Archive for the Training Females Category

A Reaction to “Dirty Little Secrets of the Single Leg Training Craze”

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females with tags , , , on March 7, 2018 by mboyle1959

If you haven’t read this article, Dirty Secrets of the Single Leg Training Craze, don’t bother to continue. I can promise that the things I’m about to say won’t make much sense.

First off, let’s try to set the parameters of the discussion. No real strength coach, me included, is telling anyone to do only single leg exercises all the time. Therefore the premise of the entire article changes. There really are no “dirty secrets”.

What I have said and written is that for higher level athletes, we have found unilateral knee dominant movements to be not only safer but more effective. We continue to do bilateral power exercises ( Olympic lifts and variations) as well as both unilateral and bilateral plyometrics. In addition, with healthy athletes we continue to use Trap Bar or Hex Bar Deadlifts.

So the reality is that there really is no single leg craze, only a steady progression of good empirical thought reinforced by what we now understand about functional anatomy.

No Agenda

With that clarified, lets dig into the article a bit. Carl declares himself to be a man without an agenda yet the article reeks of agenda. Nothing generates Likes and views like telling a bunch of people what they want to hear. The man who thinks he is right loves affirmation.

In fact, opinionated pieces that profess to be not opinionated are perfect for the “see I was right all along crowd”.  Readers think “this guy (who has declared that he doesn’t have an opinion) agrees with my opinion”.

The good part about Carl’s article is that it won’t change the minds of those of us who really understand the issue and see through the smoke, mirrors, topic changes and deliberate confusion. What an article like this will do is reaffirm for the dinosaurs that they have a few more years until extinction.

Much like a 3 Card Monte wizard, Carl plays quickly, mixing facts and opinions and never clearly distinguishing when switching to one from another. He seems to express opinions as facts with no mention of opinion.

The Gloves are Off

Lets try to deal with some of the “unbiased” statements, one at a time.

Carl begins with the dichotomy of “the gloves being off” as he prepares to offer “ a fair and balanced overview”. This is paragraphs one and two. Either the gloves are off ( fight analogy) or, the article is going to be fair and balanced? Can you take the gloves off and write a fair and balanced article?

Clearly, at least from my perspective the article is neither fair, nor balanced?

The next five to six paragraphs discuss agendas, smoke screens and product sales? Very fair and balanced. As you follow the first few agenda-less, unbiased, paragraphs, you are given the impression that people like me gave up on bilateral squats because we have an agenda. We hide behind smoke screens in order to sell products?

My Agenda?

My only agenda is attempting to help teams win and to have healthy athletes. In the interest of full disclosure, I sell information products but, trust me, they do not represent a majority of my income. Also, I do not sell equipment. I do work for an equipment company ( I’m a speaker for Perform Better) but, I have not ever been involved in equipment sales as a profession.

Hands-on session at the Perform Better Summit in Munich

Game Changer

Carl goes on to say  “so far nothing has surfaced in any training facility that screams that moving toward split squatting is a game changer.” I would beg to differ? It is a game changer in my facility. Back pain has nearly disappeared, vertical jumps have climbed, and most importantly championships have been won at the collegiate, professional and Olympic level.

Ask Devan McConnell at UMass Lowell if he thinks single leg work has been a game changer. Ask Cameron Josse at DeFranco’s. In fact, ask any coach who has really committed to single work if it has been a game changer.

Gurus and Outcomes

Carl goes on to state that “most proponents of single leg training are the functional training gurus who use the visual appearance of exercises as their hallmarks to success rather than the outcomes of entire training systems”. As the author of New Functional Training for Sports, I might think that this is an un-opinionated and unbiased reference to me?

If in fact it is, I can again say that we are not relying on the visual appearances of the exercises but instead on the results of the exercises, both in what they are doing and, what they are not doing. Teams are winning and athletes are healthy. That is not appearance. We don’t appear to be healthy and, we don’t appear to be winning. We are healthy and we are winning. I have the stats to establish both.

Overused and Oversimplified

Next Carl states that  “saying that “because we run one foot at a time” is the most overused and oversimplified argument as to why an exercise is a superior or better option.”. Sorry, overused, maybe yes, oversimplified, yes, entirely accurate , yes. This is the science of functional anatomy? The musculature behaves differently in unilateral stance. The entire patterns are different. This is akin to telling the track coach, that bounding and hopping are overused and oversimplified?  Why not just do lots of double leg jumps and then go do the event?

A Path to Overuse

The next opinion is “doesn’t adding more exercises that load one leg cut a path to overuse syndromes and pattern overload the same gurus warn us about?” The answer to that would be yes if the gurus were saying that unilateral exercises decreased loading on the hips or knees? However, those I know that espouse unilateral training do so to avoid back issues? So, the agendas and smoke screens seem to emanate from the author vs the subjects?

Bilateral Deficit

Carl then moves into some really confusing talk about bilateral deficit. The reality is that the bilateral deficit exists and, that it explains what we see in unilateral exercises. We can use heavier loads because the body is neurologically wired to work unilaterally, not bilaterally.

I’ve already written about Bilateral Deficit here.  Unilateral Training and the Bilateral Deficit

 

Back Squat and Split Squats

In this section Carl goes on again to restate that switching to unilateral knee dominant training has not proven to be effective. Valle states ( for the second time) “so far nothing has surfaced in any training facility that screams that moving toward split squatting is a game changer. I’ve previously cited the study on academy rugby athletes that compared squats to split squats where the data showed similar results, not dramatically different results.”

Again Carl ignores those of us that have seen split squatting as a game changer. But, most importantly, Carl ignores the reason that we switched. The motivation to move toward unilateral knee dominant work was not the performance benefit as much as the injury prevention benefits.

The rugby study cited actually supports my/ our position as the study showed that unilateral training and bilateral training had equal benefit.

Injury Risk

What Carl neglects to mention are quotes like this from none other than Frans Bosch ( a big unilateral proponent) .

Bosch states’ “ not only is the value of deep squats questionable, but so is the claim that double leg squats are particularly suitable for improving strength in the legs. Strength in the back muscles may be the limiting factor, rather than strength in the legs, and so double leg squats may in fact be a maximal strength exercise for the back muscles”

This is very much in line with my “transducer” argument. I stated a few years ago that the back was a bad transducer.  The back is not an effective vehicle to get force from two legs to a bar held on the back. That is just reality. The back becomes the limiting factor in squatting. That is not opinion, that is fact. You can watch 100’s of failed squats and you will rarely see the legs give out while the torso remains solid and erect. I have competed in powerlifting and have watched literally thousands ( probably millions) of squats and failure occurs the vast majority of the time via a rapid lumbar flexion.

Conclusion

This article seems to be a deliberate attempt to pander to the bilateral audience? All I could think of as I read this was the Henry Ford quote “ if I had listened to everyone else I would have invented a faster horse”.

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Power Athlete Podcast

Posted in MBSC News, Media, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags on April 5, 2016 by mboyle1959

A few weeks ago I went on the Power Athlete Podcast with John Welbourn and Luke Summers and talked training. Interesting conversation with the guys that developed Crossfit Football

Here’s the link:

Power Athlete Podcast

Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat vs Back Squat?

Posted in Hockey, Injuries, Low Back Pain, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females with tags on March 8, 2016 by mboyle1959

Although the results of this study have been posted before this article does a nice job breaking things down.

http://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/promotions/newsletter/rear-foot-elevated-split-squat/

The funny thing is now the squat people are trying to paint the RFESS as dangerous ( damages the pelvic ring?). This seems to be a a totally unfounded Hail Mary pass as the results pile up.

Here’s 2 time Olympian Meghan Duggan with 160×10

PS- we have next to zero injury issues with RFESS vs, about 20% on average with back squats.

 

ACL Injury Prevention is Just Good Training

Posted in Injuries, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on January 28, 2016 by mboyle1959

I wrote this a few years ago for http://www.strengthcoach.com

Is ACL injury prevention just good training? I think so. The program we use for ACL injury prevention is actually the same program we use with everyone! The truth is ACL injury prevention programs often consist more of packaging than new concepts. Calling a program an ACL prevention program may be nothing more than a way into the head of the athletic trainer, physical therapist or coach. But, if that’s what it takes, I’m all for it. However, as coaches we have to realize that we should be practicing great injury prevention concepts with all our athletes and our weekend warriors.

Because female athletes are much more likely to be injured, those who coach female athletes tend to be more interested in the concept of ACL injury prevention. However, obviously both genders can be injured. In fact, estimates run to over 100,000 ACL tears per year, with 30,000 of them high school age females. In any case, coaches should still practice these injury reduction concepts with both male and female athletes. Then again, ACL injury prevention may be the thought that gets your women’s basketball coach to buy into the program.

to read the entire article, click here

More On Why We Don’t Squat

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags on January 23, 2016 by mboyle1959

A recent thread on our StrengthCoach.com site made me realize I need to continue to write about why we don’t squat. I still don’t think people realize that my decision to stop doing back and front squats was not a knee jerk, attention grabbing ploy but rather the culmination of a twenty year long thought process. Our changes were based on years of lifting, coaching and observation. Our decision to switch to unilateral exercises was based on three thoughts:

1- Number of back issues we were seeing in our groups. Our number one mandate is “do no harm”. Although we did not have many serious back issues I would say at any given time in our collegiate strength program a minimum of 10-20 percent of our athletes would be dealing with back pain that limited the athlete and caused us to modify their training. I struggled to accept the idea that some peoples back were just going to hurt.

2- Number of athletes trained in a group environment. This is important. Any change in our programming has to be wholesale. You can’t run a collegiate strength and conditioning program or a private one without a philosophy. I felt we either going to use the back squat or front squat as a major lift or we weren’t. Any in between was going to cause problems. In our “monkey see, monkey do” world it is tough to explain to athletes why some will use one lift and others will not. What we do with one person effects everyone else in the facility. You can’t let someone squat and then someone else not. It just creates problems.

3- The “functional” thought process. Although some might view this as most important, the previous two occupied more of my thought process early on. However, it’s tough to avoid the idea that we primarily run and jump off one leg?

My decision to switch to a program of primarily unilateral exercises is really about psychology and group think. I think squatting might be fine if you only did personal training and no one ever saw anyone else train.

However I’m not sure how realistic that is.

Lets be honest, there is a real minority of people who are naturally good squatters. I’d liken it to a Bell Curve. 20% were made to do it and do it right the first time. 20% are awful and will probably never do it well. 60% are somewhere on the curve?

It’s 80-20 in reverse. ( This is the start of another article/ blog post I think). 80 percent of people you will deal with will have trouble squatting. The remaining 20% who squat well will then spend lots of time criticizing those of us who acknowledge the 80%.  Just remember, it’s rarely  a bad squatter with back pain who is advocating squatting.

The Evidence is Overwhelming

Posted in Guest Authors, Hockey, MBSC News, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , , on January 6, 2016 by mboyle1959

I keep posting these articles in hopes that parents will realize how foolish they are to have a child that only plays one sport.

Joe Nieuwendyk was a two sport star in college. The article talks about how Nieuwendyk’s  lacrosse skilled helped him become a Hall of Famer.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=601349

How Strong is Strong?

Posted in Hockey, Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on January 5, 2016 by mboyle1959

This is one of my favorite articles…

It’s interesting, ask a strength coach what a good bench press is for a 200 lb male and chances are you’ll get a good answer. Maybe everyone won’t be in agreement but, everyone will have an opinion. Ask a good strength coach what constitutes good single leg strength or good vertical pulling strength and I don’t think you’ll get the same level of agreement or, if everyone will even have an answer. The answer might even be something like “what do you mean?” Last spring and summer I set out to answer both questions. How much single leg strength and upper back strength are actually possible? I think if you are going to train, you need a goal. If we are going to train for strength, we need to know what strong is. The four-minute mile is a great example. In 1957 Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. On that day he broke a twelve year old record. By the end of 1957 sixteen runners had also broken the four-minute mile. It’s amazing what someone will do once they have seen that it is possible. Twelve years to break the record and sixteen followers in one year. My goal is to raise the bar on both single leg strength and upper back strength by telling the strength and conditioning world how strong strong might be….

to read the rest click here