Training Talk: Recovery with Joel Jamieson (Part 1)
Recovery is an important aspect of training that is often overlooked. But, to the surprise of many, it is also an element of training that can be overdone. For decades the theory was that all methods of recovery were good and researchers tested out new technologies to see what might give athletes an extra benefit. But in recent years the pendulum has swung in the other direction: there can be too much of a good thing.
One of the first people to explain this topic to me was Joel Jamieson. Joel is best known as one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the mixed martial arts world. His gym in Kirkland, Washington has trained some of the top MMA fighters around, including current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. His blog, 8WeeksOut, is one of the most popular MMA training blogs. His experience, however, is not limited to MMA. He started his career as a strength and conditioning coach at my alma matter, the University of Washington, and then for the Seattle Seahawks. He also has trained many pro athletes in a variety of sports. Joel has developed an expertise in training recovery and he has developed BioForce HRV, a portable tool to monitor an athlete’s training state through heart rate variability. His manual for the device contains what I find the best overview of the adaptation process available, as well as the impact of recovery methods on it.
When I was back in Seattle at the start of August I had the chance to sit down with Joel to discuss this topic and other topics. This is just the first in many posts I will have that resulted from my visit, but before we begin it is helpful to put this first topic into context.
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I really wouldn’t use Brooks Johnson’s ideas anywhere near this subject. Brooks Johnson is a good recruiter, and it ends at that. The talent that succeeded under him, succeeded despite of his coaching. Many others were trained into injuries and underperformance.
The right massage therapy is crucial for top sprinters. After so many pulled hamstrings under his tutelage you would think Brooks Johnson would agree. I guess not. You know why Evelyn Ashford pulled a hamstring in Helsinki in 1983? Because Brooks had her do a 400m sprint (in 54 seconds) a day before the heats. Charlie Francis witnessed that. She nicely recovered from that and pulled a hammie in the final two days later. Before you say it, I know Pat Connolly was her coach at the time, but it was Brooks Johnson who came up with that. And that’s just one of many of his brilliant ideas.
I’m looking forward to reading the training talk with Joel.