April 8 "The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind." -William Blake
Just like last week we present a Mystery Guest.
This week's guest was one of the first people hired on the NFL's newest franchise, he was hired even before the head coach!
He "spent the previous 19 seasons [as the head strength and conditioning coach] with the Washington Redskins where served as an integral part of three Super Bowl champions, four NFC champions and five NFC East champions."
"This coach is known as a leader in his field. He has written several books and served as a fitness columnist for the Washington Post."
"Prior to his stint with the Redskins, he spent five years as the strength coach at Penn State. The Nittany Lions won their first national championship after his last season. Before arriving at Penn State, he served as the strength coach at Army from 1974-77."
His tenure in the NFL has produced several head strength and conditioning coaches who have worked with him. Steve Wetzel, last week's mystery guest, recognizes this man as one of his biggest inspirations.**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?
A common criticism that we receive at StrongerAthletes.com is of the importance we put on safety. Many Olympic lift coaches inform us that they have never witnessed a weight room injury related to quick lifts and that to remove them from a training program is unjust.
We respect the views of those coaches who are coaching quick lifts but would like to point out an example of a weight room injury that is quick lift related. In an article, "Lumbar ring apophyseal fracture in an adolescent weight lifter," Dr. Timothy D. Browne relates in a case report that a 16-year-old male had low back pain extending down the left leg, the morning after a heavy weight lifting session in physical education class. "His weight lifting routine the previous day had included bench press (160 pounds), power clean (160 pounds), and deadlift (225 pounds). He had some mild pain immediately after doing a set of power cleans."
In our coaching experience, we have found that athletes have often complained about having back pain after performing Olympic lifts. The pain is usually in the bone structure of the back not in the muscles of the back.
"After of week of various back problems caused from that training session, the athlete [in Dr. Browne's case study], was taken to the operating room and underwent decompressive laminectomy and attempted reduction of the L-3 apophyseal fracture."
Obviously this is one of those extreme cases that does not happen very frequently to this extent. But do you as a coach want your athletes to take that chance? We owe it to our athletes to provide the safest program possible. Are injuries possible in slow controlled lifts? Of course, but the frequency is much less because momentum is not involved in the lift.
To reply that risk is inherent in everything is silly. Yes, kids can get hurt playing football or even walking across the street so its logical to assume they might get hurt training. However, we maintain that it is not logical to assume this as a coach can increase the strength of his athletes without momentum.
Browne continues, "Strict control of the amount of weight and types of exercises is essential." Strict control training is not only essential for safety but for productivity and efficiency as well.
For our Olympic lifting brothers, and we know you're out there because we visit with you daily, we respectfully say, There is a safer way to train, and you may find it to be just as productive or maybe even more productive that what you currently do... as we have found. Please let us know if you have any other experiences with weight room injury.**Note** Browne MD, Timothy D., Yost MD, Robert P., McCarron MD, Robert F. "Lumbar ring apophyseal fracture in an adolescent weight lifter." The American Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 5, 1990.