Safe Effective Strength Training for Humans
March 20 "Excuses are
no good. Your friends don't need them and your enemies won't believe
them. So why make them?" -Jake Gaither, Legendary Florida A&M
Myth Debunking 101
before we would like to re-cap several of the speakers from the 2002
National Strength & Science Seminar. Dr. James Peterson, who
currently works as a sports medicine consultant out of Arizona, was
formerly responsible for strength training at West Point in the 1970's.
Dr. Peterson encouraged us to go home and thank our parents for helping
the U.S. Government research one of the most significant strength
development studies ever. He based his claim on the fact that West
Point provided him with the most efficient control group available.
Peterson opened his talk with a Clinton joke... Which obviously turned
off some of our liberal friends in attendance but it was funny!
"Bill Clinton had to get a physical... few people know this but he
is hard of hearing so Hillary went with him to translate for the
doctor... The doctor said, "We're going to need a urine, stool, and
semen sample." Bill turned to Hillary, "What?" Hillary replied, "He
needs to see your underwear."
Dr. Peterson, in a very light hearted, yet at times very compelling
and passionate address gave us several "Myths of Strength
- Myth #1 Strength training will make muscles
- Fact Each individual
is different... but chances are if a man is abnormally large he is
supplementing his natural chemicals.
- Myth #2 More is better.
- Fact Research shows that multiple set
routines are not more effective in developing strength than single set
- Myth #3 Strength training is a contest.
- Fact It should be approached by athletes to
get better themselves, not Bubba or the girl working out across the
- Myth #4 Protein will enhance muscle development.
- Fact No matter what "Cool Name"
the bottle has, MegaProtien, Muscle-Tien, etc... He went on to
emphasize steroid education. "When you try to educate kids about
steroids don't tell them about death. Tell them about girls sounding
like Johnny Cash and boys that their rocket launcher will turn into a
- Myth #5 Women can't lift weights.
- Fact What is good for the goose is good for
the gander... or something like that. Women should not do push-ups off
their knees for example. FYI- Dr. Patterson's studies found that women
were better than men in some areas such as balance.
- Myth #6 Celebrities know everything about strength
- Fact Avoid
- Myth #7 Osteoporosis can not be avoided in women & the
aging process in inevitable.
Strength training can greatly reduce the deterioration of the
bones. Not that he was elderly, but for an older gentleman Dr. Peterson
was obviously not hindered by age.
- Myth #8 Mind don't matter.
- Fact Mental toughness is imperative for
proper strength development. John Thomas, Penn State's Head Strength
Coach gave an example of how important training the mind is for his
program. Obviously training football players to run long distance will
not improve their on-field performance. However, training the
mind to overcome pain in distance running has a great effect on
their self-confidence and translates to strong mental performances in
the weight room. (More on John Thomas and the Penn State program in a
- Myth #9 Re-hab injuries with isolated joint exercises.
- Fact In order to re-hab an injury
one should strengthen the entire area but most importantly is the
muscle opposite the injury.
- Myth #10 Knee injuries should be re-habed on an exercise
- Fact The bike will only
work to re-hab the quad not the hamstring.
- Myth #11 Training has to be expensive, time consuming, and
- Fact A coach can
make a weight facility a priority and seek out avenues of fiscal
integrity and programs that are efficient and simple.
- Myth #12 Strength training will make you
- Fact Proper
training will make you more flexible if you use a full range of
- Myth #13 You gotta make noise to be intense.
- Fact Whatever works for you but intensity
should be thought of as the ability to fully exhaust the
- Myth #14 That there is a free lunch in some training
- Fact To get
stronger you have to WORK plain and simple.
Arthur Jones was a great influence on Dr. Peterson. "He taught
me to challenge everything and not to take anything for face value."
At the time many universities were beginning to see the benefits of
strength training for their teams. These coaches were going to the only
people in the world who were lifting weights at the time... Olympic
Lifters. So, logically these coaches took these techniques to their
teams and their athletes got stronger. However that is not hard to do
when one goes from doing no strength training to anything, including
Olympic lifts. Jones however challenged that idea with the concept of
training the muscle to failure... following the principle of fiber
recruitment to make athletes quicker... and employing a safer
environment for training athletes.
Now, the science of strength development has come a long way since
Jones hit the scene however his "Challenging of the System" is what
remains important. Coaches, StrongerAthletes.com strongly
encourages you to find out why you teach the things you do in the
weight room. Know the reasons and be confident in your approach
regardless if you follow Olympic, Non-Olympic, or even the dreaded
Swiss Ball training.