T Nation

Specificity?


#1

Where do you stand on the concept of specificity in sports training?

Do you believe weight training should be general and specific neural adaptations should come through the sporting movements themselves (a la Francis).

Or do you advocate a more of a Yessis / Zatsiorsky / Bondarchuk Russian approach where specialized exercises have to be done to duplicate what the athlete does in his sport?
How would you define sport specific and could you give an example of such?

Thanks CT


#2

I do believe that there are two levels of neural adaptation: general and specific. The general benefit of strength training is that, regardless of the exercise's motor specificity to the sport action, there will be a transfer to performance if you use high force strength training (either lifting heavy weights, or lifting explosively). So we could say that by using high force techniques with compound lifting movements we improve the general capacity of the nervous sytem; increasing potential neural drive if we could say.

The specific benefits of strength training (specific in regard to a certain sport action) are found mostly when it comes to the strengthening of the muscles involved in the athlete's sport. It also refers to the type of muscle action (eccentric, isometric, concentric) and velocity of movement.

So a training program for sport should include both, general lifting movements performed with either heavy weights or maximum acceleration AND exercises specific to the sport as far as muscles involved, type of muscle action and speed of contraction.

What I don't believe in is duplicating sport actions in the gym. The late Dr. Mel Siff even explained how this could be detrimental to sport performance in his textbook "Supertraining".


#3

How do you feel that Abadjiev (Bulgarians) and to a degree the Greeks were able to produce such impressive results without varying the exercises / assistant work?

This seems very contradictory to what Louie is doing at the present time and what Bondarchuk (throwers) and many of his fellow coaches were doing in weightlifting (e.g., Medeyeve)?
Given that you have spent time with Schroeder how does he approach this puzzle?

Do you advocate:
‘if an exercise is worth doing it is worth doing it all of the time.’


#4

Understand that Bulgarian lifters did a lot of assistance exercises in the earlier portion of their careers, to build up their foundation. When that foundation was in place, only the competition exercises were needed.

Understand that weightlifting is a super popular sport in Bulgaria, so the best genetic phenemenon are available to them: guys (and gals) who have the perfect olympic lifting levers. When your levers and body proportions are perfect for a certain lift, simply performing that lift will often be enough. That's why you see a lot of powerlifters who only perform the bench press to improve their bench press; they are built for benching, so they do not need many assistance exercises.