T Nation

Sports Specificity

a little background first…

i mentioned previously that there some chek qualified trainers where i train, they are nice guys and they mean well, but some of the stuff they have their clients do baffles me.

one of them is a thai boxer (non competitive) and trains a few fighters himself. anyway we got into a debate after i told one of teh guys he was training (didnt know he was training him at the time) that he should think about performing his squats and deads with a little more ROM than he is using… it turns out he was told to do it that way, so when i asked his trainer why i was told because teh movements are more sports specific. Apparently because a squat or deadlift isnt performed during a fight there is no need to do it in training, the joint angles he is using with the partial squats and deads apparently matches that of the situation in a fight.

this struck me as being particularily stupid. I understand the guy isnt training to be a powerlifter, but the kid has zero base to begin with, he would be lucky to squat or dead his bodyweight (prob 80kg). Anyway when i tried to explain that the kid probably needed to build a more solid base from which sports specific refinement could take place i got hit with a barrage of chek mumbo jumpo TVA crap.

is there anything to what this guy was saying? he bases his and his fighters workouts around things like partial range lunges, deads, and these ridiculous standing cable presses (like a one armed bench press on an adjustable cable system) but liek i said, none of these guys (including the trainer himself) would be able to squat/dead BW…

these same trainers have a go at me for not ‘activating my core’ when im squatting/deadlifting with 600+lbs

they harp on about ‘functional training’ and ‘replication of joint angles’ etc, but they dont address any sort of acceleration or imapct in their workouts, spend their whole time working on muscular imbalances when in my eyes the biggest imbalance is the absense of any sort of strength or power

just like to hear peoples thoughts on this sort of thing


Oh I hear ya on that one.

I think the thing that’s been lost lately is the difference between Sport Specific and Transfer to sport.

Sounds like the average Chek trainer is more concerned with what they consider sport specific and less with what will transfer to sport.

Now I’m all for training the TVA and core integration, but I’ve also come to realize that once the core has been trained, when you get under any kind of significant load, you’re generally hoping for ‘passive’ recruitment, whereas the TVA, etc will fire based on all of the previous work leading to a given max effort.

Because that’s how you can make your guy better than his guy, in my opinion.

It also seems that a Chek trainer would be more concerned with relative ‘failure’ or ‘lack of firing’ in the TVA as a point of failure instead of induced failure in the prime movers as a result of load.

So is there anything to that stuff? It’s up to you to decide, I guess. I see some very interesting things from Paul Chek, but I’ve never taken any of his certifications (or the mortages you need to take out to pay for them).

In my mind, the bottom line is what’s the point of creating all of this core stability if you never plan on exposing it to max loads?

Disclaimer: I have no experience training thai boxers, but I don’t feel it’s always necessary to have a ton of experience about a sport to do so. Knowledge of movement patterns and necessary energy systems is imparative though.

P.S. Never ask another trainer (especially a Chek cert’d one, they seem to be taught to view all others as inferior and look down their nose at them - my bias) a question about their training with the intention to change their ways or prove yourself right. Besides, most experts are tireless in establishing themselves a niche or market segement. If you’re different from another trainer, you’ve got a market nailed, pain free! Enjoy the possible gains in business.

So if it’s any consolation, I think you’re right.

Most of what the Chek trainers told you is accrete in fact the aspects of the fighters workouts that you wrote about sound like it is sport specific training, meaning using exercises that resemble the sports movements. Now I don?t entirely agree with all of chek?s concepts, but he does know his stuff, listen to the man and learn. A closed mind is like a full garbage can wills an open mind is like an empty garbage can, it holds more shit. Keep your mind open.

Dave Tate and Simmons both wrote about activating the abdominals (transfers abdominals) prior to both squatting and deadlifting. Read or reread there articles for more info.

Working a trainee?s weaknesses is sometime the best way to improve, Ian King writes about that often as does Charles Staley and Martin Rooney just to name a few.

I?ve been training in Muay Thai for the last 5 years with a 4 time world champion form Thailand. I do it non-competitively. I have a degree in Exercise Sciences from BUY. The two things I?ve noticed is a lot of sports only train sports specific without a lot of basic core training. I am 43 years old, 5?7?, 196Lbs and look like I weigh maybe 165-170Lbs. I squat (Narrow Stance) 400- 550Lbs and dead-lift between 450-600lbs depending on load preference, cycle, reps, etc. Seem, my trainer for the first 3 years tried to get me to lift lighter more sports specific. He gave up trying to get me to lift differently when he realized that I kick harder then anyone he has ever met (Direct quote) I can kick hard enough to break your Femur. The thing I notice is that if I do not keep up all of the other aspects of training, flexibility, speed, endurance, lactic acid, technique, etc, then the fact that I?m strong does me no good. If I do put all of the other pieces together then the strength, as in core strength, allows me a significant edge.
Karl Malone of the NBA has said many times that his religious approach to basic core power and weight lifting has been the one and only thing that has allowed him to stay in the NBA fore as long as he has. And it is what has given him such a dominant presence. Remember that he has been the only player that could pick Shaq up and move him around.
So keep your mind open and stick with the basics

Squat depth is just courage.

Squat low and just put a shit load of chains on.