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Safe, Effective Strength Training for Athletes

July 22 "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." -William Shakespeare

For the summer, we have decided to reduce our frequency and post once or maybe twice a week. We will be very busy training our athletes and taking vacations. We will pick up the frequency again in the fall. We will continue responding to your e-mails regularly so please do not hesitate to send us your thoughts or comments about training.

25th Annual NSCA Convention

Although StrongerAthletes.com was not able to attend the 25th Annual NSCA Convention, Coach Gary Gant from Apple Valley, California was, and sent us this report. We sincerely hope that this forum can help to educate coaches that safe, productive, and efficient training methods are not unheard of or un-sound philosophies. Coach Gant serves as yet another voice, frustrated at the one-sidedness of much of America's strength training discourse.

I had the privilege this weekend of attending the 25th anniversary and conference for the National Strength and Conditioning Association(NSCA). This was my first NSCA conference, my primary job is that of an athletic trainer and I usually attend NATA conventions. I learned a lot of valuable information, and most importantly information that I can use right away.

One thing that troubled me was the anti-HIT (High Intensity Training) rhetoric. I could not count how many times that I heard to "Train ballistically because sports are ballistic in nature".

Coach Mannie, who was referenced to by one of the speakers on this topic said it best, "Training ballistically because your sport is ballistic is like banging your head against a wall to prepare for a concussion". This is probably not an exact quote but you get the idea.

I heard how machine training is not functional to sport, because machine training does not mimic sport. My question is, "When did STRENGTH no matter how it is built not become functional?" There were many references throughout the conference about this and I could go with many examples.

One session that I would like to tell you about was called "Hit or Miss: a review of research relevant to High Intensity Training."

The first topic the speakers covered was the definition of HIT and the Anti-Specificity characteristics of it.

The two speakers presented themselves well, and I could tell that they are very knowledgeable men. They presented research that was relevant to their cause, but I am sure that a HIT speaker would have plenty of research to support his or her cause. One bit of data was on how common HIT is in athletics. From their data 15 colleges use HIT, one NBA and NHL team use HIT. 2 MLB teams use HIT, and 5 NFL teams use HIT. What was not mentioned that of these teams what is the injury rate, and also success.

More references were made about HIT with a lot of the information coming from Cyberpump.com

Research on single sets vs. multiple sets - This always has to be explained to the public, the single set group usually uses 8-12 reps, and the multi set group uses very low to moderate rep ranges.

To check strength improvement the 1rm is used, if the 1rm is the test, then the subjects should be allowed to practice the 1rm. A 1rm is a skill unto itself, and may change daily based on rest, recovery, stress etc.

Also it was said that high volume allows more ability to workout longer. How does the old saying go? "An athlete can workout HARD for a short period of time or workout easier for a longer period of time".

In conclusion, I am proud to be a member of the NSCA, I am also proud of my CSCS credential. I believe the profession needs this organization and the credential to set a standard of professionalism. But this organization is obviously divided. There is a majority that is basically anti-HIT, and then a small group of HIT advocates. The USA came together liberal, conservative, black, white on 9/11/2001 and the country became stronger. For the NSCA to know it's true strength we need to be more accepting of each others ideas, myself included.

I learned a great deal about Functional Training and I can apply many of these ideas right away in re-hab protocols. We can all learn from each other, there is no one right way to train athletes, I just believe HIT to be a Safer and more Efficient training method. I will attend more NSCA meetings and try to become more involved myself and I hope others will do the same.

In Health,
Gary D. Gant ATC,CSCS

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