Early Strength and Conditioning techniques at the turn of the 20th Century

They had the right idea for punishment or training? You decide

The Zen of Weight Lifting

Chop wood, carry water and other lessons that apply far beyond the gym.


One of the best article I have read in a while about Weightlifting.

The Zen of Weight Lifting – The New York Times

NY Times Article

Resistance Training for Older Adults: Position Statement From the National Strength and Conditioning Association

Abstract Resistance training for older adults: position statement from the national strength and conditioning association:

Aging, even in the absence of chronic disease, is associated with a variety of biological changes that can contribute to decreases in skeletal muscle mass, strength, and function. Such losses decrease physiologic resilience and increase vulnerability to catastrophic events.  As such, strategies for both prevention and treatment are necessary for the health and well-being of older adults.

The purpose of this Position Statement is to provide an overview of the current and relevant literature and provide evidence-based recommendations for resistance training for older adults. As presented in this Position Statement, current research has demonstrated that countering muscle disuse through resistance training is a powerful intervention to combat the loss of muscle strength and muscle mass, physiological vulnerability, and their debilitating consequences on physical functioning, mobility, independence, chronic disease management, psychological well-being, quality of life, and healthy life expectancy. This Position Statement provides evidence to support recommendations for successful resistance training in older adults related to 4 parts: (a) program design variables, (b)physiological adaptations, (c) functional benefits, and (d) considerations for frailty, sarcopenia, and other chronic conditions.

The goal of this Position Statement is to a) help foster a more unified and holistic approach to resistance training for older adults, b)promote the health and functional benefits of resistance training for older adults, and c) prevent or minimize fears and other barriers to implementation of resistance training programs for older adults.

Click on Link to read article: Resistance Training for older adults NSCA position Statement

Infographic – optomising motor-unit recruitment

How weight gains have also damaged N.F.L. retirees

In the past few decades, the National Football League’s emphasis on the passing game and quarterback protection has led teams to stock their offensive and defensive lines with ever-larger men, many of them weighing well over 300 pounds (136.7 Kg). But their great girth, which coaches encouraged, and which helped turn some players into multimillion-dollar commodities, leaves many of them prone to obesity problems.

In retirement, these huge men are often unable to lose the weight they needed to do their jobs after leave the professional leagues.

According to the report, many linesmen say they were encouraged by their high school and college coaches to gain weight to win scholarships and to be drafted by the N.F.L., where a lot of players were required to become even bigger. In some cases, players were converted from tight ends to down linemen, and needed extra weight to play the new position. Coaches often leave it up to the players to decide how to gain weight. Which begs the question where’s the scientific evidence to encourage this behaviour where’s are the coaches getting this information?

A study published in December by The American Journal of Medicine found that for every 10 pounds football players gained from high school to college, or from college to the professional level, the risk of heart disease rose 14 percent compared with players whose weight changed little during the same period.

Read the article for it’s conclusions and make your own conclusion: Weight Gain and Health Affliction

For myself my own conclusions are:

Very Ironic the US President feeding the Clemson Tigers football team hamburgers, fries and pizza, and praising the food as “good american food”.

The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is excess weight and obesity

Players need to lose weight by diet not just exercise, and by diet, I mean healthy eating.

The NCAA should/must enforce rules that prohibit excessive fat to body weight and reduce hypertrophy that leads to health deterioration. Strength Coaches should work on delivery better programs and not muscle building.

NFL must look at options that bigger doesn’t mean always stronger or healthier.


Published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research


1 Department of Kinesiology, The Sport Science Center at Texas Christian University, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas 2 Center for Sports Performance, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 3 Division of Health and Human Performance, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 4 Department of Exercise Science, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Missouri


The authors looked at 2 groups of subjects (male & female) who all had experience with weight training. Body composition testing was performed followed by determination of back squat 1 repetition maximum (1RM). After at least 72 hours of recovery, subjects returned to the laboratory and completed 2 repetitions at each of 7 separate loads (30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90% 1RM) in a random order. During each repetition, peak and average velocity and power were measured.

Men produced higher absolute peak and average power and velocity at all loads. When power output was normalized for body mass, significant differences remained. However, when normalizing for strength, no significant differences were observed between sexes. Furthermore, when subjects were subdivided into strong and weak groups, those above the median 1RM produced higher peak power, but only at loads greater than 60% 1RM.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS These data suggest that differences in power production are strongly related to maximal strength, irrespective of sex. Therefore, weaker men and women may benefit more from maximal strength training than stronger men and women, who are likely closer to their maximal strength level. Furthermore, the finding that strength is an important determinant of power production may offer utility for strength and conditioning practitioners. Given that power production is highly associated with athletic success (division of play and starting status), weaker individuals may benefit most from training to increase overall strength to augment power-production capabilities.

Keep reading and let me know what you think ARTICLE

How to Build Strength in Rock Climbers – Part 2

Following last week’s article, we discussed how do you train strength? You need to train with compound movements (multi-joint: that work several muscles or muscle groups at one time) through a full range-of-motion. You need to work at very high loads. also, you need to train strength alongside developing the skills for rock climbing.

Any program requires a level of specificity, this is adaptation of the body or change in physical fitness is specific to the type of training undertaken, in this case relevant to rock climbing

For novice climbers developing a high level of non-specific work capacity may be appropriate for novices who are unfit and in need of general conditioning and get to a basic level of fitness.

In terms of specificity, the exercises must be like what a climber might experience on the rock. This is called motor specificity. You want to use exercise durations, muscle actions, and loads that lead toward our end goal of strength. This is called metabolic specificity. Exercises can be either motor specific, metabolic specific, or both. The more of both you do, the better.

To develop appropriate strength for climbing you want to use complex, multi-joint movements at loads high enough that the body will adapt by getting stronger rather than getting bigger. Remember that there is a huge misconception that heavy training leads to bulk. Not so. It is high-volume, medium-load training that is most effective for building size (i.e. 4 – 6 sets of 12 reps).


Adaptation  Sets Repetitions Rest between sets
Power 1-3 3-5 3 MINUTES
Functional Hypertrophy 3-4 6-8 3-5 MINUTES
Non-Functional Hypertrophy 3-4 8-12 1-3 MINUTES
Strength Endurance 2-4 12-20 30 Seconds – 1 MINUTE

Train associated muscles that contribute to climbing performance such as:

Pull/Lock-off Muscles (Pull ups or similar)

Pushing Muscles



Upper Arms

Training primarily with free weights will give you the functional, trekking-specific strength that will help you in most climbing walls and rocks. When starting any strength conditioning program, complete two full-body strength workouts a week for 30-45 minutes each, focusing on compound exercises such as squats, lunges, step-ups, dips, pull-ups, rows, dead lifts, bench presses, push ups, and overhead presses or Military Press.

Sample program:

Front Squat                        1.5x BW  1.0x BW
Dead Lift                             2.0x BW  1.5x BW
Bench Press                        1.5x BW 1.0x BW
Push Press                          1.15 BW  0.75 BW

Group 1:

–        Bench Press: Your typical weight bench and bar
–        Incline Bench: Bench Press on an inclined bench
–        Decline Bench: Bench press on a declined bench
–        Fly’s: Sitting chest fly’s on a Nautilus type machine
–        Dips: Triceps dips either on a machine or dips bar. Weight assistance is ok.
–        Triceps Extensions: Sitting extension over your head with dumbbells
–        Triceps Pull-Downs: Standing triceps extensions pulling from face level to waist level.
–        Ab Crunches: Using a machine or sit-up bench at incline
–        Leg Raises/Crunches: Lift your legs either bent or straight legged to waist level.
–        Calf-Raises: Using a machine of some sort or squat rack.

Group 2:
      –        Pull-Ups: Using a machine or pull-up bar. Weight assistance is ok.
–        Lat Pull-Downs: Seated pull-downs with wide bar.
–        One Arm Pull-Downs: Seated pull-downs with narrow bar or one-hand grip attachment.
–        Dumbbell Curls: The most basic weight lift invented.
–        Bar Curls: Using a flat or bent bar.
–        Shrugs: Standing with dumbbells, typical shoulder shrug.
–        Shoulder Raises: Standing with dumbbells, raising arms outward to shoulder level.
–        Machine Rows. Sitting and pulling towards chest.
–        Inclined Sit Ups: Sit-ups on a bench at incline for added resistance.
–        Squats: Using free weight or a machine.

      –        Quad and Hamstring Curls
–        Lunges: Start with regular lunges and add weight as strength increases.
–        Grip Machine: Can be helpful for ice and rock climbing.


  • Treadmill at incline
  • Cross trainer starting Level 5


Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, Fourth Edition: Greg Haff, N Travis Triplett National Strength & Conditioning Association (US)

The Strength and Conditioning Bible: How to Train Like an Athlete Nick Grantham

Training for the New Alpinism:  Steve House and Scott Johnston