Reply To: Location and USRPT Status

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Miklos Petras

Hi Everybody!

I’m Miklos Petras, from Hungary, Europe (not on your map 🙂 ) Sorry for my grammar mistakes, english isn’t my first language. I heard about USRPT last spring, and got excited about it, because 10+ years ago I myself tried to ‘invent’ something like it but failed (long story short: I grew up with old-shool ‘garbage mileage’ methods, I got sick of it, and tried to focus more on the real demands of the races, like Rushall. I failed because I always overtrained myself with sprint work – too long rest periods caused extreme mental fatigue, and I had to quit.) Last year, when I first read about USRPT I immediately saw the genius in Rushall’s words, and tried it on myself first. (I’m a Senior/Masters/ swimmer as well) I soon realised he’s right, and that he found the solution for the problem I got too. I totally love his critical attitude towards old ‘but we’ve always done that’ methods. I was like that too, but you know: if everybody else is coming towards you at the motorway, then you must be on the wrong side – I didn’t believe myself. But after I saw the wisdom in his words, I tried it, and felt almost immediately that he’s right. I hope we here are on the right side of the motorway… 😉

I’m a coach at Aligator SC for 4 years now. I work with 18 kids who are not really ‘first class’ or ‘talented’ (most of them would be denied by the ‘big and famous’ clubs of my country – the kind of clubs I swam in, the clubs that ‘produced’ Egerszegi, Darnyi, Gyurta, Cseh, Hosszú…), and our training opportunities are far from ideal: 2 lanes SCM, 45 mins 3 days a week at the morning, and 1.5 hours every afternoon/evening Mon-Fri. That’s all, no gym, no track, no dry-land opportunities, nothing, just a pool. I got kids from age 8 to age 16, and I’m the only coach at the club, so 2 times a week we all need to train together, the other 3 times I can train the smaller/beginner group at the afternoon, and the pros come evening.

I started hybrid-USRPT work with my swimmers 4 weeks before the Hungarian Nationals last year (2015). They absolutely loved it, and almost everybody shined at the Nationals, my best swimmer became 5th in 100m BR (14 y.o. male, 1:11,27, previos PB swam cca. 3 months before 1:15,76), and everybody stepped up 10-30 places in the rankings!
I started full USRPT this september (I mean last september 🙂 ) and they continued to swim exceptionally good. The final LCM meet at around december 20 however didn’t happenned to be as good as I wanted it to be. Everybody looked tired (and they were!) and they weren’t able to swim their bests (PBs mostly, yes, but not as good times as I calculated before). Truth be told: 3 weeks before that meet they swam amazingly good SCM, two of my swimmers became 10th or better in the SC national rankings at their best events, and almost everybody swam PBs 5+ seconds in 100m and 7+ seconds in 200s! After this amazing race they let themselves down a bit, and most of them got sick for around a week – just a week before the final meet in 2015.

Anyway, some of my thoughts about USRPT:
1. It works. It works wonders, and kids love it.
2. Technique is key to success, they improve it ‘instintively’ if you can guide them well. Most of my swimmers have way better starts and turns than any of their rivals, and it’s mainly because turns are not a rest opportunity for them, but a way to go faster.
3. I feared they won’t have good endurance for 200s but they actually do! Most of them happenned to stuggle a bit with 100s though – too fast first halves, they got tired around 75m, or they started too slow and couldn’t let everything out, that kind of struggle. When they can get the 100 right though, they fly, and they really enjoy their races! 🙂
4. Rest time is important! You actually can and should play with it, but too much is wrong because it results higher fatigue levels. 20 seconds for 25s and 25 for 50s are max as I can tell.
5. I bought an ‘action cam’ (SJCAM SJ4000+) and a cheap tri-pod, and I make amazing footage of their underwater technique. It helps them to see their mistakes and learn from each other. This makes technique teaching way much more effective. (I wish we had those stuff when I was their age… 😉 )

And some questions for the experienced USRPT-users:

1. I’m not sure though that prolonged USRPT training doesn’t become boring and/or ineffective. (continued repetition of a stimulus isn’t effective after a while.) I’d like to ask experienced USRPT-users about their findings.
After 8-12 weeks of USRPT training I think they need 1-2 week of something else. Maybe a week of recovery, maybe some ‘old-school’ work, something… else. Then back to work. This Sep-Dec period showed my swimmers just got tired of USRPT sets after prolonged use. They got 2 weeks rest around Xmas, and they swim very good and fast right now, they’re motivated and seem to be fully rested.
2. My swimmers cramp a lot. (Is it the right word for it? They got spasms (gastrochnemius, vastus lateralis and/or medialis, feet, etc.) during exercises sometimes even during warm-ups) Why can that be? I told them to drink more and use calcium/magnesium as well as vitamins, and it helped a lot, but the problem still remains. Got anybody any advice about that?
3. Rest periods between USRPT sets: I think they need to move and don’t let the heart rate drop down too much, but Rushall doesn’t recomend easy swimming. What are you doing in the recovery-time? Stretching is too ‘low-intensity’ for my taste. Have you got a good gymnastic set or something else you can (and would) share?