Saturday, March 17, 2012

Facebooking: Responding to a Response


I updated this status to facebook the other day and got a response that I feel warrants a post. If this person is confused then I'm guessing a lot of people are being mislead as well. 

Facebook Post 

Aside from all the "girly crap" (jargon, perfume, hair things, and overall typical junior high girl behavior), I'm extremely proud of Emma Wright, Taylor Jones, and Gabby Salemink for breaking all their own records last night. 

For some reason Emma couldn't resist throwing 225lbs on the bar and box squatting it 2x. Gabby put up an extremely impressive 185lb, and I'd love to have seen what Taylor could've done had she been feeling better, but that didn't stop her from throwing up 175lb.

Considering that just a few months ago 135lb seemed IMPOSSIBLE to all of them, this is quite the accomplishment. There are plenty of high school senior boys that'd be scared to touch these kind of weights.

Saying "nice job" doesn't quite do it.

Anonymous Response:

"But Adam, is it really safe for them to be lifting that much? Their epiphyseal plates aren't even done growing/forming yet. According to ACSM, guys and girls younger than 18 should focus on endurance lifting with lower weight and avoid maximal lifts. Just sayin'!"

I'd like to say I handled it best as possible, but who knows, probably not. I know this person and really feel they were asking sincerely, but people making comments like this when they are under informed.....it's fairly annoying. So is dealing w/ people who can't think critically.

Most people's epiphyseal plates (aka growth plate, which is pretty much an "open" space at the bottom of bones to allow for expansion) fuse between 18 and 26 (usually closer to 26 for males, and closer to 18 for females).

Does that mean they shouldn't lift anything heavy before that time?

More specifically, does the stress from those few seconds loaded w/ a heavy implement endanger the growth plate?

To be honest, I really don't understand the thought process that we wouldn't lift anything heavy even if it did put the growth plate at risk, of which it does NOT enough to be of concern, not even close actually (unless being stupid is added). Risk is manageable, that's why we're in a weight room. It's a controlled environment, a general means of training, closed loop. So as long as their technique is sound, we're going to lift heavy. The opposite would be actual play on a field mat or court and where almost all injuries occur. Where the environment is random, not controllable, as specific a means as it gets and open loop. Btw, few injuries occur w/ epiphyseal plates, they're pretty tough. It's overuse of repetitive actions and stresses that typically cause damage to the growth plate, I'll get into that later. Not all the time, but it'd take an event far different than a box squat to do it, like jumping out of a tree.

Also, in my experience, usually when people use words like "epiphyseal" instead of growth plate, they're either right out of school and/or they're trying to make sure everyone knows they are educated, which in their minds means "smart" (most of the time) but it's really not even close to the same thing. 

My Response:

Always love questions like this. Honest answer: No, it's not safe, not at all, that's why they've done 4 months of training before hand, and why their in a cage. But you mean could this injure their growth plates. 
1. define "endurance lifting" (sounds like tracy anderson....you don't want to sound like her). 
2. growth plate injuries occur w/ highly repetitive stresses like jogging, we also see this w/ radial injuries in gymnasts. W/ the eruption of year round sport specific activity I wouldn't be surprised that we see a continuing trend of MLB baseball pitchers coming out of area's where it's cold for a large portion of the year so they can't grow up throwing year round, this is less about the epiphyseal plate but over use is over use. Besides that, you really want to wait until their 26 to make sure everything is fused up in their? 
3. It's all relative, but even then, we're loading up like this once a month. They're not powerlifters, but even if they were it'd be much safer than the endurance game. The truth is everyone would benefit more from picking up heavy things than overly repetitive actions in general. An injury to their growth plate was the least of my worries when they sat back on that box. And besides all of this, these girls work their asses off, and shouldn't have anyone filling their heads w/ the false idea that they could be potentially stunting their growth by being brave enough to get under a bar that's almost dbl their weight. 
The truth is that ACSM's ego gets in the way enough that their still printing things we wanted to believe in 1970 and are undoubtedly false or incomplete. H/e I probably shouldn't throw ACSM under the bus as I don't use that resource for anything, ever. There are some great studies on overuse injuries on Pubmed though.

For arguement and curiosities sake here are some of those studies:

All of these show the need for strength training in a developing athlete, and all of them show the need for an off season as well as stimulation from a variety of different activities throughout the year. 



The last line is the best line:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7747003

This would be more suggestive to diet. In my mind the loss of menstrual cycle, esp in athletes, is due to a significant drop in body fat and so too could mean that they aren't getting enough food to feed their bones. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316874

This is the best sentence from this entire abstract: " and female adolescent distance running was associated with suppressed bone mineral accrual". So it's not just causing stress fractures (time bombs) it's inhibiting their ability to lay down new bone. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21944303

This is a terrible step in the right direction of proving that strength training affects performance of any type of running (but this is something that's been proven repeatedly as well). If you'll notice as well, the distance athletes only performed 4x4 HALF squats, 3x/week for 8 weeks. Half!!! That's all. That's not a significant strength program, think what could happen w/ a full squat and a program built around the individual athlete, or even use of a prowler (seriously!)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460997

From what I've seen it seems that it's almost to the point where it's not 'if' too much running will lead to an injury but 'when' it will cause an injury.



I wish I had my computer from college so I could pull up the paper I did on overuse injuries, and we knew less about this stuff then, I think I wrote it in 06. H/e at least one of those studies suggested that anything over 350yd could cause a negative affect in your athletes, and I think they used 8-12 year olds, but don't quote me on any of that, I could be wrong. 

Every stimulus causes an affect in an athlete's development. Whether that's from food, activity, social interaction, pollution, it all makes a difference. What we do through our lives sets us up for our futures good or bad. The mental side of lifting heavy is incredible, the physical side (if done correctly) should keep us healthy as well as increase force production. Increase force production also improves rate of force production which improves speed and agility, Improve strength (eccentrically as well as concentrically and isometrically) improves ability to change levels, changing levels makes an athlete very effect, efficient, and dangerous, done in different vectors and athlete's become almost invincible.

Now, do I think the person that "called me out" (or w/e you'd like to call it) is a dip shit? No, but I think going back to the basics would help. Reading this in entirety would be a good start (I still reference it from time to time):  

Basic Biomechanics by Susan J. Hall



Along w/ some critical thinking and developing the knowledge base to deserve an opinion on the matter, of which having a certification does not give anyone. To be fair, neither does a blog, a vlog, a facebook page/wall, being a total "online badass" (sarcasm) or your own gym. But studying your ass off and spending $$$thousands on seminars, dvds, and books definitely helps. 


It's a bad deal if you are expecting your athlete's to show up and work their asses off so that you look good no matter what in order to cover up how vastly lacking your knowledge base is in the field b/c you weren't willing to put in-the work studying and preparing. A crappy program done w/ a ridiculous work ethic will get results. Maybe not always good results, and hardly ever impressive but none the less, it'll make an affect. So think what a great program that's specifically tailored can do. 






Someday you can move to something like this: 

Supertraining by Mel C. Siff




The bar needs to be risen drastically. 
I hold myself to this as well, I'm nowhere near the level that I want to be, but I'm working for it everyday. I have 3 goals I carry in my pocket everyday, all the time. One of them reads:

"Affect millions in a positive way."

The difference between dreams and goals is a deadline, and I aim to do this before 30yrs of age, I'm recently 27.












Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kids Need a Fighting Chance: A post on the Weakness and Injury

Kids need a fighting chance just to keep up w/ the demands of their sport. Their body is growing way too fast for their strength levels to keep up. 50 years ago kids were doing physical labor, shoveling, carrying heavy stuff, and they ate less food that was better for them and didn't turn on the "fat switch" (not a real thing) so their strength levels kept up w/ a growing body. Today kids play their ds, ipad, ipods, sit in desks 7 hours a day, eat fast food, twizzlers, M&M's and have to be told to go outside and play. It's the complete opposite. But that's hardly the whole problem, b/c then they are expected to play in a competitive sport YEAR ROUND. Sometimes on more than one team at a time. 


This is too much of EVERYTHING. Too much bad food. Where does the school bus stop on the way home from a road game in junior high and high school? McDonadls, why? The bus driver eats free, at least that's how it was when I was in high school. But how else are you gonna feed 20 kids all at once and get back on the road? Give them meals to take?........Oh wait, that could actually work.

Yes, yes it would work. Then they could have:

      an apple, 
      2 turkey sandwichs w/ ezekial bread, spinach, tomato and some hummus, 
      some type of real fruit juice, 
      and a bag of broccoli w/ some more hummus to dip w/ 



It's also too much inactivity to throw a kid into the fire (by fire I'm referring to competition). Competition is open loop, it's unpredictable. We cannot expect a kid to jump off the couch, sit in a car on the way to a game, throw 80 throws to warm up, maybe run a pole or two, and then be able to stop and go, change levels and perform well on the field. 

Keep a pickle in mind. No not the edible pickle (which are fantastic for your body), but getting caught between bases on the field. Do you think a kid w/  15% body fat, that can NOT SQUAT HIS OWN WEIGHT is safe to be running and stopping? 

No, not for a second. Neither is an adult. This kid is unable to slow down safely. He's putting all that stress on his tendons and ligaments b/c his muscles aren't STRONG enough to ABSORB THE FORCE from the movement he's produced (acceleration) and his size (mass). 

Force = Mass * Acceleration 

Besides the fact that he's probably slow, can't change levels well, and is drastically performing under par. I know what a little strength can do for a kid, it doesn't take much to make a huge difference. But besides that, THIS KID IS A TIME BOMB waiting to get injured. And there is absolutely NO reason why it has to be this way