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Stronger Athletes

Safe, Effective Strength Training for Athletes

January 18 "Where all think alike, no one thinks very much." -Walter Lippmann

Dear StrongerAthletes.com

As our strength training philosophy spreads via the world wide web we are recieving some great comments from various coaches and athletes. Every so often we'll post many of these for the benifit of our readers. Our response is in bold. Please feel free to respond to any of our comments with opinion or questions of your own.

Dear Coach Rody, I just ran across your website. Thank you for having this forum for discussion. I agree that we all share the same goal of strengthening our athletes. I also agree that supervision is seriously lacking in our high school weight rooms.

I appreciate your comments. StrongerAthletes.com does have a philosophy that is in the minority right now but it is growing in popularity. Yes, we as coaches, all have the same common goal to strengthen athletes but our approach, we believe is the safest, most productive, and most efficient program possible. There are other very good programs out there but we feel that many are at the athletes expense when it comes to safety. -S.A.

I do, however think that "explosive" training is beneficial to sports activities. You mention "articles" written by strength coaches in various magazines but where is the research? We all have our opinions.

The coaches that I have quoted in the website have done research to back their beliefs, they are not just merely opinions. Some of the safety research includes: " Avulsion Fractures of the Lower Cervical Vertebra in Strength Training" by Hunter, G.R. and R.L. Hunter; "Weightlifting Injuries and Their Prevention" by Vorobyev, A.N.; "Motor Learning: Concepts and Applications" by Magill, R.A. Another very good book regarding specificity is "Motor Learning and Performance: From Principles to Practice" by Richard Schmidt, and published by Human Kinetics. (I believe this is being used as a text at the college level in some Exercise Science classes.) -S.A.

My view of explosive training is not limited to Olympic style lifts. It includes plyometrics and assistance lifts that are similar to core lifts as well as cleans. Look into studies by A.S. Prilepin, Dr. Tamas Ajan, and Prof. Lazar Barago. They emphasize intensity and bar speed in training. This type of training affects all four components of strength development that an athlete needs: absolute, explosive,endurance, and speed. It does this by combining many priciples and methods of training. Usually an explosive workout is followed 72 hours later by a max effort workout. Weaknesses are adressed by using assistance exercises.

As far as speed of the bar is concerned, I think our article "Expressing Power vs. Developing Power" explains the significance of bar speed. Speed is an expression of power. In order to develop power, the weight must be higher therefore the movement is slow and controlled.

We believe that slower controlled movements such as squats, deadlift, and bench press are explosive movements. But they are not considered explosive by most. The reason we call them explosive is because at the end of a set to failure an athlete is trying to move the weight as fast as possible but it is moving slowly because of the heavier amount of weight. If an athlete has the intention to move the weight quickly then the movement is considered explosive. This heavy weight is necessary in order to train the Type II b fibers. -S.A.

One other thing I'd like to address. It might have just been me but I got the feeling that proponents of your methods believe that proponents of explosive training don't have their athletes practice their sport specific skills. The comment about the Bulgarian Lifting team playing basketball lead me to this. It is clear that while we can strengthen our athletes in the weightroom we can't make them successful on the feild. They must practice their Sport!

Thanks again,
Coach Troy Baxendell, Jaguar Iron Works

I get the feeling that you agree with us in that Olympic lifting does not simulate or transfer to sport specific skills. Please correct me if I made an incorrect assumption. We have met many coaches that do believe that these movements do simulate and transfer to better blocking, tackling, shooting, spiking, throwing, better performance in hockey etc. This transfer simply cannot occur and goes against the Principle of Specificity that has been scientifically proven. The Principle of Specificity is addressed even by the Nebraska strength coaches, who serve as the "voice" of Olympic lifting for athletics, in their publications.

That’s where the Bulgarian comments came from. It was directed to those coaches who never talk about sport specific training and practice, just Olympic lifts.

Well, I think we agree on some things and disagree. I do appreciate your comments. We would like to post Olympic lifting advocate comments as well as the Non-Olympic lifting advocate comments so people can see both sides.

Thanks again for your response. Hope to hear from you soon. -S.A.

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