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Showing posts from May, 2002

Another Look At Creatine

"The combination of creatine supplementation, high heat, and high humidity could be deadly!" -Iowa High School Athletic Association Welcome back... Since we first published our April 12 article on creatine we have found some additional resources which coaches may find helpful. We feel that the coach has a responsibility beyond "legalities" to ensure the safety of their athletes. It is our stance at StrongerAthletes.com that a coach should strongly deter athletes from using creatine due to 1) dehydration which combined with sport practices can be fatal and 2) unknown long term effects. Here is what others are saying on the subject and we encourage you to look further into Creatine safety for yourself. "In order to minimize health and safety risks to student-athletes, maintain ethical standards and reduce liability risks, school personnel and coaches should never supply, recommend or permit the use of any drug, medication or food supplement solely for perform

Wrestling: America's Secret Weapon

"America needs wrestling." -Dan Gable We have recently received comments and questions from wrestling coaches. We really, really like wrestling as a winter sport alternative for high school athletes. Here is a sport that rewards training, effort, courage, and skill... on a mat... by yourself... in front of your Mom. You either win or lose... it's not the coach's or teammate's fault if you get pinned. Training is often grueling and self-motivated. Wrestlers have a concept of nutrition and fitness unequaled in other high school athletes. Thanks to the coaches and athletes who wrote us this week seeking additional training ideas. Dear Coach Rody Interesting web site. You guys seem to really dislike Olympic lifts Actually we do not dislike Olympic Lifts. We think it is a great sport. We simply believe the quick movements do not transfer to sport specific skills outside of Olympic Lifting. Also, we do not feel that performing them is safe and it is not efficient in ter

Sport Specificity

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“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." -Satchel Paige We will address sport specific training again because we are receiving many e-mails for people who do not understand this concept. It is based on a scientific principle known as the Principle of Specificity. It describes how the neuromuscular system works in relation to athletic training. Many coaches believe that Olympic lifting will help athletes in their sport specific skills. This is true... IF their sport is Olympic lifting. But many coaches assume that these lifts will help their football, basketball etc... players. That is just like saying that tackling will help you get stronger in the power clean. This is not the way the neuromuscular system works. Olympic lifting for competition is a sport itself. Playing football requires specific skills to be learned such as blocking, tackling etc... Other sports require their skills also. Every sport has their own risks as

Classic: Specificity 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 StrongerAthletes.com Classic: Specificity II This article first appeared on February 20, 2002. We feel due to the recent increase of new readers to our site that it is important to rehash some of, what we believe to be, the basic principles of a safe, productive, and efficient training program. Specificity, to StongerAthlete.com , 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 exerc

Specificity. How Specific do We Need to Be?

“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 StrongerAthletes.com Classic: Specificity II This article first appeared on February 20, 2002. We feel due to the recent increase of new readers to our site that it is important to rehash some of, what we believe to be, the basic principles of a safe, productive, and efficient training program. Specificity, to StongerAthletes.com , 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 ex

Single Working Set to Failure

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." -Abraham Lincoln Enough already with the defense of our position. Lets talk about what we can do to develop better athletes with a safe, productive, and efficient program. [By the way, we received an e-mail concerning our use of "efficiency": "efficiency- (I'm assuming you mean the best way to train.)" Actually, by efficiency we mean  time spent in the weight room. We would not claim a "best way to train."] To meet all three of our criteria of safe, productive, and efficient we prescribe a set/rep routine dependent on the athlete's training level. Assuming an athlete has moderate proficiency with the exercise movements we would prescribe a warm-up set on the first lift of an exercise routine before performing 1 set to failure within a pre-determined rep range. We will use the bench press as an example. [We have recently received several concerns that we are being hypocrit

Plyometrics: Yes or No?

 "Bright is the ring of words when the right man rings them." -Robert Louis Stevenson Plyometrics is a topic that we are finally going to address. Many of our readers have asked about the use of plyometric jumps as part of their strength and conditioning program. The use of plyometrics ranges from activities such as running, box jumps, jump rope and all its varieties. We have been around coaches who have their athletes do high impact plyometrics in hopes that it will increase their explosiveness. As with Olympic lifting we have found that the majority of the coaches that implement plyometrics often in the form of depth jumps or running stairs often find their athletes complain of joint pain in the ankles, feet, and knees. Over the weekend we were e-mailed by a very angry reader who declined to sign his name. He pointed us in the direction of a June 19, 2001 Football Weekly Article and asked if we would comment on it. The article gives an example of how a recent NFL player tr

More on : An Experiment in Muscle Fiber Recruitment and Mystery Guest Chet Fuhrman Pittsburgh Steelers

"I don't want to sit on the fence, but it could go either way." -Maurice Banford A Quick Note About "An Experiment in Muscle Fiber Recruitment" In regards to Wednesday's article about Coach Kelso's experiment to determine the difference between muscle fiber recruitment in quick versus slow lifting protocols, we had several good questions which we would like to briefly address. Coach Rody, I had some questions about the recent "study" that Coach Kelso performed. How do you measure a .66 or .86 rep on a bench press? I do not want to speak for Coach Kelso but I assume the .66 and .86 were numbers that came from averaging several athletes. I have never come across anyone that has encouraged lowering a weight as fast as possible. What do you mean when you say "quick lift", are you including all exercises that are performed in a fast manner (seems like they would then be called "quick reps")or specific lifts that are normally done

An Experiment in Muscle Fiber Recruitment

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. Its been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But, baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and could be again." -James Earl Jones, "Field of Dreams" Recently, Tom Kelso, University of Illinois-Chicago, conducted an experiment with his athletes, to help determine the relationship between muscle fiber recruitment and lifting speed. This was in response to the overwhelming myth that lifting quickly is superior to slow controlled lifting. Coach Kelso's findings follow below in RED. We actually conducted an informal experiment with some of our athletes to determine the effects on motor unit recruitment and speed of exercise movement. We obtained a 1-rm on the bench press, then used 60% the 1-rm and performed a "fast" test and "slow" te

Dear StrongerAthletes: Fiber Recruitment and Bias

"Truth is what stands the test of experience" -Albert Einstein Mystery Guest If you think you know the answer or simply want to chime in with a guess.. drop us an e-mail at our Mystery Guest Trivia Department. All correct answers will be recognized on Friday. "This week's mystery guest was named conditioning coach, [for the Steelers], in February 1992 following 10 years as strength and conditioning coach at Penn State. A native of Harrisburg, Pa.,he is in his 10th season with the team and his 23rd year of strength training. He served as the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Penn State from 1979-80. He was named the first strength and conditioning coach ever at Weber State in Ogden, Utah, in 1981, before returning to Penn State to take charge of the strength and conditioning program in 1982. Our mystery guest, 48, graduated from Central State (Okla.) University in 1973 with a degree in physical education. He spent the next five years as strength coach and a

Dear StrongerAthletes: Various Questions

"Nature does nothing uselessly." - Aristotle A reader from South Africa writes to us about our Swiss Ball article, "I am busy going my course in the Swiss Ball please could you help me? I would like to know what a non-postural muscle is? Your help would be appreciated. Kind regards." South Africa, What Chen was referring to was training postural muscles in a non-postural fashion. Some of the postural muscles are referred to as stabilizer muscles to most. They are some of the muscles that balance the body and enables you to stand upright. This can be done with a swiss ball but will do little to enhance athletic ability in an athlete's specific sport because they are not task specific. Coach Rody StrongerAthletes.com A high school student writes, "I am a junior right now in high school and I was wondering if you could give me some things to do to increase my speed (40 time) and stamina. Currently, I weigh about 246 and am 6 feet tall. I'm trying to get do

Conducting A Test: Non Olympic Lifting vs Olympic Lifting

 "If you cannot power clean you cannot be a good shot putter. -Name Withheld (We use this quote mockingly! We love to receive e-mails from our readers regardless of their stance on a safe, productive and efficient training program, however, please think about what you are saying before you say it!) [Please see our April 26 post for more information on this statement.] Conducting A Test One of our readers suggested that we write about controlled tests to gain an understanding of these issues in which are discussed here. We know that any test or such, controlled as it may be, would not be conclusive of anything other than speculation. However, we have discussed this idea with other coaches in our high school. We came up with a premise to test our athletes over an 8-week summer school strength training class. Knowing some problems exist in its design, we have laid out our original idea of an experiment below. Following our proposal is an evaluation by Tom Kelso, Strength Coach at th