Safe Effective Strength Training
March 29 "I don’t wake up every morning thinking I’m the fastest man in the world; I wake up every morning thinking I’ve got a lot of work to do to get better." -Maurice Green
We apologize to our regular readers for not having our website updated on Wednesday. We had some internet provider issues. I can hear you coaches out there saying, "No excuses!" I know, you’re right. FYI- for new readers we do our best to update the website on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We hope you have a great Easter!
A simple element that many strength training programs may overlook is repetition speed. We believe that in order to properly track strength progression a coach must teach athletes to use a consistent repetition cadence.
StrongerAthletes.com maintains that the repetition speed can vary among programs as long as momentum is minimized. At the 2002 Strength & Science Seminar we came across many programs that believed in a 2-second concentric, movements away from the ground, and 4-second eccentric, movements towards the ground, rep cadence. We respect that and think that is a very productive way to train ensuring that the athlete reaches full exhaustion of the working muscles.
StrongerAthletes.com has always trained athletes on a 2-second concentric and eccentric cadence. Again, in both examples, momentum is at a minimum.
We have witnessed other variations such as 5-seconds for the concentric and eccentric and 10 or 3 for both etc... John Thomas, the Penn State Strength Coach, tells StrongerAthletes.com that the trainee does not have to use a set cadence but the important thing is that the athlete is not bouncing the weight at the bottom position which will create momentum.
We believe that the most important thing is that the athlete keep consistent in repetition speed so that progression can be tracked accurately.
StrongerAthletes.com would like to thank Jim Bryan for the heads up on this article from www.buccaneers.com. Mark Asanovich, former Tampa Bay Strength Coach and now with the Baltimore Ravens, is well known for his emphasis on safety. "Accepting a risk of injury in training... is unacceptable, unprofessional, and unethical."
Johnny Parker has taken the reign under John Gruden’s Tampa Bay team and StrongerAthletes.com knows he will do a great job. However, we would like for other coaches to consider this; Is weight room safety a high priority?
According to Buccaneers.com, "Before the arrival of Parker, the team’s new strength and conditioning coach, this room was densely packed with weight machines, so many in fact that they spilled out onto the back porch, covering that entire area as well." - And that is a bad thing?
The article continues, "Parker favors the functionality of free weights, which now run several rows deep on each wall of the room, and the player’s initial reaction to the change was positive. The new coach chalks that up to a ‘honeymoon period,’ but he’ll likely keep their attention if he can produce the eventual goal: better and more highly conditioned football players." -First, free weights are great training tools but as Coach Bryan said, "What did they do with all those machines?" We have found that the proper use of machines can lead to super workouts in regards to reaching muscular failure... not to mention safety. Second, the assumption that free weights build better and more highly conditioned football players is classic BUNK. Again, free weights are a great way to train but to claim that it is the best way is the mentality that holds back coaches at all levels who refuse to think for themselves. Despite being fired, Tony Dungy’s Bucs have been pretty well conditioned considering the climate they have to play week in and week out. Does anyone remember when Tampa Bay flat sucked? I do. They were not only orange but they sucked too. (Can you believe they had a pirate in an orange jersey?) I am not claiming that Coach Asanovich’s strength program is any better than Coach Parker’s, safer...yes. In Coach Parker's defense, I know he is not trying to injure athletes. In fact, I'm sure he doesn't think his program is unsafe or he wouldn't use it. But the risk is inherently greater.
Parker explains, "Our goal is to make the players functionally stronger on the field, to regulate the exercises that have a carryover benefit to their performance on the field and to make the players more functionally flexible." -I’m sorry did he say "carryover"? Principle of Specificity: In order to "carryover" training must be exact not similar. Principle=Fact.
We wish Coach Parker the best of luck in Tampa as well as coach Asanovich in Baltimore. However we encourage coaches across America not to buy-in to the "perfect program myth". Find what works for you and your team/athletes, but know why you do it and keep the safety of those you train in mind. We owe it to our athletes to provide a safe training program.
***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the StrongerAthlete.com website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***