In early 2010 I wrote an article entitled “RIP Strength Development” that explained a lot of “functional” training myths and explained the important of strength development.
That article popped into my mind yesterday when a prospective client asked why all our new shirts and hoodies say “Strength Revolt” on them. I got on a bit of a rant that I want to hone down and share with you.
There seems to have been some major swings in the strength training world over the last 30 years, and each one we can learn a valuable lesson.
In the 1970′s-1990′s there was a big push for “bigger and stronger is better.” Think Dallas Cowboy’s massive O line and the prevalence of bodybuilding style programs for athletes.
Then there came a paradigm shift. Some strength coaches looked at what they perceived those athletes were missing – speed and balance.
So they abandoned the barbells for bosu balls and power lifts for single nose touches (perhaps a bit over dramatic, but I paint a picture with words
Now in a lot of areas around the country, including my own, “functional” and “sports specific” facilities have popped up claiming they are the new wave of fitness. Gone are squat racks in favor of agility ladders and dumbbells have been replaced by….well nothing really.
Lessons Can Be Learned
I did mention that from each fitness “wave” that we can learn valuable lessons. I don’t want that to be lost with my overly dramatic tale of gyms with no weights.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle. I strongly believe the next generation of athletes will not get better because of endless ladder drills and hopping around. BUT I also believe that loading people up with endless amounts of weight is not the correct method either.
If there was NO benefit to sport specific training, than it would have never caught on. The trick is picking out the valuable aspects and working them into a program at the appropriate level and intensity.
So why the “strength revolt?” Well, my gym is pushing back against both extremes. Its not Build Muscle VS Functional Training it is Build Muscle AND Functional Training (What exactly is Functional Training article).
Valuable Aspects of Strength Development
- Physical dominance. Leads to an ability to overpower your opponent.
- Sprinters are jacked. You want to be fast, you need strength.
- Injury prevention. It’s easier to break a twig than a tree.
- Address weaknesses. Fix those lagging muscle groups.
- Trackable progress. Measure and reach your goals.
Valuable Aspects of Functional Training
- Injury prevention. Yes, in both categories, and here you learn how to use your strength.
- Sport specificity. Often done wrong (it swinging a 10 lb bat for a baseball player) but when done correctly these lifts are closer to the demands of the sport.
- Rate of force development. This could go in either category.
These are by no means comprehensive lists, but just an introduction to the value that can be found in different training modalities.
So for Synergy Athletics, our “Strength Revolt” is against the extremists that want you to believe in one method over the rest and throw away all value found in opposing thought.
Why our shirts say “Strength Revolt.”
Our Athletes WILL BE strong but they will also be able to move. They WILL BEAT others physically while moving quicker than their opponents. They WILL put up record lifts and then out run and perform the rest. They WILL out power, out quick, and out last.
VIVA LA REVOLUCION!!
- Joe Hashey, CSCS -
PS. Oh that and because my wife hated my other t-shirt idea “Bacon gives me a lardon.” Can’t win them all…
PPS. If you want our conditioning sport prep workouts, check out www.bullstrengthconditioning.com