Strength Performance Network

September 2011 Blog Posts (34)

- A discussion about grip strength and straps

Functional strength is the type of strength athletes seek for improved sport performance and reduced risk of injury. Functional strength is also the type of strength that you would use in non-gym situations. Most arguments for the use of weightlifting straps come from people who are interested in weight training for aesthetic value or body building, not for functionality.

When considering weightlifting, it is practically inefficient to neglect your hands (grip strength), as they are…


Added by Will Osburn on September 30, 2011 at 11:28pm — 11 Comments

Good quote from Dr Stuart McGill

"The use of machines that buttress joints and restrict range of motion at specific joints not only retard the various levels of motor learning required for optimal functional performance, but can encode patterns that are detrimental to both performance and the avoidance of injury."

- Dr Stuart McGill


Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance - Fourth Edition

Added by Will Osburn on September 30, 2011 at 11:16pm — 1 Comment

Still Doing Hamstring Curls?

Do You Still Do Hamstring Curls?

When I was younger, every morning I would east breakfast and watch ESPN.  I recently recalled that ESPN2 aired a…


Added by Matt Siniscalchi on September 28, 2011 at 8:33pm — 5 Comments

How smart are you?

Dear Strength Coach/Personal Trainer,

How smart are you?

I realize that by asking that question, I may come across as an arrogang SOB.

However, there is a deeper meaning, with the question.

Hang on.

It is my observation that some of us can take a principle, for example.




In my eyes, that is…


Added by Karsten Jensen on September 28, 2011 at 1:26pm — No Comments

Return to Play Strategies – Rebuilding the Athlete

Going to Seattle today to teach the two-day version of “Return to Play Strategies – Rebuilding the Athlete” seminar. The philosophy behind this seminar is simple:

Rehab and rebuild the athlete not the injury.…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 23, 2011 at 3:08am — No Comments

Simplicity - The Answer

Index A recurring theme of this blog and a consistent philosophical tenant of my career has been an emphasis on simplicity. I have said time and again that simplicity yields complexity. Simplicity also yields clarity. Simplicity can be translated into action in training and in competition. Making… Continue

Added by Vern Gambetta on September 22, 2011 at 8:19am — No Comments

One thing Einstein has taught me

September 21st, 2011

Dear Strength Coach,


Last week I told you about a customer who was frustrated with our planning and programming sheets.

The customer found that the sheets were “useless”.

That is interesting, because it is the exact same sheets that I have used for more than 10 years, to plan and create long-term training programs for world class and Olympic athletes.

The only difference in the sheets we are…


Added by Karsten Jensen on September 21, 2011 at 4:48pm — No Comments

The Gambetta Method – Systematic Athletic Development Principle Four

Systematic Athletic Development Principle Four - Train core strength before extremity strength

Train core strength before extremity strength. The Core is an integrated functional unit consisting of the Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex, the Thoracic and Cervical Spine.  It is a Muscular Corset that lends integrity and support to the body. The…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 21, 2011 at 11:44am — 2 Comments

Old School

School_house_little_red_-_A-_ncr.61165833_std The other day someone told me that I was old school. By their tone it was clearly meant as a putdown. I took it as a huge complement. If old school is holding to your core beliefs, turning those beliefs into action through the principles I have been outlining over the past few weeks, then I am…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 20, 2011 at 7:49am — No Comments


Systematic variation is a basic principle of training. The key word here is systematic. The variation must be planned and serve a specific purpose in the context of the whole training program. Just throwing a bunch of random different” stuff” into a program is not variation with a purpose. That is confusion and despite what some of the commercial “fitness ‘ programs advertise that is not training, that is entertainment.…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 19, 2011 at 5:17am — No Comments

Evaluating A Program

Lately it seems I have been getting many questions about various popular training programs. Rather than speaking directly to any one program I think it is better to give insight into how I evaluate a program. I start pretty basic:

What – What actually is a program? What is the philosophy? …


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 17, 2011 at 9:12am — No Comments


In my years as an athlete it was hammered into to me that repetition was the mother of learning. I worked harder and harder and repeated drills and exercises by the hour. Sometimes I got better, but just as often I stagnated or regressed. Then in my first sport psychology class at UCSB I learned that practice made permanent – well da! Back in 1969 I did not need Anders Ericsson’s research, Malcom Gladwell or Coyle’s…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 16, 2011 at 9:27am — 1 Comment


Hard work will bring success. Yes to a point. Smart work will yield longer lasting success. Anyone can work, but that is not training. Training is work with a purpose, with a specific measurable goal in mine. Getting tired, feeling the burn, getting sore and puking at the end of a workout is not the measure of a good training. You need to ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing, to whom you are doing it with and… Continue

Added by Vern Gambetta on September 15, 2011 at 6:57am — No Comments

Rice Speed Symposium - November 12

The second Rice University Speed Symposium will be held Saturday November 12 from 2:00 to 5:00 Pm at Rice University in Houston Texas. The clinician will be legendary sprint coach Tony Wells of the Colorado Flyers, Vince Anderson of Texas A&M and Vern Gambetta. For information and to register contact Casey Thom at or go…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 15, 2011 at 6:48am — No Comments

Maturity with program design

Dear Strength Coach,


I have gone through, and seen other strength coaches gone through 4 phases of maturity with program design.


Phase 1: I don’t know that I need to create a long-term training plan.

Phase 2: I know that I need to create a long-term training plan, but I have no idea about how to do it.

Phase 3: I work with some…


Added by Karsten Jensen on September 14, 2011 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Coaching Cornerstones

The following are the cornerstones of effective coaching:

Communication –The ability to get your message across in a clear concise manner will determine your success as a coach. It is important to remember all dimensions of communication, sending, receiving and seeing. Talk, show and…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 14, 2011 at 7:55am — No Comments

Hamstring Tightness Is Not Always The Case

     How often do we hear athletes say they have tight hamstrings?  It is probably the one muscle that everyone has stretched once in their life. Literally.  I feel that having been an athlete myself, everyone that I have every played with stretched their hamstrings (ok, 95% maybe) before a game or they complained of their hamstrings always feeling "tight."  The typical answer, by many, is if a muscle feels tight, stretch it.  It is the simple answer, but how can this tightness seem to stick…


Added by Matt Siniscalchi on September 13, 2011 at 11:08pm — No Comments

The Gambetta method - Systematic Athletic Development Principle Three

 Systematic Athletic Development Principle Three - Train fundamental movement skills before sport specific skills

Effective athletic development is based upon the principle of the development of fundamental movement skill before specific sport skill. Today athletes at all levels are lacking fundamental movement…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 12, 2011 at 4:23am — No Comments

Techno Babble

How do you coach? Are you a complexifier that speaks in techno babble that no one can understand? Or are you a simplifier? Can you use metaphor and paint simple word pictures that evoke action. I don’t know about you but I am into simplification. Sport performance is tough enough without making it more complex. The great coaches I know don’t try to make it complicated, if anything they work to make simple and then even… Continue

Added by Vern Gambetta on September 10, 2011 at 9:37am — No Comments

Si Se’ Puede

Si se’ puede is an expression in Spanish that literally translated means yes you can. It has been a favorite expression of mine for years. All to often in coaching and in life we tend to focus on what can’t be done, the problems and the weaknesses. I prefer to focus on the possibility, what can be done. What are the strengths of athlete? Find and build on those strengths. Minimize the weaknesses,…


Added by Vern Gambetta on September 9, 2011 at 8:33am — No Comments

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