Course Notes: The Val Nasedkin Seminar

A Long Lost Love

 Strength and conditioning is a guilty pleasure of mine. One I love to indulge in from time to time.

There is something about the training process that excites me. So when I heard Val Nasedkin was speaking in the US, I jumped on the opportunity.

Kemosabi-style of course
Kemosabi-style of course

Val is the brilliant mind behind the Omegawave, a device which I have been experimenting with in my own training and hoped to learn more about.

I left with a greater appreciation not only for what Val’s system intends to do, but the way he coaches and programs.

If you get a chance to hear Val or Roman Fomin speak, take up the opportunity. These guys are both revolutionaries in their respective fields.

Here were a few of the big takeaways.

 

Ze Goal

Val created the Omegawave to provide a framework and determine appropriate timing for our current performance methodologies.

Most training and rehabilitation processes are chosen based on results. focusing here, however, neglects individual responses to inputs.

Great results can come at a great cost to an individual.

If biological cost of training can be measured, there is potential to maximize an individual’s health, long term potential, and work capacity, while still achieving desired results.

That is what an Omegawave can do for you.

"Ask not what you can do for Omegawave, but what Omegawave can do for you" ~John F. Kennedy
“Ask not what you can do for Omegawave, but what can Omegawave do for you” ~John F. Kennedy

 

The Performance Matrix

Whether Val knew it or not, he drew many parallels to Melzack’s neuromatrix regarding how performance occurs. I lo Like this profound statement…

“Every process [output] occurs for a good reason.” ~Val Nasedkin

Our expressions and behaviors insure our survival at a minimum, and performance at a maximum.

Specific outputs depend on feedback received by the body’s regulatory systems (i.e. nervous system). Positive feedback will lead to high performance, negative feedback will lead to compensatory strategies that help an individual survive.

A negative feedback example – Reduced ATP production by the aerobic system will shift energy production to less efficient glycolytic mechanisms.

A positive feedback example – Aerobic training done properly will lead to increased mitochondrial density, which will lead to higher performance for particular tasks.

 

My mitochondria has brought me to you
My mitochondria has brought me to you

 

Functional State

The functional state is what Omegawave is attempting to measure via CNS, ANS, and cardiovascular measures. It’s defined as…

 

-The physiological foundation for future activity.

 

The functional state reflects the body’s functional systems at a given period of time. This state changes based on inputs the system receives.

The hope, with good training, is to take nonspecifically working systems and create specifically coordinated adaptations to best perform a task. Measuring functional states helps pick desirable times to train said adaptations.

Changing a specified functional system must be done carefully. Making a change, even if potentially favorable, can negatively impact performance to the point where positive adaptation may take too long to occur.

You wouldn’t attempt to change a sprinter’s mechanics during an Olympic year.

As funky as his form is, he sure is fast!
As funky as his form is, he sure is fast!

 

Success’ Components

Per Val, there are certain general adaptations found in all successful athletes. Generally these adaptations include favorable hormonal adaptations, aerobically developed cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular systems, parasympathetic activity, and CNS activity/synchronicity.

The aforementioned qualities are desirable because they have the largest room to improve. Other adaptations, such as speed and power, top out at a much faster rate.

Val mentioned several methods to create these adaptations. Here were my favorite ones (Joel Jamison’s book is a great further read for these qualities):

 

Resistance training for hormonal adaptations

  • Need to create a hypoxic environment
  • Max effort resistance to total failure within 4-8 rep range
  • 2 times per week; one hard day, one with 50% volume of previous hard day.

 

Stato-dynamic resistance training

The goal is slow twitch muscle fiber hypertrophy and mitochondrial hyperplasia via a hypoxic environment. This sounds counterintuitive because hypoxic environments destroy mitochondria. However, slow twitch fibers naturally have large mitochondria amounts. Since hypoxic environments increase muscle size, larger slow twitch fibers would increase mitochondrial density.

How it’s done:

  • 30-50% 1-RM with slow velocity and no rest periods (don’t lock into joint extension)
  • Use big muscle group exercises
  • 40-60 seconds work:rest ratios for 4-5 rounds.
  • 2 times per week.
  • Done to screaming in pain failure, but should be able to breathe.

 Here’s a video of this courtesy of Mark McLaughlin, another cat you should probably check out:

 

High Intensity Continuous Training

The goal here is to increase mitochondria density in fast twitch muscle fibers. Since type II fibers are not normally mitochondria-rich, hypoxic environments are undesirable.

Here’s how you do it to increase myofibril oxidative capacity:

  • 20-40 minutes of low frequency, high to max resistance

My good friend Lance Goyke demonstrates this below:

 

If oxidation is needed in the sarcoplasmic reticulum, use plyometrics or resisted short sprints.

  • <5 seconds at high intensity, recovery to 100 bpm or so
  • Very high volume

 

Once these general qualities are achieved, more sport specific components can be targeted.

 

Planning

Putting all these components in a week can seem daunting, but applying a few smart rules can maximize training adaptations.

The overall theme is to have few high intensity/volume days, and several low intensity/volume days.

At most, there ought to be only two high intensity sessions per week, with the second one having lower volume. These sessions ought to focus on an individual’s biological limiting factors.

The above may have some conflicts with traditional periodization; namely focusing on biological limiting factors. For example, I ran collegiately, and every off-season involved aerobic base work. This training aims to increase cardiac output. For some individuals, those adaptations may already be present after a certain amount of training. Therefore, the “base” phase may not be necessary for some. That is why measuring several biomarkers (and the Omegawave fits here) may indicate which sessions ought to be best.

If the above sessions involve creating hypoxic environments, following sessions should emphasize aerobic development. First destroy mitochondria, and then use aerobic exercise to manage the damage.

A sample offseason week may look like this:

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
High intensity Low intensity Low intensity Low intensity High intensity Low intensity Off
High Volume High Volume Moderate Volume Low Volume Moderate Volume Moderate Volume

 

The rules change if competition is in the mix. The main difference is timing your high intensity sessions. Depending on the intensity of the competition, the high intensity and volume sessions may be very early in the week, or even considered the competitive day.

For example, a high jumper that performs on Saturday may have his high intensity/volume day on Monday. Whereas a basketball player may have his Saturday game be considered the high intensity/volume day. Everything depends on the individual athlete.

Always does.
And if you wear depends.

 

Individualized templates will produce the best outcomes.

 

Training Kids

 This portion may have been my favorite lecture. Val was very much against heavy weight lifting for children. Because children are undergoing several hormonal changes, high intensity resistance training may have unforeseen effects on one’s endocrine system. This training becomes more appropriate post-puberty.

Instead, take advantageous of a child’s rich nervous system. Teach basic movement patterns, calisthenics, plyometrics, speed, shock training, quickness; anything that requires high neural drive. Create fundamental movement patterns that individuals will be able to take with them once more advanced methods can be applied.

 

Weekend Quotes (courtesy of Val, Roman, Charlie Weingroff, and Sam Gibbs)

  • “How important is sensory-motor? I don’t care.”
  • “They have like bullheart…It’s a term.”
  • “Stretching is borderline absurd.”
  • “Guiding by results does not lead to long term change.”
  • “It’s not what you do, it’s when you do it.”
  • “Yes, you can kill yourself once a week.”
  • “Can’t use linear methods to solve nonlinear problems.”
  • “You can’t squat heavy with poor ground contact.”
  • “If you can’t change what other people do, change what you do.”
They have bull heart, and I have bullshit. And that's the difference folks.
They have bull heart, and I have bullshit. And that’s the difference folks.

2 Replies to “Course Notes: The Val Nasedkin Seminar”

  1. Awesome review man! Just curious what your thoughts would be on including oxidative training in a more rehab based environment to create a better continuum between rehab and strength training? I would think it would be a great way to further groove a movement patterns with an ACL patient while still eliciting a training effect. Another example that comes to mind would be any sort of lifter/athlete who wants to return to deadlifting or squatting after experiencing radiating symptoms.

    1. Hey Greg,

      Appreciate the comment, kind words, and reaching out.

      I use oxidative training quite a bit in rehab once I’ve taught basic movement patterns. Any type of aerobic stimulus is going to be beneficial to the healing process, threat processing, and general conditioning.

      I would say oxidative training would be beneficial to any patient or client.

      Great thought!

      Zac

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