Monday, February 2, 2009

Hard Work!

My second incredible week has passed here in Rio and I am well rested for this coming week of hard work both on and off the sand. Last week was high paced and exhausting as we pushed my fitness as far as it could go.  This season I brought with me a Polar hear rate monitor to learn more about my body and make my training more scientific and precise to my needs. It was a humbling week as I thought I was far fitter than I actually was but served as an excellent lesson, indicating I am poor at quantifying my physical output during activity.  
In this week's sand training we trained between 70-90 percent of my hear rate maximum for 1 1/2 hour sessions. With a constant monitor on my heart rate, we are able to set more precise training tempos and recovery/resting times set specifically to my body's needs. It is also early in the pre-season so I am not jumping to allow for beach leg development and keep my injury risks to a minimum. Over 6 sessions I performed over 1200 hand sets, 600 bump sets, 800 transition sets, 800 blocks, 400 block peel digs, 1000 digs cross court and line and passed close to 1500 balls.  My coach is very regimented so we perform each task separately as to improve on the finest details and not complicate drills.  
Beach Volleyball is a game of errors and the more I train here in Brazil, the fewer errors I make. When I first got here 3 years ago I thought my skills were perfect.  I then was put into a setting drill and found out that 1 out of every 3 sets didn't go to the perfect spot.  Now with hundreds of thousands of isolated repetitions, I am setting 9 for 10 for both bump setting and hand setting.  The biggest difference from 3 years ago until now is the preparation and body base prior to executing the skill.  Making sure the proper foot is forward with a deep and balanced base while facing your target and being there on time are all steps which play their part in the end result and proper execution. If I can give any advice, it is to concentrate on the small, basic movements of a skill to secure the foundation and decrease the chance of error.
Aside from sand skills training, I went to the gym 6 times (1 1/2 hours per) throughout the week and did 3 afternoon running interval sessions.  Each interval session consists of 12 repetitions of 1 minute running and 1 minute of rest. We are building my fitness so my cadence is set to 165-180 beats per minute during the running.  As my fitness progresses, we will increase the cadence and then drop the rest and running times to an optimal 30 second sprint at 90% of my maximum with 30 seconds of rest which will target my anaerobic energy systems since most of volleyball is played in 6-15 second bursts.  
To keep my shoulder strong I am using a program call "The Buchbeger 12" which is a specific non surgery rehabilitation program for overhead athletes (it was created for MLB baseball pitchers).  A leading researcher and scholar in athletic shoulder therapy developed a 12 exercise program involving the rotation of 6 exercises per day.  It is a miracle program and I have not suffered from shoulder pain since I implemented it into my training. You can check his site out at
Well my partner lands tomorrow along with our physiotherapist!! I am very excited at the thought of training with a partner and improving together. So far everything has gone to plan and the World Championships are closer than ever.
I am going to go for a nap now and regain some energy for this afternoons interval and court movement training.  Have a fabulous week and I will check back in shortly!!


  1. Hey Martin --
    WOW! That is some intensive training. I'm so ridiculously proud and envious of how aggressively you are pursuing something that means so much to you.

    If half the world had your passion, conviction and dedication - and used it to improve themselves, and the world around them as you do - this would be a far more amazing world than the one we're living in.

    All the best to you and Ray in the next few months. Can't wait to see pics and hopefully hear some awesome stories!


  2. Hello Martin, found you videos on youtube, nice work. I am from Brazil, i use to play at a high level at Circuito Banco do Brasil but now I have a job that dont allow me to play at that level anymore. Nice tip about that shoulder exercise. I will try it couse mine it huts some times when a spike the ball. well, keep up the good work. Robson