score for 135kg, which means their best lift (or one repetition maximum) is 130kg.
Athlete 12 has a mean power output of 924 watts at 130kg. The next time they do 130kg, they are trying to beat that score. Athlete 2 is in yellow (that’s the colour I use) to show that this score has been updated since the last session – they “PB’ed” at 130kg. The average power output for each load is calculated at the bottom to provide an easy reference of where each athlete sits. This simple table can very quickly be understood by the athletes and are a tremendous influence in the athlete’s self-motivated drive to use the devices. Athletes very quickly learn:
What their (and their teammates) best power output is for a given load and what score they need to achieve in the next set to beat their best. Whilst they may not understand the training concepts to improve, it means that even lifting at submaximal loads (less than their 1RM), they can still have an objective measure of their performance. This means an athlete does not have to lift more weight then they have done before to see improvement. They can lift a lighter load faster (better). This is a great benefit of LPT technology in the gym.
- What their (and their teammates) 1RM is.
- Who improved in the last session (I highlight the scores I had to change in yellow – this shows who achieved a PB and is an acknowledgement/celebration of progress).
Although it will inevitably become a competition (and that is not necessarily a bad thing depending on the level of your squad), I try to make it a competition within the athlete: “Did you beat your score?”.
Another important coaching function of this table, is that it can quickly show an athlete’s physical status. Say Athlete 9, whose best score at 130kg is 769W, cannot get more than 620W at one training session (a 20% difference), it is a quick indication that not all is right. They might be:
- tired (depends on what they have just done prior to this session in terms of skills or conditioning training, or depending on how busy the gym is, it might be the last exercise they are doing and they are fatigued – these are the factors you may need to consider),
- overtrained (functional over-reaching: may be ok if during a heavy block; or non-functional over-reaching which is not appropriate),
- or stressed (selection, injury, study, home-life).
One last point, sometimes, the athletes do not want to use the devices if they are tired, which is quite understandable – who wants to be told that you are underperforming? This usually happens during a period of heavy competition or training, but is a critical point to capture. I encourage them to capture everything, to see where they are, “exactly how tired are they?”.
By capturing this information, I can look at our training trends and the effects of other training, the success of particular resistance programs and individual athlete development. During periods of heavy training, “How much did performance decrease?”, and then, “How long did it take to return based on training interventions”. These are aspects that will be covered in future articles.
The key message to my players is that the worst thing they can do is to not capture the data. Capture the data and you as the coach can decide if it is not important.
In the next instalment, I will discuss using the GymAware for analysis over a longer period of time.
[Editor's Note - Brendyn has been using the GymAware PowerTool with the GymAware on-line service to upload, manage and then export his data for over 6 years. The exported data is then analysed in his custom spreadsheets. With each new release of the on-line Pro application we aim to capture and automate this pioneering work so that it becomes accessible to a broader range of practitioners.]
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