Friday, July 30, 2010

Sling Shot????

I really can't believe what I am seeing.
Good job Smelly. I imagine Mad Dog is proud.
A quote from Charles Poliquin comes to mind..."Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth."

Get yours at: ,
http://www.howmuchyabench.net/ With medicinal support and the right equipment, anyone can lay on their back and bench big.....Or,.... save your money and get strong the Warrior Way; lift it yourself.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

how does your weightroom compare?

I recently took some film of the olympic sports weightroom at byu where the throwers here lift. All the olympic sports lift here and the football, baseball, and basketball teams lift in a newer weightroom. I was wondering how this compared to other schools around the US and clubs around the world. video video

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Here is a powerpoint presentation I did for my Swedish 101 class I took two years ago. I had to do a presentation on a famous Swede in swedish and chose to do it on Ricky.



Monday, July 26, 2010

Dead Ideas?

Following is an article by Vern Gambetta, a performance coach whose career has spanned several decades. He has certainly seen a lot of trends come and go and knows how to cut through the BS. I like his list and will add a few of my own in Red.
"Do you ever wonder why we keep teaching and following certain things, never questioning them? This tyranny of dead ideas stifles innovation and holds us back in training and performance. It seems generation after generation fall prey to this and keep repeating the mistakes of the previous generation. Imitation is not innovation. We have to be willing to let go off of cherished beliefs that do not work and in many cases are counter productive. Here are a few dead ideas that I see day to day in my work:
-Necessity of an aerobic base for anaerobic, start stop intermittent sprint and transition game sports

I still remember the 4 mile runs I did to "get into shape" for high school football. It was very difficult and painful, so our coaches knew it must be good for us. No wonder we made up for our lack of size by being slow. lol
-Icing a healthy limb after exercise

Never done that one...
-The traditional model of Periodization – volume to intensity, with a long period of general preparation to build a base
I agree. For an explosive single attempt sport like throwing or lifting early high volume doesn't do much for the final results.
-In the 400 meter relay the use of the down sweep pass
We've dropped enough batons to know something needs to change.
-Using heart rate zones to dictate training intensity
You mean cardio vascular intensity and neuromuscular intensity are different? lol
-Lactate as the cause for fatigue and soreness
In the 70's we knew that lactic acid build up was the enemy and needed to be defeated.
-Jogging to warm-up

I call jogging slow practice. It is the best way to develop slow athletes.
-Static stretching to warm-up
You mean we really have to move to prepare to move?
-Training to failure
When is failure is ever a desired outcome? Failure is not an option, right?
There are many more. I would love to hear from you on the dead ideas you encounter in your work."
Here are a few of mine:
-Printing off training programs on a computer with the number of sets, reps, and weights and passing them out to everyone in the weightroom.
-Trying to train on an unstable surface (stability ball, balance board...etc.) in preparation for an event that takes place on a stable surface with an unstable opponent or implement. (football, wrestling, volleyball, basketball, throwing.....and etc.)
-Thinking that you have learned all there is to learn. "I know what I am doing, don't confuse me with facts."
-Coaches who talk the talk, but never walked the walk. Like my venerable Father says, "If you know so much about training, then why are you so damn fat???"
What are some of yours?

Is the split snatch a dead idea? Not if you can do it like Norbert Schemansky!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Better Rest ='s Better Results

Recently I read two articles online written by Charles Poliquin entitled "Six Secrets to Gaining Muscle" and "The Top Five Habits of Successful Lifters." One thing I found common between the articles was the emphasis put on the importance of rest and a good sleeping habits. Poliquin in one of his articles says- "Take a power nap. Napping is also good for grownups! The more naps I took, the more I grew. Robert Kennedy, who owns several popular muscle magazines, is also a big proponent of napping for muscle growth. A good nap should be 20 to 60 minutes, no longer; otherwise you will become too groggy. Whenever I teach in Sweden at the Eleiko Education Center, I always tend to gain mass back very easily because there I found the perfect hiding place to take a nap after lunch. My gift is that I’m the type of guy who can nap anywhere – on a clothesline, at a busy shooting range or in a newborn nursery; no amount of noise or postural discomfort will prevent me from sleeping. So nap as often as possible and GROW!" In the other article he says- "Recently I had dinner with Ed Coan, a legendary world powerlifting champion who set the bar, literally, for his peers. How good was he? He became world powerlifting champion at age 21 in the 181-pound bodyweight division, winning by 138 pounds. In 1991, at 220, he totaled 2,402 (962 squat, 545 bench, 901 deadlift), and to this day his deadlift record has yet to be beat. When lifters faced Ed Coan, the only questions asked were what record he would break and who would take second. While magazine interviews with such champions often focus on the athletes’ intensity level, the secret that Ed shared with me concerns the exact opposite. Coan says that one of the crucial parts of his training was plenty of rest, including a daily nap. He didn’t offer any peer-reviewed scientific papers to support his contention – although interesting theories are being presented about the value of a daily siesta; it was only common sense: “You don’t recover, you don’t grow!” In an article written by Brent Vleck about muscle growth and sleep he said that The number one reason sleep is important is because Growth Hormone (HGH) rises during deep sleep, which often begins about 30-45 minutes after falling asleep. There are many ways to improve sleep and it changes from person to person. I also remember reading on Charles Poliquin's site explaining how we are made to sleep in cave like places just like our caveman ancestors did. We should make our bedrooms like a cave meaning dark, quiet and secluded. The mayoclinic online gives us these ten tips-
1. Go to bed and get up at about the same time every day, even on the weekends. Sticking to a schedule helps reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle and can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
2. Don't eat or drink large amounts before bedtime. Eat a light dinner at least two hours before sleeping. If you're prone to heartburn, avoid spicy or fatty foods, which can make your heartburn flare and prevent a restful sleep. Also, limit how much you drink before bed. Too much liquid can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night for trips to the toilet.
3. Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol in the evening. These are stimulants that can keep you awake. Smokers often experience withdrawal symptoms at night, and smoking in bed is dangerous. Avoid caffeine for eight hours before your planned bedtime. Your body doesn't store caffeine, but it takes many hours to eliminate the stimulant and its effects. And although often believed to be a sedative, alcohol actually disrupts sleep.
4. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. However, for some people, exercising right before bed may make getting to sleep more difficult.
5. Make your bedroom cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Adjust the lighting, temperature, humidity and noise level to your preferences. Use blackout curtains, eye covers, earplugs, extra blankets, a fan or white-noise generator, a humidifier or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
6. Sleep primarily at night. Daytime naps may steal hours from nighttime slumber. Limit daytime sleep to about a half-hour and make it during midafternoon. If you work nights, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight, which adjusts the body's internal clock, doesn't interrupt your sleep. If you have a day job and sleep at night, but still have trouble waking up, leave the window coverings open and let the sunlight help awaken you.
7. Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow. Features of a good bed are subjective and differ for each person. But make sure you have a bed that's comfortable. If you share your bed, make sure there's enough room for two. Children and pets are often disruptive, so you may need to set limits on how often they sleep in bed with you.
8. Start a relaxing bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. This may include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Relaxing activities done with lowered lights can help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleepiness.
9. Go to bed when you're tired and turn out the lights. If you don't fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get up and do something else. Go back to bed when you're tired. Don't agonize over falling asleep. The stress will only prevent sleep.
10. Use sleeping pills only as a last resort. Check with your doctor before taking any sleep medications. He or she can make sure the pills won't interact with your other medications or with an existing medical condition. Your doctor can also help you determine the best dosage. If you do take a sleep medication, reduce the dosage gradually when you want to quit, and never mix alcohol and sleeping pills. If you feel sleepy or dizzy during the day, talk to your doctor about changing the dosage or discontinuing the pills.

Hope this helps! Have a good nights rest!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Athlete’s Training Diary: A Classic Workout for Hammer Throwing

Found this interesting article on Poliquin about Jud Logan and his comeback from surgery....

The Athlete’s Training Diary: A Classic Workout for Hammer Throwing

A look at the training plan of world record holder Jud Logan
by Charles Poliquin

In 1991 I had the opportunity to work with American hammer thrower Judson Logan. At that time most of my business in working with athletes came to me through word-of-mouth referrals, and such was the case with Logan. Although he lived in the United States, Logan came to Montreal to consult with me through a referral from a good friend of mine, Angus Cooper of New Zealand. Cooper was an elite athlete whose career highlight was winning a bronze medal at the Auckland Commonwealth Games with an impressive throw of 71.26 meters. His best throw in competition was 73.96 meters, and he competed in two world championships.

Logan would jokingly be a considered a “challenge” in the strength coaching profession because he had not improved in the previous four years and had also undergone hip and knee surgery the year before. Not having improved for so long and having to endure the lengthy recovery associated with a major surgery is the type of frustration that would push most athletes into an early retirement. Logan, however, was not ready to hang up his throwing gloves, and he was willing to travel to Canada to find out what he needed to do to get out of his prolonged slump. And find out he did.

In 2000, at age 41, Jud Logan made his fourth Olympic Team for the United States.
In 2000, at age 41, Jud Logan made his fourth Olympic Team for the United States.
Logan was able to achieve what must be considered one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of track and field. After just 18 weeks, Logan was able not only to resolve a chronic knee injury but also to set the indoor world record with the 35-pound hammer. And the success didn’t stop there, because 18 years later at the age of 41 he was able to make the 2000 US Olympic Team. I’d like to share with you the details of how we accomplished such a metamorphosis.

The first day Logan came to Canada I conducted an extensive interview with him about his competitive background and training habits. Then I assessed his orthopedic condition through a series of structural balance tests – tests that form the basis of the structural balance protocols that I teach in my PICP Level 1 and Level 2 courses. In one article he wrote for track and field coaches and athletes, Logan said the following about this experience: “In 1992 I visited Poliquin in Montreal and was tested for muscular imbalances. The results were humbling, although he concluded I was stronger in some aspects than anyone he ever tested, certain areas left me weaker than 105 lbs [47-kilos] figure skaters. He fixed my squat first, and although I boasted a 770 [342-kilos] BS and 550 x 3 [249 kilos) FS, I could not squat 250 lbs [113 kilos] 5 seconds down, 5 seconds up for 6 reps – a test being accomplished by female speed skaters on the next platform.”

From my interview and the results from structural balance testing, I determined that the following were the most important changes Logan needed to make to his strength preparation:

• Correct squatting form
• Power snatch more frequently
• Periodize loading parameters

Correct Squatting Form
Logan had been plagued with knee pain for the previous eight years. This pain was manifested by a disturbed strength curve resulting from years of so-called safe squatting (half squats). Here are the changes in squatting he made during the program.

Technical Point

Pre-October 1991

Post-October 1991
Torso Angle

Leaning forward

Torso erect

Slightly above parallel

Full Squat: hamstrings covering calves at lowest point
Bar Position


Under the bar


In line with torso
Hips during ascent

Moving back

Moving forward

Logan was instructed to squat deeply (hamstrings covering calves in the bottom position), which is the so-called dangerous way to squat. After just six weeks, he reported no more pain, and he had improved sitting position in the turns during his event and best-ever scores in the vertical and horizontal jumps.

As a result of previous incorrect training habits, extensive stretching exercises were prescribed to help Logan master the new squatting style. Special attention was given to the most retracted muscles (adductors, gluteals, hamstrings, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles).

Power Snatch More Frequently
After researching the strength level values of elite hammer throwers, I found that they were proficient in the power snatch. On average, the top five hammer throwers in the world could power snatch 15-20 kilos more than Logan could.

It was also noted that his performance in this high-velocity lift was too low in relation to his performance in lower-velocity lifts such as power cleans and squats. Logan could power snatch only 57 percent of his best power clean, so I decided to aim for 78 percent of his power clean. This optimal value of 78 percent was taken from values attained by Olympic lifters in peak condition.

Periodize Loading Parameters
Logan had been following a strength training regimen promoted by a renowned Russian coach and author. I believed the program was too monotonous to elicit the appropriate training response in a non-drug-assisted athlete, so I proposed an alternate approach that added a greater variety of training protocols.

Logan competing in 1985 in a track meet in Modesto, California.
Logan competing in 1985 in a track meet in Modesto, California.
The new strength and conditioning program would alternate training phases using hypertrophy methods (accumulation) with phases using neural-drive methods (intensification). Each phase would last three weeks. The exercises would remain constant for the entire three-week period, but there would be weekly changes in the major loading parameters such as sets, reps and tempo cycle. As Logan’s competition approached, emphasis was placed on training the high-threshold motor units with relative-strength protocols.

Intensity. For sports that require rapid neuromuscular firing rates, such as the hammer throw and sprinting, the training intensity needs to be varied more frequently than it does for “steady state” sports such as rowing. This is because athletes trained in explosive sports adapt faster to a given loading parameter than do endurance athletes.

For Logan I varied the intensity with an undulatory approach and adjusted the reps accordingly, as there is an inverse relationship between reps and sets. The intensity was increased linearly during each three-week phase, but there was a substantial reduction in training volume (30-40 percent fewer total reps) to maximize the training response.

Due to inadequate general preparation levels, Logan’s average intensity of upper body work was 7-8 percent lower than would be expected normally. It was also necessary to use higher intensities for the lower extremities to increase strength in this area. And in order to create a tapering effect to peak at his competition, volume was dropped considerably during the final weeks of this program.

Exercise Selection. The first nine weeks of the program were devoted to correcting muscle imbalances. Special attention was given to the following muscles: long head of the biceps, brachialis anticus, scapulae retractors, outward rotators of the humerous, subumbilical portion of the rectus abdominus, and hamstrings. As a result, Logan reported enhanced control of the projectile trajectory as his structural balance improved.

In hammer throwing the hands must be held as far as possible from the torso, the rationale being that the greater the radius of rotation, the longer the throw. This concept has led to eliminating scapulae retractors from the training process, which is counterproductive. It is important to strengthen the scapulae retractors, because in the last involvement from the upper body in the throwing movements these muscles contract to put the hammer into the correct release position. Other added benefits of scapulae retractor training include enhanced projectile control in the lead-up turns and better posture in structural exercises such as squats, pulls and Olympic lifts. The following chart shows the variation of exercise throughout the strength cycle.

Muscle Groups

General Preparatory Phase

Specific Preparatory
Olympic Lifts

Power Snatch

Speed Snatch
Speed Clean
Hip and Knee Extensors

Full Front Squat
Full Back Squat

Paused Squat
Squat with Ankle Extension
Lower Back

Snatch Deadlift on Podium
Seated Good Morning

Snatch Pull from Mid Thigh
Clean Pull from Blocks
Scapulae Retractors

Seated Cable Rowing to Neck
45 Degree Prone Lateral Raise

Sternum Chin-ups

What is interesting is that despite only cleaning the last three weeks of this cycle, Logan improved his previous best of 183 kilos in the power clean, which he had been stuck at for eight years, to 200 kilos!

Tempo. Lifts in the general preparatory period tend to be slow to moderate in nature to maximize muscle adaptations. Assistance lists such as elbow flexor work tends to remain at a slower pace through the yearly periodization.

As the competitive peak approaches, emphasis is put on the quick lifts at the expense of hypertrophy work. This aims at improving the synchronization of motor units, thus leading to improved rate of force development (power). Likewise, lifting tempos were increased gradually to improve the rate of force development, and training volume was reduced gradually.

Workout Design. The following workout outlines the upper body workouts for the first three weeks of strength training. The primary emphasis is on training volume, with relatively high reps and fewer sets per exercise.

Accumulation 1: Upper Body
A-1 Press Behind Neck
Week 1: 3 x 8, 3021, rest 60 seconds
Week 2: 4 x 7, 4021, rest 90 seconds
Week 3: 3 x 6, 4101, rest 120 seconds

A-2 Lat Pulldown to Chest
Week 1: 3 x 12-15, 3021, rest 60 seconds
Week 2: 3 x 10-12, 4021, rest 90 seconds
Week 3: 3 x 8-10, 4011, rest 120 seconds

B-1 Incline Dumbbell Press
Week 1: 3 x 8-10, 3031, rest 60 seconds
Week 2: 4 x 7-9, 4021, rest 90 seconds
Week 3: 3 x 6-8, 4021, rest 120 seconds

B-2 Seated Cable Rowing to Neck
Week 1: 3 x 12-15, 3031, rest 60 seconds
Week 2: 3 x 10-12, 4031, rest 90 seconds
Week 3: 3 x 8-10, 4021, rest 120 seconds

C-1 Incline Dumbbell Curls
Week 1: 3 x 8, 4031, rest 60 seconds
Week 2: 3 x 6, 4021, rest 90 seconds
Week 3: 4 x 4, 4021, rest 120 seconds

C-2 Cable French Press
Week 1: 3 x 15, 4031, rest 60 seconds
Week 2: 3 x 12, 4021, rest 90 seconds
Week 3: 3 x 10, 4011, rest 120 seconds

This workout outlines the lower body workouts for the final two weeks before the competition in which Logan set the world record. The primary emphasis is on training intensity, with relatively low reps and more sets per exercise.

Intensification 3: Lower Body
A Snatch-Grip Jumps
Week 1: 4 x 6, explosive, rest 180 seconds
Week 2: 4 x 5, explosive, rest 180 seconds

B Power Snatch from Blocks
Week 1: 3,2,1,3,2; explosive, 180 seconds
Week 2: 3,2,1,3,2; explosive, 180 seconds

C Half Squat with Ankle Extension
Week 1: 5 x 5, 22X0, rest 240 seconds
Week 2: 5 x 4, 22X0, rest 240 seconds

And here are the results of this training protocol in terms of core lifts and sports performance:

09/10/91 03/07/92 05/30/92
Maximal Strength
Power Snatch (kg) 112.5 125 142.5
Full Squat (kg) 135 180 225
Close-Grip Bench 132.5 162.5 170

Speed Strength
7.26kg hammer (meters) 77.00 78.76 79.86
6kg hammer (meters) 86 77-78 89.04
35lb hammer (feet) 77.75 80.25* -

*world record

In summary, I’ve just presented a short-term, individualized periodized plan for the strength development of hammer thrower Judson Logan. The plan involved an 18-week program that alternated between accumulation and intensification phases, and was designed to create structural balance to resolve a chronic injury and to increase sport-specific strength and power. The program was entirely successful, and at the end of the program Logan broke a world record in the 35-pound hammer event.

Practice Makes Perfect?

Here is an article that appeared recently in TIME Magazine. I don't usually expect to find anything of training value there, but happened to run across this. The web address is posted at the end of the article. While this refers to golf and tennis as examples; my experiences agree that it would apply to throwing as well.Personally I don't think it is a good idea to just throw full throws in practice day after day. As mentioned, I think your brain/nervous system becomes stale and performance tends to deteriorate. Interspersing full throws with technique work in the form of drills and partial throws seems to allow the neuromuscular system to stay fresher and allow long term progression. It seems the more complex the movement, the important this is. As usual, I will insert some commentary in blue.
The next time you putt 100 balls at the range, because you know the practice
will improve your short game, know this: it probably won't.

Why? Because it's not just practice that makes perfect. It's practicing
intelligently that improves performance.
If hard work was all it took, it would be easy to improve in a linear fashion. Results would be proportional to effort. However; any experienced athlete knows it is much more complex than that. Smart work is more productive than mindless hard work.
Such are the conclusions of a study published this week in the journal Nature
Neuroscience by a group of neuroscientists at the University of Southern
California and the University of California, Los Angeles. The authors compared
the performance of people who tried to hone a skill through "constant practice"
— that is, the rote repetition of a task, like taking 100 serves across the net
— and those who underwent "variable practice," in which you work on a mix of
skills during a training session. An example of variable practice: taking a
serve, followed by a backhand, then mixing in a drop shot and forehand.

In the study, participants were asked to mimic a 60-degree forearm movement that
was represented as a wavy line on a computer screen. They moved their forearms
while holding a lever, and their results were superimposed onto the target line
after each movement. The more the movement mimicked the target, the better the
performance. Those who repeated the movement 120 times (constant practice)
performed just as well during the practice session as those who did the
60-degree movement 60 times, and a 30-degree, 45-degree, and 75-degree movement
20 times each, in a jumbled order (variable practice).

Of course, you can knock the cover off the ball in practice. But it's the game
that counts. About 24 hours after the volunteers finished their practice
sessions, the authors tested their performance again. This time, they found that
those in the variable-practice group performed better on the 60-degree movement
than those who trained with rote repetition. The suggestion is that during the
key postpractice period when the brain processes and retains the lessons it has
just learned — known by neuroscientists as the consolidation phase — mixing
tasks pays off.
I have never played tennis. Where we come from it is considered a rich persons' game. But I have had similar experiences in throwing and lifting. I have found that variety leads to longer periods of progession and better technical skills.

Why? Psychologists have long known that variable practice of motor skills leads
to better retention. The current study, however, offers a neurological
explanation for this phenomenon. Immediately after the practice sessions, some
study participants (from both the variable- and constant-practice groups)
received transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a procedure that temporarily
interferes with brain activity through the application of electric coils on the
primary motor cortex, the area of the brain associated with simple motor
learning. "We kind of messed with the brain after practice," says Shailesh
Kantak, a former Ph.D. student in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical
Therapy at USC and the lead author of the study. Another group received TMS on
the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with higher-level
cognitive functions like problem-solving and planning.

The variable-practice participants who received TMS to the prefrontal cortex did
not perform as well as those who received TMS to the primary motor cortex, or
the control group. Since interference, and a temporary "slowing down," of the
prefrontal cortex negatively affected performance of the variable-practice
subset, the authors were able to conclude that variable practice engages this
problem-solving and planning area of the brain. The engagement of this more
powerful part of the brain, in turn, explains why variable practice improves
retention levels the next day.
Very interesting. Learning is a physiological process. You can't seperate the physical from the mental and the idea of the stereotypical "dumb jock" is a myth.
Similarly, people in the constant-practice group who received TMS to the primary
motor cortex performed worse on the next-day retest than those who received
prefrontal-cortex TMS. This implies that the rote drills engage a lower part of
the brain, and further explains why constant practice is less effective for
next-day retention of motor skills.
And why cramming for finals is not as effective as consistent study.
Tedium is bad for the brain. So is high school, for the same reason!!"In constant practice, people just go into auto
mode, and are just like, 'Whatever,'" says Kantak, who is now a postdoctoral
fellow at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. "In variable practice, your
brain is more actively engaged and actively processing information, which allows
it to hold information better. Our brain is like a muscle, and when it gets a
good workout, it gets stronger."
Variation in throwing and lifting is also achieved by varying weights.
So go ahead, take those 100 serves. But don't forget to work on your drop shots.
Your brain will thank you for it. And your opponent, perhaps, will rue the day
you mixed up your workout.

Some may not agree. There are some who seem to thrive on only full throws and doing only the competitive lifts, but; I think most of us do better with variety.

Read more:http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2004141,00.html

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is Bigger Always Better?

Here is another Poliquin article that I really like. As usual, he communicates some uncommon sense truths in a direct and often humerous way. Go Charles!
(I will interject some comments in Red)
Is Functional Hypertrophy the Key to Athletic Performance?
The answer is more complicated than stating that “bigger muscles are not always better”
by Charles Poliquin
“All things being equal, the strongest athlete will always win!”
“The strongest shall survive!”
“You can never be too strong!”
These are all inspirational slogans that you might find on the walls of any high school or college weightroom.
I've used all of these over the years.There is much truth to them, but here’s the catch: There are many ways to get strong, and for an athlete sometimes the type of muscle mass associated with these methods is not the optimal way to train. What I’m talking about, more specifically, is the concept of functional hypertrophy.
Don’t confuse functional hypertrophy with functional training. I’m not talking about doing squats on Swiss balls or juggling kettlebells [excuse me while I throw up in my mouth] but the best protocols to develop muscle mass for athletes. The term functional hypertrophy is exactly what it describes, which is “muscle mass that contributes directly to sports performance or the activity you are training for.” As such, there can be one type of functional hypertrophy training for a tennis player, and another for a football lineman and still another for a fireman. “One size of muscle,” you might say, “doesn’t fit all!”
Right on. For a fairly current example; about a year ago or so, maybe 2 now, Jose Canseco, a former major league baseball player who was famous mostly for craving fame and a pumped up physique, challenged anyone to a fight in the ring. It seemed that Jose was still craving attention and needed some money to continue his major league lifestyle outside of the major leagues. Vai Sikahema, a Philadelphia area sportscaster and former NFL football player (and BYU alumni) took the challenge. Vai was also a former Golden Gloves boxer. Vai took this challenge as a motivation to get back into top shape in his mid 40's and to donate the money to charity. Vai has always been undersized for football, weighing about 185 or so. Canseco weighed in about 240 lb. of pumped up bulk. Supposedly he had been practicing martial arts of some kind. Vai also expressed his desire to show some respect for the sport of boxing and the fact that being a boxer and thinking you can fight are two different things. To make a long story short, the fight was over in one round and Jose did not ask for a rematch. (Who in his right mind would ask for a fight with a Tongan?) Vai was quoted as saying, "There is a reason why boxers do not look like bodybuilders."To the general public, sometimes there doesn’t appear to be any correlation between muscle mass and athletic performance. Watch a men’s basketball game at any level and you’ll find exceptional players with tremendous physiques, along with exceptional players who look as though they could gain weight by sucking on an orange. The same state of affairs exists with women’s tennis, as you’ll see heavily muscled champions such as Serena Williams and champions with fashion model figures such as Maria Sharapova. Even in the sport of weightlifting you’ll find considerable variation in the physiques of the competitors; in fact, because the Olympic press was eliminated from competition in 1972, as a group the champions of the modern era are less physically impressive than the champions of 50 years ago.

A great example is Turkey's Taner Sagir. Built like a tennis player, he lifts amazing weights.One of the reasons for the confusion in sport is that there are many factors associated with high levels of athletic performance. Factors such as talent and coaching quality.
Talent. First there is the belief that “Talent prevails.” Is it just possible that the Division 1 college football teams that consistently finish in the top 20 in the polls generally have more talent than the teams that finish in the bottom 20? Ya think? Nevertheless, many football strength coaches still play “follow the leader” by copying the strength programs of the current championship teams. Yes, talent does make a coach’s job easier, which is why for team sports in countries that don’t have the financial means of the US, athletes often must go through extensive screening to determine if they are worth the investment.
The strongest guy on our football team at BYU when I was there, was a 3rd string guard. Lifting big weights did not make him a better player. Other factors are involved, obviously. Coaching Quality. The quality of coaching is also an important factor in athletic success, especially when you consider that many coaches of young athletes in the US have no academic background or credentials in coaching. Further, the expenses associated with hiring the best coaches limit the number of talented athletes who can afford to work with these coaches (especially in costly sports such as skiing, golf, tennis and figure skating). The story of the Jamaican bobsled team was certainly fascinating and entertaining, but without the funding for proper equipment and training, the success of these athletes must be regarded as an anomaly. The same goes for buying ice skates and golf clubs, reserving practices times on the courts and the greens, and travel expenses. Sure, some high schools have exceptional coaches and training facilities, but elite athletes are training year-round in most sports, and that means outside sport teams and working with higher-level athletes.
Although the muscle mass of a pro bodybuilder such as Ronnie Coleman is impressive, his training methods may not be the best for an Olympic lifter. Coleman photo by Milos Sarcev.
Yes, bodybuilders look strong – and there are many bodybuilders who are as strong as they look. Eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman could squat and deadlift over 800 pounds. And yes, the top strongman competitors are very, very strong. Canadian strongman Hugo Girard, who gave a presentation at our Eleiko Strength Seminar in June, could bench press 804 pounds for 2 reps and deadlift 848 pounds – oh, yeah, he could also flip a car! Does this mean the training programs that enabled Coleman and Girard to do these exceptional feats of strength will help a tennis player serve at 140 miles an hour? Or a sprinter run 100 meters in under ten seconds? Or a baseball player hit a home run out of the park? Maybe not.
Probably not!Because strength training is only one factor in athletic success, often strength coaches and personal trainers can get away with prescribing inferior workout programs – which in turn will create a multitude of unfortunate and unpredictable factors. Charles, have you been to B YU? That being said, let’s talk about muscle fibers.
Muscle Mass: the Variables
Developing functional hypertrophy is not just a matter of telling all athletes to focus on using relative strength training methods. Perhaps for female athletes who are in sports with an aesthetic component, such as gymnastics and figure skating, this might be the way to go throughout their entire athletic career. In contrast, athletes in contact/collision sports such as football players often need a significant amount of muscle mass to perform at a high level, and if these fibers are not trained at an early age, the athletes might not be able to activate them later in their career. In fact, I believe this is one reason that I’m not good at performing high-rep sets with heavy weights, at least compared to sets I can perform for low reps.
When designing protocols to develop functional hypertrophy for a specific athlete, many variables need to be taken into consideration. Here are a few.
Some good applied science here...Muscle Cell Growth. There are basically two types of hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic and sarcomere. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy involves the increase in non-contractile proteins and fluids between the muscle fibers – in other words, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy presents itself as an increase in muscle size but does not contribute to an increase in strength. Sarcomere hypertrophy involves the increase of contractile fibers that do work. These differences help explain why bodybuilders may display enormous size in their chest, shoulders and arms but cannot translate this development in a big bench press. Not that it’s necessary to bench press to get a great physique, but I think it’s rather odd that I have seen three Mr. Olympia winners who could not bench press more than 315 pounds for 6 reps in the off-season, when they are supposedly at their strongest.
Fiber Typing. Back in the ’90s when I first published The Poliquin Principles, I discussed the importance of working a variety of muscle fiber types, both high and low threshold, to achieve maximum results. The rationale came from the observation of top weightlifters who focus on the high threshold fibers with low reps – often they have exceptional levels of muscle mass. (Examples of outstanding bodybuilders from the past are Franco Columbu, John Grimek, Sergio Oliva and Bill Pearl, who reached the highest levels in bodybuilding while also being able to perform well in the Iron Game sports.) So it makes sense that for the highest levels of muscle mass, a bodybuilder should also perform lower reps.
For a general overview of the variety of hypertrophy methods, start with a copy of The Poliquin Principles.
Neurological Efficiency. Neurological efficiency refers to how effectively an individual recruits the higher threshold muscle fibers, and is of special concern to prepubescent athletes and all female athletes. Having these groups focus on sets of 1-2 reps may not be an efficient use of training time as they often cannot recruit a significant number the high-threshold fibers in the first place, especially if they have no previous weight training experience. Because neurological efficiency is such a complex subject, earlier this year I held two Special Considerations seminars: “Training the Prepubescent Athlete” and “Training the Female Client.”
Muscle Dampening. This next concept concerns the way muscles contract. The sliding filament theory involves the sliding of the contractile elements (thick and thin filaments such as myosin and actin) past each other. The relevant training issue here is that this sliding occurs at different rates depending upon the muscle fiber being activated, and these reactions are not independent. As a result, creating too much hypertrophy in the lower-threshold fibers can have a dampening effect on overall speed of muscle contraction.
Biomechanics. Speed is king in sports, but it’s important not to confuse the slow muscular contractions associated with aerobic training with slow movements that occur in many eccentric training protocols. This is because the intent of moving quickly can activate high-threshold fibers. Pierre Roy, one of Canada’s most accomplished weightlifting coaches, has had excellent success using eccentric training protocols with his elite athletes. But there are exceptions.
Consider that even though an exercise may have an exact movement pattern, at high speeds it's possible that different muscle groups are recruited. For example, the brachioradialis muscle is not recruited at slow speeds during a biceps curl, but it is recruited at fast speed. Likewise, Russian weightlifting coach and sport scientist Robert A. Roman has published papers citing research showing that performing pulls with especially heavy weights (such as above 90 percent of 1RM in the classical lifts) adversely affects the coordination pattern of the pull.
Vascular Adaptations. It’s pretty much accepted that carrying excess bodyfat will adversely affect endurance, and in fact one way to make dramatic increases in VO2 max results is to simply lose bodyfat. But it’s also true that excess muscle size also places a burden on the vascular system and as such this hypertrophy could adversely affect athletic performance. It’s been said that endurance is a big factor in the fourth quarter of a football game, but sometimes it’s a case of being tired going into the game. Lighter football players often need more muscular endurance, as they have to work harder to deal with heavier players on the other side of the ball. Again, this is why I won’t say, “To develop functional strength for a football player do 4-6 sets of 2-5 reps with 30-second rest intervals.” It’s not that simple.
Specificity Principle. Performing a high volume of muscular endurance work for a prolonged period causes the fast-twitch muscle fibers to behave like slow-twitch fibers in an attempt to adapt to the high levels of fatigue. This is related to the specificity principle, which refers to the body’s ability to adapt in a specific manner to a specific stimulus. Can a man bench press 600 pounds? Many have, some without any supportive equipment, and the current world record is 1,075 pounds by Ryan Kennelly of the United States. Can a man run a marathon in less than two hours and 20 minutes? Many have, and the current world record is 2:03:59 by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia. Has anyone ever been able to bench press 600 pounds and run a marathon in less than two hours and 20 minutes in the same week? No – and for that matter, no one has been able to do it in the same lifetime.
Marathon running and being able to bench press major household appliances are certainly extreme examples, but studies have shown that even small amounts of aerobic training can compromise strength gains. In fact, focusing on aerobic training during prepubescence can prevent an athlete from achieving their full power potential when they get older – so, consider aerobic training a form of brain damage!
I've always said that Fun Run is an oxymoron.Jim Thorpe was a great athlete,(and a Native Warrior) as was Babe Didrikson. The winner of the decathlon is considered the greatest athlete, but that’s just a title. The performances of Olympic champion Bryan Clay in the 2008 decathlon are amazing but still are far from the absolute world records or the best performances at that Games. For example, Clay won the discus component of the decathlon with a throw of 53.79 meters (176 feet, 6 inches) and the 100 meters with 10.44. The winning throw at the Games in the main discus event was 68.82 meters (225 feet, 7 inches) and the 100-meter winner ran 9.69. When it comes to multiple sports, with the exception of a few superstars as Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, athletes simply cannot compete at the highest levels in more than one sport.
Simply put, the functional hypertrophy of one athlete may not necessarily be the functional hypertrophy of another.
And the Answer Is…
...complicated. As you can see, due to a vast number of variables, there is no easy way to prescribe appropriate strength training protocols for all athletes at all levels of development. And even if you can’t expect to find all the answers to your questions about achieving functional hypertrophy from reading only one article or one book or from attending one seminar, I hope you won’t stop there. Although no one can guarantee you’ll find the absolute best answers to your strength training challenges, if you’re willing to keep learning, you’re destined to find better answers that will make a difference!
Great Stuff!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Five Elements?

Below is an article from Charles Poliquin's website that I really found interesting. He makes the same point that we have tried to make here in past posts... Different individuals respond to the same training differently. Therefore you can not give everyone the same program and expect the same results. Not hard to understand, is it? (Unless you happen to be a BYU strength coach. lol )You can't help but like Poliquin's straight from the hip style of communicating. While I do not really buy into his 5 elements lock, stock and barrel; I do think it makes the point very understandable that we are all different and the optimal training program will therefore be different. Who can argue with that? He also give some examples of how program could be designed to best fit different types of individuals. Some good stuff.
Thanks Charles.
The Five Elements – A New Training Paradigm
by Charles Poliquin

Famed Olympic track and field coach Anatoly Bondarchuk believed there were three types of athletes: those who respond best to volume, those who respond best to intensity, and those who respond best to training variety.

Shown training at the Poliquin Strength Institute, world champion shot putter Adam Nelson is an example of the Fire type of athlete.

It was a lesson that served me well for many years, but eventually I started to realize that perhaps the classifications were too limiting. I found that I might give a high-volume program to one athlete and he or she would make excellent progress, but the same program would not be nearly as effective for another athlete. Likewise, when I gave that same athlete an intensity program, he or she would crash almost immediately.

About the same time as this, I was studying Eastern medicine and herbology, and it suddenly occurred to me that these variations in training types correlate strongly with the five physical types described in Chinese medicine. These elements, as they are known, are used to categorize distinct physical types who manifest very distinct personality traits.

The elements are Fire, Wood, Earth, Metal, and the fifth element (which, despite what you might have learned in the Bruce Willis movie of the same name, is not an orange-haired fashion model in gauze bandages) – is Water.

Amazingly, these ancient classifications predict quite accurately how different strength athletes respond to different types of training. They also predict quite accurately their personalities and even their weaknesses.

For years I have listened to people disparage this type of training or that type of training, saying that whatever they’d been doing did not work for them. Some said that the Westside style is no good or that German Volume Training didn’t work for them. The simple truth is that most likely they were performing the wrong type of training for their type, or element.

Breaking the Element Code
For instance, Fire types are the most gifted for weight training with a high concentration of high-threshold motor units. They tend to do a lot of volume with high-intensity work. I know, I know, high volume of high intensity would be paradoxical to what Mr. Universe Mike Mentzer did in his workouts, but it is possible for this type. They can train heavy all the time without crashing, as long as they frequently change the exercises.

Conversely, Earth types can stay on a set program for a long time. You have to first stress them with volume and then stress them with intensity (such as the periodization model presented in 1964 by Russian sport scientist Leonid Matveyev). Each phase is about three weeks. When an Earth type overtrains, their immune system will suffer and they’ll come down with a cold. They are also the ones who have the most trouble reducing carbohydrates in their diet, and it is much harder for them to get lean.

None of the Fire, Wood and Earth types are necessarily disadvantaged when it comes to bodybuilding or strength sports, but it is important for them to train for their type. Obviously, pure types are not that common and most people fall somewhere in between the five points of the element continuum:


The Metal and Water types are, unfortunately, individuals who will never make much progress. They have bad nervous systems, the wrong muscle fibers and poor endocrine systems. These types end up being attracted to non-weightlifting activities like yoga or stamp collecting.

Following are more complete descriptions of each of the element types, including recommended training protocols.

The Fire Type
Fire types typically make the best strength/power athletes. They gravitate towards powerlifting, shot put, hammer throwing, discus, sprinting, long jump and the triple jump. Excitement is their middle name, and they usually have a great deal of enthusiasm. They are the type that inspires people in the gym, the natural-born salesman.

They are the most Yang of the elements; hence, willpower, confidence and excitement describe them. They are the ones who will explode if they get angry. They are also genetically predisposed to heart disease. My client World champion shot-putter Adam Nelson is a poster boy for the Fire type.

Fire types need both high intensity and higher volume in terms of sets compared to the other elements. In other words, Fire-type athletes will thrive on workouts that consist of 10-12 sets of 1-3RM. What’s more, their work capacity curve is phenomenal in that they can do 10-12 sets with a given weight with very little drop-off in performance. Any sets above 8 reps are a waste of time.

The amazing thing about Fire types is that you can beat them into the ground, as long as you change the program often. If a Fire type does workout X, they will need to switch to workout Y after five days because they will already have adapted. Because they have a great capacity for training, variety in the program is essential to them, and it is better to change the choice and order of exercise and the mode of contractions. Volume and intensities do not need to vary as much.

An ideal workout for a Fire type would include perhaps two lifts a day consisting of 10-12 sets of 1-3. This athlete could superset two antagonistic body parts; for example, the bench press and the chin-up, perhaps adding some remedial work at the end. They could easily perform relative strength work followed by hypertrophy training in the same workout. They could also easily train twice a day, six days a week, as long as they changed the exercises.

Sample Fire-Type Periodization for a Single Body Part
Day 1: Workout X
Day 6: Workout Y
Day 11: Workout X
Day 16: Workout Y
Day 21: Workout X
Day 26: Workout Y
Day 31: Workout X
Day 36: Workout Y
Day 41: Workout T*

Day 46: Workout U*

*Workouts “T” and “U” might consist of a slightly higher volume and less intensity, for example, 4-5 sets of 4-7RM.

Fire types will invariably ask, “Are you sure this is enough work for me?” If they perform a German Volume Training program (essentially, 10 sets of 10 using the same weight), they will do fine on the first 2 sets of 10 but will crash on the third. If you give Fire types an Earth-type workout, their blood sugar will drop alarmingly. An alternate test involves testing their max, letting them rest 10 minutes and then giving them 85 percent of max. Typically, they will only be able to pump out 1-3 reps.

The Wood Type
Chinese doctors best describe Wood types as pioneers. They are very good at devising plans and sticking to them. They love challenging themselves and pushing themselves to the limit. They are bold and decisive, and they have a tendency to overdo things. That is why you have to plan recovery phases within the cycle – in other words, you have to hold them back every third workout.

Wood types are the most likely to abuse stimulants and sedatives. One might pop three Red Bulls before a workout and eat a Valium sandwich before going to bed. They are most likely to complain of tendon injuries, and they are genetically predisposed to liver problems.

Wood Training. Wood types can tend to overtrain very easily when volume is excessive. Likewise, they can only handle the same routine for roughly two weeks. Typically, for days 1-15 of a program, they will thrive doing rep ranges of 6-10, but you will need to drop the number of sets by about 40 percent every third workout.

Furthermore, they need to maintain a one-to-one ratio between volume and intensity. That means that they will do best on a two-week cycle employing high volume, followed by a two-week cycle using increased intensity. They will use rep brackets of 2-5 for days 16-30, making sure to drop the number of sets by about 60 percent every third workout.

Sample Wood-Type Periodization for a Single Body Part
Workout 1: 10 sets of 8?Workout 2: 8 sets of 7
Workout 3: 6 sets of 6
Workout 4: 10 sets of 8?Workout 5: 8 sets of 7
Workout 6: 6 sets of 6

*** move to higher intensity***

Workout 7: 12 sets of 4-5?Workout 8: 10 sets of 3-4
Workout 9: 6 sets of 2-3
Workout 10: 10 sets of 4-5 ?Workout 11: 8 sets of 3-4
Workout 12: 4 sets of 2-3

A Wood type will invariably ask, “Are you sure this is the most cutting-edge methodology you’ve got?” If they perform a German Volume Training program (essentially, 10 sets of 10 using the same weight), they will complete the first workout, start to peter out on the second, manage only 4 sets of 10 on the third workout and then go home. An alternate test would involve testing their max, letting them rest 10 minutes and then giving them 85 percent of max. Typically, they’ll only be able to pump out 4-5 reps.

The Earth Type
In Chinese medicine, the Earth types are in the middle of the elements. Therefore, serenity and stability are big issues with them. They are well-grounded individuals, as the name would suggest.

As such, they like identical blocks of training and they don’t need variations within the macrocycle. They can stay on a set program for a long time (six weeks), but you have to stress them with volume for the first three weeks, followed by three weeks of intensity. While they don’t have the ability to tap into a lot of high-threshold muscle fibers (i.e., they don’t do well with a lot of heavy training), they have a greater capacity to hypertrophy than the average person.

If you overtrain an Earth person, they’ll come down with a cold. They are generally very particular about the quality and quantity of their sleep. They are the ones who will piss and moan during a squat workout about missing an hour of sleep.

Of all the element types, Earth types have the hardest time getting lean because they have a problem with reducing carbohydrate intake. Earth types often make good wrestlers or 400- to 800-meter runners. Prototypical Earth types include Arnold Schwarzenegger and Milos Sarcev.

Earth Training. Volume and intensity have to be balanced equally, as they have as much Yin as Yang. They respond best to longer cycles, typically three weeks to a month. They don’t do very well on classical maximal strength programs, as they will burn out rapidly.

Earth types would progress well on routines of 2-3 exercises per body part for the first month (volume or accumulation phase), with 3-4 sets per exercise and 9-15 reps. The next month, they should do 2-3 exercises for 4-5 sets, but do sets of 5-8 reps (the intensification phase).

Sample Earth Type Periodization for a Single Body Part
Day 1: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 6: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 11: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 16: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 21: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 26: Workout X, 8 sets of 12-15 for 2-3 exercises
Day 31: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 36: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 41: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 46: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 51: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises
Day 56: Workout Y, 10 sets of 5-8 reps for 2 exercises

If Wood Types perform a German Volume Training program (essentially, 10 sets of 10 using the same weight), they will do very well and will still make progress after the third workout. If, however, the Earth types do 10 sets of 3, they will be completely baked after the fourth set. Likewise, if Earth types perform the 1-6 method, they will burn out after only one workout. An alternate test involves testing their max, letting them rest 10 minutes and then giving them 85 percent of max. Typically, they will be able to pump out 7-10 reps.

The Metal Type
For coaches and personal trainers, metal types are the most frustrating athletes to train and I do not accept them as clients. They spend more time talking and philosophizing about training than doing it. Dogma is their middle name. They thrive on discussing discipline and structure, and they love to ponder over the definition of terms. Most of their calorie expenditure comes from talking, and I don’t even bother training them.

The Water Type
Water types are the most Yin of all the elements. They are the least physical or outward of the types. An accumulation phase for a Water type would consist of licking a dried prune 10 times.

I do not deal with Water types, either, and I usually direct them to the nearest yoga studio. Their genetic pool needs a hefty dose of chlorine. Luckily, most Metal and Water types don’t gravitate towards weight training.

Perhaps the best barometer of what type you are, or what blend of types you are, is whether you enjoy a particular type of training. Fire types can perform 10 sets of the same exercise without losing focus, but the same routine would bore an Earth type to tears.

Trainees should ignore the way their heroes train and just be honest with themselves. If you have not made any progress since the first Bush administration, then it is possible that you have not been training “true to your type.” The Chinese ask, “How can you expect to find ivory in a dog’s mouth?” Likewise, how can you find success using programs that are not suitable for your physiology?

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Training Breakthrough?

A few weeks ago we looked at the NSCA practitioners journal, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning. Following is an abstract of a study that appeared in their research journal, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Basically it says that athletes who are instructed in training methodology and then allowed to make adjustments on their own get better results than those who blindly follow a "canned" program. Can't say I have been enlightened by that one. If you have been following our posts for any length of time, you know that it's always been our premise that good coaches do not demand adherence to cook book programs. Good coaches teach and develop self-reliant athletes who can think for themselves and give input into their training. Allowing athletes to adjust and adapt according to their individual needs is only a natural result of this philosophy. While it seems to be stating the obvious, I guess the authors should be commended for making this point in a professional journal format. While developing a co-dependency situation may feed a coaches' ego, the most effective coaches develop independent athletes and are not threatened by differences of opinion. Teach athletes correct principles, allow and encourage them to have input into their trianing, and they will make you look like a great coach.

The Effect of Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise vs. Linear Periodization on Strength Improvement in College Athletes.
Mann JB, Thyfault JP, Ivey PA, Sayers SP.

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]

-Autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise (APRE) is a method by which athletes increase strength by progressing at their own pace based on daily and weekly variations in performance, unlike traditional linear periodization (LP), where there is a set increase in intensity from week to week.

This study examined whether 6 weeks of APRE was more effective at improving strength compared with traditional LP in division I College football players. We compared 23 division 1 collegiate football players (2.65 +/- 0.8 training years) who were trained using either APRE (n = 12) or LP (n = 11) during 6 weeks of preseason training in 2 separate years. After 6 weeks of training, improvements in total bench press 1 repetition maximum (1RM), squat 1RM, and repeated 225-lb bench press repetitions were compared between the APRE and LP protocol groups. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to determine differences between groups. Statistical significance was accepted at p
Our findings indicate that the APRE was more effective than the LP means of programming in increasing the bench press and squat over a period of 6 weeks.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Navajo Codetalkers

In keeping with the Warrior Spirit, we would like to recognize a group of heros that are largely unknown to the general public. The Navajo Codetalkers used their language during WWII to confound the Japanese in the South Pacific.

Sam Holiday of Monument Valley riding in the Kayenta 4th of July parade. He is one of the last surviving codetalkers and is over 80 years old.
Below are two segments from the movie "WINDTALKERS", the beginning and the end. The scenes show Monument Valley, our home. If you want to view the entire film it is on youtube in segments.While the film is "Hollywoodized", it did bring attention to the service of these modern warriors. At the bottom of the post is a link to a historically accurate website that gives further information. Some who do not understand, assume that Native Americans may be unpatriotic and bitter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Native Americans have the highest per capita percentage of military veterans of any ethnic group in the USA. Of course this is partly because of economics. The military is often the best option for many young people who do not have the financial means or academic preparation to attend college.
But it is also because of the desire to defend their land and honor their warrior ancestors.
This mission was highly classified. After the war these young men returned home and did not even tell their families about their assignments until it was declassified in the late 1960's. They went on with their lives. Most returned to reservation and humbly raised their families without recognition or fanfare. Just recently are they recieving some recognition in their old age.
Haske WarriorStrength pays tribute to the Navajo Codetalkers.


Friday, July 2, 2010

To Our Friends Around the World

Here in the USA we are celebrating Independence Day. We do it on the 4th of July. While we certainly have our share of problems, it is a great place to live for those who are dedicated to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, not to mention strength, health and long throws. We still have more people trying to get into our country than trying to escape, so that is a good sign that in spite of our weaknesses, it is still a great place. We wish you all the best wherever you may be as we celebrate our history here. This picture was painted by Arnold Frieberg, one of my favorite artists. He passed away yesterday at the age of 96. I love his paintings because they depict strength and the warrior spirit. The top picture depicts General George Washington at Valley Forge. Without giving a history lesson, sufficeth to say the Continental Army was outmatched and all but beaten when Washington rallied the troops during a harsh Winter at Valley Forge and turned the tide of the war. The bottom picture is another General named Moroni (also painted byFrieberg) who rallied his troops here on this continent centuries before. Of him it is said, "If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever..." Powerful stuff. I have that picture in my weight room. May you all live strong and independent.