Safe Effective Strength Training
April 15 "The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyus." -Carl Sagan
"In his 27th season [in the NFL], our mystery guest is the dean of NFL strength and conditioning coaches. A hard-driving coach who still maintains an easy rapport with his players, he has set up strength and conditioning programs for a number of NFL teams.
He is known nationwide for his outspoken stance against the use of steroids in strength training. His team’s training program was aggressively steroid-free long before official sanctions against the drugs became a nationwide norm.
Our mystery guest has seen many of his athletes perform impressive feats in the weight room, but that’s not his goal.
"We train very hard, but we’re not training our people to be weight lifters or power lifters," he says. "We always keep the perspective that we’re working with these guys to be the best football players they can be."
An outstanding running back at the University of Wisconsin during his college days, he has worked under all eight head coaches in his team’s history. He joined the club in 1975, Paul Brown’s final season as head coach, and has since coordinated strength training for Bill Johnson, Homer Rice, Forrest Gregg, Sam Wyche, Dave Shula, Bruce Coslet and Dick LeBeau.
PLAYING AND COACHING HISTORY — 1964-66: Played running back at Wisconsin. 1975-2001: Strength and conditioning coach, (Just 1 AFC Team the whole time!)".**Note** Much of this bio was taken from another website which will be recognized on Friday, as we don’t want to just give away the answer now do we?
There are some elements of strength training that, regardless of training protocols used, remain true. One of these "truisms" is the fact that through increased intensity an athlete can gain strength. As coaches we should try and introduce as many various techniques to intensify our athletes' workouts.
First, it should be understood that for optimal work of the type IIb muscle fibers, also known as the fast-twitch fibers, the muscle must be worked to failure. StrongerAthletes.com believes that there is a difference between muscle failure and cardio-vascular failure and the two should not be confused during a workout. It was acknowledged at the 2002 National Strength & Science Seminar that any intensifying techniques used should not exceed 60 seconds following the point of muscular failure. This ensures muscle exhaustion rather than cardio-vascular exhaustion.
The following list is just a sampling of many techniques to increase the workout intensity. Also, the ones below work well with our program in terms of being able to apply them following the set to failure by the athlete. So for example, if Johnny fails at 8 reps on the leg press his spotter or coach would help to incorporate the following techniques.
To fully exhaust the muscle, a routine we like to recommend on the bench press for example... following the reps to failure then the 2 forced reps...and a negative...an athlete can then roll off the bench and begin push-ups... at the point of failure- static hold into 1 final negative.
Some additional intensity builders are listed below. Thanks to Coach Jim Bryan and Coach John Thomas for sharing and modeling these for us.
We encourage you to try some of these intensity techniques in your next workout. You probably already do some of these. It is so important to maximize every second of the working set when we are attempting to lift to failure. Remember, to get faster you must work the fast-twitch fibers. These can only be worked in a manner of exhausting the muscle entirely. These techniques can help your athletes reach that point effectively and efficiently.
***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the StrongerAthlete.com website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***