Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thoughts on Brazil, Athletics and Life

I recently took a ten day trip to Brazil to work with a sprinter from Great Britain.  It was my first time to Brazil or anywhere in South America for that matter.  We were at 3 different track meets in the Brazil Grand Prix.  The cities were Belem, Uberlandia and Sao Paulo.

The athlete got 3 wins and faster times in the 100 meter at each race.  I think he will be set up to run sub 10.0 seconds in a few days.

Brazil was a crazy mixture of rich and poor.  In fact, my definition of poor took on new meanings.  I had been to Tijuana in Mexico, while training in the Olympic Training center in San Diego, and my previous definition of poor had been challenged.

So again, my definition of poor has been brought to new a level.  We were on a bus to the first meet when the true reality hit me.  Going to chiropractic school in Iowa, I saw a few pig farms.   Small wooden lean-toos in a field.  Looking out that bus, on the way to the meet, I thought I was looking at a massive pig farm.  That is, until I started to see people.  Talk about an eye opener.

On the complete opposite spectrum, I visited the largest mall in Brazil in Uberlandia.  Nike shoes were as much as 300 dollars for a pair you can get in the states for 80 dollars.  People were buying them as well.

The meets themselves, were pretty amazing.  The crowds that showed up were large and enthusiastic.  I was at the USA National Track Championships in Indianapolis a few years ago and there was maybe a thousand people there.

Sprinting creates different hamstring development.  The posterior chain development is insane in the fastest people in the world.  It's hard to explain, but you can visually see those that sprint and someone that lifts a lot of weights, the difference.  Sprinting is high intensity and when you have been doing it for years and years, high frequency.  It creates a different density, length and feel, then lets say deadlifts.

Athletics can be a great bridge to different cultures.  I became friends with a strength coach from Cuba.  He didn't speak much English and I speak no Spanish, but we managed to hang out and "talk" about isometric training (a topic I want to learn more about) and myofascial release.  A topic he had never seen in action before.  He said in Cuba, all they do for the athletes is stretching.

He had some tremendous athletes.  I watched as one of his triple jumpers hang cleaned 170k with such ease I had to count the kilo's myself.  I was kicking myself I hadn't brought my camera to film it.

Top sprinters have great front side mechanics.  The knee lift is awesome.  It's amazing how technical the 100 meter race actually is.  I wish I had known this when I was in high school and college running.  The most direction I ever received was try to stay relaxed.

To sum up, it was a great trip.  Be thankful for what you have.  Start sprinting. It's a great fat burner and will develop the posterior chain like no other.  Try to learn from everyone you meet.

Dwain and I after he runs 10.01.


Lori Tsutsui said...

Loved reading your account. I wonder what foreign visitors to the United States think about our industrial cattle and pig farms.

Mike Hallmeyer said...

Love reading your blogs each week, especially when you get to travel the world and talk about things we may never get a chance to see / experience!

Jason Ross said...

Thanks Lori, Thanks Mike for the comments.