The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
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    Sport Specific Training

    I'm writing this thread because of some of the statements Gino has posted. What do you guys believe in when it comes to Sport Specific Training? Do you think there is a transfer from the gym to the athletic field? If so, how does it work?

    Here is my take on this issue. If you include specific resistance training exercises to enhance sport specific movements you are sorely mistaken, and here's why. There are no degrees of specificity. What I mean is something is entirely specific, or it isn't. There isn't anything between. Example. If you are throwing a baseball that is ounces heavier than the ball you are used to is no longer specific, and will definitely hinder the accuracy of your pitch; at least until you become used to the new weight. Then, once the old baseball is reintroduced, your pitch will once again suffer slightly. This occurs since muscles are controlled by the nervous system, producing a particular pattern and firing rate participation of the motorneurons, and skill acquisition in accordance to the practiced movement in question. In short, practicing something with added weight doesn't make you any better or faster than practicing normally.

    Here is another sport specific example. If you play basketball, and you are practicing your free throws, I used to go through a drill in high school where you would shoot a heavier ball at the basketball, and sometimes we would also use a wider ball that barely fit through the rim. The idea was this will make you focus more, and shoot better. The problem is that if you practice like this, you will get used to the heavier weighted ball, and when it comes to game time, your shots will be off because you are used to a heavier ball. Also, the only benefit from this workout routine is that you will get better at shooting a weighted ball, and that's not what you do in a game is it? Show me a basketball game where you are having to shoot a heavier ball at the rim. You need to practice your sport like you are going to play it, and focus on getting stronger and faster in the weight room. What this is called is a Negative Transfer according to the Motor Learning Hierarchy. This is a basic biomechanics and kinesiology lesson.

    One last example is what Gino wrote that he does. He said he wears a weighted vest, or in some cases I have seen people drag a sled or parachute behind them, and then sprint. What is the goal of this? The goal is to make you faster, but how is running slower going to make you faster? Again, the applied demonstration of strength is specific, and applying strength to any activity, such as football, requires skill training. And the only way to produce specificity is to practice the sport skills themselves. There is no turnover to where sprinting with a sled will make you run faster without that sled. If anything it will make you slower because you are used to having something hold you back. Again, if you want to get stronger, lift in the gym. If you want to get better at the 40yd dash practice it on the track. Don't mix the two.

    One last quote I've read before is from Mike Brzycki. He said,

    "One athlete I've encountered sincerely believed that there was a direct relationship between power cleans and rowing a boat. If this is true, why can't we take 6 of our country's (US) elite Olympic lifters, put them in a boat, and try and beat the Finns?"

    Sport specific training just doesn't work. Now if you guys believe that it can work, please give me your thought/examples because I'm willing to learn something new. One last time if you want to get better at your sport, PRACTICE that sport. If you want to get stronger in the weight room LIFT weights. DON'T MIX THE TWO.
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  3. #2
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Hammer throwers and shotputters will use (slightly) heavier implements in their training. There's some correlation, because of the force-velocity curve.

    It is true that if you're too far from the mark there won't be a carryover, but if you're in the neighborhood, it will.

    This also entirely neglects the roles of general and specific preparation. Building stability in the gym may not have a direct carryover, but it can translate to improvements later in the cycle when specific training becomes dominant.
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  4. #3
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Hyper-gravity training (aka adding weight) in rock climbing has been shown to measureably increase climbing strength.

    As per the other thread, stuff like swiss balls and one arm training will build oblique and abs strength.

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  5. #4
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    "Sport specific" is a misnomer.

    Training in such a way to improve performance is not the same as throwing a heavier baseball. It's training specifically to improve performance in a given sport. A football player and a baseball player can both get on with a very similar program template, but there will be very important aspects of each program that will be tailored to the athlete.

    They didn't teach this at Ball State?
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  6. #5
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    Yeah. Paul that is exactly what I am saying. It is a myth. But I've read some posts from some people on here that believe that it isn't, and I'm trying to figure out where their logic is coming from.

    And Yes I did learn this at Ball State, but again I keep hearing about how great sport specific training is, but no one seems to really have a good example showing that it works.
    "I workout to music that makes me want to stomp on baby kittens." -David "Kick Ass" Davis

    "The intended manipulation of mechanical work applied in order to stimulate a specific metabolic response."
    -Dr. Ben Bocchocchio on the Definition of Exercise

  7. #6
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Real TO
    Yeah. Paul that is exactly what I am saying. It is a myth. But I've read some posts from some people on here that believe that it isn't, and I'm trying to figure out where their logic is coming from.

    And Yes I did learn this at Ball State, but again I keep hearing about how great sport specific training is, but no one seems to really have a good example showing that it works.

    Here are some areas a sport specifc training program would want to touch on:

    Movement pattrens associated with the sport
    Primary energy system being used
    Position played
    Type of strength that the sport demands
    Planes of motion involved in the sport
    Type of muscle action involved in the sport

    This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea of what a sport specific trainig program should look at targetting. There's more to simply picking up a weight and lifting it when it comes to training for a sport.
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Real TO

    One last example is what Gino wrote that he does. He said he wears a weighted vest, or in some cases I have seen people drag a sled or parachute behind them, and then sprint. What is the goal of this? The goal is to make you faster, but how is running slower going to make you faster? Again, the applied demonstration of strength is specific, and applying strength to any activity, such as football, requires skill training. And the only way to produce specificity is to practice the sport skills themselves. There is no turnover to where sprinting with a sled will make you run faster without that sled. If anything it will make you slower because you are used to having something hold you back. Again, if you want to get stronger, lift in the gym. If you want to get better at the 40yd dash practice it on the track. Don't mix the two.

    Sport specific training just doesn't work. Now if you guys believe that it can work, please give me your thought/examples because I'm willing to learn something new. One last time if you want to get better at your sport, PRACTICE that sport. If you want to get stronger in the weight room LIFT weights. DON'T MIX THE TWO.
    The deciding factor in doing "sport-specific" training (as paul said, not a great term) is will adding resistance benefit you? A heavier basketball is a terrible idea, unless you have trouble reaching the basket. That motion requires precision and repetition to master, and has little to do with strength.

    I was a pitcher in college baseball, a very successful one until I broke my wrist in football, and my pitching coach showed me some great resistance exercises that translated to harder throwing. Everyone on our pitching staff was able to add speed on their fastball. Is throwing hard beneficial? Absolutely. I could literally feel the difference when I got on the mound in my strength, as it felt like I was throwing a golf ball out there. This was something I'd never felt before, as I usually only prepared for pitching by pitching.

    As far as my football training goes, weighted resistance running, in conjunction with a variety of other drills makes those muscles you use to run stronger. Do people run a lot in football? Yes, and being engaged with someone while running is just part of the game. If I was always just running free without someone in my face or having someone stand in front of me for me to press them straight away from my body, I'd only do sprints and benchpress to prepare for football. This is not reality though, and like it or not, sprinting and benchpressing alone will not maximize your well-roundedness with regards to on-the-field strength.

    Squats, leg curls, and leg extensions will strengthen your legs to a degree, but only the muscles that those exercises target. Running uses those muscles, as well as a host of other muscles, and uses them in an entirely different fashion than those exercises simulate. Adding resistance to a motion that doesn't require precision to perform well(running), and will benefit you while doing your activity(football), will make you better and stronger at what you're doing. I've been stronger, more explosive, and a better player the years that I incorporated weighted resistance into my preseason schedule in conjunction with weight-free drills. Players and trainers in the NFL know there's a difference, as they all instruct and train with these "supplements" too.

    How will running slower make you faster? The same way that struggling with high weight for 5 reps on the benchpress will make you stronger than firing out 25 quick reps.

    Check out speedcity.com to see some of the tools I use to prepare for football, in conjunction with my weight-free sprint/agility work and weight training.
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  9. #8
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    well put gino
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  10. #9
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    I agree with TO.


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  11. #10
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    Until one tries it, they'll never know.
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  12. #11
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    I agree that throwing a heavier basketball will not help a play do better as they will get used to the heavier weight and will overshoot the lighter regular basketball. However I don't quite believe the statement made about running with a weighted vest doesn't help your speed. I believe it would help greatly. When you are running against resistance (parachute or more weight) you will be running slower, but when it comes game time and you don't have the added weight you should be running faster since it is less weight. I agree with gino here.
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  13. #12
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    You obviously just can't throw things out there as you come up with them (like weighted basketballs) and expect to see results.

    You have to take into account what the goal of each exercise is, and how it's going to affect the athlete.

    That's where a lot of the problems come in.
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  14. #13
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    i believe that if the weighted baseball is the same size it would help, but if it's bigger it might mess you up.

    i think running with a weighted vest would make you faster. you said it yourself you'd be used to running with something holding you back, so when something isn't holding you back it will feel sooo much easier to run you will be running much faster.

    the weighted basketball would be dumb because you'd always be throwing too hard.

    that's what i think about the examples stated.

  15. #14
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    All said, weight-assisted training should be a supplement to your training, not the core of it.
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