Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Teri Tom, an expert in diet and sports nutrition, has long teamed up with strength and conditioner Alex Ariza with a number of clients, including – since 2008 – Manny Pacquiao. Tom is often overlooked despite being a key component of Pacquiao’s team and the registered dietitian, who holds a master’s degree in nutritional science as well as a personal training certification, has spoken out over the importance of her work with Ariza in balancing Pacquiao’s strength, mass and speed.
“When designing training and nutrition programs it’s imperative to remember what you’re trying to accomplish… in most sports, power is the desired attribute,” Tom explained on the official website for Manny; mp8.ph. “Power, defined mathematically as work per unit of time, simply means you are able to do more work in less time. Work is defined as the product of force and displacement. Hence, the equation:
Power = force x displacement
“In most sports, be it boxing, fencing, wrestling, baseball, basketball, or football, power—how fast and forcefully you can perform a given technique or play—determines the outcome. And if you are training for a specific sport, you need to tailor your training accordingly. Supplemental training can improve your game but only if you know how to go about it.”
Noting examples, Tom said: “The most glaring example of this is weight training. Nobel Laureate, A.V Hill demonstrated this in Hill’s Curve in which he depicted the inverse relationship between loads and velocity.
“In other words, the heavier the load, the less speed,” asserted Tom. “In this case, you may develop maximum strength, but not power. In a study of NCAA athletes, half were assigned ballistic-like lifting programs and the other half were assigned traditional maximal strength lifting programs. The ballistic lifters saw a significantly greater improvement in vertical jump tests and 40-yard sprint times than their strength training counterparts*.”
Ariza has stressed before that, with weight-training, there is not as much benefit for a fighter in the lighter to middle weight classes to bench-press with bulk weights as it builds aesthetic muscle, as opposed to working the muscles that will be needed for ring movement, punching and upper body movement.
Tom and Ariza will both be working on ensuring Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38ko) hits the catchweight of 144lbs that was negotiated for his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39ko) on Saturday, November 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. The main objective is to build Pacquiao back up to an explosive welter while not jeopardising one of his greatest natural assets – his phenomenal speed.
“There are many studies demonstrating this inverse relationship between strength and speed,” continued Tom. “The point is that resistance exercise in and of itself does not necessarily improve athletic performance or speed but if the training is designed specifically to increase power, then improved speed will result.
“In general, you are looking for a balance between 40 and 60 percent maximum load and speed. Next time you see Alex running Manny through a workout notice how there are no traditional high-load/low reps resistance training exercises. It’s all box jumps, baseball swings, and speed and agility drills. This keeps our guys fast and powerful and not too bulky. If you’re training for size, that’s another story, but in the ring, speed kills.”
*Hoffman JR, et al. Comparison of Olympic vs. Traditional Power Lifting Training Programs in Football Players. J Strength Cond Res 2004;18:129.