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Friday, 9 April 2021

Skip the Deadlifts and the Olympic Lifts

Recently, Vern Gambetta, one of the most distinguished Athletic Performance coaches of the modern era, posted a great opinion piece on Facebook this week that argued about the potential uselessness and dangers of using Olympic lifting as a means of developing athletic prowess in the athlete. And from an injury perspective I could not have agreed more.

Read on for more...                                                                                                                                                

The risks of Olympic lifting.

To set the record straight, both Vern Gambetta and I are not against the idea of Olympic lifting as a means of strength and power development in the non-Olympic lifting athlete. I just believe that sometimes Strength and Conditioning Coaches overuse the Clean and Jerk (or Power Clean) and the Snatch as a basis for the strength and conditioning programs without understanding the inherent risks involved in such technical movements.

     All training modalities come with some inherent risk. Speed and agility work can pull hamstrings, high intensity mixed interval training can lead to overuse tendinopathies, bench/dip/shoulder press can all lead to a host of shoulder problems etc... However, often what a good Strength and Conditioning coach can do is ascertain which movements are inherently "self-limiting". What this means is that if the movement/lift goes wrong, they still have a chance of pulling out without hurting themselves. A great example is barbell bench press versus dumbbell bench press. When using a barbell if things go wrong in the lift the athlete does not have a lot of wriggle room to avoid either dropping the weight on themselves or wrenching their shoulder joint. With dumbbell bench press, if things go wrong the athlete can simply drop the dumbbells off to the side.

     This holds true for Olympic lifting also, particularly the Snatch as it is not "self-limiting". If things go wrong in a Snatch, often the shoulder, neck and back will cop a hammering. Just have a look at any site that promotes "gym fails" on Facebook and you will understand what I am on about. Not a lot of wriggle room if a Snatch goes wrong.

      In my experience in rugby, I have seen a host of "Olympic lift" injuries in my time dealing with rugby and American football players. These include injuries such as ruptured Achilles tendon, torn meniscus (too deep on the catch with the clean), a ton of lumbar spine disc injuries, traction injuries to the brachial  lexus, wrenched cervical spines and a bunch of wrist impingements. Missing 2 weeks to 6 months of rugby due to a lift gone wrong can be a very frustrating and annoying issue for the coaching staff.

 

Risk vs Reward

     Therefore, this brings us to the crux of this issue - risk vs reward. What is the inherent benefit in including such technically proficient lifts into a training program if the risk of injury is potentially higher than with another "self-limiting" lift? Is a lumbar disc herniation worth the potential benefit of doing a heavy power clean? Could they get the same benefit of doing a jump squat movement instead? The Strength and Conditioning coach would need a solid basis of argument to include such movements into a program of a non-Olympic lifting athlete. I am sure countless physiotherapists and doctors who read this newsletter may philosophically agree with me on this point. As a Strength and Conditioning coach I have always used the Risk vs Reward formula to determine whether a specific lift should be used in a programme. When you use the Risk vs reward formula you quickly realise that in some cases it just not worth it. 

  

Thursday, 8 April 2021

BIG DONT'S


Don't do anything in your bare feet. Will cause stress fractures or "greentree fractures" to your foot.

Don't do behind the neck pulldowns, behind the neck shoulder presses. Nothing with your hand in the high five position.

Don't do situps, crunches or trunk twists for your core. This will damage the disk in your spine. Not if, but when.

Don't cut your carbs to lose weight. It doesn’t work.

Don't do forced reps with a spotter. This can actually hinder your strength gains.

Don't use straps when lifting. It will weaken your grip.

Don't wear a belt when lifting, unless you are doing a one rep maximum. It can lead to instability in your spine and eventually back problems.

Don't do your cardiovascular work without a heart rate monitor. .  

Don't use the old "220- your age  x your % formula". It just might kill you

 

The biggest Don’t of all…… Don’t ever, ever give up !

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Skip the Deadlifts and Olympic Lifts.

 

Recently ,Vern Gambetta, one of the most distinguished Athletic Performance coaches of the modern era, posted a great opinion piece on Facebook this week that argued about the potential uselessness and dangers of using Olympic lifting as a means of developing athletic prowess in the athlete. And from an injury perspective I could not have agreed more.

Read on for more...

The risks of Olympic lifting.

To set the record straight, both Vern Gambetta and I are not against the idea of Olympic lifting as a means of strength and power development in the non-Olympic lifting athlete. I just believe that sometimes Strength and Conditioning Coaches overuse the Clean and Jerk (or Power Clean) and the Snatch as a basis for the strength and conditioning programs without understanding the inherent risks involved in such technical movements.

     All training modalities come with some inherent risk. Speed and agility work can pull hamstrings, high intensity mixed interval training can lead to overuse tendinopathies, bench/dip/shoulder press can all lead to a host of shoulder problems etc... However, often what a good Strength and Conditioning coach can do is ascertain which movements are inherently "self-limiting". What this means is that if the movement/lift goes wrong, they still have a chance of pulling out without hurting themselves. A great example is barbell bench press versus dumbbell bench press. When using a barbell if things go wrong in the lift the athlete does not have a lot of wriggle room to avoid either dropping the weight on themselves or wrenching their shoulder joint. With dumbbell bench press, if things go wrong the athlete can simply drop the dumbbells off to the side.

     This holds true for Olympic lifting also, particularly the Snatch as it is not "self-limiting". If things go wrong in a Snatch, often the shoulder, neck and back will cop a hammering. Just have a look at any site that promotes "gym fails" on Facebook and you will understand what  I am on about. Not a lot of wriggle room if a Snatch goes wrong.

      In my experience in rugby, I have seen a host of "Olympic lift" injuries in my time dealing with rugby and American football players. These include injuries such as ruptured Achilles tendon, torn meniscus (too deep on the catch with the clean), a ton of lumbar spine disc injuries, traction injuries to the brachial  lexus, wrenched cervical spines and a bunch of wrist impingements. Missing 2 weeks to 6 months of rugby due to a lift gone wrong can be a very frustrating and annoying issue for the coaching staff.

 

Risk vs Reward

     Therefore, this brings us to the crux of this issue - risk vs reward. What is the inherent benefit in including such technically proficient lifts into a training program if the risk of injury is potentially higher than with another "self-limiting" lift? Is a lumbar disc herniation worth the potential benefit of doing a heavy power clean? Could they get the same benefit of doing a jump squat movement instead? The Strength and Conditioning coach would need a solid basis of argument to include such movements into a program of a non-Olympic lifting athlete. I am sure countless physiotherapists and doctors who read this newsletter may philosophically agree with me on this point. As a Strength and Conditioning coach I have always used the Risk vs Reward formula to determine whether a specific lift should be used in a programme.When you use the Risk vs Reward formula you quickly realise that in some case's it just not worth it. 

 


Sunday, 4 April 2021

Nutrition is not a belief system.

                            Nutrition is not a belief system.

                            Why wishful thinking won't get you results, but science might.

                                                                      Part  1 

 

Nutrition is often seen as a belief system. In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, magical thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on real evidence or the scientific method. Until we fix this, nutrition will get more confusing, not less.

 Imagine the Google search by someone who wants to eat better.      

They might want to lose weight. Or build muscle. Or stay a little healthier so they can play with their grandkids longer.

So they might look for terms like:

Healthy eating.

Healthy diet.

Good nutrition.

The result? Well…

“Healthy eating” gave me 63.6 million options.

“Healthy diet” gave me 188 million options.

And “Good nutrition” gave me a whopping 213 million options.

When I check out some of these search engine results, I notice something.

Each of these websites has a story to tell: A story about which diet, supplement, food, or nutrition practice someone believes is best.

Many of these stories completely contradict each other.

But they have one thing in common: The authors treat nutrition like it’s a set of beliefs, there for their own picking and choosing.

Unfortunately, “nutrition” is often seen as a belief system.

But beliefs don’t necessarily have anything to do with facts.

When we believe something, we choose to accept that it’s true, which may or may not have anything to do with factual certainty.

This approach of “believing” is frequently applied to nutrition.

As in:                                                                                              

“I believe that sugar is poison.”

“I don’t believe that humans were meant to eat grains.”

“I believe in only eating foods that are natural and organic.”

In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, wishful thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on science.

Yet nutrition is not a belief system.

Nutrition is a science.

My job is to use nutrition (plus strength and conditioning) to get my clients the results they want.

When your meal strategy can be the difference between success or failure, there is no room for “hoping” the nutrition will work.

I can’t go on faith alone. My clients’ success literally depend on me doing my job well. Which is why the scientific method, not beliefs, govern my practice.

That’s why I need to ensure that my nutrition recommendations are based on measurable, accurate reality. On science. On the best evidence that we have right now.

 Part 2 to follow !

 

 

 

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