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Safe, Effective Strength Training for Athletes

June 10 "The fate of empires depends on the education of youth. -Aristotle

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.

Dear StrongerAthletes.com: Science & Strength Research

Dear Coach Rody,

  I am a physical therapist who gets the opportunity to work with athletes on occasion. Most of the time I work with older, injured, and very untrained individuals. I rarely get to progress them beyond the initial phase of lower weights with higher reps in order to establish better neuromuscular coordination without fear of re-injury before their time at my clinic is done. In the last few years I have had a chance to think more about young, healthy athletes as my boys are now in high school and are involved in their training programs. I am very interested in the approach you speak of and it sounds very similar to what some Nautilus proponents were espousing back in the 70's. I would appreciate it greatly if you could give me some references in scholarly journals that are supportive of your position.

  Sincerely,
Bob Johnson 

Mr. Johnson,

Thank you for your comments. There are many scientific publications that support our methods. We have very strong feelings about how to train athletes and believe that the non-Olympic approach is the safest most productive and efficient method of strength training. Our approach is similar to the old Nautilus approach that is actually still popular in many strength programs.

You mentioned that you have boys entering in the high school. At this age particularly, they really need to make safety the first priority in training. The growth in the epiphyseal should not be interrupted by performing ballistic movements. These movements create injuries and make athletes more susceptible to injuries in their sport.

I am sending you a list of publications which you can use to find the science behind the issues we discuss. Included are various topics which includes safety, productivity, and efficiency of training. The first authors in this list of publications are very knowledgeable. Individuals such as Dr. Ralph Carpinelli, Dr. Ted Lambrinides, and Dr. Ken Leistner, Dr. Wayne Westcott are some of the best. In fact,Dr. Ralph Carpinelli is one of the most respected neuromuscular physiologists in the world. Any of his publications are worth reading.

In our articles on the website we have made reference to some of these publications particularly on the issue of safety. Dr. Ted Lambrinides has been very supportive in our efforts and has sent us many articles from scientific journals to back up our beliefs.

Other individuals that are very knowledgeable in the field of strength training are Ken Mannie, Matt Brzycki, Tom Kelso, Jim Bryan, and Fred Cantor. These individuals are strength trainers from major Universities or successful personal trainers.

I hope this helps and we would like to share ideas with you and help in any way that we can in your training of your boys.

Good luck,
Coach Rody
StrongerAthletes.com

List of publications on Strength Training

Carpinelli, R.N., & Otto, R.M. (1998). Strength training. Single versus multiple sets. Sports Medicine, 26, 73-84.

Carpinelli, R. (1997). More on multiple sets and muscular fatigue. Master Trainer, 7(1), 15-17.

Magill, R.A. Motor Learning: Concepts and Applications, 3rd Edition. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa, 1989.

Schmidt, Richard Motor Learning and Performance:"From Principles to Practice" published by Human Kinetics.

Lambrinides, T. Strength Training and Athletic Performance. High Intensity Training Newsletter, Spring/Summer, 1989.

Leistner, K. Strength Training Injuries (Parts 1 and 2). High Intensity Training Newsletter, Spring/Summer, 1989.

Westcott, W. Strength Fitness: Physiological Principles and Training Techniques, 2nd Edition. Allyn and Bacon, Newton, Mass., 1987.

Westcott W L. 4 key factors in building a strength program, Scholastic Coach 1986: 55: 104-5, 123.

Westcott W L, Greenberger K, Milius D. strength training research sets and repetitions. Scholastic Coach 1989: 58: 98-100.

Westcott, W. (1994a). Exercise speed and strength development. American Fitness Quarterly, 13 (3): 20-21.

Westcott, W. (1994b). High-intensity training. Nautilus, 4 (1): 5-8.

Westcott, W. (1995a). Strength Fitness: Fourth Edition. Dubuque, IA: Brown and Benchmark.

Westcott, W. (1995b). High intensity strength training. IDEA Personal Trainer, 6 (7): 9.

Westcott, W. (1996). Make your method count. Nautilus, 5 (2): 3-5.

Kraemer, W.J., Duncan, N.D., & Volek, J.S. (1998). Resistance training and elite athletes: Adaptations and program considerations. Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 28, 110-119.

Starkey, W.B., Pollock, M.L., Ishida, Y., Welsch, M.A., Brechue, W.F., Graves, J.E., & Feigenbaum, M.S. (1996). Effect of resistance training volume on strength and muscle thickness. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 28, 1311-132.

Alexander, M.J.L., "Biomechanical Aspects of Lumbar Spine Injuries in Athletes: A Review", Canadian Journal of Applied Sports Sciences, 10:(1), 1-20, (1985).

Brady, T., et al., "Weight Training Related Injuries in the High School Athlete", American Journal of Sportsmedicine, 10:(1), 1-5, (1982).

Brown, T., "Lumbar Ring Apophyseal Fracture in an Adolescent Weightlifter", The American Journal of Sportsmedicine, 18:(5), (1990).

Hall, S., "Effect of Lifting Speed on Forces and Torque Exerted on the Lumbar Spine", Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,

Hoshina, H., "Spondylolysis in Athletes", The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 3: 75-78, (1980).

Jackson, D.W., "Low Back Pain in Young Athletes: Evaluation of Stress Reaction and Discogenic Problems", American Journal of Sportsmedicine, 7:(6), 364-366 (1979).

Jesse, J.P. Olympic Lifting Movements Endanger Adolescents. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 5: (9), 61-67, 1977.

Kotani, P.T., Ichikawa, N., Wakabayaski, W., Yoshii, T., Koshimuni, M. Studies of Spondylolysis Found Among Weightlifters. British Journal of Sportsmedicine, 6: 4-8, 1971.

Kuland, D.H. The Injured Athlete. J.B. Lippencott Co., Philadelphia, pp. 158-159, 1982.

Kulund, D.N., Dewey, J.B., Brubaker, C.E., Roberts, J. Olympic Weightlifting Injuries. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 111-119, 1978.

Palmieri, G.A. Weight Training and Repetition Speed. Journal of Applied Sports Science Research. 1: (2), 36-38, 1987.

Pipes, T.V. High Intensity, Not High Speed. Athletic Journal, 59: (5), 60-62, 1979 Riley, D. Strength Training by the Experts. Human Kinetics Publishing, Champaign, Illinois, 1982.

Darden E Strength training principles. In: Peterson J A, editor. Total fitness: the Nautilus way. West Point (NY): Leisure Press, 1978: 157-74.

Riley D P. How to organize a strength training program. In: Strength training by the experts. 2nd ed. West Point (NY): Leisure Press. 1977: 97-107.

Starkey, D. B., Welsh, M. A., Pollock, M. L., et al. (1994). Equivalent improvements in strength following high-intensity, low and high volume training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26 (5): S116.

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