Showing posts from February, 2002

Where's the Research?

 “America needs wrestling." -Dan Gable We have attempted to show coaches both sides in terms of philosophy of training. Olympic lifting vs. Non-Olympic. We have sited evidence of transfer- Principle of Specificity which is found in any physiology text, yet coaches still believe that transfer still occurs from lifting movements to the sport skill. [ See Specificity ]. How can someone believe that a scientific principle is false? They need to get with reality and start asking themselves, Where's the Research behind what I do? Muscle fiber is recruited in an orderly fashion. [ See Muscle Fiber Recruitment ]. This cannot be denied. It is backed by science. Faster movement such as the Olympic lifts are more dangerous than slow controlled movements. [ See Safety ]. This is not only scientifically proven, backed by piles of research. Not only that, but to believe in otherwise defies common sense. Research indicates that one set is as good for gaining strength and power as is multipl

Track Clinic Reflections

“The value of any action lies in seeing it through to the end." -Genghis Khan This article is in response to the clinic that I spoke at opposite a coach who was an Olympic lifting advocate. This is also a message to collegiate strength coaches primarily. It is time to stop influencing high school coaches to do the Olympic lifts. Collegiate coaches are brainwashing high school coaches into thinking that these quick lifts develop power and explosiveness while ignoring the safety of our athletes. This is unprofessional and unethical. These may sound like harsh words but I'll tell you just what I told those in attendance at the clinic, "I am not judgmental or argumentative about strength training. I know, we as coaches, all want what is best for our athletes and I honor and respect that. I am passionate about what I believe and mean no disrespect concerning what you may or may not do with your kids in the weight room." However, it seems that many in attendance were turne

The Overload Principle

“Little strokes fell great oaks." -Benjamin Franklin The overload principle refers to an athlete stimulating a muscle beyond its current capacity. This involves training with a high amount of intensity. Which brings us back to the Olympic lifts. Olympic lifting advocates as well as non-Olympic lifting advocates for the most part agree that the overload principle is a necessary part of training. In order to trigger muscle strength and growth, an athlete must train to failure and performed either more reps or more weight, or both. this is overload. In addition, other techniques such as forced reps and negative can be incorporated as well to overload the working muscle. constant tension on the muscle is a must inn order to achieve this type of stress on muscles. Matt Brzycki in his article “One More Rep," explains, “This principle states that in order to increase muscular size and strength, a muscle must be stressed -- or "overloaded" -- with a workload that is beyond

Be Open Minded

“If you do not understand something, you cannot successfully oppose it.” -Adam Guasch-Melendez Over the past 3 months has attempted to seek out the logical arguments for opposing strength training philosophies, specifically, Olympic lifts. As a reader, Adam Guasch-Melendez, pointed out to us, “If you do not understand something, you cannot successfully oppose it.” However, we seek to do more than know the opponent. We want to find the best methods to train our athletes safely. What we find frustrating is the closed mindedness we receive when presenting our philosophies. As those other non-Olympic lift advocates seek out research and studies of prominent training staffs, such as Husker Power, and use many of those finding in their programs, in turn Olympic lifting coaches should seek out research and studies from prominent non-Olympic staffs, such as Michigan State University. Instead what could be constructive discourse invariably turns to finger pointing and bas

Specificity Part II

“The principle of specificity states that training/practice must BE SPECIFIC to an intended skill in order for skill improvement—or “carryover” to occur. -Mark Asanovich Specificity, to , refers to the following: In order for the athlete to improve a skill such as tackling, he must practice tackling. In order to improve at the skill in volleyball, he/she must practice those skills. This definition of "specificity" is clearly stated in Physiology texts. Yet many coaches still interpret sport specificity different. One interpretation, by John Garhammer in his article "Sport-Specific Program Development," states the following: "Free weight resistive exercises in standing postures similar to positions used in one's sport not only involve sport specificity, but can stimulate increases in bone density and strength". He goes on comparing weight room exercises with sport skills, for example, volleyball players would benefit from stiff-leg

What are our Athletes Training For?

"College students have a number of daily and weekly obligations and commitments: class attendance, study time, part-time employment, meals, sleep and personal matter. This can be a job in itself." -Tom Kelso believes athletes should spend 1.5 hours to 3 hours in the weight room per week. In order to do this the athlete must be on a productive and efficient program. Strength training is an activity to help athletes perform their sport specific skills to the best of their ability. Then why do coaches implement Olympic lifts in their program at the college level and especially at the high school level? Athletes at these levels are very busy with classes, practice, study time, social life, and rest. It takes quite a bit of time to learn and master the proper execution of the quick lifts. Athletes must have a proper balance in life; Weight room time being just a fraction of that time. Tom Kelso, Strength Coach at the University of Illinois Chicago, in his ar

Split vs. Full Body Programs

"Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide. -Marcus Tullius Cicero An athlete can make good progress from a split or full body routine. Split routines are for the intermediate, more advanced athletes. They can still make great gains doing full body training sessions but it depends on the athletes’ recovery ability and schedule. suggests that the beginner train 3 nonconsecutive days per week performing each exercise on all 3 training days. At this level, the weights being used are not very heavy because the athlete is learning the movements and is learning how to train with intensity. We suggest that the intermediate athlete train 3 days per week as well. Body parts trained should be split into a push/pull type of routine or an upper/lower body type of routine. For example: upper body on Monday, lower body on Wednesday, upper body on Friday, lower body on Monday, etc… has had great success training athletes on this type of spl

Strength Training Layoffs

 " There are some things that can beat smartness and foresight; awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no. The person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him." - Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court) believes in athletes being consistent in their strength training regimen. One of the main challenges a strength coach has with his athletes is to make adjustments to each athletes program when necessary to make sure progression in strength continues. This could mean that an athlete take a layoff once in awhile. It has long been believed that if an athlete does not train a certain muscle frequently, it will atrophy and lose strength. maintains that this 96 hour rule is false. This is

A Return to Safety

"Yet, regardless of which training protocols may be right or wrong, as health/fitness professionals our first responsibility is to the safety of those who have entrusted their health to us." -Mark Asanovich, Strength Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers often asks coaches who implement Olympic lifts in their program, "Is it really worth it?" We say no as far as safety is concerned. We have asked many high school and college level athletes how they like the power clean exercise. Most all of them respond by saying something like, "My back hurts when I do them, but other than that they're o.k." Time and time again we get this type of response. It is important to note when observing these athletes, some have good form but most have poor technique. Coaches in many sports realize the potential for injury but still incorporate them into work-outs. Why add to this injury potential by implementing an unsafe exercise? In addition to safety, w

Dear / Q & A

"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." -Ralph Waldo Emerson Since we have "opened the doors" here at in December we have seen our readership skyrocket. In order to make things more consistent for our readers we will try to update every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We would like to thank Scott Savor and the National Strength & Science Seminar for helping us get the word out. Also, Jim Bryan, Tom Kelso, and Ken Mannnie have been a big help and would like to thank them for their support and cooperation. In this week's Dear we would like to share some comments various readers have made during or first 2 months. Dear Coach Rody, I checked [the

How Many Sets Per Exercise?

"There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." -Morpheus...The Matrix realizes that multiple set training can produce strength gains in our athletes. However, one set per exercise is also a very beneficial method of training, assuming an athlete is warmed-up properly. In an article written by Ken Mannie, "High-volume or High Intensity," research is sited from R.N. Carpinelli and R.M. Otto. The investigation involved 35 studies comparing single-set to multi-set strength programs. The results indicated 33 of the 35 studies showed no significant difference in strength or muscular size between the single-set and multi-set groups. Carpenelli did a follow-up review of 12 studies with same results. Mannie concludes, "The fact that 45 of the 47 [groups] indicate that the single-set training is just as effective as multi-set strength training is compelling evidence for the efficacy of the single-set protocol." In oth

Efficiency in Training

"Forget yourself and start to work." -Gordon B. Hinckley believes in short intense training sessions. Many coaches are adopting a similar philosophy of time spent on training due to class period restrictions or efficiency issues. The beginner level should train no more than 3 hours per week split into 3 one-hour sessions. The intermediate level athlete should train a little less and the advanced level even less than that. The more advanced an athlete is the more recovery time that is needed. Occasionally we still here coaches brag about their athletes training 4 days per week 2-3 hours per session. These coaches assume that time spent in the weight room is time well spent. Now, a coach can make the argument that an athlete is expressing some effort of commitment to the program and developing good work habits. However, this certainly is not a very efficient approach when we consider strength development. An article written by Richard Borden “Building Strong


"Let the punishment match the offense." -Cicero About this time coaches all over America are watching their weight room numbers dip a little. As the weather takes a turn for the worse and kids are not thinking about their sports, especially if it is football. (I mean come on... it still 6 months away!) Although kids' minds may be thinking that way a coach operates on a different calendar. We need our athletes in the weight room on a consistent basis. Getting kids to buy-in to what you are doing is part of the coaches job and weight room participation is a major player in a team's success. Obviously, strength gains are the biggest reasons we want our kids in the weight room but there are many intangibles that cannot be overlooked. First, coaches can quickly determine who are the dedicated players he can count on once the season arrives. Also, players build relationships of accountability as they sweat together. These "fringe" benefits are just some of the ad