There is an excellent review article in Vol 85, Supplement 1, March 2004 Archieves of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. The title is"Core Strengthening"
The authors are Venu Akuthota MD and Scott F. Nadler, DO.
To quote from them "... all core muscles are needed for optimal stabilization and perfromance." I find it very ironic that many experts who preach fuctional multi joint and multi plane movement in the rest of the body strongly advocate isolating the the muscles of the core, especially the Internal Oblique and Tranverse Abdominis. Isolation does not work, in fact with the deep muscles of the core it is very difficult. Movement is integrated regardless of of the body segment. Isolation creates neural confusion!

More Doping

The following is reprinted from the IAAF web site www.iaaf.org Out of all these tests there were two positive tests - this really defies logic when doping continues to be such a factor. My take on this is that the outlaws are ahead of the law!
In total, 884 tests were carried out both prior to and during the championships on a total of 708 individual athletes, which was a greater number of tests than originally planned. In total, 1849 athletes participated at the World Championships.
Testing conducted during the period of 2-12 August (out-of-competition) at the athletes village focused on gathering haematological blood profiles and screening blood samples for the indication of EPO abuse. The total number of tests conducted pre-competition was 416 which included 42 urine tests.
During the championships themselves a total of 468 tests were conducted. Of these tests, 217 were urine tests for the detection of EPO, and a further 105 were blood samples taken for the detection of blood transfusions.


The Core

Core training, core stability and core strengthening are terms that you here all the time now. The core has no scientific basis or if there is I cannot find it. Does anyone know where it started? There is even an argument as what constitutes the core. In some ways I wonder what isn't the core? Also what are the optimum ways to train the"core"?


What A Shame

The sad fact of the commingling of sport and illegal drugs is that we never get to know what we are watching. We are all infected with a ineluctable skepticism that forces us to view such otherwise compelling sporting events as the Tour de France, and the Track & Field World Championships much as we would professional wrestling. We have all had too many occasions to hear too many allegations followed by too many athletes and too many coaches protesting too many times that they never did anything wrong to believe that they are all telling the truth. We don't need to add an asterisk next to record performance times or distances; it is already there, permanently printed in our minds. Athletic heroes have gone the way of the dodo: a thing of the past.


I will post periodically on doping issues. Let me say that regardless of the sport or individual that there must ZERO TOLERANCE toward doping in sport. If an athlete is caught they must be banned for life. Their coaches should also be penalized and if they have multiple athletes caught they also should be banned from coaching. There is no fine line in regard to doping you are either for it or against it. It is interesting to note at the recently completed world Championship in Athletics that there were NO POSITIVE dope tests. That could mean several things.
1)The sport is now clean, very doubtful.
2) The outlaws are ahead of the law again, very likely.
3)There was a massive cover-up so as not to taint the sport, quite possible, the sponsors and IAAF have a lot to lose.

Two a day Practices

It is always interesting at this time of year to observe what I call “the Training Camp Effect.” In some ways it is the Bermuda triangle of sports. Athletes go into fall sport two a day or some times three a day practices and some never come out , and many who do are a shell of their former selves. Why? This is not a time to get them fit, it is time to sharpen and refine. If the true preparation work has not been done before this it can’t be done in ten days. This should be viewed as a time of specific preparation, a time to get game ready.Just observe the injuries that occur in tcollegiate training camps. I know one women's soccer team that lost two players to ACL injuries in the first day of camp! There is a better way.


Seven Day Training Cycles

The traditional seven training microcycle pattern leads to a classic density trap. That is too much work is forced into a short period of time. There is really no good rationale for a seven day cyle save for the fact that you work six and rest on the seventh day. In seven days there really is not enough time to have a period preparation, a period of adaptation and period of application. It is much more effective to consider a fourteen day cycle and even twentyone day cycles. This allows distributuion of the work as well as adequate time for regeneration. It allows for better focused and directed training.


Coaching Model

I think many people are confusing personal training with coaching. The coaching model is clearly directed toward achievement of improved athletic perfromance. In coaching there is a long term plan and a commitment to execute the perfromance objectives inherent in the plan. Coaching implies a long term commitment to the athlete or the team. It also demands accountability more than showing up for the workout. This accountability is a must for the coach and the athlete.

Personal training is not coaching. Much of the time it is oriented toward appearence and improvement of general conditioning. There is not a long term commitment or a need for or an understanding of the big picture. You coach people to get better. Anyone can train, but does the training have a specific perfromance goal and a pupose. Is it a means to an end or is it an end in itself?There must be a clear relationship leading toward specific perfromance objectives.

Why does it matter? Because coaching is special. It demands a broad skill set and a wide expereince base in order to achieve the desired perfromance objectives.

Artificial Turf & Sports Hernia

To further elaborate on point one of the previous post. Given the mechanism of injury as almost a hyperextension of the hip with the foot planted coupled with contact. The coeffcient of friction on artificail turf is greater. I feel this is a contributing factor. One other factor that I failed to mention is excessive heavy squatting.


Sports Hernia

This is an aliment that is epidemic in Soccer and to some extent in American Football. I believe there are some very specific reason for this:
  1. In American football artificial turf is a major contributing factor
  2. In soccer lack of proper war-up before striking the ball. Warm-up to play do not play to warm-up
  3. Poor movement mechanics
  4. Isolated ab work done in non functional positions - seated and lying


US Lack of results 800 meters & Up

A friend of mine wrote this to me:
"In running and hurdle events from 400m on down we win 17 out of 30 medals. Yet in running events from 800m on up (not including the Marathon), we only have 9 finalists, five of these are in the 10Km. Our highest finisher was Hazel Clarke who was 8th in the 800m final only because there were only 8 spaces in the final. It seems to me that the US has just given up from 800m on up. Even if we concede that the African nations are deepr than we are at 5000m on up, why can't we at least get a couple of people into both 800m finals. I can't believe this is just a lack of talent in this country."
Here is my answer:"We have too many people who want instant results, it does not work that way. It takes time and a detailed plan. A willing to stick to the plan is important. I maintain that if you want results put Joe Vigil and Bob Larsen in charge of those events - look what they did with the marathon. Also to reemphasize too much emphasis on times and not enough on racing. The times will come. Also need to get over the mystique of the Africans. We CAN beat them, but we can't play their game. "


It certainly has been intersting watching and reading comments from NFL training camps. It seems that all of a sudden they have discovered the need for reovery. I found the New York Giants approach particularly intersting. They scheduled practice in the morning and then pushed the second harder practice to the evening to allow more time for recovery. It sounds good until you think about it. Now the problem is there is less time for recovery from the harder practice until the morning practice. By practicing later it could interfere with the ability to get to sleep which is essential for recovery. In my estimation this is a wash. It would have been more advisable to schedule three shorter practices.


Training the Masters Athelete

There are four key considerations in training the masters athelete:
1) Strength Training assumes a greater role because of it's positive effects on posture and the positive impact on Type II fibers.
2) Flexibility plays a greater role - more mobility work daily. Both active and passive
3) More recovery between hard training sessions
4) Forget the last good workout you did when you were in your twenties. Accept where you are and train accordingly


Coaching or Training

I observed a university soccer practice where two athlests were playing one v one and 18 athletes and two coaches were standing and watching. This is a team that then has to do additional "fitness training" because they are not fit enough. My retort is are you coaching them or training them? This was an example of training not coaching. Coaching would have had the drill organized so that a minimum of player were standing around and the coaches were totally invoved with all players. In team sports if practice is well organized and run at a brisk gamelike pace there is little need for additional general fitness training. Unfortunately this is the norm in many team sports.


Defining the Field

I am positive that the "Strength and Conditioning" does not come close to defining the field. I used to think that Perfromance Enhancement was a better term, but I am not sure that is better. The term I prefer to use in Athletic Development. From my point of view this decribes what I do and my colleagues who share similar belifs. Wea re developing the complete athlete regardless of the sport. It is defintely more than strength, it involves traditional strength training methods and strength training that can be carried to the field, court or the pool. In short all componenets of athleticism are developed in the proportion demanded by the sport and specific to the needs of the individual athlete. I plan on developing this theme further in future posts.


It is more than work

The newest Sports Illustrated has a section on the NFL players toughest workouts. I was struck as I read them that there seems to be some confusion between just doing work and work that is directed to the sport to make you better. Training is more than getting tired, it is work with a long term plan and a pupose.


Steroids and Injuries

Has anyone thought to relate the steriod use in baseball with the injuries? Pulled hamstrings in the players and elbow injuries in the pitchers. Just a thought.


Following the Functional Path

Following the functional path in training and rehabilitation has been a journey of discovery. The more I ventured down the path, the more I realized it was a path that had been traveled many times before but had fallen out of use in favor of smoother paved roads that promised faster and easier results. Seeking to follow and better define the functional path is a continuing journey; fortunately it is a journey that many have traveled before. Functional training is very much in concert with the need to get back to basics. It is getting back to the basics of movement. It is learning to tune into the body and its inherent wisdom to produce rhythmic flowing movement.
In today’s high tech world we sometimes forget the basics because faster more measurable results are available through machines and high tech gadgets. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that the farther away from the body we stray the less functional we become. The human body is a beautiful finely tuned machine that far surpasses the most finely tuned high performance machine known to man. The body is the ultimate high tech machine. Despite all its complexity the body is also incredibly simple. Movement is a beautiful simple flow. The complexity in movement comes from combining simple movements into sophisticated patterns and then applying these patterns to specific sport and life activities. The body has an inherent wisdom, to take advantage of this wisdom we must focus on how the body functions. We must understand the interaction between the body, gravity and the ground in order to understand function. A thorough understanding of function will allow us to design and implement a very specific training program to meet the individual needs for each athlete we train.
Understanding and training function is a challenging process. It is often contrary to conventional wisdom as represented in current mainstream sport science research. This should not limit you from moving forward. Use conventional wisdom as a staring point and move forward faster, higher and stronger down the functional path. Following the functional path is challenging. The reward is in the results!