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Safe, Effective Strength Training for Athletes

January 20 "You can't ever work too much because there is no such thing a being in too good condition. You can't ever lift too many weights because you can't ever be too strong. You can't ever wrestle too much, because you can always do better" -Dan Gable

Clinic Update

We are proud to report that Sam Brown, Head Football Coach at Shawnee Mission North High School (Shawnee Mission, KS) will be speaking at the 2003 StrongerAthletes.com Strength & Conditioning Clinic. Coach Brown brings over 30 years of football experience into the 2003 season. Coach Brown will help to give football coaches that last minute idea to take into football season.

In addition to Sam Brown, area high school football coaches will benefit from attending the Kansas and Missouri Football Rules Interpretations Meetings. Ours will be one of the earliest offered from either states' athletic associations.

Shawn Hannagan and Fitness Showcase of Kansas City have offered to sponsor this event. Shawn serves high schools and fitness centers throughout the Kansas City area.

Give Shawn Hannagan an e-mail to see how he can help your school or training center.

Squat Question

Dear Coach Rody,

Is it good or bad for 8th grade football players to point their toes in and/or out while performing knee curls/knee extensions and full squats? A friend of mine told me they should do this for complete development but I thought it might be harmful, especially with toes in.

Thanks, Coach Ed Tyree

Coach Tyree,

First, you should be congratulated for trying to find the safest training methods for your athletes, especially the young ones.

You ask about the squat, which is a great exercise, however you should be aware that there are some growing safety concerns with this movement. We were unaware of these concerns until last winter when we met with the staff at the 2002 Strength & Science Seminar in Blaine, MN. Some schools have completely gone away from the movement while others, like Penn State, prescribe it with extreme caution.

Matt Brzycki's book, A practical Approach To Strength Training, identifies the strain placed upon the lower back is much greater than the actual bar weight placed across the shoulders.

We are not trying to talk anyone out of using the squat movement, however, we want you to be aware of some of the rising safety concerns.

In the squat, we recommend that the athlete place their feet in a comfortable position. This is usually with toes pointed slightly outward because it is a more natural position. The athlete should never point the toes inward because it puts the knees in an unnatural position which could lead to injury. If an athlete is comfortable with his toes pointed straight, then that is fine. Development will not be affected by minor changes in foot position. Do not let anyone tell you different. Many people do get caught up in these type of details but I believe it is unnecessary.

As far as leg extensions and curls, I recommend the toes face straight. Pointing them slightly inward or outward will not cause harm to the athlete because their weight and the load is not put on the knees like in the standing position. But even then, I believe pointing them straight is the best way for overall development.

Hope this helps.

Coach Rody
StrongerAthletes.com

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