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What Does FAST Stand For? Part 1

Written By Jayme Pantekoek | Published June 12th 2022


 

What FAST Stands For (The FAST Method): Part 1

  

The first two letters of FAST stand for Force Application. Force Application in training can range from plyometrics to band training, or weights to quickly changing directions. All these movements demand force against the ground and therefore muscles, tendons, bones, and tissue in the athlete has to respond and in turn, affected into some change.

  

Force is the language of all tissue in the body. An example of this you’re probably familiar with is massage, which relieves muscle aches. Another example is moving heavy weight, which can break down muscle tissue and rebuild stronger. If you want change in your body, you have to apply some sort of force.

 

 

How We Apply Force Is the Key:

  

How we apply force in training is a very important factor in getting the most out of our athletes and training sessions. Force should be structured so the athlete can use their nervous system to get the best result.

  

We want to give the athlete a variety of activities so three things happen: 1) the nervous system is fully activated, 2) muscles are stimulated, and 3) tendons and ligaments are using their elastic qualities.

  

Using weights in training is great for a couple of different reasons. Weights can be a great way to slow athletes down in their movements, allowing them to feel through a movement pattern. This is both stimulating to the nervous system and the extra time under tension creates a better functioning muscle pattern through muscle memory.

  

Tempo Training with Weights:

  

Eccentrics

  

Different tempos, or speeds, in which athletes move can create different results. If we are looking to solidify a pattern, we would use a slow on-the-way down tempo. A downward or eccentric movement tells the nervous system to lock in the pattern of movement. It’s also the strongest pattern we have as athletes. One more positive of an eccentric movement is on the tendons if you pull on a tendon slowly the tendon grabs more circulating collagen and improves the tendon’s quality.

  

Isometrics

  

The tempo of an isometric, if the athlete is advanced enough, is fast on the way down through the eccentric phase but an abrupt stop at the bottom of the movement with a long hold at the bottom. Like the eccentric phase, the isometric phase has a big benefit in the advancement of the nervous system.

  

The eccentric phase solidifies the movement pattern where the isometric pattern increases the control of the nervous system over that movement pattern through what’s called myelination. Myelination is the thickening of the insulating sheath of the nervous system that runs directly from the brain to the muscle that is involved in the movement. Any increase in myelination helps with the speed, strength, and accuracy of the movement pattern.

  

Concentrics

  

The tempo of a concentric movement is as fast as you can push up in the movement or explode.

  

The other two phases of the movement put the athlete in a structurally sound position to get ready for the explosive concentric phase. This tempo is all about muscle contraction rate and is characteristically seen as the force that drives an athlete into acceleration. While the other two phases are just as important in moving or even more important, the concentric phase gets all the credit when you see an extremely explosive athlete move. Here we are developing the rate of the force, or how fast we can get an object/body to top end speed.

  

These are 3 main tempos we work with our athletes. There are several more for advanced athletes but teaching and training these are the biggest difference makers when we are getting athletes ready to produce force.

  

Plyometrics Role On Force Application:

  

We have spent a lot of time talking about external loads when it comes to force application in the form of weight training, which can be light or heavy weights, medicine balls, or band training. These are all externally loading the body with extra weight or force. Plyometrics are a great way to load force on the athlete without using an external load, although you still can use an external load.

  

One of the most effective ways to utilize a plyometric is to have the athlete go through similar patterns of eccentric, isometric, and concentric phases but do them very quickly. One way to do this is to drop off an object or to come into a change of direction with speed. This starts the loading or eccentric pattern of the movement and brings the athlete to the isometric pattern as they change direction into the concentric pattern to build explosion.

  

A lot of times the force of this type of plyometric can be 2x’s greater than the force of moving external loads like weights because of the speed combined with the athlete’s body weight. If you were to measure the force in this type of plyometric on a force plate you would see that the force generated is easily up to 4x’s the athlete’s body weight. This is a huge force that is applied to the athlete to solicit changes in muscle, tendons, and tissue in the body and usually this type of training directly correlates to sports transfer.


In our next blog post, we will discuss the meaning behind the second two letters in ST – Sports Transfer. Stay tuned! As always, contact jayme@getfastmn.com with questions.





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