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Squats: Form Matters

weightlifter

The squat is one of the most widely used exercises in athletic strength and conditioning. It’s also one of the most controversial. Over the years there’s been a standard in terms of squatting technique; heels on the ground, push the hips back (as opposed to the knees forward), knees aligned with the toes, etc. However, not everyone agrees with this.   The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has an interesting little study examining the impact of squatting form on...

Narcissism and Coaching: Is It Bad?

Matosic et al in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports have an interesting article examining the impact of coach narcissism on whether athletes are more autonomous or are more controlled.  The authors define narcissism as follows: “Narcissism is a self-centered, self-aggrandizing, dominant, and manipulative interpersonal orientation. Individuals… seek attention and admiration, feel entitled, and are amoral, focusing on personal benefit, even at the blatant expense of others (pg. 255).” The authors suggest that this is not a...

Olympic Lifts: Maybe We Don’t Need To Catch The Bar…

The Olympic lifts and their derivatives are widely performed in the strength and conditioning of athletes. They involve exerting force against the ground, rapid movements, high power outputs, and are total body efforts. However, they require a great deal of technique and take a long time to master. As a result, some coaches have moved to exercises like jump squats and partial movements like the pull that do not require a catching phase to reduce the technical demands.   One...

It May Not Matter What You Train First

Is there a best way to organize an athlete’s training? In other words, should we do plyometrics first because they involve speed and technique? Then, should we follow that with slower strength moves that don’t require the same level of nervous system demands? Or, should we flip that to fatigue the nervous system by doing the slow strength moves first and then requiring it to perform something explosive?   Kobal et al have a really fascinating study that seeks to...

Squats and Shoes: Don’t Drink the Kool Aid Yet

I started out competing and coaching Olympic lifting. Way back when, it was ingrained in all of us that we needed to get special Olympic lifting shoes to be successful in the sport. These shoes have very hard soles that are a little higher than normal shoes. The idea being that normal shoes are something you would sink into when performing the Olympic lifts or squats, so they should be avoided.   A recent study in the Journal of Strength...