Andrew Charniga, Jr.
Commentary on news, texts, articles and other forms of media.
“Integrated Functional Strength Training”
As Presented at the 2008 Ohio State University Strength and Conditioning Clinic.
It can be viewed on:
part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYZhq0n1ClU&feature=channel
part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXIMYjtP-GI&feature=channel
part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WPecL6W7t4&feature=channel
The quotations presented below are taken directly from the seminar; other ideas presented are paraphrased.
“Myths for Sale”
Where to begin? Unfortunately, this seminar was so full of non sequiturs and oxymorons it is worth neither the time nor the space to address each and every one.
The presenter’s credentials include: Kung Fu champion, 2x North America’s Strongest Man, Coach of World’s Strongest Man 2006, and “numerous certifications.”
This seminar began with the presenter pointing out the negative aspects of employing powerlifting, weightlifting, and bodybuilding movements in the strength training of athletes.
Since it would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to design a strength program without incorporating a barbell, dumbbells, a bench and other weight training equipment that the exercises could not be classified as belonging to one of the aforementioned three activities. These so called “negatives” must always be present in any program.
Here are the negatives that were presented:
“Powerlifting teaches athletes to be un stabile.”
The squat requires considerable balance and stability (especially with a heavy weight) because the athlete/barbell as a unit has a high general center of mass. The area of stability in the fore and aft direction (limited to the length of the feet) shrinks with the rise in the amount of weight lifted. So, at the very least, it takes great balance to keep from falling on your face.
“Olympic lifting involves highly technical lifts. It can take 10 to 15 years to perfect technique.”
This is a myth for sale because there was no credible information offered in support of it.
Olympic lifts are technical, but it can take a relatively short time, even a matter of a few weeks, for most athletes from dynamic sports to learn technique, especially someone coming from a sport like gymnastics or track and field.
Difficulties associated with learning weightlifting technique most often are due to the athlete having a lack of muscle and tendon elasticity and a specific lack of flexibility in the hip, knee, ankle, wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. If the athlete who is attempting to learn weightlifting technique has been doing strength training involving much powerlifting and/or bodybuilding movements, or comes from an activity where the upper extremities have been developed preferentially and/or unilaterally, the difficulty of assimilating weightlifting technique increases.
“There are only two lifts… and that’s all they have.”
This is another myth. In his textbook A System of Multi – Year Training, A.S. Medvedyev PhD, two time world champion and two time USSR Olympic coach, lists 100 exercises with a barbell for Olympic lifting. This book was published in the two lift era; also, there were many more weightlifting exercises with a barbell when the press was one of the competition exercises.
If anything, there are too many barbell exercises for Olympic lifting training.
“(Olympic lifting) is not good for teaching stability.”
This myth is not just false; it is plain ignorant.
The problem of stability with the snatch and the clean and jerk is connected with a rising general center of mass (the athlete/ barbell as a unit) from the instant of separation of the barbell from the platform. This in turn shrinks the area (corridor) of balance continuously as the barbell rises higher. Consequently, the difficulty of balance increases the higher the barbell is raised. And, that is just the vertical lifting of the barbell.
Unlike any other sport, weightlifters shift from straightening the lower extremities and trunk with maximum explosive effort to descending under the barbell with maximum speed.
During the descent under the barbell to receive it in the squat position for the snatch or the clean, the weightlifter generally lifts his feet from the floor, moves them to the side and to the rear before placing them back on the floor. The feet shift in three planes (vertical, horizontal, sagittal) in a fraction of a second.
Once the feet have been placed on the platform, a weightlifter has to balance his body while, at one and the same instant, secure the barbell overhead in the snatch or at the chest for the clean, balance the barbell, and, of course, the body and barbell as a unit. This requires much athletic ability to achieve balance.
“Bodybuilding does not require the body to stabilize any joint.”
This statement means nothing. How would bodybuilding exercises, performed with barbells, dumbbells, and pulleys, cause the joints to be unstable?
“Bodybuilding is mostly done with machines.”
Simply not true.
Silly pictures were shown of a weightlifter, hockey player, soccer player and others with the comment “that it is not good to do Olympic lifting for training for one leg, one arm dominant sports.”
This is false.
A rather undersized, for shot putting, athlete by the name of Al Feuerbach (who threw over 70 feet) spent so much time practicing Olympic lifting for his one arm, one leg dominant sport, that he placed second at the 1973 (superheavyweight) and first (110 kg class) at the 1974 National Weightlifting Championships. The Olympic lifts are the primary movements for strength training in power sports in most every country in the world, misinformation for sale in the USA notwithstanding.
Pictures of sprinting and bodybuilding machines were displayed with the comments, “Does your lifting mimic your sport?”
Use of weight machines are not the way to train for sprinting, but dynamic exercises offer carry over even though they may not “look” the same.
The hurdle event in track and field looks nothing like football. Football players are rarely able to run more than 10 yards in a straight line, consequently they never really have a chance to reach maximum running speed. Furthermore, they do not run down the field in three step increments followed by a leap over a hurdle.
But the power and skill of this dynamic event has obvious carry over value to a sport like football. High school state champion in the hurdles Eddie George went on to win the Heisman trophy.
“Functional strength training develops usable strength.”
This is an oxymoron.
What is “un-usable” strength? Was the explosive strength Al Feuerbach and many other athletes developed by training the Olympic lifts “unusable strength?” Obviously not.
“Most of the time we do stuff with bars we develop strength that can never be used.”
See comments about shot put and hurdles.
“An 80 pound one arm press is equal to or better than a 300 pound over head press.”
This is another profoundly ignorant remark.
Anyone who has any reasonable, first hand experience with the press, especially with 300 pounds, knows there is virtually no connection whatsoever between pressing dumbbells and pressing a barbell overhead. Remember, according to this mythologist, there is no balance involved in lifting barbells.
As a “former North American Strongest Man” why is he talking about a 300 pound press. With all of that “functional, usable strength” he talked about, certainly he has pressed much more than this.
This “former North American Strongest Man” should at the very least be able to do more than the 197 kg (435 pounds) Rigert (USSR) pressed in 1972 at a bodyweight of 198 lbs (see Tough Competition in Misinformation Engineering©).
Show us what you can press Mr. Strongest Man.
“All power is derived from the core.”
A Pathetic Non Sequitur
“Studies show strength doesn’t develop in the legs first.”
This must mean an infant begins by slithering around on the floor with paralyzed limbs before learning to stand and walk.
“Core muscles fire 4 to 8 microseconds before leg muscles.”
“Do we tie the shoulders and hips together through the core?”
What does that mean? Since when are they disconnected? Answer, we do not tie our hips and shoulders together; we tie our shoes.
“Sit ups do not affect the core.”
Another profoundly ignorant remark
Is this man talking about an apple core? This is one of the most flagrant myths, no lies which the “functional salesmen” perpetrate. The idea that there are flaccid, or otherwise unaffected abdominal muscles during the performance of standard abdominal and or trunk exercises, is utterly baseless. This is another brazen myth for sale.
“Most conventional exercises will make your athlete less mobile.”
This is nonsensically false
Which conventional exercises, for instance? Barbell or dumbbell exercises performed through a large amplitude of motion can only increase joint mobility, or at the least maintain an already large range of motion present. This “functional training” myth for sale is today’s version of the old wives tale that weight training will make you muscle bound.
“The heavier you squat the less mobile you become.”
This is false.
If you do only partial squats, you will not necessarily lose anything. You just will not strengthen your lower extremities throughout a full range of movement. When you perform squats all the way down on the other hand, you develop the lower extremities throughout the entire amplitude of motion and develop joint mobility at the same time.
M. DOlega (POL) has no trouble “getting low” in the squat at the 2009 World Chps. Charniga photo
“Squats overload the Back… Squats decrease your range of motion… Athletes cannot get low.”
The technique of squatting most commonly advocated in the strength and conditioning community, especially in the textbooks of the “experts,” resembles a power squat. In this version the trunk is tilted excessively forward, away from the vertical, which, of course, places more stress on the lumbar spine. Full squats (front, back, or overhead) performed with sufficient mobility in the lower extremities permits a more vertical position of the trunk and, of course, places considerably less stress on the lumbar area.
The only factor that really can decrease your range of motion is never exercising or otherwise bending throughout a large range of motion. Restricting your movements, especially as recommended in therapy/athletic training rooms and/or strength and conditioning programs which advocate squats to a bench, squats with a restricted range of motion in a power rack, squats to parallel depth only, wall squats, squats, artificially or otherwise, restricting the movement of the ankle joint and shin, most definitely can lead to a decreased range of motion.
N. Yevshtukhina (RUS) back squatting 170 kg @75 kg bodyweight in the training hall in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, “supervised” by coaches 10 meters to the side. No wraps, no power cage, no spotters. This girl, this Olympic medalist, squats heavy and has no trouble getting low.
“We press and squat … then pair it with a functional exercise to ‘de – learn’ what their body did improperly.”
Did people actually pay to hear this presentation? Hopefully not! If so, they must demand a refund.
This statement contradicts so profoundly what preceded it; it is so ignorant, so stupid that mere words cannot possibly suffice.
There was a brief reference to “strengthening the ‘Q’” angle for women and men to prevent anterior cruciate tears.
It is common knowledge that girls are built differently than boys. And, most boys like it that way. The so called “Q angle” most often referred to women is due to their wider pelvis. The femur forms a larger angle from hip to knee. This is going to be strengthened? That should be interesting. Maybe a saw or a sander is used to narrow the female pelvis and help prevent those darned cruciate ligament tears.
All too often, many of these pusillanimous purveyors of misinformation for profit hide behind a litany of abbreviations achieved from certifications for sale organizations. Some even have doctoral degrees. One has to believe they were awarded their doctorates from the Wizard of Oz. And, that their area of expertise must be a “doctor of thinkology.”
However, to the best of our knowledge none of these pusillanimous purveyors have this certification abbreviation after their names:
To this presenter, the Ohio State University, the school which sponsored this seminar, and the other like minded myths for sale purveyors of misinformation, you are encouraged to add the initials LSMFT after your names; it makes as much sense as you do.