The “Weight Room”

Folks I will break it to you gently, the weight room is not the answer. For those of you that still think of yourself as strength coaches I think it is time to reconsider what you are doing and how you are doing it. If the focus is on the weight room then the point of training the complete athlete is being missed. There are so many facets to athletic development that must be developed concurrently with strength that it is mind boggling. Over the past five weeks I have received numerous emails with variations of the same theme. “I turn my athletes over to the “strength coach” and the athletes get bigger and slower.” “They are getting hurt in the weight because everyone is doing the same program.” “Everyone has to squat heavy (Swimmers).” I have been on both sides of the fence here. I work with teams and schools to consult with them on setting up athletic development programs that are appropriate for their sport. Strength training is part of any sound athletic development program. Notice I said strength training; strength training is an umbrella term, under that umbrella there comes a spectrum of activities and methods from bodyweight gravitational load to heavy lifting to high speed, high force ballistic activities. What is appropriate for football where body mass and overcoming external resistance is not appropriate for volleyball or swimming. One size does not fit all! Also remember that strength training demands a different emphasis depending on the time of the competitive season. There are also different considerations for the female athlete, she must strength train more often and right through to the championship. ( For example Libby Lenton, the Australian swimmer who won five gold medals at the recently completed world swimming championship did her last strength training session on the Sunday with the World Championships beginning on Tuesday.) I am once again making the case for athletic development instead of strength and conditioning. We must give the athletes the basic tools to thrive in their sports, not just survive. We must build athletic bodies that are adaptable to any athletic situation presented to them, today we are focusing on building bodies that are adapted to one environment and that environment does not often transfer to the field, court, pool and track.


At 6/13/07, 1:18 PM, Anonymous Jerry Shere said...

I am a 64 year old athlete (cyclist primarily). I have lost strength over the years and I have started back in the weight room. I am wondering how this article might apply to aging athlete like myself.

At 6/15/07, 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no one magic program as Coach Gambetta has said. Each sport has different energy system requirements. Athletic Development is not a generic entity in which programs can be interchanged. Nor is Athletic Development rocket science. Take the sport and apply sound movements patterns with with the right programming, intensity and overload.

In my experience, programs have always looked better on paper after completion. Its when they are applied thats the challenge because inevitably changes will have to be made based around individual athletes.

The idea that the heavier the squat the better the atlete is a misnomer. All heavy squats make you better at is squatting heavy.

Colin Cooley


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