Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Slinger High School Football Player Dies Weightlifting - December 3, 2010

The death of this high school athlete saddens me greatly. It did not have to happen. Weightroom safety is of paramount importance.

First rule: Never train alone

Second rule: Know what you are doing. Technique, technique, technique!

See the video below. If you bench in a proper rack with
safety bars, use proper technique, and have a spotter you will prevent serious injury (except straining a muscle). With the safety bars set at the correct height, even if you do drop the weight (which is highly unlikely with the proper grip) it will not crush your head, neck, or chest!

Safety comes first!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Posture, Posture, Posture

I LOVE THIS BOOK! If you don't start with proper posture, then it is all downhill from there. Posture is more important than any exercise. Poor posture is habit, not a deformity (very rare). It can be corrected at any age!

Pay close attention to the pictures in this book, especially the author's husband as a young man and then around 50 years old... What a difference!

Buy this book and follow the guidelines. You will see and feel the difference.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sports Specialization - Good or Bad?

My take has always been....bad idea.

Read this fascinating article in Psychology today entitled, "How to Create a Sports Superstar"

Click Here!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Children Can Lift Weights at Any Age!

This is another great post by Dr. Gabe Mirkin. A few comments:
1. Some might take issue with Dr. Mirkin's comments about Naim Suleymanoglu. Others who should be mentioned are Tommy Kono, Pyrros Dimas, Vasili Alexeyev, and of course, Paul Anderson.
2. Muscle growth is dependent on genetics (myostatin), training, nutrition, and recovery.
3. Stronger bones are the key. The more weight you lift, the more the muscle pulls on the bone which causes the bone to make more bone tissue.
4. Read the final paragraph several times and show it to your child's coach!


Lifting weights before puberty makes children stronger and has not been shown to stunt growth or damage the growth plates in their bones (Pediatrics, November 2010). The older the child, the greater the gain in muscle strength from resistance training. The more and the heavier weights they lift, the stronger they became. A surprising finding was that children did not show a significant increase in strength when they enter puberty, a time when their testosterone levels rise significantly.

The best time for future competitive athletes to start training is before they reach puberty. Having large strong muscles makes you a better athlete, and starting training before puberty enlarges the bones that are used primarily in that sport. Muscles growth is limited by the size of the bones on which they attach. The larger the bone, the stronger the muscle. Children who start to play tennis before they go into puberty have larger bones in the arm that holds the racquet. They also have larger bones in their tennis arm than those who start to play tennis later in life. The larger and stronger your muscles, the harder you can hit a tennis ball. As little as four weeks of hard exercise in growing animals increases bone mass (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, October 2000). This suggests that children who start training while they are still growing will have an advantage over athletes who start training after puberty, because having larger bones allow a person to grow larger muscles.

Lifting weights during growth has not been shown to prevent children from growing to their full potential height. Bones grow from epiphyses, growth centers that are the weakest part of bone, but strength training during growth has not been shown to damage these growth centers. Children who lift weights in supervised programs do not suffer more injuries than adults. With increased strength comes increased speed and increased coordination in movements requiring strength.

In most sports, the strongest athlete wins. Weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu of Turkey, who won three Olympic gold medals and is probably the greatest weightlifter who ever lived, started lifting weights when he was eight years old. Muscles can only grow to be as strong as the strength of the bones on which they attach, so people with the biggest bones are the ones who can grow the biggest muscles.

Children who lift weights do not grow muscles as large as older people do. Muscles are made up of thousands of individual muscle fibers. Each muscle fiber is innervated by a single nerve, although each nerve can innervate many muscle fibers. When you contract a muscle, you contract only a few muscle fibers at one time. With strength training, children learn to contract more muscle fibers at the same time, so they become stronger primarily by being able to contract more muscle fibers. Adults commonly grow larger muscles.

There is great concern that children may be subjected to unreasonable coaches and inconsiderate parents who place athletic training above the child's own needs and desires. In one study from Southern California, 90 percent of female cross country runners who stated running before they were nine stopped running before they reached high school. In 1967, I started competitive long distance running for young children and was the first national chairman of the age group committee of the Amateur Athletic Union and The Road Runners Club of America. Children came from all over the United States and Canada to compete in age group cross country and track running. Many were coached by experienced runners and trained with the same types of workouts used by the older runners. These children rarely suffered from injuries, and when they were injured, they recovered faster than the older runners. However, the real problem of starting children in competition at an early age is burnout. My own son started serious running when he was five and ran a mile in four minutes and 52 seconds when he was nine. He stopped competitive running when he was eleven.

The concern about serious athletic training for young children is more mental than physical. Children should not begin serious athletic training unless they want to do it. They should take days off from training when they want to, and their coaches and parents must allow them to be children.