Nuggets Of Training Wisdom

Every week I get to read a number of articles, newsletters, journals and gardening magazines (only the first three are relevant to this post) and I get to digest a lot of information. Sometimes I see things that I shouldn’t do, sometimes I just find confirmation in the things that I am already doing and there is always something new that opens my mind to something I should be doing or incorporating into my training system. So here are some nuggets of wisdom: 

1. More people should learn how to clean and it doesn’t take a lifetime to do it. I have a decent clean technique and I have used the exercise for many years with great results. I have been hesitant to use the clean with athletes that do not have good technique already. I realized this may have been a mistake after reading an article from Charles Staley. The technique in the clean is important but I think that many coaches make it out to be “mission impossible” to learn it. We shouldn’t be looking for form that is set for the international competition stage but rather form that is safe and that will enhance our athlete’s performance.

What a beautiful clean. You should learn it from her…

2. Shoulder Impingement. So many people say they have shoulder impingement, I also often tell my clients that they have it (because they do), but in all honetsy almost everyone has shoulder impingement (regardless of age, sport, gender, etc.) and there are several factors that determine whether the person will be in pain: Tissue quality (younger individuals regenerate faster than older ones, so treatment varies), degree of eleveation (flexion and abduction of humerus impinges the tendons more), acromion type (flat acromions have more contact with tendons than hooked ones), bone spurs (bone spurs on the bottom side will make impingement worse), strength of the rotator cuff (the stronger it is, the easier it is to depress the humeral head), scapular stability, thoracic spine mobility, increased internal rotation (increases degree of impingement), breathing patterns (makes shoulders shrug and you get extra tightness in certain muscles that increase impingement), other issues further down the kinetic chain (sooo many examples…).

That’s a lot of different things that cause impingement! It just  shows how many things you can work on to improve your situation if you have shoulder issues. If you are serious about fixing your shoulder issuse then you might want to look into the Inside Out Warm Up manual and DVD from Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman.

The above information is courtesy of Eric Cressey who is strength coach extraordinaire with a knack for fixing shoulders (probably one of the best out there). If you are interested in the most up to date in the trenches reserach an dthoughts on performance and strength training then you should also look into signing up for his newsletter which is filled with great useful information.

 3. Training individualization. Many people tell me that they did a certain exercise or applied a certain method and it worked amazingly so I should also apply it to all of my clients. So a sample size of one person proves that something really works?! I am going to go ahead and say no. I’ve seen people do the dumbest stuff and actually get some results (long term issues not included) and then relay what they have used to others, passing along suspect information. There are things that we can apply in many situations (after being tried and tested on a wide variety of clients) but remember that no two clients are ever the same and even though we should include the sound principles of training we should also account for individual tendencies.


This worked for me so use it with all of your clients….

4. Deadlifts. I think I just wanted to throw this one after reading Mike Boyle’s article on I think everyone should deadlift (with very few exceptions). Even though I have a tough time with everyone doing “regular deadlifts”, there are so many different variations to progress, and even more importantly regress, the movement. I will use kettlebell, dumbell, trap bar, plate, etc. deadlifts depending on the clients training history and evaluation. In many cases the deadlift is easier to teach than the squat (who’d have though that) and the results from implementing it are always great. Remember that there should be no shortcuts with teaching proper form.


For everyone

Some of this wisdom is so common sense but the truth is that common sense is not so common these days! At times it takes something to budge me and remember the basics, the 80/20 pareto principle and not to get too complicated just for the sake of it sounding advanced. On the other hand I do not have any illusions of discovering ground breaking training methods and rehab protocols, etc. I do know that the thing that makes me smart is listening to people that are smarter than me.

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