Thursday, February 10, 2011

Critical Examination

I have to point out a great blog post by Carl Valle at EliteTrack today. Carl does a nice job of evaluating many factors in his recent post:

Spine Stress and Risk Return Ratios

I appreciate Carl because I really believe he gives an excellent dose of reasoning and critical examinations that are very much lacking in much of the sports performance training in our culture.

The thing that is very frustrating as a coach is dealing with each 'new wave' of athletes that come in every year having trained at a "pop" training facility while in high school and to not only have to re-educate the athlete but to convert a belief system that makes any type of improvement, regardless of the method, difficult (except for the "religious" method of choice).

Do I have to go with the "new" and different training methods to hopefully gain from the placebo effect? Or even; how do I convince the sport coach who is far from exempt of this creative marketing going on in the sports performance world? Often times educating is a challenge because it does not carry the emotional power that something NEW or DIFFERENT carries. We can use NEW and DIFFERENT, but we don't need to go on an absolutist rampage.

I guess the fact of the matter is, we have to somehow make traditional/proven methods of training sexy again so at least they can be an option... or just wait around 50 years or so until everyone has forgotten these methods and "revolutionize training" or discover "the lost secrets of...".

I understand some consider variety as the spice of life, but it's only spice; "the meat and potatoes" will always be necessary.

Honestly though, do be creative and do 'different' things, but please don't forget the fundamentals.

Note: I am a skeptic of many things, even the so called fundamentals. For example, I am skeptical of bilateral lifts as much as I am of unilateral lifts, but statistically and empirically speaking, bilateral resistance training has shown many positive things; so I am not ready to part ways. Skepticism helps create a more open mind than a narrow or closed one... much of religion has taught us that.

... anyway, here again:

Spine Stress and Risk Return Ratios



jleeger said...

Great post by Valle, but he seems to just advocate for everything...not clear what "methodology" he's for there...

Not sure that there's a lot of data out there on weightlifting transferring to sport skill least not versus practicing the sport skills more themselves.

General strength seems to be important at improving "durability" more than at improving performance.


jleeger said...


Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

I think what Carl is saying is to not eliminate options for training as some coaches advocate. Just because a stated exercise might place less stress on one particular area of the body, doesn't mean that exercise doesn't have 'its thorns'.

You bring up an ultimate question; does weightlifting transfer to enhance sport skills? Arguably the most clear answer would be no.

It seems to correlate with a few general athletic skills such as jumping ability and acceleration. The durability factor may be good enough reason to utilize strength methods; less time sidelined with an injury, more time practicing one's sport... but even that is not a guarantee.

Anonymous said...


The post was looking at stresses on the spine not a darn review of methodology of training. Whatever strength does, be it durability or performance, lack of options is not a good path to follow. Absolute talk is talk of gurus.

jleeger said...

Not entirely true, Anonymous. Valle goes extensively into different training methodologies/paradigms.

I agree that training needs to be methodological to avoid straining the spine, but my question was - what is the ultimate outcome?

If you're working with a sprinter, is it beneficial to have them in the weight room for any extended periods of time at all? If so, how much and why?

This article doesn't think so:

Carl said...

I am not sure what the effect of the post was Josh but my efforts were to focus on how the spine was loaded with weight exercises. Nothing more. You have asked some good questions and those details were beyond the confines of a blog post. Thanks for your comments though.

jleeger said...

Thanks Carl. Sorry for confusion here. I really liked your article and made an offhand criticism of it (that it doesn't clearly prescribe a methodology), which you all are right, has nothing to do with the point of the article. Thanks for your contributions to the field. You're a good thinker and I appreciate your posts.

Carl said...

Feel free to comment on the content of the article Josh...I just want to make sure the information is sound but can't address everything. Thanks for the efforts and thoughts.

JD said...

great post , love the writing over at elitetrack.