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Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

The Truth About Fast-Twitch
and Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibers:

An Interview with John P. Kalas, M.D.

The following excerpts are from 1976 discussions I had with Dr. John Kalas,
 who was Chief of the Department of Pathology, West Volusia County
Hospital, DeLand, Florida. A subsequent article was published in Athletic
Journal
(January 1977) as a rebuttal against the popular practices of
coaches and athletes to "train fast to be fast." The concepts
explored within these answers are as relevant today
as they were 30 years ago.


Ellington Darden: John, tell us about your interest in strength training and muscle physiology?

John Kalas:

ED: You're certainly on target with your assessment. Was there a specific topic that repeatedly caught your attention?

JK:


Muscular Contraction

ED: Before we get into a discussion of fast and slow fibers, can you briefly describe how a muscle contracts?

JK:


Fast and Slow Confusion

ED: How do the concepts of fast-twitch, slow-twitch muscle fibers relate to athletics?

JK:


Humans Are Different

ED: So, you're saying that the muscle fiber types in humans are different from those found in animals, right?

JK:


Muscle Biopsy

ED: What exactly is a muscle biopsy?

JK:

ED: I guess it should be fairly obvious that NO athlete (or human) is going to allow scientists to take multiple biopsies from the same muscle at three different levels. "Hey Doc, please take three plugs from my biceps and another three plugs from my triceps. And here, do the other arm too." That entire process could injure the involved muscles, right?

JK:

Note: One of highlights of being friends with Dr. John Kalas was the time 
he invited me to his laboratory to watch him perform an autopsy on
a person who had problems with the heart, liver, and upper arms.
John provided me with a close look at the liver and heart, as
well as the fatty deposits surrounding the gut. Plus, he also
collected multiple biopsies from the biceps and triceps.
What a meaningful experience that was to me.


Fast Exercise for Fast Muscles: Be Cautious

ED: Okay, so translate your experience and beliefs concerning muscle fibers to strength training – does doing an exercise fast make you faster?

JK:


The Danger of Training Fast

ED: What's wrong with performing fast repetitions?

JK:


Skill Training

ED: At Florida State University, I studied extensively about the need for strength training to be general and skill training to be specific. Since most skills are best performed quickly, motor learning experts recommended that skill practice be done at full speed. What has your neuromuscular study and experience shown you about skill learning?

JK:


Five Basic Guidelines

ED: Thanks, John, for your astute answers. Do you have any final thoughts?

JK:

In The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results, there's an
informative chapter on how to combine skill training with
strength training for the best-possible results.


Research Update

In the last 30 years, has new research shed light on any of Dr. John Kalas's conclusions about fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers?

No and yes.

I would not change any of his five bulleted points. They are all excellent guidelines to apply in strength training for sports and bodybuilding.

Unfortunately, coaches and athletes in their strength exercise – perhaps more than ever – are still training fast to be faster.

Again, there is almost no valid research to show that fast-speed repetitions are productive. Large-scale muscle biopsies, at three different levels, on multiple muscles are still not practical with humans.

But there has been some relevant findings concerning human muscle fibers. Douglas Brooks, in his book, Effective Strength Training, does a fine job of summarizing the latest on muscle fibers and the order in which each classification contributes to repetitive contractions during a resistance exercise.

Most authorities today organize slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers into three categories:

Human muscle, according to Brooks's review, is governed by a ramp-like recruitment pattern.


Ramp-Like Muscle-Fiber Recruitment

In any strength-training exercise, performed in a high-intensity manner (for example, 12 repetitions to failure), the ST fibers are involved initially. To continue after 4 repetitions, the ST fibers also require the intermediate FTIIa fibers, which assist with repetitions 5, 6, 7, and 8. Then, with ramp-like progression, the strongest FTIIb fibers – which have been held in reserve – are finally called into action and help to complete repetitions 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Important: It's the intensity of the exercise, not the speed of movement, which determines the muscle-fiber involvement. Light resistances, or low-intensity efforts, involve mostly the ST fibers and perhaps some of the FTIIa fibers. Heavy-resistance exercises, carried to momentary muscular failure, involve all three fiber types: ST, FTIIa, and FTIIb.

There is no way to involve only the FTIIb fibers. Muscle fiber ramping or ordering prevents this from being possible. The bottom of the ramp (ST) is always used first.

Maximum, single-attempt lifts require all three fiber types. Explosive repetitions do the same. And don't forget, both maximum lifts and explosive repetitions are infused with high acceleration and excessive momentum – which increase the probability of injury.


Say NO to . . . Train Fast to Be Fast

Dr. John Kalas's 1976 guidelines concerning fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers still hold true today.

The valid research reported in the last three decades reinforces his beliefs.

It's prudent, therefore, to disregard the popular practice of . . . train fast to be fast. It deserved only minor attention among coaches and athletes in the 1970s.

It merits even less today.

Discuss this article | Text Version

marcrph

Spain

To begin with, I have pondered on this topic many times. There is some truth to the above statements. Speaking for myself, I have seen athletes do both HIT and ballistic type programs. Here is what I believe:

1) I do not believe the type of weight lifting program is near as important as the developing of appropiate skills necessary to compete.(ie. a football offensive lineman skills, a guard pulling and looking for the linebacker, are a lot more important than whether he did the snatch lift or the Nautilus Duo-Squat.)

2) I believe Olympic weightlifting movements are not near as dangerous as has been prophesied by slow-lifting proponents. (Where are the lists of injured lifters?)

3) I know that maximum strength is on rare occasions important in sports. (As I recall, Bill Kazmier did not make it in the NFL.)

4) I know that accelerating heavy weights does build high level strength. (Watch any of the Olympic weightlifters)

5) I know that Olympic weightlifting is fun. (Many young athletes are introduced to this type of weightlifting, do you hear any complaints from them?)

Personally, I just like lifting. I have done the clean and jerk for many years now. I still enjoy powering up a weight above my head!

Historically, all of the strongmen, have done a lot of both types of lifting, strength and explosive lifting. Paul Anderson, undoubtedly the most renowned strongman ever in America, did both. Can you argue with his results.

Have a nice day
Marc
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tylerg

Dr. Darden, thanx for this update and remdinder. It seems as though the more things change, the more they stay the same. It would seem as though what Dr. Henemman came up with in his principles of fiber recruitment are the same as Dr. Kalas, though Dr. Kalas is by far more "sport specific" in this article.

I have developed a Vertical Jump Program and am taking my first 20 kids through right now. I have incorporated a model of sport specific jumping, which we do at the beginning, followed by strength training, which is High Intensity in nature.

It is a full body workout, 8-12 reps per exercise. I tell the kids to use heavy weights and to contract their muscles as quickly as possible. The heavy weight does not allow for momentum to be developed. I caution against that. Further, they are told to lower with control, using a four count (concentric is between 1 and 2 seconds).

As for the jumping, it is all fast, explosive movement, following with the recommendation that Dr. Kalas provided "strength train slow, skill train fast."

I mention all of this is to say that what was mentioned in the article works. There are no shortcuts to the "fast twitch muscles" and that strength training is SUPPLEMENTAL to sport specific training.

Thanx for a great article.

Tyler
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hdlifter

So this makes the TUL experiments in your books mute then? I tested myself on three seperate occasions in the late 80's and early 90's, each time the results were the same:

Upper body: 5 reps
Lower: 8 reps
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Ellington Darden

hdlifter,

I believe the TUL tests are fine. They do serve a purpose.

What Dr. John Kalas was saying was that we need a lot more muscle biopsy work performed before we can really understand what is happening. But we can't do the type of cross-sectional biopsies on humans that are necessary . . . because doing so damages the involved muscles.

Ellington
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marcrph

Spain

From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

The Case For Lifting Rapidly

by Patrick O'Shea, Ed.D

I agree with Dr.Winett that lifting rapidly can be counterproductive and dangerous, if done haphazardly and carelessly. Used properly, however, with adequate resistance and under controlled circumstances, explosive lifting is relatively safe and very productive.

As I wrote in Quantum Strength & Power Training, "One of the purposes of [rapid or] athletic-type lifting is to train and condition an athlete to generate maximum force at higher and higher movement speed. In competitive athletics, when all other factors are equal, power is the deciding factor between winning and losing."

Strength times speed equals power. The Force-Velocity Curve, taken from my book, illustrates the working relationship between strength and speed. In fact, the curve tells us everything we need to know about developing strength and power. The curve shows that neither lifting with great speed and little resistance, or maximum resistance with little or no speed, produces optimal strength and power. Only training intensity that shifts the middle portion of the curve to the right, by either increasing force (resistance) or speed or both, will increase strength and power - and most likely muscle size or hypertrophy. Factors influencing muscle hypertrophy are: type of training, intensity, nutrition and heredity.



Again, one of the main purposes of rapid or athletic-type lifting (snatches, cleans and related movements) it to train and condition an athlete to generate maximum muscular force at higher and higher movement speed. This is NOT going to be accomplished through slow lifting or powerlifting. This concept is illustrated in Quantum Strength by comparing the power values generated by a world record Olympic lift and a world record power lift, specifically Pisarenko's 585 pound clean and Kenady's 893 pound deadlift. Without going through the precise computations in the book, the greater speed (.90 seconds) and distance (.90 meters) of Pisarenko's clean far exceeds the power output of the much heavier, but slower (2 seconds) and shorter (.40 meters) deadlift by Kenady. Pisarenko's clean produced almost four times as much power (resistance, distance and speed combined), 21.64 watts/kg body mass, as Kenady's deadlift, which produced only 5.67 watts/kg body mass. Slow lifting as in bodybuilding or power lifting does NOT increase torso kinetic energy or torso rotational energy, nor train the mind to think in terms of acceleration and speed as required in most athletic events.

Training with the Olympic lifts develops strength, power, acceleration, speed and mobility, all of which transfer to athletic movements found in other sports. While no published research exists to validate this statement, deductive reasoning and overwhelming empirical evidence provides strong support.

Fifteen years ago the University of Nebraska started training their football team using only the Olympic lifts and the squat (and still do today). The training change produced stronger, faster, more mobile players--and a winning record. The effect was to force other schools to adopt a similar strength program. In fact, it's difficult to name a college today that does not embrace athletic-type strength training. Another example is Allen Feurback, former world record holder in the shot put and U.S. National Olympic lifting champion (242 lb.class). Prior to switching from bodybuilding exercises to Olympic lifting, Al's best throw was 56 feet. After switching he threw a world record 71.5 feet. Both of these examples present strong empirical evidence of the transfer of training from Olympic-type lifting to other sporting activities. I believe you'll agree, this evidence is hard to refute. Transfer is the hallmark of athletic-type strength training. This concept is universally accepted by sports physiologists who know and understand athletic-type strength training.

As for muscle fiber recruitment order, an electromyography (EMG) study I did 20 years ago showed that the size principle does not hold in maximum explosive power movements. As explained in Quantum Strength & Power, it is almost entirely the fast-twitch motor units that are recruited in performing such movements.

EMG techniques make it possible to study recruitment order, the relationship between stimulation and the amount of force developed, the type of muscle contraction (concentric vs. eccentric) and the effects of fatigue. EMG analysis in my study showed the approximate percentage of the recruitment of muscle fiber types in the quadriceps of a trained athlete during execution of a one repetition squat with progressively increasing loads.

Starting with 60% of one-repetition maximum, the slow-twitch fibers contribute 60 percent to the effort; fast-twitch fatigue resistant fibers, 30 percent; and fast-twitch fatigable 10 percent. At 100 percent maximum effort, however, the percentage of slow-twitch fibers involved is only 5%, while fast-twitch fatigue resistant is 15 percent, and fast-twitch fatigable is 80 percent.

The implications for athletic-type strength training are clear. To develop strength in the fast-twitch fibers you have to train with heavy weights. Light weights contribute little to optimizing strength and power performance.

The onus is on advocates of slow lifting to determine the degree of muscle fiber activity resulting from that protocol. Which method, slow or fast, stimulates more fast-twitch motor units? We know that high-intensity, explosive power movements activate a large percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers. Is that also true for slow lifting?

So, Who's Right?
I don't know, but my best guess is that Dr. Winett and Dr. O'Shea are both correct, but from different perspectives. Dick Winett is no doubt right from the vantage point of a person suffering from inflamed joints, and he may be correct from a purely bodybuilding perspectives. On the other hand, Pat O'Shea is probably correct from the viewpoint of one mainly interested in athletic performance.

Slow lifting is clearly a sound option for someone who suffers from sore joints and wants to continue lifting hard, without inflicting further damage. In fact, Dick has demonstrated by his own example that doing reps very slowly not only eliminates the pain, but allows one to continue training extremely hard. Dick has become so adept at lifting slowly that in some cases he is approaching his previous best lifts done in typical explosive style. What's more, he hasn't lost any size in the process. The jury is still out, but it may well be that lifting slowly is a viable strategy for bodybuilders interested in loading muscles throughout the range of motion solely for the purpose of building size.

Pat O'Shea, however, has the overwhelming weight of current evidence on his side from the standpoint of athletic performance. I can testify to that from my own experience. There's no doubt in my mind that doing the Olympic lifts gave me a decided edge in winning the New Mexico State Pentathlon Championship; among other things, the quick lifts gave me the power to out jump all of my non-lifting high school classmates. (See my book Challenge Yourself and "Keep That Spring" on this web site.)

As Pat observes, today most high school, college and professional coaches embrace athletic-type strength training. Al Vermeil, the only strength coach who has been in the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball, and the only coach to have a world championship ring in football (San Francisco 49s) and basketball (Chicago Bulls), is a sterling example. "We use the Olympic lifts [power cleans, power snatches, push presses, push jerks and high pulls]," says Vermeil, "because they simultaneously develop strength, explosiveness, speed, coordination, timing, balance and spatial awareness, all qualities essential to the success of any athlete." Citing the specificity principle, Vermeil adds: "Train slow and the athlete becomes better at doing things slowly. Train explosively, and the athletic will become more explosive."

That's my opinion. What's yours?

Have a nice day

Marc
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Ellington Darden

It's evident to me that Pat O'Shea and the strength-training coaches mentioned in Bass' article have NEVER performed a fast lift, such as the power clean, on a force plate. Nor are they well versed in the transfer of motor skills.

Fast lifts may be somewhat productive, but they are dangerous. And there's very little of such fast lifting that correlates highly to any sports skill.

The idea is to train with high intensity and low to moderate force; not high intensity and high force.

The force plate has been around for 30 years or more. I wish O'Shea and these coaches would take the time to explore its application to strength training.

Ellington
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tylerg

All very interesting. Here is an anecdote and should be taken as such. I had a university vball player (female) in tears because her swing was so out of whack (our university believes in explosive type lifting).

My advice to her was to slow down her swing, make it a more natural movement, as if she was warming up. She didn't need the big bang hit, just enough to keep the ball in play. Once comfortable with that, speed up the swing gradually, until she can "bang it" again.

As things have turned out, it worked. My point: training fast in the weight room did nothing to help her swing but slowing things down did.

Once again, and I address this to Marc, my jumping program includes both fast, sport specific movement, and controlled, 1-2/4 lifting. The results after five weeks with this class have been great, or so the parents of the students tell me.

Again, weightlifting, though important, is SUPPLEMENTAL to the sport itself.

Tyler
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hdlifter

Ellington Darden wrote:
hdlifter,

I believe the TUL tests are fine. They do serve a purpose.

What Dr. John Kalas was saying was that we need a lot more muscle biopsy work performed before we can really understand what is happening. But we can't do the type of cross-sectional biopsies on humans that are necessary . . . because doing so damages the involved muscles.

Ellington


Thanks Dr. Darden, so I should remain on the low reps that TUL tests directed me towards then?
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JJ McClinton

I really like Clarence Bass' books but he lost me when he started recommending Olympic lifts (at least he put optional in quotations). For anyone in doubt about how dangerous these lifts are I dislocated my shoulder in high school while performing the clean and jerk which my High School Football coach said would help my throwing speed (since I was a quarterback). I had to sit out the last four games of my senior year. In retrospect I can't believe how stupid I was to listen to the coach who later when I was laying on the ground with my shoulder hanging down by my chest said something to the affect of "you should have been more careful, these lifts can hurt you!" I screamed back "then why am I doing them!" Anyone who thinks the clean and press will help them athletically would be better off performing a set of standing presses and a set of squats.
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marcrph

Spain

Slow vs. Explosive Lifting



Reprinted with the permission of Charles Staley, B.Sc., MSS -

"Injuries are not caused by methods per se, but by the inappropriate, premature, and/or excessive application of methods."


In all the years I've been involved in sports conditioning, I've never seen an issue with as much longevity and potential for heated debate as the question of whether or not it is necessary, safe, and or effective to perform "explosive" or "ballistic" movements in the weight room. If you're active on the internet, you'll discover endless, passionate (and often, ugly) confrontations between those who advocate slow lifting speeds (please see sidebar entitled "Is HIT Dead?"), and those who espouse so called explosive training techniques, such as Olympic lifting and it's derivatives, and plyometric training methods.

While it is true that explosively-performed (i.e., high velocity) repetitions can be potentially more dangerous than low velocity movements, it's just as true that heavier weights , since they put more tension on the musculoskeletal system, are potentially more dangerous than lighter weights. So it really becomes an issue of using the right tool for the right job. Remember- in order to train a biologic system, you must apply stress to that system. Too much stress leads to injury; too little leads to little or no effect; just the right amount leads to a training effect.


As you read this article, please refer to the sidebar (below) which outlines the more technical terms used herein- these terms are often used inappropriately, which leads to even more confusion. Also, please resist the human instinct to either agree or disagree with the statements I will make. Instead, simply listen. Observe. Correlate the material to your own experiences. In this way, you'll give yourself the best opportunity to come to an intelligent decision regarding this issue.

What is Training?

Training involves the exposure of a biologic system to the systematic application of increasing stress at a frequency, intensity, and duration below that system's maximal tolerance limit, which, over time, causes a resultant increase in that system's tolerance limit (1).

Different training methods cause different adaptations. For example, sets lasting between 20 and 70 seconds seem to promote hypertrophy better than sets of greater or lesser duration (2). Sets performed with incomplete rests develop anaerobic capacity through a greater proliferation of capillaries in the muscle(s) being trained (3). High repetition sets develop Type I (slow twitch) fibers, while low repetition sets with heavy weight challenge Type II (fast twitch) fibers. Long-term performance of an exercise which takes a muscle through less than it's full range of motion promotes a shortening of that muscle, while chronic use of exercises which take the muscle through it's full range of motion encourage the muscle to become longer (4).

These examples of the specificity principle strongly imply that the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems are capable of adapting to explosive movements just as they are capable of adapting to any other type of stimuli, provided- is this is the real key to understanding this issue- that the athlete moves through an appropriate series of progressions which allow a sequential exposure to a gradually increasing stimulus. If you skip any part of this progression, or if you progress too quickly, injury may result as you exceed the body's "maximum tolerance threshold" to that stimulus.

Defining the Issue

Before we proceed further, please appreciate that this issue is a difficult one to analyze, since there are several ways to lift a weight. For example, powerlifting is not normally considered an "explosive" event, since at 1RM levels, the bar moves very slowly, due to its mass. Nevertheless, the lifter is attempting to maximally accelerate the bar. So, are we discussing the actual speed of the lift, or the attempt tomaximally accelerate the weight (even if the implement speed is low to to its mass)?

Also, we must distinguish between lifting weights at a fast tempo, and lifting weights in an accelerative manner (increasing the speed over the duration of a repetition). Further, are we speaking of lifting light to moderate weight, or heavy weights? For instance, when performing the deadlift, using a fast lifting speed with a light weight would simply reduce both the tension, as well as the time under tension, of the involved musculature, leading to a compromised training effect. However, when deadlifting a challenging weight, you stand a better chance of making the lift if you attempt to accelerate the bar. It is important to understand that this is a smooth acceleration, not a rapid "jerk" on the bar, which would in fact, increase the likelihood of injury.

Incidentally, I define "good form" a bit differently than most. If you enter a workout with pre-determined parameters such as number of sets and reps, tempo, optimal body alignment, range of motion (which may be complete or partial) length of rest periods, and you maintain these parameters, you're using "good form." So for example, you may set out to use a 2 second tempo, which is relatively fast (and may or may not be safe, depending on the exercise, your experience, the weights being lifted, and a host of other factors). However, if you set out to do a 4 second tempo, and due to fatigue or inattention it ends up being a 2 second tempo, this shows a lack of control, which in my opinion, heightens the potential for injury.

So, although many people cite the dangers of "fast" or "explosive" lifting, I hope you can now appreciate that the issue is far more complex than most people consider. During this article, I will make reference to explosive, ballistic, and accelerative lifting techniques, in an effort to cover the various possible methods.

Is Accelerative Activity an Inherent Characteristic of Human Movement?

The phenomenon known as the stretch-shortening cycle (or SSC) strongly hints that the body is in fact designed for ballistic and accelerative stress (5). To illustrate this concept, I'll ask you to imagine the act of throwing a baseball, overhand style. You grab the ball, extend your throwing arm behind you, and, just as the arm nears complete extension (the eccentric portion of the throw), you rapidly reverse the motion (the concentric phase) and release the ball. Now, just as an experiment, extend the arm back, and pause for three seconds before you throw. It's intuitively obvious that the second throw, aside from feeling totally unnatural, will travel much slower and result in a shorter throw.

When you throw (or jump, hit, etc) correctly, the musculo-tendinous unit stores potential kinetic energy during the eccentric phase of the movement. At full stretch, the muscle begins its reversal into the concentric phase. If you use proper timing (the "switch" between eccentric and concentric must be very rapid), you can recover all that potential energy and return it during the concentric phase. If you wait-even for a split second- the energy will dissipate. A simpler way to visualize the SSC is to imagine the muscles as elastic bands that stretch during eccentric activity, and contract during the concentric portion of the movement. (Incidentally, plyometric training- usually consisting of various jumps and throws, are designed to train the elastic potential of the musculoskeletal system.)

If you watch people carefully in various situations, you'll notice that, whenever there is an option to accelerate a load, people will take that option. On stairclimbing machines, people will, especially as fatigue sets in, tend to step in a bouncy, choppy manner. When a heavy box must be lifted from the floor to a high shelf, a person will accelerate the box throughout the lift. Further, the motor cortex will normally choose a movement pattern where more muscle groups can participate in the effort, in order to conserve energy and avoid dangerous levels of stress to any single muscle involved in the movement.

Optimal Progression Ensures Safety

Now the question becomes "If this is how muscles work in everyday activities, should we train muscles this way?" My colleague Paul Chek often asserts that "First isolate, then integrate." What Paul means by this is that before asking the chain to produce high levels of force, one should first strengthen each link of the chain- especially the weakest links.

When training a link, you must "isolate" that link- in other words, create a movement or exercise where associated links have no ability to assist in that movement. Since muscles are the links in any kinetic chain, another way to view this progression is to "First, train muscles, then train movements." Either way you choose to conceptualize it, most accelerative lifting movements (such as modified Olympic lifts such as power cleans & snatches, push-jerks, jumps, throws, etc.) involve large numbers of muscles. Therefore, if these individual muscles are brought to maximum strength levels prior to accelerative, multi-joint movements, the athlete lessens the potential for injury. However, if any link in the chain is relatively weak, that link would logically have a greater potential for injury during any explosive type exercise that involves it.

As an example of the proceeding progression, an athlete wishing to perform power cleans might spend 6-9 weeks developing strength in the quads, hamstrings, spinal erectors, trapezius, glutes, scapular retractors, and gastrocs, and then gradually switch to more explosive training methods, while maintaining the strength of the individual muscle groups, using a reduced volume (about 30 to 50 percent) of work. In my experience working with Olympic weightlifters, I have used various permutations of this progression and have never witnessed a serious injury. A recent study by Brian P. Hamill (please see sidebar (below) entitled Multi-Sport Comparative Injury Rates) collaborates my observations (6). In his analysis of statistics derived from surveys and competitions, Hamill found that competitive weightlifting is safer than many other sports, including soccer, recreational weight training, and (believe it or not) badminton. In his analysis, Hamill suggests that qualified supervision is the most important precondition for safe participation in both competitive weightlifting and recreational weight training.

Should Bodybuilders Perform Ballistic, Explosive, or Accelerative Weight Training?

Legions of successful competitive bodybuilders have achieved their goals without using these techniques. However, it has been my experience that many top physique stars have achieved their success in spite of their training methods and habits, not because of them. When you have a superior somatype and a favorable hormonal system to support it, and when you have a superior ability to train hard on a consistent basis, you don't need to sweat the details. Recreational pharmacology should be factored in, also.

But let's assume that you're at least the fourth generation of your family to stand upright. Let's also assume you have a job, and limited chemistry skills. Let's further assume that your training program could benefit from a bit of variation, and even some fun. If you fit this profile, and if you employ qualified supervision, I would urge you to explore these methods. The downside? For starters, HIT people will call you a fool. Also, you may abandon bodybuilding for the sport of Olympic weightlifting. You also run the risk of slow twitch fiber atrophy, as your Type II fibers hypertrophy to unprecedented size. Finally, you may suffer guilt pangs as you find yourself actually enjoying training again. On balance, I'd say it's worth the risk.

Is "HIT" Dead?

For years, the most vocal faction of coaches and athletes in opposition to explosive lifting techniques has been known as "HIT" an acronym meaning "High Intensity Training." The HIT doctrine took root through the teachings of Arthur Jones, and has been furthered by Mike Mentzer, and several collegiate strength coaches. HIT has traditionally favored single set, low-speed, machine based movements, and has been vehemently opposed to multi-set periodized approaches, explosive lifts and plyometrics, and free weight exercises. Recently, however, the HITers have all but merged with the mainstream on issues of number of sets, repetition ranges, and the use of free weights. They remain steadfast on the topic of explosive lifting techniques, however. In the recently released HITFAQv2.0a , the section describing "proper form" advises "raising and lowering the weight in a deliberate, controlled manner." The FAQ continues "Anytime, anyone, be they Mr. Universe, or whomever, tells you to move a weight fast, in an 'explosive' style, just walk away. That person is a fool." (I always thought that anyone who took comfort in applying blanket statements to a wide range of circumstances was a fool, but maybe I've got it wrong!)

Important Terminology (sidebar)

1) Torque: the effectiveness of a force to produce rotation of an object about an axis (7). Measured as the product of force and the perpendicular distance from the line of action of the force to the axis of rotation. The SI (International System) unit of torque is the newton-meter (N.m)

2) Force: that which changes or tends to change the state of rest or motion in matter (7). Force may increase or decrease the velocity of an object. The SI unit of force is the newton (N).

3) Work: the product of an expressed force and the distance of displacement of an object, irrespective of time (7). The SI unit of work is the joule (J). To measure work, you would multiply the force applied by the distance the force was applied over.

4) Power: the rate of performing work (7). The SI unit of power is the watt (W). To measure power, you would divide the work by the time it took to accomplish the work.

5) Velocity: a change in either the speed or direction of an object, or a change in both the speed and direction of an object (8). Most people use the term velocity to describe a change in the speed of an object.

6) Explosive strength: One of two elements of speed strength (power) -the ability to apply a maximal force against an external object (such as a shot put or barbell), or ones own body, as in sprinting or jumping, in minimum time (9).

7) Ballistic: Infers movement which is accelerative, of high velocity, and with actual projection into free space (10). Ballistic activities include throwing and jumping.

Multi-Sport Comparative Injury Rates (sidebar)

Sport Injuries (per 100 participation hours)

Schoolchild soccer 6.20

UK Rugby 1.92

South African Rugby 0.70

UK Basketball 1.03

USA Basketball 0.03

USA Athletics (Track) 0.57

UK Athletics 0.26

UK Cross-country 0.37

USA Cross-country 0.00

Fives 0.21

P.E. 0.18

Squash 0.10

USA Football 0.10

Badminton 0.05

USA Gymnastics 0.044

UK Tennis 0.07

USA Powerlifting 0.0027

USA Tennis 0.001

Rackets 0.03

USA Volleyball 0.0013

Weight Training 0.0035 (85,733 hrs)

Weightlifting 0.0017 (165,551 hrs)

References:

1) Gross, J., Fetto, J., & Rosen, E, . Musculoskeletal Examination, 1996. Cambridge, Blackwell Science, p.p.5.

2) Poliquin, C., The Poliquin Principles, 1997, Napa, Dayton Publisher's Group, p.p. 24

3) Fleck, S.J., & Kraemer, W.J., Designing Resistance Training Programs, 1987, Champaign, Human Kinetics, p.p. 58.

4) Komi, P.V (Ed.), Strength and Power in Sport (1992). London. p.p.29

5) Komi, P.V (Ed.), Strength and Power in Sport (1992). London. p.p.169

6) Hamill, B.P., Relative safety of weightlifting and weight training. J. Strength and Cond. Res. 8(1);53-57.1994.

7) Knuttgen, H.G., Force, Work, and Power in Athletic Training. Sports Science Exchange. 8(4). 1995.

8) Norkin, C.C., & Levangie, P.K. Joint Structure & Function. F.A. Davis Company (1992), Philadelphia. p.p.17.

9) Kurz, T. Science of Sports Training. Stadion (1991), Island Pond. p.p. 85

10). Kraemer, W.J. & Newton, R.U., Muscle Power. Muscular Development. March, 1995, p.p. 130-131.


Have a nice day
Marc


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spud

marcrph wrote:
Without going through the precise computations in the book, the greater speed (.90 seconds) and distance (.90 meters) of Pisarenko's clean far exceeds the power output of the much heavier, but slower (2 seconds) and shorter (.40 meters) deadlift by Kenady. Pisarenko's clean produced almost four times as much power (resistance, distance and speed combined), 21.64 watts/kg body mass, as Kenady's deadlift, which produced only 5.67 watts/kg body mass. Slow lifting as in bodybuilding or power lifting does NOT increase torso kinetic energy or torso rotational energy, nor train the mind to think in terms of acceleration and speed as required in most athletic events.


Can anybody think of any athletes, apart from Powerlifters and Olympic Lifters, that know (or care for that matter) how many watts/kg of body mass they are capable of generating?

This article seems to forget that skill training plays a far bigger part in determining the success of most athletes.

Of course strength training and skill training for Powerlifters and Olympic lifters is pretty much the SAME THING.

Squat, bench press, deadlift

OR

Clean & Jerk and Snatch.

I realise that there are other accessory movements, but you get the point.

Look at sports such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, football, ice hockey, frisbee etc. Strength training is nothing like skill training for these sports. They are very much separate.

Articles like this always use Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting as examples so they can wade in with there physics and forces, getting bogged down in the science and neglecting the real issues.

Weight training is very much secondary to skill training.

Does being able to bench, squat, clean or snatch more weight really make you better at sport?

I am fairly sure that most pitchers could through a decent fast ball long before they picked up a weight, and that most basketball player in the NBA could dunk without ever doing a power clean.

Do you seriously believe that the players with the best 3 point shooting % or the best batting average are the ones that lift explosively?

With strength training for sports does it really matter whether you train explosively or slowly?

Isn't the real issue whether you train as opposed to not training at all?

Can you only be good at tennis if you can generate at least 10 watts/kg of body mass in some completely unrelated weight lifting movement?

I hate it when people use the term SLOW TRAINING. This immediately conjures up thoughts of people lifting at agonisingly slow speeds such as 10/10 on every movement.

What about 3/3 or 4/4? Is that slow lifting? They aren't exactly slow. Just controlled and sensible without being silly (too fast or too slow).
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SanSooMan

Dr. Darden,
what do you think of 1 rep. max done Superslow.
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Ellington Darden

A 1-rep max done superslow would be safer than a 1-rep max done at a faster speed. But I'd still rather see several more reps performed in the same set.

Ellington
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SanSooMan

Dr. Darden,

Danger aside, do you think a 1 rep max Superslow is more productive than 2 SS reps.? As productive as Negatives?

On that topic, I've just purchased two Negative machines, do you have any new guildlines for their usage? Once a week verses twice, rep #, rep. speed?

Thank you for your time and insight, Chris.
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Ellington Darden

Chris,

For the best results, I believe that you must fatigue a muscle between 40-70 seconds. So, 2 superslow reps would be better than 1.

Concerning the negative machines, I'd have to know more about them before I'd venture a recommendation.

Ellington
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chris mason

Virginia, USA

Ellington Darden wrote:
It's evident to me that Pat O'Shea and the strength-training coaches mentioned in Bass' article have NEVER performed a fast lift, such as the power clean, on a force plate. Nor are they well versed in the transfer of motor skills.

Fast lifts may be somewhat productive, but they are dangerous. And there's very little of such fast lifting that correlates highly to any sports skill.

The idea is to train with high intensity and low to moderate force; not high intensity and high force.

The force plate has been around for 30 years or more. I wish O'Shea and these coaches would take the time to explore its application to strength training.

Ellington


I know you reference the force plate from time to time and I understand your logic on the issue.

That said, in nature, no movements are performed like you recommend weights be lifted. Strict, controlled lifting is not what we do when performing the movements that get us through a day at work (I am speaking of manual labor movements --- say a lumberjack for example)and so on.

It is quite possible that the human body will respond more positively to the oscillations of force produced with faster movements. Heck, we can certainly see it (a positive response) demonstrated in the top Olympic lifters and with strongman competitors.

The idea that fast lifts are dangerous does not play out in the real world. Do you have any studies to reference which prove that Olympic lifters are any more prone to injury than bodybuidlers who train in a slow and controlled fashion? I agree that the peak forces involved in fast movements are greater than those involved in slow movements but that does not necesssarily correlate to a greater chance of injury. Why? Adaptation by the human body is the answer. Your connective tissues will adapt to the greater forces if one trains with fast movements in a progressive fashion.

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SanSooMan

Dr. Darden,
thanks for the reply. The machines we have purchased are Negative Attitude. I think they are pretty cool stuff. I will be the only person on the West Coast to have them. I just thought you could give me some insight on the following: rep. speed, number of reps. and once or twice a week for neg. only. It should be fun to "play" around with this stuff(and it is hard-core stuff)and see the results of NO training that Arthur Jones promised. Chris Kanakaris
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hit4all

Sweden

SanSooMan

Yoo, talk to Charlie Haire. He did the "Eccentric Strength Training Program: Six-Week Case Study" which can be found at IART (see link below).

He goes under the nickname "Chaire" at this forum. I'm sure he can give you some advices, but (if you haven't allready done that) read the case study first before asking question. I think many of your questions will be answered!

http://www.exercisecertificati...

Be well, train hard & think smart!
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spud

chris mason wrote:
That said, in nature, no movements are performed like you recommend weights be lifted. Strict, controlled lifting is not what we do when performing the movements that get us through a day at work (I am speaking of manual labor movements --- say a lumberjack for example)and so on.


No movements in nature are performed slowly with strict form. So what? Not all movements in nature are performed rapidly either.

Training slowly (not necessarily as slow as SuperSlow) with weights isn't a bad thing. We're not all Powerlifters and Olympic lifters. Those guys are competitive athletes and are willing to take risks in order to win contests etc.

For someone just looking to improve their physique a bit, they don't HAVE to lift quickly.

Would performing power cleans or fast (perhaps even explosive) bench presses help the lumberjack when it came to swinging his axe? If so, how?
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tubeway

Interesting thread, great reading.

spud wrote:
No movements in nature are performed slowly with strict form. So what? Not all movements in nature are performed rapidly either.

Training slowly (not necessarily as slow as SuperSlow) with weights isn't a bad thing. We're not all Powerlifters and Olympic lifters. Those guys are competitive athletes and are willing to take risks in order to win contests etc.


You don't have to be a competative athlete to take risks when performing rapid movements. Just watch the kids in high school running, jumping, playing soccer, football, tennis and so on and so forth, all often done with higher degrees of force than those met in the confines of the gym. If lifting weights in an accelerated manner, and note I don't say ballistic or rapid, is considered risky then you might as well stop everyone from performing any and everyday task such as ther recreational sports I mention above.

For someone just looking to improve their physique a bit, they don't HAVE to lift quickly.

I would agree with this to a certain extent. However I do consider that if one wants to maximise their potential in terms of size and strength there comes a time when you should lift heavy weights, certainly much heavier than a set lasting anything up to 90 to 120 seconds would allow. Note that lifting heavy doesn't mean you'll be lifting quickly but you'll be trying to :)

If I could just mention that Stuart McGill, in his book "Low Back Disorders" says:

"The instruction to always lift a load smoothly may not invariably result in the least risk of injury. The longer a muscle stays under tension the greater the risk that it'll deform. In fact, your muscles and connective tissues have a property called visoelasticity, which allows them to perform a fast movement without injury. But the same movement peformed slowly might cause a strain or tear, since the muscles and connective tissues have more chance to deform."

Anyone care to comment?

Would performing power cleans or fast (perhaps even explosive) bench presses help the lumberjack when it came to swinging his axe? If so, how?

Good question. I thought that athletes performing the Olympic lifts to improve power and strength were teaching their muscles and their respective motor units, in combination with sport specific training, to be activated and better recruited to perform their sport. Did that make sense?

In the case of the lumberjack, he will be swinging his axe in an accelerated manner in order to create enough force to chop down the tree. A slow swing just won't cut it (pun intended). If the lumberjack has exposed his muscles and joints to Olympic lifts then this would seem to have a good carryover to his everyday job.

Does that not seem reasonable?
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spud

tubeway wrote:
If lifting weights in an accelerated manner, and note I don't say ballistic or rapid, is considered risky then you might as well stop everyone from performing any and everyday task such as ther recreational sports I mention above.


There aren't many everyday tasks that are performed with large amounts of weight. Yes there are risks in everyday life. Why make weight training any more risky than you have to?

tubeway wrote:
"The instruction to always lift a load smoothly may not invariably result in the least risk of injury. The longer a muscle stays under tension the greater the risk that it'll deform.


How will the muscle deform? What will happen to it?

What length of time must a muscle stay under tension in order to deform? What kind of loads are we talking about?

tubeway wrote:
In fact, your muscles and connective tissues have a property called visoelasticity, which allows them to perform a fast movement without injury. But the same movement peformed slowly might cause a strain or tear, since the muscles and connective tissues have more chance to deform."


What kind of movements are we talking about? Weight training movements?

tubeway wrote:
I thought that athletes performing the Olympic lifts to improve power and strength were teaching their muscles and their respective motor units, in combination with sport specific training, to be activated and better recruited to perform their sport. Did that make sense?


This is what I thought:

Olympic Lifts teach muscles and motor units to be activated and recruited in order to perform the Olympic Lifts. They do not teach the muscles and motor units how to be activated and recruited in order to shoot a basketball or swing a baseball bat.

If you want to become more coordinated at shooting a basketball then shoot a basketball. Olympic Lifting will not teach you other unrelated sporting skills.

So I agree with you when you say sport specific training is required. But not Olympic Lifting.

tubeway wrote:
In the case of the lumberjack, he will be swinging his axe in an accelerated manner in order to create enough force to chop down the tree. A slow swing just won't cut it (pun intended).


Right. The lumberjack need not be concerned with how to apply force to stop the axe. The tree or log will stop it for him. So he is free to swing away as fast as he likes. Like you said, he needs to swing the axe fast.

tubeway wrote:
If the lumberjack has exposed his muscles and joints to Olympic lifts then this would seem to have a good carryover to his everyday job.


Why?

He will build the necessary strength, technique, coordination and balance he needs to swing and axe by swinging the axe.

Olympic Lifts will not teach him to swing the axe.

The motor unit recruitment patterns for swinging an axe aren't the same as those that occur when performing a snatch.
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marcrph

Spain

Big Man On Campus

When Boyd Eply told Nebraska head coach Bob Devaney he was going to teach his Cornhuskers how to lift weights, Devaney was about as excited as if Eply had told him he was going to teach them how to fumble in the end zone.
"Why would you want to do that?" Devaney asked. "I have a friend at Michigan State and he doesn't lift weights. I have a friend at Ohio State and he doesn't lift weights. In fact, I don't know anyone in the whole country who lifts weights. The way I understand it, it could hurt players."

Eply, then a struggling undergraduate student, calmly explained that lifting weights would make Devaney's players stronger and faster.

While the legendary coach didn't actually harrumph, he wasn't impressed either.

"OK," Devaney grudgingly agreed. "But if anyone gets slower, you're going to get fired."

Three months later, all of the players on the 1969 squad were both stronger and faster. And, as they say, the rest is history. Nebraska went on to win back-to-back national championships in 1970 and 1971, setting the stage for a dominance that would last more than two decades.

And, oh yeah, Devaney tripled Eply's salary.

Eply, now 54, tells the story to illustrate how far the world of strength and conditioning has come in the last three and a half decades.

Thirty-five years ago, there wasn't any such thing as a strength and conditioning coach - not in the Big Eight Conference and not anywhere else that anyone can remember. In 1970, Eply became the first person in conference history to carry the title. Now, few football programs are without one.

Further, when Eply accepted Devaney's challenge, the discipline was so new that there was no professional organization where strength coaches could share information, talk about common concerns or become certified so others would know they were the real thing and not just some gym rat pumped up with hot air. Such an organization wasn't formed until 1978 when Eply gathered seven of his counterparts together in Lincoln, Neb. and founded the National Strength and Conditioning Association. It now has 19,000 members and a new organization was recently formed to address the unique concerns of college-level strength coaches.

"He was the real pioneer in the field," says Chuck Stiggins, a former BYU strength coach who was one of the seven who launched the national organization 23 years ago and recently founded the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. "He is the guy who brought strength and conditioning to the forefront and because of what he's done he's allowed the profession to grow and prosper and flourish."

More importantly, for those who coach, watch or play football, he's enabled players to grow, and prosper and flourish and in the process has fundamentally changed the game.

His contribution was recognized last year by Lindy's magazine which named him one of its Top 100 Most Important College Football Sports Figures of the Century. The magazine explained his inclusion alongside coaching greats such as Devaney, Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, saying the "strength coach built bruising 'Huskers lines, leading to bigger, stronger, faster approach everywhere."

But while the accolade is written in past tense, there's nothing past tense about Eply, who was actually discovered in 1969 by then-assistant Nebraska coach Tom Osborne.

While Devaney died three years ago and Osborne is now a U.S. congressman, Eply continues to build stars at the center in Lincoln that is now known as Husker Power.

Over the years, his goals haven't changed. He still works to build the strongest, fastest athletes possible. But the means have changed dramatically.

"I was winging it," he says of his early days as the school's strength coach.

Today, researchers all over the world are conducting tests and coming up with new ways to condition athletes.

"At one time we had no resources at all to call on," says Eply. "Now we have scientists who are doing research on strength and conditioning. They used to do it on horses or dogs. Now they're doing it on people. Everything we do in our program is based on scientific research."

When he began, his research involved experimenting with his own body.

In fact, his first experience with weight-lifting sounds like something out of a circa 1930s Charles Atlas advertisement. While he wasn't the 100-pound weakling Atlas featured in his body-building ads, Eply was scrawny.

"I weighed 160 pounds when I was a junior in high school," he explains. "During the summer, I started lifting weights and gained 20 pounds."

When he went back to school, his football coach was amazed at how much bigger he had become and switched him from quarterback to linebacker. But, Eply says, the biggest change had nothing to do with where lined up on the field.

"I had so much more confidence," he says. "It really changed my life."

And so weight-lifting ? an exercise that then attracted few athletes ? became a part of his regular routine.

And that's ultimately how Osborne found him.

When he went to Nebraska on a track scholarship, he naturally hung out in the weight room. Because he was one of the few regulars, injured football players who were sent to the weight room for rehab sought his advice.

One day, he got a call from Osborne. "I was scared to death," Eply, who was a pole vaulter, recalls.

Osborne said he'd noticed that after working out with Eply, football players were coming back to the team even stronger than before they were injured. "Could you do it for the whole team?" Osborne asked.

While Eply agreed, he didn't do so unconditionally. First, he said, he needed a bigger room and more equipment. Osborne, he says, didn't flinch.

He ordered workers to knock down a wall in the dank 900-square-foot weight room to create more space and told his secretary to order every piece of equipment on a list Eply provided.

"I didn't realize how supportive he was going to be," Eply says. "He ordered $10,000 to $12,000 worth of equipment on the spot. And that was in the late 1960s. It would be like $60,000 to $70,000 today."

To devise a program, Eply sought advice from a P.E. teacher who helped him figure out a way to test athletes so he could track their progress and provide Devaney the proof he demanded.

While many of those tests, such as the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump, are still standard, others have been added as researchers and scientists have refined strength training, turning it from a marginal sport into a key part of all athletics.

Those same researchers and scientists have shattered myths about strength training and have changed drills that were once as common in weight rooms as barbells and chin up bars.

Thanks to the research and examples set by Nebraska and other schools, few coaches now believe that weight training will hurt athletes by making them slow and stiff. And virtually all recognize the importance of year-round training. The days of having a short spring practice and then bringing players back to the field for about 10 days before the fall season are long gone.

But, Eply says, some traditions die hard. For instance, he says, even though it's been more than 15 years since he first began preaching about the evils of making football players run long distances, some coaches still do it.

"Football is an anaerobic sport," he says. "The play only lasts five seconds and then there's 50 seconds of rest."

Therefore, football players don't need the endurance to run five miles or even the once standard mile and a half. They need explosive energy so they can run extremely fast for five or six seconds.

Having football players run a mile or more doesn't just waste time, it's actually counterproductive, Eply says. If they train for long distances, they won't have the energy they need late in the fourth quarter to explode from the line or sprint downfield.

"When we stopped running 1 1/2 miles, it caused a lot of controversy," he says. "But our linemen gained an average of 30 pounds a person. We had bigger guys who were fast."

The combination, he says, was lethal.

In addition to running players too far, coaches often still run them too long. Even those who have abandoned long runs, will insist that the players run short distances repeatedly throughout practice.

"They'll tell them to run the 40-yard dash and then tell them to run back and then run it again," he says. A player isn't going to ever run his hardest if he knows he's going to have to run back and do it again. Players will simply pace themselves so they can do the drill repeatedly. And because they will pace themselves, the coach will never find out what they are really capable of and they surely won't be able to give it their best on game day.

"Rest is a tough one to deal with," he says. "But coaches have to work recovery into their programs."

He says he discovered that his own program was too intense by strapping heart monitors on his players. The monitors showed that the players' heart rates weren't coming down during the workouts. "It was an aerobic workout and we didn't want that. Football is an anaerobic sport," he says. "So we built some rest into the drill."

Further, he says, over the years, he - with the help of scientists - has learned that more is not necessarily better.

"A lot of people think Nebraska is a lifting factory - that we mass produce athletes," he says. "We probably lift less than any school you can think of. We pride ourselves on being efficient. We try to get more out of the workout, not just make it longer."

While training is good, over the years he has learned the over-training is also debilitating. His personal training regime is a good example of how less can be more. He lifts weights for 20 minutes two times a week. "It's pretty intense. It's efficient," he says.

And while he is still a big proponent of free weights, he now acknowledges there is a place for machines in the weight room. A firm believer that athletes should train the way they play - on their feet - he generally dislikes machines with seats. But, he says, some machines, like those that force athletes to work at a 45-degree angle, enable athletes to exercise muscle groups more efficiently than they could with free weights.

Further, without a machine, such an exercise would be impossible. "With free weights you'd fall on your face," he says of the machine that tilts athletes at a 45 degree angle.

Machines also allow athletes to isolate muscle groups which is good for injured players who are building back their strength.

But, he says, with rare exception, free weights still rule."If you just train on machines, you'll have a heck of a time beating a team from Nebraska," he says simply.

And, as the record books show, that doesn't happen often. The Cornhuskers haven't had a losing season since 1962 and haven't posted fewer than nine wins a season since 1968, the year before Eply joined Devaney's staff, promising to build stronger and faster athletes.

He not only kept his promise to Devaney, but in doing so helped create an entire profession and an industry to support it.

Not bad for a once scrawny track star.

Using a Veepass machine, Epley monitors how much force an athlete is using. The athlete stands on two force plates which record what side of his body is working harder. Technology has transformed today's weight rooms.

"A lot of people think Nebraska is a lifting factory - that we mass produce athletes. We probably lift less than any school you can think of. We pride ourselves on being efficient. We try to get more out of the workout, not just make it longer."

- Boyd Epley


Have a nice day
Marc


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chris mason

Virginia, USA

spud wrote:
chris mason wrote:
That said, in nature, no movements are performed like you recommend weights be lifted. Strict, controlled lifting is not what we do when performing the movements that get us through a day at work (I am speaking of manual labor movements --- say a lumberjack for example)and so on.

No movements in nature are performed slowly with strict form. So what? Not all movements in nature are performed rapidly either.

Training slowly (not necessarily as slow as SuperSlow) with weights isn't a bad thing. We're not all Powerlifters and Olympic lifters. Those guys are competitive athletes and are willing to take risks in order to win contests etc.

For someone just looking to improve their physique a bit, they don't HAVE to lift quickly.

Would performing power cleans or fast (perhaps even explosive) bench presses help the lumberjack when it came to swinging his axe? If so, how?


I was hoping Dr. Darden might respond.

Anyway, I think you missed the point of what I wrote and that may be my fault for not being sufficiently clear.

I agree that strength training should be general and skill training specific with respect to most athletes. My point is that faster movements performed in a less "strict" fashion than is normally recommended by Dr. Darden and Arthur Jones has been proven to work and work very well. The biggest and strongest men in the world nearly to a man train differently in their rep cadence and exercise form than Dr. Darden recommends. These men obviously experience very good results.

The reasons provided by Dr. Darden and Jones for training in a slow and strict fashion make very good sense from a logical and intuitive standpoint. That said, the manner in which the body responds and adapts to exercise may not be as clear cut as they present it to be and what they express is truly an OPINION as opposed to scientific fact.

I would argue that the body may respond with greater size and strength increases to a looser form than that advocated by Dr. Darden and that such form is not any more dangerous (to be defined as the likelihood of causing injury)if it is performed in a progressive and intelligent fashion.

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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

There are more holes in the arguments for fast lifting in this thread than I have time to respond to (it's almost 3:00 am)

There is no good reason to move in a fast or explosive manner during strength training. I'm working on an article on rep speed, which will cover the problems with both lifting too quickly (Charles Staley's Escalating Density Training, for example) and too slowly (SuperSlow) which I have spoken with someone about having published in one of the major muscle mags this spring. I'll cover it there.

One thing to think about for now: many people get the cause and effect mixed up with regards to strength sports, and athletics in general. Are these people good at what they do because of how they do it, or do they do what they do because they are naturally good at it?

Some people might enjoy Olympic lifting, but using slow, controlled speed of movement during exercise is far safer and more effective.
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