Unlike the physical rehabilitation professions, we hear and see little in the field of strength, conditioning and human performance in terms of Evidence-Based Practice. I wonder why?
Certainly, there is a vast body of strength and conditioning literature, but I find myself asking at times why so few seem to follow what the cumulative research says? Recently, while at a well-known strength and conditioning conference, I listened to a D-1 strength coach talk about his dynamic warm-up program. All sounded good until when asked about how the program was developed the answer was that the coach simply copied the information from his wife’s yoga video. Worse yet, when I demoed one of the movements, I severely strained my hamstring muscle to the point of barely being able to walk the next day.
So, I gotta ask, what are the barriers for those in the field to examining the available literature (cumulative, not just convenience studies) and compare it to what is being practiced? Part of the challenge may be that there are seemingly very few sources for the human performance professional to get a view of the big picture of available research. Yet, there are many, many journals that report on physical education, exercise science, ect., with a vastly growing body of research to help guide practice in the field. Here are a couple of resources that may be helpful for those with an inquisitive, yet critical mind who want to begin to develop evidence-based protocols in their practice.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Clearinghouse, offers a review of existing literature for physical medicine and rehabilitation practices. An example below pertains to physical therapy for treating and preventing Achilles pain and stiffness. You may be surprised by the results:
Another source that I’ve found helpful is Coaching Science Abstracts. Although the studies here are not represented in way of guidelines, the various topics do offer a picture of what related study outcomes are. Again, I think many would be surprised about the evidence or lack there of regarding practices in the field of strength and conditioning.
The link here is to topic that relates to the previous link and Achilles issues:
All too often, individual research in the human performance world is used to either support or condemn a random practice in the field although all may seemingly be doing it or the practice may have become the latest taboo. The reality is that research is very valuable and used in a prudent manner can help guide coaches and clinicians to ask better questions and to make better decisions about how to bring about effective change in those we work with.
“People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones.” - Charles Kettering