Friday Musings 3/16/12: Training Athletes, Females Fear of Bulking Up, and Do Something Important Every day

A couple things floating around my head....

1. Perhaps the easiest way to improve performance in any sport (outside of of sport-specific practice, of course), is to get stronger.

However, throughout the cycle of get stronger --> practice sport --> improve in sport --> get stronger --> practice sport --> improve even more at sport --> get stronger --> etc. etc. etc., you reach a point where diminishing returns begin to take place. It is at this pinnacle where it can be a waste of time, and even unsafe to continue adding weight to the bar. It is at this same moment where the athlete must begin to develop/work on other qualities to get where (s)he wants to be.

The key is to know when to make this shift.

2. Somewhat dovetailing off point #1....There is a difference between adding weight to the bar and actually getting stronger.

3. Everything in the strength & conditioning industry isn"t always black and white. Do you need to deadlift to improve in sport? Yes. Conversely, do you need to deadlift to improve in sport? No.

4. If you use a powerlifting-centric style of training athletes, careful of falling into the trap of treating the athletes like actual powerlifters. This can be tricky because, well, after all, the primary role of the strength coach is to get the athlete stronger, right? And the powerlifts (squat, bench, deadlift) are arguably the three best lifts from an efficiency standpoint: You can pack on large amounts of muscle and strength while keeping your quiver of exercises relatively small.

Nevertheless (and I may get hate mail for this), not all athletes necessarily need to do the powerlifts to get stronger. Guess what, they also are not powerlifters! So while certain techniques and methodologies can certainly be derived and extrapolated from one sport to another (ex. powerlifting --> baseball), remember that the athlete"s primary sport is not weight lifting.

In the baseball example, both the player and the strength coach must continue to draw the line between a baseball player that lifts and a lifter that happens to play baseball. This distinction will affect both the mindset and the overall outcome of the player in the weightroom and on the playing field.

Same goes for the O-lifts. Are the O-lifts great for developing power and improving rate of force development? Absolutely. But not all athletes need to olymipic lift to get faster or more explosive.

5. Pounding someone with information doesn"t seem to be the most effective method of inducing a lifestyle change in someone. For example, take a typical female who wants to lose some fat and improve body composition, yet is very concerned with getting "too casino bulky," or getting "huge like a man," should she undergo a weight lifting regimen.

The instinct of many trainers/men is to get frustrated, sigh, and barrage them with information such as "that won"t don"t understand the human endocrine (hormonal) don"t get how IGF-1 and testosterone work, here are some scientific studies so I can prove my point, etc. etc. etc."

Guess what? That"s not what she is asking. She doesn"t care about studies or the science of training.

A great tip I picked up from Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove is that the woman asking for advice/expressing concern wants to be heard. She wants to know her concerns were actually listened to and given a fair shot. So, you"re response could go something like this:

Step 1: Shut up and listen. Hear her out. You have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth. Use them in that order.
Step 2: Repeat back what she said (so she knows she was heard).
Step 3: Ask further questions (i.e. "What is too big?" "Define bulky to me. What does that look like?").
Step 4: Tell her you understand her concern and that you"re going to give her some advice/design an individualized plan (assuming you know how to do this) to get the specific results she wants.

The reality is she just wants to be assured you"re doing your best to give her the results she"s seeking after.

6. Here is a really cool broad jump. Perhaps SAPT should set up a similar setting in order to facilitate greater effort put forth by the athletes, no?

7. Over the past few weeks I have been goblet squatting, jumping, stirring-the-pot, and deadlifting every day of the week. As a result, honestly I can"t remember when I"ve felt this good in training. Must be some truth to the ol" adage of "If it"s important, do it every day" huh?

8. Speaking of which, the "if it"s important, do it every day" quote is typically applied to the training sphere. Do your mobility work. Do your stretching. Do your hill sprints. Train the glutes. Do your squatting. Every day.

However, I"ve found that it"s equally - if not more - important to apply it to your life outside the walls of the gym. Here are a few things on my list that, when I do them every day, only result in a more positive outlook and attitude on life:

- Praying
- Reading my Bible
- Telling my wife I love her
- Listing a few things I am thankful for
- Eating breakfast
- Enjoying a fresh cup of coffee
- Encouraging one of my athletes (ok, I guess that"s inside the gym, but you get the point)
- Spending some time in a room devoid of all electronics

When I make these things happen every day, the end result is going to be nothing BUT feeling life to its fullest. Corny maybe, but true.

9. This post was all over the place and I apologize. Just a reflection of my brain at the moment......

Have a great weekend everyone.