24 June, 2002

University of Arkansas Football Clinic: March 1973

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." -Voltaire

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.

University of Arkansas Football Clinic: March 1973

As coaches we are always on the lookout for coaching resources. Recently we stumbled upon a gold mine of early '70's football coaching clinic manuals. These include lectures by some of football's greatest coaches including Chuck Fairbanks, Joe Paterno, Bob Devaney, John McKay, Eddie Robinson, and Lou Holtz (when he was still at North Carolina State).

One of the materials in this collection was a March 1973 University of Arkansas Annual Football Clinic manual. At the time, Frank Broyles, a fine and outstanding football coach led a proud Razorback program. His strength coach, Jim Bone was given time on the last day of the clinic to talk about what they were doing with their players in the weight room.

As you may know, organized strength development at the collegiate level was relatively new in the spring of 1973. (It was in 1970 that Boyd Eply, recognized by many as the first official strength coach on the collegiate level, began working in an official capacity with the University of Nebraska.) Therefore, by 1973 although the rest of the football world was "waking-up" to strength training, the science behind the issue was relatively unknown. Let me clarify, the science of strength development as it applies to intercollegiate athletics was relatively unknown.

With all due respect to Coach Broyles and Coach Bone we would like to point out some advancements in the science of strength training since this clinic in the Spring of 1973. At the time they were were on the cutting edge of developing better athletes. Thirty years later we should be prepared to learn how far we have come in our knowledge of strength development for traditional sport athletes.
"Functional strength training programs should be done three days a week (M-W-F). Each workout should be followed by a mile and a half jog. This can be either around a track, football field, or cross country. Handball, paddle-ball, tennis, volleyball, basketball, and cross-country running are outstanding activities to participate in as they will help build your "wind" endurance as well as aid in developing quickness and agility. If these are done they are to be done in addition to functional strength and jogging program or on those days you are not lifting." -Jim Bone, 1973

W. Wescott found in a 1986 study that when aerobic conditioning is done before strength training sessions one can obtain better results. (Brzycki, P152)

By splitting up your training days between strength days and aerobic days you cut into your recovery time. Although not necessary if scheduling conflicts arise, it is recommended to perform both on the same day. (Wescott 1986)
"When performing exercises, execute in a rapid, forceful movement during the lifting stage." -Jim Bone, 1973

This is one of the more controversial topics on strength development since the early '70's. Below is a list of studies done specifically for this question: "Does lifting speed enhance strength or power?"

1975- Van Oteghen "found no significant differences in strength improvement between a "slow speed" group and a "fast speed" group." (Brzycki)
1975- Rosentswieg, Hinson and Rigway "noted that slower speeds appear to develop strength quicker than... using faster speeds." (Brzycki)
1983- Kanehisa and Miyashita found "a group using low velocity repetitions demonstrated significant increases in power at all velocities tested." (Brzycki)
1983 & 1984- Adeyanju, Crews and Vitti "reported no significant difference between slow and fast training speeds on strength and power production." (Brzycki)
1987 & 1992- Palmieri, Wenzel and Perfetto "found that the use of fast movement speeds while strength training does not develop power any more than slower lifting speeds."
1990- Kasper "reported greater strength increases from slower movement speeds."
1993- Behm and Sale "concluded that "an actual high velocity movement in training exercises is not necessary to produce a high velocity specific training response."

We haven't even touched on the safety factors involved in performing "rapid" movements in the weight room.

1982- Dr. Fred Allman states "It is possible that many injuries... may be the result of weakened connective tissue caused by explosive training in the weight room." (Reston)
Other studies on weight room safety and lifting speed can be found:
1976- Allman
1977- Jones
1979- Pipes
1982- Riley
1984- Diange
1986- Welday
1989- Leistner
1990- Andress
1990- Bates, Wolf and Blunk
1993- Behm and Sale.... [There are others but I'm getting tired of typing!]
"Part of this program is derived from the Russian Olympic weight training program. Russian weight lifters are slim, lanky athletes who are tremendously strong, quick and agile. This is the type of football player we hope to develop at Arkansas." -Jim Bone, 1973

First, it is important to understand that when collegiate strength trainers looked to apply weight training philosophies to their sports for the first time ever, they looked to the only group of athletes who were lifting with athletics in mind... the Eastern Europeans. Nobody can fault these pioneers for doing this.

However, these athletes were preparing for Olympic lifting competitions, not American Football! Science has found that, despite popular belief quick lifts such as the Russian's Power Clean enhance quickness and athletic ability, movements performed in the weight room do not transfer to movements in sports competition other than Olympic lifting. We encourage you to look these studies up and make your own conclusions...

1975- Schmidt
1979- Jesse
1991- Wood
1994- Thomas

Matt Brzycki's, "A Practical Approach To Strength Training," was used to site these research studies. This book is a must have for the coach looking for answers to these issues. All coaches, Olympic and non-Olympic advocates can use Brzycki's book. It is an outstanding resource in itself as well as for it's 16 page bibliography. Anyone wondering, "Where is all this science you guys keep talking about?" need look no further. Best of all... its cheap! I got my copy for $18.

Below are the full citations for the studies we mentioned above.
Adeyanju, K., T.R. Crews and W.J. Meaders. 1983. Effect of two speeds of isokinetic training on muscle strength, power and endurance. Journal of Sports Medicine 23: 352-356.
Allman, F.L. 1976. Prevention of sports injuries. Athletic Journal 56 (March):74.
Andress, B. 1990. University of Michigan basketball training. American Fitness Quarterly 8 (January): 12-15, 22.
Bates, B., M. Wolf and J. Blunk. 1990. Vanderbilt University strength and conditioning manual. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University.
Behn, D.G., and D.G. Sale. 1993. Intended rather than actual movement velocity determines velocity-specific training response. Journal of Applied Physiology 74: 359-368.
Bone, J. Weight training for strength, endurance and explosion. University of Arkansas Annual Football Clinic Manual. March 23-24, 1973.
Diange, J. 1984. Football and power cleans: A dangerous mixture. Scholastic Coach 53 (January): 22, 74.
Jesse, J.P. 1979. Misuse of strength development programs in athletic training. The Physician and Sports Medicine 7 (10): 46-50, 52.
Jones, A. 1977. Flexibility as a result of exercise. Athletic Journal 57 (March):32, 37-38, 92.
Kasper, J. 1990. The effect of slow speed training utilizing free weights on muscular strength. High Intensity Newsletter 2 (3): 6-8.
Kanehisa, H, and M. Miyashita. 1983. Specificity of velocity in strength training. European Journal of Physiology 52: 104-106.
Leistner, K.E. 1989. Strength training injuries: On the field but from the weight room. High Intensity Newsletter 1 (4):1-2.
Palmieri, G.A. 1983. The principles of muscle fiber recruitment during ballistic movements. National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal 5 (5): 22-24, 63.
Pipes, T.V. 1979. High intensity, not high speed. Athletic Journal 59 (December): 60, 62.
Riley, D.P. 1982. Strength training for football: The Penn State way. 2d ed. West Point, NY: Leisure Press.
Rosentswig, J., M. Hinson and M. Ridgeway. 1975. An electromyographic comparison of isokinetic bench press performed in three speeds. Research Quarterly 46:471-475.
Schmidt, R.A. 1975. Motor skills. New York: Harper & Row.
Thomas, J.1994. Penn State football strength training summer conditioning manual. University Park, PA: Penn State University.
Van Oteghen, S.L. 1975. Two speeds of isokinetic exercise as related to the vertical jump performance in women. Research Quarterly 46: 78-84
Welday, J. 1986. Coming clean with the power clean. Scholastic Coach 56 (September): 22-23.
Wescott, W.L. 1986. Integration of strength, endurance and skill training. Scholastic Coach 55 (May/June): 74
Wood, K. 1991. Cincinnati Bengals' strength training program. American Fitness Quarterly 10 (July): 38, 40.

If you have questions or comments about this web site or strength development or training please drop us a note.

10 June, 2002

Dear Stronger Athletes: Science & Strength Research

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

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.

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

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.

03 June, 2002

Keep it Simple

"Heroes are made in the hour of defeat." - Mohandas Gandhi

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

StrongerAthletes.com has seen many programs that have charts that the athletes have to look at to determine what weight load they must use next. Other charts have projected 1 rep max on lifts and training cycles or periodization in which the athletes change their training every 4 weeks or so. Many of these types of programs confuse the athletes and hinder their progress. We want a program that the athlete can use with complete understanding and gain strength.

A reason we do not like some set/rep programs is that if a workout calls for 5x5 then the athlete will stop at 5 and never reach muscular failure which limits their strength gains considerably. Periodization that occurs monthly is not a necessarily part of a good strength training program. We feel that the athlete should simply attempt and make it a goal to increase the reps and/or weight every workout on every exercise.

Some say that this type of training can lead to overtraining or aching joints if done year round. This is true due to the intensity of each and every set. So. to alleviate this problem, athletes should take layoffs 1-4 times per year.

Some coaches worry that the athlete will lose strength after 96 hours which is not true if the athlete understands and uses high levels of intensity. Others may may feel that if you use periodization then you can avoid these layoffs and make better gains. That is true too. 

However, StrongerAthletes.com believes that these layoffs are beneficial for athletes for many reasons. First, it rests the body physically and brings back an athletes motivation when returning to training because they are rested mentally. Secondly, a high school athlete just needs time away from strength training.

Another thing that coaches need to be aware of is what level each of their athletes are in training and adjust their frequency accordingly. Some athletes just need more time in-between workouts than others.

Also, coaches should use variety sparingly. We want to track progression of strength which can only be done with consistent movements. John Thomas, Penn State, uses variety in such a manner that he never substitutes his standard lifts and uses those to track progression. Remember, just because an exercise exists that doesn’t mean you have to do it. Just use some basic compound movements with maybe a single joint exercise or two and stick with it. That being said, if a coach chooses to add variety to their program then make sure that you keep a core of exercise that will always stay consistent in your program so your athletes can track progression. The other exercise can change after the core exercise have been completed.

Keep your training simple and don’t get caught up in % training, fancy periodization techniques, and excessive variety, and 1 rep max training. Keep it simple and your athletes will succeed.

Now we are not saying that our way is the best method and understand that teams have used periodization techniques and percent training etc... with success. It is important to understand the science behind training for the coach but the for the athlete, just keep it simple

Coaching Resources

At the 2002 Strength & Science Seminar StrongerAthletes.com introduced our new resources for strength coaches and athletes. We now offer a video supplement to our Coach's Manual that explaines in detail some of the finer points of the StrongerAthletes.com Training Program.

I just got through reading my copy of Stronger Athlete's Coach's Manual. I recommend this manual to any Coach needing help in setting up a Strength Training Format for their team. It's easy to read and the advice works for a Free Weight Program as well as Better known Strength Training Machines such as Pendulum Fitness, Nautilus, MedX, and Hammer. Good solid information without boring you with unnecessary pseudo science. They have a video companion and although I haven't seen it, I would bet it's the same good quality. -Jim Bryan, Strength & Conditioning Coach