connective tissue theory

I am investigating low and high intensity work and tendons and other connective tissues. Any thoughts on the benefits of tempo work? I am not starting a debate I just want people’s ideas…

Only serious injury that I have had came at our first (and last) coaches decathalon. I tore my patellar tendon doing the long jump. Keep in mind that I am fresh out of college, off a primarily distance background. Besides learning that I have no future in the long jump, I learned that I have no connective tissue/tendon strength. I would say that high intensity training would equate to high levels of tendon strength.

I read a magazine article a while ago that said resistance training with heavy weight increases tendon strength. Now the example exercise they gave was 1/4 squats with just a freak load of weight. The trick was to do not do the full range of motion. I think I may still have the articel. i wonder if isometrics would have a sinilar effect, if indeed the aforementioned has the effect of increasing tendon strength.

RE: Tempo

Low intensity work might have the benefit of increasing heat and bloodflow, thus improving recovery. Obviously, this same benefit also applies to muscle tissue, but perhaps the marginal benefit is greater with connective tissue, which normally has very poor circulation compared to muscle tissue. Perhaps this is why low intensity work provides better recovery than passive rest, because the improved circulation in the connective tissue allows for more complete and balanced recovery of the overall musculo-tendinous system.

I have absolutely no references to back me up on this. I’m just brain storming. Does it seem plausible?

I think heavy intensity is best for strengthening. Regarding ROM, would it matter whether a 1/4 lift or full lift is used ie. if the muscles are activated as strongly as possible would the contraction forces and therefore the forces applied to the connective tissue not be the same regardless of the ROM?

This is a complex question that has been presented without much comment before.
1: The duration of stimulus must be counted as well as the intensity (height vs breadth). Greater range equals longer stimulus.
2: As tendon and bone strength are only increased after stimulation by muscle load, why wouldn’t gradual strengthening be adviseable? Young- and, sometimes, not so young, athletes can fall victim to evulsion fractures (tendon breaking bone away from its “moorings”). Extreme stimulus over a short range should be reserved for the fully developed athlete.
3: Weights are far from the only stimulus that affects the muscle/tendon/bone complex. Already, speed work done on today’s artificial surfaces, which, unlike the old dirt tracks, have an “all or nothing” adhesion characteristic, plays “crack-the-whip” with the tendons causing stresses at the muscle/tendon and the tendon/bone junctions.
Jack up the “stakes” to save a few weeks or months of development time at your peril.

Re Tempo:
Easy tempo does speed recovery and aid in the flow of nutrients to bradytrophic tissue, like tendon.

i have had a tendon problem at my lower hamstring. recently i have added straight leg deadlifts 3 x 10. does this sound correct as far as numbers or should i increase reps. i use 135lbs.

Lower hamstring problems may indicate poor sprint mechanics (foot landing too far ahead of BDC, low hips etc). Or it can be a function of training methods (towing is a big offender as it forces the foot down far ahead of BDC). Any of this sound familiar?
SLDs are good. Are you doing ham curls (I’d drop them at least for now, and, if they are re-introduced at all, light weights only!)

I am not doing any curls. SDL are working great, just wanted to check on my reps and number of sets. And yes, towing was done weekly in college with over speed from time to time. Both a major contributer to the problem i’m sure.

High intensity will incease the thickness of the the tendon…but low intensity will incease the metabolism of the tendon.


Which would you recommend for a sprinter then?

both! They are not only compatible but dependant on each other. It’s like rest and work.

Originally posted by mj
I am not doing any curls. SDL are working great, just wanted to check on my reps and number of sets. And yes, towing was done weekly in college with over speed from time to time. Both a major contributer to the problem i’m sure.

Reps and sets…
Depends slightly on the distance you’re training for and the training phase you’re in. Also, depends on the exercise and muscles used.
Stiff leg deadlift;

A lot of fast twitch fibre in hamstirngs compared to most other muscles (apparently), plus it’s a heavy barbell exercise. When i did them i never went above 8 reps. 5 rep sets worked great for me though I was interested in improving 60m times. Also, the low back is used of course, and if you are lifting heavy with low back involved for high reps, that is not good. you quoted 3 x 10. I personally wouldn’t go above that and would recomend lower reps even.